As a special addition to next month's issue, I am working with the ES staff to create the "Web-Based Facilities Operations Guide" as a pullout supplement. I feel that this guide has the potential of being a catalyst in the current natural evolution to Web-based operation of your facilities. I hope that the guide will provide an industry focal point opening dialog and demonstrate strong examples with feedback of what can be practically achieved with Web-based facilities operation.

Success Through Transparency

The rapid movement of the building automation industry toward Web-based control allows us to interweave critical dynamic building information into a browser-based-anywhere presentation. This allows us to concentrate and amplify our existing building operation resources and operators into virtual operation centers, where all critical information is exposed to all stakeholders. The visible-from-anywhere information allows authorized users to provide the correct input, management, and dollar accountability skills that will provide excellent comfort/energy performance.

The Web-based presentation of dynamic building information allows not only operators to operate from anywhere with full functionality, it allows interaction of contractors, equipment suppliers, and consultants to provide valuable feedback and feed-forward information to the building operating equation. Upper management can also participate by having browser-based bottom line screens that provide the dynamic proof of the success or failure of excellent building performance.

The new concentration and amplification of existing building operational resources and personnel will provide a strong refocus on the values of good operating principles. This focus will result in management and operations re-establishing communications on what is important and what is required to achieve excellent, cost-effective building operations.

The supplement begins by redefining the essential issues, then providing dialogue and insight into topics such as establishing accountability networks; adjusting to "web-based everything"; online energy accounting with immediate feedback; creating your building's operation website; online training and mentor support to create super operators; hiring high-performance super operators; computerized maintenance driven by performance; defining success indicators; and several additional topics.

Super Operators and Beyond

In addition to the supplement, AutomatedBuildings.com has created an online forum at .automatedbuildings.com/webbasedfacilitiesoperation.htm.

The online forum includes two interactive html pages on which you can post your comments and provide links to known resources. One interactive online forum deals with the general mechanics, observations, and discussions of "How To Implement Web-based Facilities Operation." The other interactive forum deals with "What is a Super Operator, and How Do We Create Them?" AutomatedBuildings.com is interested in the industry perception of how to create and train the new super operators.

The forum also provides a link to over 20 articles on Web-based facilities operations and examples plus links to existing resources. This resource will grow as the forum is used by the industry.

At an after-dinner talk at a BACnet Seminar on October 24, 1996, I concluded my talk with the following summary.

"My prediction for the future is that we will see the separation of the vendors' involvement in the graphics and data presentation. Either Internet- or Intranet-type html multiplatforms available with anywhere presentation will become the standard. This will allow the data to be easily organized into a common nonproprietary presentation application. We are presently working in this exciting area. Existing vendors will be required to concentrate their traditional hardware data into TCP/IP protocol, to pass information to a dynamic Internet database. Virtual operating systems will allow control from any browser on the Internet or Intranet.

"As apparent seamless national and international automation occurs, companies will organize themselves by function, not geographically as they are now. Ddc will be expanded into many nontraditional applications. Integration will occur on a nonproprietary level, and vendors will have trouble keeping up with hardware and installation demand for the new breed of system as the number of applications will greatly increase."

These were bold comments in 1996, but today browser-based presentation of real time control data is the norm.

As I prepared the pullout guide and this column, I was amazed at how dated some of the information and examples were. These well-documented and demonstrated concepts only need to be applied to today's improved Web-based tools to allow us to create and harvest the benefits of Web-based facility operation as YourFacility.com. ES