Bridging IIoT for Building Automation


Findings from a recent online survey by Echelon Corp.,, shed some light on plans for building automation systems of the future. The results indicate that a majority of planners intend to integrate multiple systems onto a common platform, and that almost half of building-automation projects involve the use of legacy systems running multiple protocols from different vendors. The conclusion is that multiprotocol and converged solutions will be key to extracting optimal benefit from the emerging IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things).

Results of a survey, conducted online for four weeks in January and February 2014, reveal 70% of respondents plan to integrate their building lighting, HVAC, and security systems onto a common platform—nearly one-third of them in the next 12-18 months. Almost half the respondents say more than 50% of their building retrofit projects involve multiple protocols and nearly two-thirds report at least a quarter of their current retrofit projects involve multiple protocols. Over the years, building-automation systems have been developed using disparate protocols such as BACnet, LonTalk, DALI, C-Bus, Modbus, KNX, and others that currently do not intercommunicate.

Market researchers predict that the IIoT will comprise a billion industrial and commercial devices by 2017, and that it will add 500 million new units per year. Such predictions provide tremendous economic incentives to bridging currently separate industrial device networks.

Multiprotocol support offers significant benefits for the business of building-automation companies. Instead of designing, manufacturing, supporting, and tracking different products for each protocol option, companies can reduce their inventory by using a single device that can be configured to support multiple protocols.
As if responding to Echelon’s report, Xicato,, a company focusing on the “Internet of Lights,” announced its new intelligent platform powered by Echelon. The new platform shows how the IIoT can become a reality in professionally-lit spaces. Lighting 2.0—the convergence between networking, building management, and lighting—is gaining speed in the commercial sector.

Xicato and Echelon’s partnership creates a sophisticated, open approach for the connection and collection of critical data that turns existing light points into intelligent nodes. Until now, LED lighting could not be easily controlled. Xicato’s new intelligent module, XIM, integrates sensors, diagnostics, and communications in the light source itself and, when combined with Echelon’s command and control system, offers retailers, hoteliers, and building managers, an open approach that lets them control and manage their spaces from virtually anywhere, on any device.

Want to tweet about this article? Use hashtags: #automation, #InternetofThings, #IndustrialInternetofThings, #M2MProtocols, #InternetofLights, and tag @echeloncorp and @XicatoInc

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