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BACnet IT Working Group: Organization and Purpose

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  • James F. Butler
    Welcome to the BACnet IT group s e-mail list. Please review the following information about the organization and purpose of the working group. If you have
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 23, 2009
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      Welcome to the BACnet IT group’s e-mail list.  Please review the following information about the organization and purpose of the working group.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.




      - Jim Butler

      Cimetrics Inc.

      (617) 350-7550 x207





      The BACnet IT Working Group: Organization and Purpose


      By Jim Butler, Cimetrics Inc.

      October 22, 2009


      The BACnet committee (ASHRAE SSPC 135) is officially responsible for the continuing development of the BACnet standard (ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 135).  In order to facilitate this work, the BACnet committee has formed several working groups that are each focused on a particular topic.  Each working group is led by a convener; Jim Butler of Cimetrics (mailto:jimbutler@...) is the initial convener of the BACnet IT working group.


      Most proposals to change the BACnet standard are developed within a BACnet working group, so working groups are where the action is.  Working group members are encouraged to be actively involved in the development and review of change proposals.  However the working groups do not have the authority to change the BACnet standard on their own.  A significant change to the BACnet standard requires at minimum an official standards action by the BACnet committee and a public review administered by ASHRAE.  The voting members of the BACnet committee are very busy, so the working group convener will generally not bring a proposal to the voting members for official consideration unless the working group has voted overwhelmingly in favor of the proposal.


      The BACnet IT working group was formed in response to a number of industry trends.  Since the design of BACnet began in 1987, much has changed in the world of computers, networking technology, and building automation systems.  BACnet has been sufficiently flexible to handle many of these changes, but more changes are coming that may further challenge BACnet’s architecture.  Here are some of the changes that could affect the requirements for building automation systems:


      1. The trend toward convergence of IT and building automation

      2. Network security policies and standards

      3. The increasing use of battery-powered and wireless networked devices

      4. “Smart Grid” applications that involve building automation systems


      The BACnet IT working group’s initial task will be to enumerate the general communication requirements of building automation systems that will be deployed over the next several years and evaluate BACnet against those requirements.  To the extent that BACnet does not meet those requirements, the working group will discuss, at a high level, how BACnet could be modified or redesigned in order to better meet those requirements.  Based on the outcome of those discussions, the working group members might initiate projects to investigate various design options.


      To do this job well, we need to educate ourselves about IT networking technology and related best practices, and we need to efficiently share relevant information with other working group members.  BACnet working groups have traditionally used a combination of e-mail, teleconferences and face-to-face meetings.  In the BACnet IT working group, we will also experiment with a Wiki as a means for organizing and disseminating information that is relevant to our work.


      The BACnet IT working group is expected to hold face-to-face meetings four times per year.  Here is our best guess about the dates and locations of some upcoming meetings:


      Fall: Tuesday November 10, 2009, 1 - 3 p.m. at Georgia Tech in Atlanta

      Winter: Friday January 22, 2010 or Sunday January 24, 2010 in Orlando

      Spring: April 2010 in Germantown , Maryland

      Summer: Friday June 25, 2010 or Sunday June 27, 2010 in Albuquerque


      Information sharing resources that are currently available to all BACnet IT working group members are:


      1. BACnet IT Yahoo Group e-mail list (mailto:bacnet-it-wg@yahoogroups.com)

      2. BACnet IT Yahoo Group file repository (http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/bacnet-it-wg/files/)

      3. BACnet-L e-mail list, for general discussion of BACnet (see http://www.bacnet.org/Contact/BACnet-L.htm for information on how to join)

      4. BACnet IT Wiki, TBA


      The convener requests that BACnet IT working group members use the Ubuntu Code of Conduct (http://www.ubuntu.com/community/conduct) as a general guideline for their activities within the BACnet IT working group.




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