Building automation systems are becoming more common all the time as business owners are beginning to understand the importance of developing more advanced building management systems (BMS).
Controlling the sensors, actuators and other components of a modern BMS requires an effective communication protocol.
This article will provide some initial insight into open protocols and find a provider that can help implement them.
What is Open Communication Protocol?
Because the world of modern building management is quite complex, it is worth starting with a clear explanation of what open communication protocols are and how they work, before moving on to the benefits of working with an open protocol provider.
Open protocols are one of two classifications of BMS protocols. What differentiates open communication protocols from proprietary alternatives is that they operate independently of any specific hardware or software, and the communication rules are publicly available and suitable for many BMS applications.
Open protocols generally follow standards set by industry groups, such as BACnet or Modbus. Manufacturers can then use those rules to ensure interoperability of system components, including sensors, actuators and controllers.
Some providers offer individual system components, while others specialize in building turnkey automation and control systems. Nevertheless, all these hardware and software solutions will be guaranteed to work together because they are built on the same protocol.
open protocol vs closed protocol
Before reading more about open protocols, let us know whether it is worth our attention or should we opt for closed protocol providers.
Difference Between Open Protocol and Closed Protocol
- Open protocols are not owned by one company or one person. Any computer can follow these protocols. Open protocols are also known as standardized protocols. This is important because it allows the two systems to communicate with each other efficiently.
- Closed protocols are also known as stand-alone protocols. These systems are not compatible with systems from any other manufacturer. That is why they are called stand-alone or closed protocols.
|open protocol||off protocol|
|Compatible with other devices. The network used is common across all devices. It can be modified and deployed as per requirement. Free to use by anyone.||Not compatible with other devices. The network used in construction is unique. It cannot be modified. It is not free to use.|
Advantages of Open Protocol Systems
Whether to use an open or closed protocol BMS is a choice that must be made early because switching from a proprietary system that uses a closed protocol to one that uses a more industry-standard communication protocol can be costly. Is.
The good news is that most BMS now use open protocols. Here’s why it’s so cool:
- The open protocol allows businesses to choose any number of components, making it easy to tailor to exact requirements.
Businesses can work with a variety of suppliers to tap into each one’s area of expertise.
There is no need to depend on a single company to install, service and upgrade the system.
Of course, a lot of businesses are working with a single company to install, maintain, and upgrade all of their BMS components. The idea is not that open protocols mean companies have to be hyper-specialist, but rather that businesses can have the maximum number of options available to them to build the right systems.
Challenges in Open Protocol Providers
There are some challenges that may be encountered when setting up an open protocol provider. Those challenges are as follows:
Adoption of open protocols can be challenging for some developers or computer operators. They should be aware of the protocols, otherwise all the perks and benefits will not reach the target.
Protocols need to be compatible with different technologies and systems. For smooth working of the protocol, some testing or efforts may be done to make it compatible to all the systems.
Open protocols demand high maintenance and require specific resources that may not be viable for the long term. Furthermore, protocols need to be supported or maintained in order to meet certain goals.
Open protocols demand governance to evolve and adapt to new environments and new technologies. It can be a real hassle to keep track of the necessary collaborations.
These were some of the challenges that can occur when using an open protocol.
types of open protocols
There are many types of open BMS protocols. However, three of them are more common than the rest and thus deserve some extra attention.
BACnet is short for Building Automation and Control Network. This essential protocol was designed by HVAC engineers to help them effectively and harmoniously integrate systems designed by different manufacturers (to help build the system).
Modbus was one of the first open protocols developed to establish client-server communication between intelligent building management devices. Many manufacturers consider this the de facto standard as the initial protocol dates back to 1979.
The MQ Telemetry Transport was designed as a standard protocol for IoT. As such, it is ideal for remote devices with a small code footprint but ever-increasing data transfer requirements.
Are Open Protocols Secure?
Security is an important concept in every aspect. All decisions taken or actions taken must be protected and secured. When it comes to open protocols, security depends on how they are designed, implemented or maintained.
However, to ensure and maintain security in the protocol, take the following steps:
- Perform security testing and vulnerability assessments before sensitive data is transferred through the protocol.
- Secure coding practices can help reduce the risk of any security threats.
- Encryption can help maintain the confidentiality of stolen data. Encryption makes data impossible to read if it is stolen in the middle of the sharing path. Encrypted data can only be shown to the sender or the recipient.
Improvement: Encryption can help maintain the confidentiality of data and make it impossible to read if stolen between sharing paths. Encrypted data can only be shown to the sender or the recipient.
- Access controls can help increase the privacy and security of data. There are 4 types of access control available. Mandatory Access Control (MAC), Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), Discretionary Access Control and Rule-Based Access Control (RBC)
- Providing regular security patches and updates to address security.
These are some of the steps that can be taken to ensure the safety and security of data.
Choose an open communication protocol provider
When it comes time to upgrade a building’s BMS, choose an open communication protocol provider. Even if at the time it appears that the system in question will be more than sufficient to meet the needs of the company, it is good to keep options open for the future.
Which protocol provider would be a good choice?
MQTT can be considered for an open communication protocol provider. MQ Telemetry Transport (MQTT) is light weight and specially designed for low bandwidth.
Some of the benefits of using MQTT are:
- Reliable – MQTT ensures that messages are delivered correctly. It stores messages until they are acknowledged by the recipient, and no message is lost. If a message has been left unread, it resends it to the recipient.
- Scalable – MQTT is highly adaptable to be used on multiple devices. MQTT works smoothly and is specifically built for purposes that require data sharing between systems.
- Flexible – MQTT allows you to prioritize messages and manage bandwidth. MQTT supports various Quality of Services for users.