Building automation systems are becoming more common all the time as business owners begin to understand the importance of developing more advanced building management systems (BMSs).
Controlling the sensors, actuators, and other components of a modern BMS requires an effective communication protocol.
This article will offer some initial insight into open protocols and finding a provider that can help with implementing them.
What is an Open Communication Protocol?
Because the world of modern building management is quite complex, it’s worth starting at the beginning 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 sets open communication protocols apart from proprietary alternatives is that they operate independently of any specific hardware or software, and the communication rules are both publically available and suitable for many BMS applications.
Open protocols generally abide by standards set by industry groups, such as BACnet or Modbus. Manufacturers can then use those rules to ensure the interoperability of system components, including sensors, actuators, and controllers.
Some providers offer individual system components, while others specialize in building turn-key automation and control systems. Still, all of these hardware and software solutions will be guaranteed to work together seamlessly since they are built on the same protocols.
Open Protocol vs. Closed Protocol
Before reading more about open protocol, let us know whether it is worth our attention or if we should opt for a closed protocol provider.
Difference between Open Protocol and Closed Protocol
- Open protocols are not owned by one company or an individual. These protocols can be followed by any computer. Open protocols are also known as standardized protocols. This is important because it allows two systems to communicate efficiently with each other.
- Closed protocols are also known as stand-alone protocols. These systems are not compatible with any other manufacturer’s system. That is why they are called Stand-alone or closed protocols.
|Open Protocol||Closed Protocol|
|Compatible with other devices.The network used is common across all devices.It can be modified and deployed according to the need.Free to use by anyone.||Not compatible with other devices.The network used in manufacturing is unique.It cannot be modified.It is not free to use.|
The Benefits of Open Protocol Systems
Whether to use an open or closed protocol BMS is a choice that must be made early on because switching from a proprietary system that uses closed protocols to one that uses more industry-standard communication protocols can be expensive.
The good news is that the majority of BMSs now use open protocols. Here’s why that’s such a good thing:
- Open protocols allow businesses to choose any components, making it easier to meet precise requirements.
Businesses can work with different suppliers to tap into each one’s area of expertise.
There’s no need to rely on the same company to install, service, and upgrade the system.
Of course, plenty of businesses wind up working with the same companies to install, maintain, and upgrade all of their BMS components. The idea isn’t that open protocols mean companies must hyper-specialize but rather that businesses can have the maximum range of options available for creating the perfect system.
Challenges in Open Protocol Provider
There are some challenges that one may face while installing an Open Protocol Provider. Those challenges are as follows:
Adopting the open protocol can be challenging for some developers or computer operators. They must be aware of the protocol, or else all the perks and advantages will not reach the goal.
The protocol must be compatible with different technologies and systems. For effortless working of the protocol, there can( be some tests or efforts made to make it compatible with all the systems.
Open protocols demand high maintenance and require specific resources that may not be viable for the long term. Moreover, the protocols need to be supported or maintained to meet certain goals.
Open protocols demand governance to evolve and adapt to new environments and new technologies. This can be a real hassle to keep track of the required collaboration.
These were some of the challenges that may occur while 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 to build systems (to help build systems) designed by different manufacturers to be integrated effectively and harmoniously.
Modbus was one of the first open protocols developed to establish client-server communication between intelligent building management devices. Many manufacturers consider it a de facto standard since the initial protocol dates back to 1979.
MQ Telemetry Transport was designed as a standard protocol for the IoT. As such, it’s ideal for remote devices with small code footprints, but ever-growing data transfer requirements.
Are Open Protocols Safe?
Security is a critical concept in every aspect. All the decisions taken or actions done should be protected and safe. When it comes to open protocols, safety depends on the way that they are designed, implemented, or maintained.
However, to ensure and maintain the security in the protocol, follow the following steps:
- Conduct security tests and vulnerability assessments before transferring the sensitive data through the protocol.
- Secure coding practices can help minimize the risk of any security threat.
- Encryption can help keep the privacy of the data that is stolen. Encryption makes the data impossible to read if in case it gets stolen in between the sharing path. Encrypted data can only be shown to either the sender or the receiver.
Correction: Encryption can help keep the privacy of the data and makes it impossible to read in case it gets stolen in between the sharing path. Encrypted data can only be shown to either the sender or the receiver.
- Access controls can help increase the privacy and security of the data. There are 4 types of access controls available. Mandatory Access Controls (MAC), Role-Based Access Controls (RBAC), Discretionary Access Controls, and Rule-Based Access Controls (RBC)
- Providing regular security patches and updates to the address security.
These are some of the steps that can be taken to ensure the safety and protection of the 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 it seems at the time as though the system in question will be more than sufficient to meet the company’s needs, it’s good to keep options open for the future.
What Protocol Provider can be a Good Option?
For an Open Communication Protocol Provider, one can consider MQTT. MQ Telemetry Transport (MQTT) is lightweight and specially designed for low bandwidth.
Some benefits of using MQTT are:
- Reliable – MQTT ensures that the messages have been reached in the correct manner or not. It stores the messages until they are acknowledged by the recipient, and no message is lost. If a message has been left unread, it re-sends it to the recipient.
- Scalable – MQTT is highly compatible to use over multiple devices. MQTT works smoothly and is made specifically for those purposes that need data sharing between systems.
- Flexible – MQTT allows you to prioritize the messages and manage the bandwidth. MQTT supports various quality services for users.