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  1. #1
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    Apr 2005
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    Legacy Building Automation Systems Integration to the cloud

    I posted the following question on the AutomatedBuildings.com LinkedIn Group and several other LinkedIn Groups where I received some fantastic feedback. I'd like to pose the same question to this group.
    Our S4 Open Appliances have lead the legacy building integration market sector for some time. The typical applications have been migrating legacy building automation systems to new technologies or adding value added applications such as energy management or continuous commissioning. We are starting to see a demand for our appliances to act as on-site agents for cloud-based applications as an alternative to many traditionally on-site service. I'd like to know if anyone else is seeing the same trend.
    Steve Jones
    Managing Partner
    The S4 Group, Inc.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2003
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    USA
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    Most of our large customers would not let internal data leave their control to be hosted in the "cloud". That coupled with monthly parasitic fees, leave them asking for an internally hosted solution.

    I could see this take off in the mid-small commercial market. The security requirements are lower and the on-site staff is typically less HVAC savvy.

    Personally I'm not a cloud fan. Its a big enough pita to deal with internal outages. Once it leaves the ground and heads for the cloud, the amount of control is reduced. Cloud providers seem to have gotten a few black eyes for outages as of late. And of course when they go down, so does everything underneath.

    Still mad with netflix and their outage during the holidays....
    Propagating the formula. http://www.noagendashow.com/

  3. #3
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    Apr 2007
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    Amarillo by mornin'
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    Hello Mr.Jones. Please do not take what I'm about to ask you in a negative way, but you said that " Our S4 Open Appliances have lead the legacy building integration market sector for some time."

    What are you basing this off of? Internal market research or something of the like? Since becoming "t" certified and seeing ALL of the drivers available and it being fairly available I feel that Tridium has a pretty good edge on the legacy integration market. I'm interested in hearing why you say S4 is the leader in this area. Thanks!

  4. #4
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    We won't win the contest based on the number of protocols we support. We have specialized in integrations to the JCI Metasys system. There are others to come shortly but that's our niche for now.

    We have the only product on the market that allows you to co-exist with the legacy head end. This minimizes the amount of down time for the building and its occupants during a transition. Let me know if you find anyone else who can do this. One of our Integration Partners upgraded the Jackson Federal Building in Seattle with zero interruptions to occupant use of the building.

    Tridium has a lot of drivers, a lot of applications, and a huge marketing machine behind it. I applaud them for all of their success. When you buy into Tridium you are buying into their entire platform. However, we are different in that we focus only on the gateway functionality. This gives the integrator the ability to deliver the BACnet (or OPC) operator workstation that best meets their customer's requirement along with any applications needed for their project. Many times Tridium is the platform that receives legacy BAS data from our S4 Open: BACnet-N2 Router. So, I look at Tridium (including their OEMs and their dealers) as partners, not as competitors. In fact, the case study that we published in this month's newsletter was a hospital complex that integrated a legacy Metasys system into a new Tridium head end.

    Any time you want a live demo of the system get in contact with me and I'd be happy to schedule it for you.

    By the way, feel free to ask any of our Integration Partners, or the building owners and operators they support, and you'll find out why I can make the claims that I do.
    Steve Jones
    Managing Partner
    The S4 Group, Inc.

  5. #5
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    Apr 2005
    Location
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    Quote Originally Posted by orion242 View Post
    Most of our large customers would not let internal data leave their control to be hosted in the "cloud". That coupled with monthly parasitic fees, leave them asking for an internally hosted solution.

    I could see this take off in the mid-small commercial market. The security requirements are lower and the on-site staff is typically less HVAC savvy.

    Personally I'm not a cloud fan. Its a big enough pita to deal with internal outages. Once it leaves the ground and heads for the cloud, the amount of control is reduced. Cloud providers seem to have gotten a few black eyes for outages as of late. And of course when they go down, so does everything underneath.

    Still mad with netflix and their outage during the holidays....
    Thank you for these great insights!
    Steve Jones
    Managing Partner
    The S4 Group, Inc.

  6. #6
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    Apr 2007
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    Amarillo by mornin'
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    853
    Quote Originally Posted by steves4 View Post
    We won't win the contest based on the number of protocols we support. We have specialized in integrations to the JCI Metasys system. There are others to come shortly but that's our niche for now.

    We have the only product on the market that allows you to co-exist with the legacy head end. This minimizes the amount of down time for the building and its occupants during a transition. Let me know if you find anyone else who can do this. One of our Integration Partners upgraded the Jackson Federal Building in Seattle with zero interruptions to occupant use of the building.

    Tridium has a lot of drivers, a lot of applications, and a huge marketing machine behind it. I applaud them for all of their success. When you buy into Tridium you are buying into their entire platform. However, we are different in that we focus only on the gateway functionality. This gives the integrator the ability to deliver the BACnet (or OPC) operator workstation that best meets their customer's requirement along with any applications needed for their project. Many times Tridium is the platform that receives legacy BAS data from our S4 Open: BACnet-N2 Router. So, I look at Tridium (including their OEMs and their dealers) as partners, not as competitors. In fact, the case study that we published in this month's newsletter was a hospital complex that integrated a legacy Metasys system into a new Tridium head end.

    Any time you want a live demo of the system get in contact with me and I'd be happy to schedule it for you.

    By the way, feel free to ask any of our Integration Partners, or the building owners and operators they support, and you'll find out why I can make the claims that I do.
    Hum...OK. Just seeing someone claim that "Our S4 Open Appliances have lead the legacy building integration market sector for some time." is a blanket statement covering alot of ground. After looking at your website and seeing that your gateways are marketed for BACnet, OPC, and mainly N2 I don't see that being the legacy market sector leader.
    "It's not that I'm smart, it's that I stay with the problem longer”
    Albert Einstein

  7. #7
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    Apr 2012
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    92
    Could you give an example for such cloud-based system? What SCADA-software is used? Was it hosted on some popular cloud (Amazon AWS, Google Engine, Microsoft Azure)?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by pault View Post
    Could you give an example for such cloud-based system? What SCADA-software is used? Was it hosted on some popular cloud (Amazon AWS, Google Engine, Microsoft Azure)?
    Sorry, due to non-disclosure agreements I can't talk about any of the companies we are working with. Generically, the applications are energy monitoring / management and continuous commissioning. With the capabilities of our appliances the existing Operator Workstation or SCADA-software can stay in operation.
    Steve Jones
    Managing Partner
    The S4 Group, Inc.

  9. #9
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    Apr 2012
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    92
    I don't ask about client's details, just a general description. Why start the thread if you can't tell anything, except how good your appliances are?

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by pault View Post
    I don't ask about client's details, just a general description. Why start the thread if you can't tell anything, except how good your appliances are?

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    A general description is easy. We've always published the BAS data that we integrate to to BACnet or OPC. Our integrator partners add their own BACnet OWS, SCADA system, or applications to meet their customer requirements. The requests that I am seeing are from companies who have, or are developing, cloud based applications and are asking us if we can act as an on-site agent to gather the same data that we always have but instead publish it to their cloud servers. I'm trying to determine if that market is mature enough for us to invest engineering and R&D resources in the necessary development to support these requests. One aspect of that is how quickly are building owners and operators embracing these cloud based services? i.e. will we sell enough of this new product to make it worthwhile? An interesting technical part of the discussion is the number of different ways that are proposed for sending data to the cloud service servers which tells me that we would have to develop a different interface for each service. On the user interface side the browser has become universal. That same thing appears not to have happened on the data collection side. If you want to look at more detailed responses take a look at this same topic on the LinkedIn AutomatedBuildings.com Group.
    Steve Jones
    Managing Partner
    The S4 Group, Inc.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    213
    S4 - Rock Solid Product!

    Co-Existence of Front End "During" legacy migration process opens up some comfort level when you flip the switch off on the front end.

    Testing / Commissioning can be performed all day then turn the front end back on until the next day etc. until your finished.

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