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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    128

    LON did something bad

    I've heard that LONmark started the certification program for techs and integrators, now pretty soon in order to work with LON you will need certification. Welcome to the proprietory world!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    2,140
    Where did you hear that Bob? That's not one that I have heard before and it seems to be very improbable since there are so many different LON manufacturers and outlets for controls.
    In my opinion the concept of certification is good but the implimentation so far stinks. It still seems to be a very secretive process. For example, have you seen anyone here that has taken the test discuss anything about the test. I haven't yet seen anyone admit whether they have passed or failed the test yet either. LonMark will send you sample tests AFTER you pay the $300 to register for the test. Some of what I have heard is that EVERYTHING in the 'Red Book' can be on the test. Since the majority of the info in the 'Red Book' deals with European implementation of LON I think the test is senseless in this country. Most of those systems such as PL and LPT are not even available here. Never mind all of the European electrical standards and wiring practices.
    I have better things to do with my time than study all of that stuff that I will never use or see.
    If they ever decide to offer a US version of the test I would definitely put out the effort and take the test.
    Of course, I might be all wrong about all of this since everything is still so secretive. To me it looks like a big 'Hustle' by LonMark to get your money first.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    345
    The test is out there, but I'd not worry too much about it. There's not a lot of "pure" LON anymore and most manufacturers have product that supports other protocols as well. Because of that it's not in their best interest to keep LON on the pedestal that it once was on.

    LonMark was on to something when they first talked about personal certification, but they blew it when they tried to turn the concept into a revenue generator and decided to go after company (integrator) certification as well. They took (and are taking) too long to get the test done and out there and as each day goes by any value that was there goes away.

    Still - if you're going to "do" LON, you'd be well advised to learn about it so you do it properly. A well done LON system is pretty hard to beat for ease of install, price of install, robustness and the ability to use products form multiple vendors. No one's caught up to that yet and it's unlikely they will.

    Nikko

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    128
    [QUOTE=dapper;1591568]Where did you hear that Bob? That's not one that I have heard before and it seems to be very improbable since there are so many different LON manufacturers and outlets for controls.

    I know because I took the test, also all who passed the test will be on LON website as qulified individuals or integrators, - in my book it is a step in proprietory world.

  5. #5
    Since this comes late, it needs big money to bring people's attention. If nobody asks it and talks about it, this "evil" idea will be flushed away.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    1,144
    You think the channels I have been buying LON controllers from will all of a sudden stop selling to me if I do not take some test?
    Yeah right...

    Anyways, having to be certified to work with a product is not proprietary if the means of getting certified is open to anyone.
    “It is impossible for one to learn what one thinks they already know"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    345
    You don't have to be certified to buy the product, that won't happen (except with some vendors, but that's another conversation).

    The intent behind the certification is to have a level of verified integration expertise available for potential customers to specify. It's supposed to certify individuals to a level of knowledge where that level of knowledge is what's deemed necessary by the user community for the successful design/commissioning of a non-vendor specific LON based system.

    I think it's a great idea, and if implemented properly should weed out the hacks on jobs where the customer wants to weed out the hacks.

    The problem I have is with the company certification. The premise of certification is to ensure that the various companies have qty x certified personnel on staff. If they do, the company itself gets certified (after they pay $$). The problem with this is that it's based on the honor system and there WILL be abuse and the abuse will more than likely be tolerated to a certain point if the revenue stream to the governing body continues to flow.

    The other and larger problem I have is the grace period allowed to these companies if/when they run out of certified personnel. In theory, they can lose all of their certified personnel and still claim (pro-actively) that they're certified (for some time period). This totally dilutes the value of certification.

    If LonMark stops at personal certification, the certification can carry value. If they continue to push Integrator certification it means that the driving force behind the program is one of revenue and not of credentials. If that happens, the entire program becomes weak and is of absolutely no interest or value to me.

    Nikko

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    128
    Quote Originally Posted by codewriter View Post
    You think the channels I have been buying LON controllers from will all of a sudden stop selling to me if I do not take some test?
    Yeah right...

    Anyways, having to be certified to work with a product is not proprietary if the means of getting certified is open to anyone.
    I see it as attempt to be able to restrict the product only to qulified individuals - in their mind. So they are trying in future to sell the product only whom they decided to. And it is not about you - guys like you probaly will be grandfathered in, but about new guy.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    446
    Just got my results and certificate. I guess now I'm a proprietary node owned by LonMark. Can't wait to lock my customers into open/interoperable controls!

    Test was 150 questions all multiple guess in about 12 different categories. While most of the answers could be found in the Red LONNutzer book, I do know that there was about 2 dozen LonXperts who submitted the test questions. There's quite a few links to reference doc's you can study on the LonMark website to help ya pass the test. http://www.lonmark.org/certification...esources.shtml.

    Saw a gov't spec recently that required LonMark certification for integrators. I guess they want to have some assurance that their controls vendors won't crap on their LON!

    Cheers,
    lb
    A hundred million nodes - it's a LON story.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    345
    Until Lonmark back off on the Integrator certification I'm not going anywhere near personal certification, it's completely off my radar. That means I'm not qualified to do the Gov't LON job you mention.

    But I am qualified to do the job.

    Which means that those that choose to insist on certification will be getting a much smaller audience to bid - and I'm not sure how that serves to bring the cost down on a project. The danger to this is that once again LON will carry a premium only this time, the moniker will be deserved.

    LonMArk needs to figure out what exactly it is they want to achieve by doing this. If the main driver is to ensure the caliber of the systems, they need to concentrate on personal certification. this is no different than an Engineer obtaining their PE designation or an electrician obtaining their Journeyman papers or a Pilot obtaining their Pilot's license- the certification is on the person, not the company.

    The only reason the company (integrator) needs certification is if they're afraid that they could end up in a position whereby they no longer have any certified professionals on staff, yet still want to bid the work. How does this serve the rest of the community that's gone to the time, effort and cost of obtaining certification? Simple - it doesn't serve them at all and in fact only devalues their commitment to the technology.

    The only reason for Integrator certification that makes any sense is if it's to be a revenue stream for LonMark. And if that's the case, they need to separate it from personal certification, call it something else and leave this side of things alone such that it stands a chance of actually gaining credibility.

    The problem is that LonMark has been messing around with this for way too long. This idea (personal certification) has been in the implementation stages for years and all the while the technology itself has started to stale out as there's no more effort being put into it (by Echelon). The result is companies like Tridium and Johnson (with their FX line) who now have the technical capability of neutralizing the Open Systems argument that Lon used to have tucked firmly in their corner. And because LonMark has been messing around for so long the opportunity for them to earn revenue from individuals is diminishing, rapidly, and in order to not let the hard work (extremely hard work) of many go to waste, they're trying to make the program into something it was never intended to be.

    Lonmark - lose the integrator certification idea (completely) and focus on personal certifications. Stop suggesting to organizations that they make it "mandatory" to have certification in order to bid and instead suggest that "preference will be given" to those that HAVE certification. Doing anything else will place so many restrictions on the bidders that the whole concept could backfire and the bids may have to be opened up to a broader audience that includes non-LON solutions.

    Don't ever forget (Lonmark) - you're here for the members, not the other way around.

    Nikko

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    520
    Hear, hear.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Ontario Canada
    Posts
    883
    What’s next?
    Our technical reach doesn’t stop at Certification of devices: We have taken things an extra step and have begun qualifying System Integrators. We believe this expanded direction will give building owners and specifiers more confidence in the concept of “open” control-systems maintenance and the longevity of their investments—again, separating the wheat. We hope you now have a little better understanding of our role in the industries that interest you, we welcome you to browse our Technical Resources section to experience where we have been and where we are going, and we invite you to come along for the ride.

    From the lonmark website.
    If at first you don't succeed; charge, charge, charge again.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    446
    I didn't get my LonMark certification in order to bid Gov't jobs. We don't play in the plan/spec market, so meeting some spec that required it was not my motivation. I suppose I got it to gain some recognition for my commitment to open/interoperable control systems and use LonMark certification to differentiate our company from competitors.
    I agree that LonMark could and should do much more for it's integrator members especially in the areas of education and marketing. I do understand though that LonMark is a non-profit association supported/driven by it's members and is constantly evolving through involvement from the membership.
    Instead of complaining about how LonMark is taking your business away, why not join up and get involved. It doesn't cost a lot and it might just increase your sales and success. Plus, it looks good on your resume.
    Of course, I also understand that certain proprietary vendors wish that LonMark would just go away. Open systems are a huge threat to the big Reds and Blues who've had a chokehold on the controls market for many years. LonMark professional certification is a step in the right direction and with your input will become beneficial to all.
    Cheers,
    lb
    A hundred million nodes - it's a LON story.

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