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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    9

    Question What is Niagara? In Laymans Terms!

    Hi all,

    I've been trying to get my head around this one.

    As I understand it, Niagara is a development application designed to overcome incompatiblility between different protocols. I assume, you can use it as a front end application to program / control network devices.

    If for example, I had a DDC system communicating via BACnet IP and wanted this to talk with another system (lets say a CBus lighting system), I could then use Niagara as a front end and a mechanism by which to translate information between the two systems.

    Am I close? Could somebody please help explain how it all fits together.

    Having reviewed the Niagara website, it appears that it is more of a development tool, rather than something you might install as a front end for an existing system.

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    For one thing it's a great marketing tool. Half of the consuting engineers gotta have it, even the ones who couldn't begin to answer your question. To be honest I have not worked with it enough to answer your question, but I wanted to get on this thread so I too could get a good explanation. There are plenty of tridium experts on this site so I would expect someone to provide a solid answer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    336
    You have adequately described what it DOES, so I guess you understand the concept. If you want to know what it IS then someone can bore the pants of you!.
    gnomethang
    _______________________________________________
    "Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them."
    - The Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    90
    Straight from tridium.com.

    NiagaraAX is a software framework and development environment that solves the challenges associated with building Internet-enabled products, device-to-enterprise applications and distributed Internet-enabled automation systems. NiagaraAX builds on the pioneering capabilities of Niagara R2, originally introduced in 1999, and the experience gained in deploying over 120,000 Niagara-based products worldwide.Niagara R2 introduced the concept of a software framework that could normalize the data and behavior of diverse devices, regardless of manufacturer or communication protocol, to enable the implementation of seamless, Internet-connected, web-based systems. NiagaraAX takes that concept to the next level.

    The core concept of Niagara is its unique, patented component model that transforms the data from diverse external systems into uniform software components. These components form the foundation for building applications to manage and control the devices. In Niagara R2, the component model focused primarily on modeling data from the various systems to create a uniform data set for applications. The NiagaraAXcomponent model goes beyond unifying protocols and data from diverse systems, to unify the entire development environment used to build applications.

    The key requirements that guided the development of NiagaraAX included:

    Creating a uniform software environment and component model across all layers of the device-to-enterprise solution stack. This means that whether you are building a small controller or a comprehensive enterprise application, with NiagaraAX , developers work in the same programming environment with the same tools;
    Providing open APIs to all system services and an extensible component model that enable partners to develop their own applications, plug-ins and drivers independent of Tridium;
    Providing all-inclusive support for web-services data handling and communications with enterprise applications;
    Enabling large system scalability and a distributed processing architecture over any Internet, Intranet or Wireless network.
    NiagaraAX provides the environment, tools and services to enable partners to develop products and applications quickly and easily.
    Also
    Niagara Appliance™

    A Complete Device-to-Enterprise Solution for Equipment Manufacturers

    Are your customers asking you to include Internet connectivity and device integration? Do they increasingly look for bundled service offerings? Today's equipment manufacturers face new challenges that extend well beyond traditional expectations. Responding to these challenges with reliable and cost effective solutions has been a daunting task.

    It's time to change the playing field to your advantage!

    A Niagara Appliance™ from Tridium can provide an "out-of-the-box" solution that transforms your product into an integrated, web-based solution. A Niagara Appliance combines your unique application and product knowledge with Tridium's proven device management platform to transform your product into a fully Internet enabled solution. The result is an appliance that enables remote management with an advanced user interface that serves rich presentations through a web browser to customers and a Niagara Appliance can connect to a central service bureau and share information with other systems and equipment.

    Embedded in your product or installed alongside it, the appliance allows you to exploit new opportunities and improve customer satisfaction. Why exhaust internal resources?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    12
    The Niagara Frameworks is the generic software that can be used for BAS, Scada, lighting, medical device monitoring, residential, security etc. Tridium's VYKON branded products are facilities management and control applications that use Niagara technology.

    From www.vykon.com:

    VYKON®, is a comprehensive set of applications that synchronize, manage and control major building system functions required in a facility, such as heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, energy, lighting, security, fire, safety, and unitary devices. Built on Tridium's Niagara Framework®, VYKON integrates diverse systems and devices - regardless of manufacturer, or communication protocol - into a unified platform that can be easily managed and controlled in real time over the Internet using a standard web browser.



    VYKON enables facility managers, building owners, and systems integrators to integrate proprietary and otherwise incompatible products into a unified enterprise solution. This allows personnel using a standard web browser to measure, manage and control a wide variety of facilities, security and energy applications from anywhere in the world.

  6. #6
    So then is the User Interface stricktly a browser or are developers creating their own proprietary UIs? Also since the Jace uses web services could it see an NAE and visa versa using web services or would both need to be setup to communicate via BACnet/IP? At this point for simplification I am assuming the 2 would be on the same segment.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    336
    The Browser UI is created by the developer. There is no 'Out of the Box' graphical displays (although people are creating 'self building' graphics based on plant types).

    2 Tridium controllers on the same network would communicate via the Niagara Network (software protocol over IP). They could also share points via Bacnet/Obix
    gnomethang
    _______________________________________________
    "Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them."
    - The Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam

  8. #8
    So then would it be a fair statement to say that the Niagra Network is really just a proprietary protocol over a standard IP network, and then the Jace panels run drivers, developed under the Niagra tool set to interface into other protocols such as BACnet, LON, ASD, Modbus, etc... In other words a Niagra/Tridium system residing on a customers network could basically be looked at as a VPN?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    336
    In so far as the Jace station to station communication unfer the Niagara Network is concerned that is a fair statement.
    Obix, I believe, is not a Tridium propriety protocol (someone please feel free to correct me).
    Also, once your various network points (Bacnet, Lon etc) are set up as Proxy points in a Jace then they are available to all controllers and the WWW with much more functionality in terms of data collection, inter species communication, logging, alarming.
    It is not a VPN per se, given that a VON cannot read multiple protocols but it is certainly a Window.
    gnomethang
    _______________________________________________
    "Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them."
    - The Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    West Texas
    Posts
    43

    Thumbs up To me it's a front end

    I recall the first demo I saw several years ago. It was an R-2 version. I couldn't wait to get my hands on one and try my hand doing what I have done for the past 25 years with old DOS based systems that only Honeywell did. Later I was able to be a part of 11 R-2's scattered over multiple buildings. If not for the legal action that Siebe initiated back several years ago, the bootleg driver selection for vendors would have wide spread use now. Still there are drivers out there that makes this product the most recognized product on the market today. At last count, there are something like 11 vendors that market the AX series. Sure it has it's issues but anything with this kind of flexibility will have some problems. This product is what all others imitate but none have been successful yet.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    90
    Quote Originally Posted by beentheredonethat View Post
    I recall the first demo I saw several years ago. It was an R-2 version. I couldn't wait to get my hands on one and try my hand doing what I have done for the past 25 years with old DOS based systems that only Honeywell did. Later I was able to be a part of 11 R-2's scattered over multiple buildings. If not for the legal action that Siebe initiated back several years ago, the bootleg driver selection for vendors would have wide spread use now. Still there are drivers out there that makes this product the most recognized product on the market today. At last count, there are something like 11 vendors that market the AX series. Sure it has it's issues but anything with this kind of flexibility will have some problems. This product is what all others imitate but none have been successful yet.

    Not just Invensys but JCI too. Back then I work for an Invensys IFO and we bought 3 Jace's with the N2 driver. At the same time Tridium announced the ASD driver JCI was causing grief about the N2 driver, Which started Invensys on it's path. I had just started a WorkPlace Tech class at this time. Day one don't say the T word. Day four We all Love Niagara, go back home and get ready to sell our reboxed Jace's. The sad thing is If Invensys or Sebie would have put some stock into their guys Tridium would have been theirs. See what happens when you pee off the old RS guy's.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana
    Posts
    2,329
    HEY YO Freddy B.
    UA Local 141

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by berg2666 View Post
    HEY YO Freddy B.
    Niagara in the right hands = having a machine gun while your adversaries have pocket knives.

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