Your experience in networks is extremely valuable to companies that deal with whole building automation/energy management systems (BAS/EMCS). You will find these in most medium to large buildings, and in campus and industrial settings as well. Go to the big boys' (JCI, Honeywell, Siemens, Andover, Alerton, Automated Logic) web sites and do some research. Do a google search for DDC, BAS, EMCS, HVAC controls.
Most of these systems exist on one network or another with multiple workstations, servers, laptops, etc - and the industry is fast moving into web-based systems and applications. Most control companies (contractors and manufacturer reps/dealers) are ill equipped to handle this part of their systems. You will still need experience in HVAC (alarm priorities,etc) and may likely have to know some about lighting, access control, life safety, etc - but my guess is if you talk to companies that handle these size systems you may find a position that will pay you equal or more than what you are making now.Good luck!
You know. At best I dabble with small time controls. I do quite a bit of DDC stuff with supermarkets. And you know. I am an idiot. Beleive me. But it's easier than controls guys really thinks it is. You know why. Cause most of them have no comprhension at all of the actual science and facts of how a system runs and why. They just know, turn the actuaotor on, off at this setpoint, yada yada yada. So my advice, be a mechanic first. Then do controls. And with both, your high dollar superhero. Just a controls guy and you won't make the same cash.
And as for the internet based stuff mentioned earlier. Whoa a buddy. It'll kick into high gear here this year and next. Gateways between the web based front end, to the relay to turn a damper. There will be huge money in that. Cause the demand will be for that. No one is going to rip out the system just to have web based front end. So that means the front end has to integrate.
I know a cheesehead who will become rich in about another 2 years doing this. It's going to hit big this year I am betting on it. Jump aboard now. Don't wait.
I always wonder where we will be in ten years with this fancy stuff.
No one said you need to rip out the whole system, and gateways are a necessary evil but ultimately not the solution. IT types will solve these problems. This field is continuously evolving, but seamless integration is the future. New or retrofit - web based systems are already here, and there are a ton of systems out there that need attention. As I said - this area of controls can be a great fit for an IT type - and will have the greatest likelihood for future innovation. Battle between LON, BACnet, etc will be moot.
[Edited by ps on 03-24-2005 at 08:59 AM]
I just saw someone looking for a controls guy in the jobs section of this site.
"The battle between BACnet and LON will be moot."
....well not exactly. If you actually took the time to examine a Lonworks network you would find that it has characteristics that the IT/Ethernet world hasn't solved.
When devices on an Ethernet network communicate they do it by listening on the network. When they get a chance they send data. If 2 or more devices send at the same time you get a collision. That's why Ethernet gets to 40% capacity and you are done because of all the collisions taking place.
Lonworks by contrast grows "communication slots" or gets smaller based on network traffic. Not to mention that you still have priority message slots available.
Also, full Ethernet is still an expensive proposition. That's typically why the BACnetter's have these boxes. Can't afford to bring it to the device level.
Now we have standards coming out such as oBIX (oasis). So now the device level networks can migrate to the Internet with a common understanding of the information. Interestingly enough, BACnet has pulled out of oBIX. (crying)
If anything, BACnet will be the displaced implementation as it was designed for higher level data transfer and is getting supplanted by oBIX, XML/SOAP,Niagra Framework etc...
I have read many of your posts and don't pretend to have your depth of knowledge concerning the "wars" at the networking/communication/data transfer levels - and I don't advocate or have a vested interest in any side! I do know that these issues take up an ever increasing amount of job time and resources - while the customer justs wants a reliable and manageable system that plays well with all its components.
As I have stated - I will leave "examining networks" to the IT types. They are far more qualified in that arena than I. I know it is a very important piece of the pie - but frankly I have a difficult time keeping my eyes open when I try to inform myself in these matters. If I misspoke (sp) - my bad, sorry!
Which brings us back to my encouragement of the OP (IT type)to look into this evolving area of controls. Check it out and if it appeals to you - go for it!
[Edited by ps on 03-25-2005 at 12:12 PM]
Let me help here... they want standards to move/integrate the data. (XML oBIX) They don't care what it does necessarily. Give them a box they can read/write data.
while the customer justs wants a reliable and manageable system that plays well with all its components.
That's why device level functions are served better by a device level network and then pushed into "the Internet". So, you see routing and web servers moving data around after the reliable control network did it's thing.
Next step: Having a universal tool to create device level networks so multiple manufacturers products can be integrated, configured and operated. Protocol analyzers can be used to make sure data gets where it needs to go. A universal database generated that can be "passed" around. It would also be nice that this "database" is not require past setting up the network.
This is called LNS Lonworks. A very scaleable open architecture.
Now with the $345.00 development package making talking light switches and other basic devices will get really inexpensive.... These sequences can be set up easily and really doesn't require an Internet connection.
As I stated before (again) - should be numerous opportunities for OP (IT type). Do some research and jump into the fray!