Historically, it has never been ever so straight-forward to integrate Building Management Systems (BMS) with Crestron. It often required propriatory interfaces to translate between Crestron and the BMS, sometimes with heating and AC each requiring their own interface. Many AC systems were really not easy to integrate with them.
When Crestron developed the 3-Series processors, one of the key new features was native BACnet integration. We are now seeing more and more BACnet on projects and we are very comfortable seeing it on specifications now.
So what is BACnet?
Building Automation and Control networks is a protocol that allows different building control systems and devices to exchange information and control parameters. It allows complete inter-operability between different manufacturers' equipment.
It is certainly not limited to heating and cooling control, but this is where we see most of our integration. There are many other areas where BACnet is used to exchange data including systems such as fire alarms, access control and lighting.
A BACnet object might be as simple as a Binary Input - the commissioning engineer for the BMS might define object 23 as performing a function of raising the setpoint temperature in zone 12. Within our Crestron software, we simply configure that binary input and send it's value to 1 when the user presses the 'raise setpoint' button on their touchscreen.
It's been a really big step forwards for Crestron to have native BACnet integration. No longer is Crestron this quirky control system that M&E Consultants do not understand and dismiss because it requires propitiatory interfaces to talk with the systems they deal with. Now, we simply say that Crestron is a native BACnet device which allows for seamless integration and the consultants understand that.
From our perspective as software developers, it is great as we can be much less concerned with the actual manufacturer; we don't really care whether it's a Daikin, Mitsubishi or whatever. The software requirements are the same and we do not need to study the manufacturer's own protocols and develop software exclusively for their system.
As we have seen more BACnet, we've learnt some skills and tricks along the way that really can ensure that deployment and commissioning is seamless and will give you the confidence when integrating with BMS systems.
If you have any projects coming up where you are being asked to look at HVAC integration with Crestron, talk to us and we would love to see if we can help you succeed with that project.