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Newsletter – October 29, 2006 | Vol. 5





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Communication Made Simple  


More In this Issue:



Open Protocols

- Why Communication? (Discover the Potential...)

- Meitav-tec's Approach

- Communication Made Simple

- Case Studies


The Thermostats







Although communication in the field of HVAC is taking over the market, there still seems to be some skepticism.  From far, the notion of communication appears to be a complicated, expensive and un-approachable topic, but this is hardly the case. It is time to distinguish between fact and fiction.




Fear Factor #1:  “I can’t even follow the terminology”

Fact: The communication vocabulary contains a handful of common terms that can be easily explained. The main ones are:

  • Protocol: A set of standard rules for data representation, signalling, authentication, and error detection required to send information over a communications channel.

  • BMS: Building Management Systems

  • BAS (Building Automation System)

  • EMS (Energy Management Sytems)

  • HMI (Human Machine Interface)

  • LAN (Local Area Network)

  • Ms/Tp (Master-slave/Token-passing)

  • BAC (Building Automation and Control)

  • TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol)

  • RS (RS-485) Recommended Standard

  • EIA (EIA-485) Electronics Industry Association

  • DDC: Direct Digital Controls


Fear Factor #2:  “I don’t even know the type of protocols out there”

Fact: Protocols can be divided into different types according to the application they are designed for. Some are designed to support large, complex applications with many different types of control systems in the building, such as alarm systems, elevators, climate control, chiller controls, etc… 

For such an application, protocols that are open and interoperable are probably the best bet. Since more than likely most systems are not originating from the same vendor, and still must be able to integrate with one another, a protocol that is open will be common to all, making integration both possible and easy. 

Smaller applications that do not involve large, complicated controls may be good candidates for simpler, closed protocols. Such protocols are ideal for small to medium environments where a network of a single type of control exists, such as a network of thermostats only. No integration is required with other systems and it is a wonderful solution for those looking for smart communication controls, yet on a smaller scale. In this case for example, Meitav-tec offers its own Maxinet protocol to control thermostats network (More on Maxinet in the next issue of our Newsletter).


Fear Factor #3:  “Installation and set-up is just too complicated”

Fact: Installation of communication units is a systematic process that does not differ much from the installation of stand-alone units. It requires becoming familiar with the hardware involved, but anyone with experience in installing stand-alone controls should have no problem when it comes to communication. In addition, companies today are making considerable progress in reducing the complexity of installing such units. Meitav-tec, for example, provides its communication units in such a way that their installation is IDENTICAL to that of stand alone units, except for 2 extra communication wires.

The bottom line is that system integrators are now so familiar with integrating the different controls of a building, that the set-up phase is no longer a significant concern and has actually become second-nature to them.


Fear Factor #4:  “The cost is simply unaffordable”

Fact: First of all, communication units are not that expensive. As with all technologies, communication has become more and more common on today’s market and prices are no longer what they used to be. The gap between their prices and that of stand-alone units has been significantly bridged over the last few years.

Although the initial cost of communication units is higher than the cost of stand-alone units, the energy savings attained by using these units more than justifies the price. With an average utility bill reduction of 20-30%, the ROI (Return On Investment) is so quick that the user begins to see overall savings after only a short period of time.


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