Nearly all control systems have now moved to web enabled systems that end users can interface with from any PC using their web browser of choice. It’s a lot more convenient than previous technology.
Here’s the potential problem: these newer controllers are frozen in time at the software release that was current when they were installed – unless there’s a maintenance agreement in place to keep the systems (and their internet compatibility) up to date.
Today, control systems are not just operating the building with a specific coordinated sequence that starts and stops equipment, changes setpoints etc., to provide the best building operation. They are now connected to a bigger environment (the internet) and rely on the components of the internet for their successful operation and interaction with the people who use it.
Changes to the Building Automation System (BAS) environment can occur that have nothing to do with the BAS system itself, but are triggered by changes and updates to internet-related issues like the web browser. Over time, these changes can negatively affect the speed of system operation and the display of system data to the operator. Security issues can also arise as older versions prove to have vulnerabilities that have not been patched – and data can be exposed to unauthorized users.
The solution is a software maintenance agreement (SMA) that keeps all software current. As systems are enhanced over time and other functions and capabilities are addressed in different ways, the control system productivity increases along with ease of use for something as simple as reporting and logging system data. Just like a car, your building control systems need to stay tuned up to maintain compatibility, security and productivity.