Commercial buildings rely on an array of devices to control services including HVAC, lighting, physical security, energy and other mechanical systems that ensure the facility operates to the needs of the occupants and building owners. These systems are commonly known as BAS (Building Automation Systems). For 30 years, these systems have relied on DDC (Direct Digital Controllers) as the primary class of edge computing devices, typically 8-bit processors networked on low-bandwidth serial networks that are adequate for their needs.
In recent years, there is a growing pressure for BAS to use IT-based technologies from Ethernet networks, Internet Protocol (IP), WiFi networks, open-source software, big data methodologies, and analytics. Initial uses of these were mainly by the on-premise PCs typically found in control rooms, engineer offices and gateway devices that translate DDC device information into more useful IT-centric data norms.
Through the continuation of Moore’s Law, smaller and smaller devices provide ample power and robustness to be used in lieu of DDCs. This, in combination with advancements in powerful open software platforms, is enabling cost-effective development of a new class of devices that we call EAC (Edge Analytics Controllers).