Africa’s improved security with the modern building automation systems

Africa’s improved security with the modern building automation systems
Jan Labuschagne System Engineer at West Rand Controls

West Rand Controls cc (WRC) is a South African Company, based in the West Rand, specialising in Building Automation and Energy Management in the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) industry.

WRC consists of a dynamic team of individuals with market knowledge, technical expertise and infrastructure to offer market leading solutions to your building. We offer turnkey projects, from system design, installation and controller programming down to implementation of graphical interfaces and servicing of existing systems.

Their proud track record with numerous clients, ranging from large corporate businesses to small individual clients, is testament to the expertise and dedication that their team exhibits.

Jan Labuschagne System Engineer at West Rand Controls talks about the improved security in Building Automation on an exclusive interview with Construction Review Magazine.

1.Building automation What are the new technologies with regards to building automation?

West Rand Controls uses the Tridium – Niagara Framework platform. The Niagara Framework is well suited for interfacing various 3rd party products onto a single platform. It connects and translates data from nearly any device or system—managing and optimizing performance from buildings to factories to cities and beyond.

The newly released Niagara (N4) have the following key features:

An all-new user interface

Niagara 4 features a bold and intuitive new interface. Modern and easy to use, the platform utilizes HTML5 to provide an array of rich features. Our powerful new framework makes the user experience simpler and more robust, giving users maximum control of their data and decisions.

More data at your fingertips

Users can easily conduct a system wide search of the most important elements in their operation. With a simple point and click or drag and drop, users create customized charts, allowing them to instantly find and display critical information. Systems integrators no longer need to re-engineer new dashboards each time a customer requirement changes.

Improved security

Niagara 4 is secure by default. Authentication requires users to choose strong credentials, and both data in motion and sensitive data at rest are encrypted. Niagara 4 also uses Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), making user permissions easy to configure and less error-prone. All user actions and security-related events are recorded in Niagara’s audit log for trace-ability.

Faster, more powerful development

Developers will find improved documentation, a rich open API library, BajaScript 2.0, semantic data modeling via tags and other ready-made tools to greatly speed and support development. Niagara 4’s new features and public APIs make it easier to extend, develop and build upon the framework.

Easy conversion

Tridium has put a great amount of effort into providing a seamless transition process for customers migrating from Niagara AX to Niagara 4. Our native Niagara Fox protocol will work between the Niagara AX and Niagara 4 software systems, and the Niagara 4 software will work with any currently available JACE controller. For those making the conversion to our most up-to-date products, Tridium offers a station conversion tool that will adapt Niagara AX stations to Niagara 4 stations.

2.How have they been received in Africa?

BMS is an old concept that can be easily be exploited in a positive way. Not all building owners are aware of the maintenance benefits and long term savings a BMS can provide.

3.What are the factors to consider when selecting building automation?

Mostly it is the BMS integration capability to 3rd party equipment that is important. Support structure to maintain the BMS equipment. Life Span of the products being used. Expandability of the system.

4.What are the proper steps to consider with regards to building automation installation?

Identify the customer’s need (Scope of work): Identify the equipment to be controlled and or monitored with the help of the Building Owner / Tenant. Provide a System Overview that includes all equipment and interfaces.

Detailed Engineering Design – Provide drawings (Wiring, Floor Layouts and Panel Layouts)

Consider FAT (Factory Acceptance Test)

SAT (Site Acceptance Test) – Detailed signoff Documentation

Operator Training

Ownership – The client needs to take ownership of the System in order to correctly maintain the BMS and 3rd party systems.





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