For years, the history of building automation and controls was defined by large organizations selling all the controls in a building and tying that customer to a particular brand for a typical span of 15-20 years.
In recent years, the birth of open protocol and open systems has more appropriately leveled the playing field of service providers, and ultimately, the customer has been the one to benefit. However, there are still organizations attempting to portray their brand of ware as “open,” when those that have been in the industry a while, know better.
At McKenney’s, we have made a deliberate choice to do what is best for the customer and design a system that makes the most sense for the customer, long term, even if it means that they choose another provider. In an era of bustling technology, this is becoming increasingly more important. As a customer in an ever changing industry, it is wise to opt for a fully open protocol.
As a team, we have come up with a few questions that will help a customer navigate these waters:
- Can you give me list of several providers in the city that have all the software and materials necessary to service my property?
- Can you give me a list of other customers that have had these alternate providers work on this flavor of system?
- Where can I procure parts and software to fully work on my own system, should I so choose?
These three questions should prevent you from getting into something that will hand-cuff you for an indefinite period of time.
Also, don’t be fooled by a vendor’s definition of network protocols such as bacnet or LON. The key word is “proprietary.” Again, the key questions above should also help to navigate these waters.
At the end of the day, find a provider that is going to give you the most flexibility and design the system that is best for your property.
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