Keeping an open mind

Demands on control systems are rapidly changing, Rainer Dubiel of TLS argues the benefits of an open solution.

The demands on control systems have changed radically in the last few years. Whilst in the past several closed systems were controlled in one building, these “island solutions” have now merged. Whilst previously there were individual control systems in the conference room and in the areas of lighting, heating, air-conditioning, security and solar protection, the building is today considered and controlled as one integral unit.

The consideration of a building as a unit is also an inevitable result of today’s demands for sustainability, i.e. the economic as well as the ecological operation of a building. Today, for instance, lighting, heating, air-conditioning systems, screens, displays, projectors and peripheral devices have to also be centrally controllable. Central control also allows extremely ecological operation because here unused consumer loads can be separated completely from the supply voltage. At the same time it is necessary for these control and monitoring tasks to be carried out not only in a building but also in a decentralised manner by means of mobile systems.

Such systems therefore require communications interfaces with which place- and time-independent control can be provided.

These conditions can only be met by control systems if the applied interfaces utilise international standards for communication.

Today these open communication protocols are primarily:
The TCP/IPI standard of the Internet and the GSM standard in the mobile radio world. These standards now make possible, for the first time, connection via several buildings and even countries without having to install an expensive communications or cable system. There is particular interest in automatic status signalling, which enables existing systems to be monitored. This also allows a specific reaction to user interventions, controlled centrally and competently by remote monitoring.

A modern control system must take account of these requirements. It must be able to work with the complex paths of communication to perform its tasks. At the same time it must integrate all the previous sub-areas and combine them to form one integral system. Today this is made possible by the fact that many manufacturers have outgrown their own proprietary standards, have opened themselves to the present communications standards and have consequently integrated these communications interfaces into their equipment.

TLS’s GlobalControlIP control system is suitable for these conditions. It is equipped with the interfaces for these communications standards and with the classic interfaces, e.g. KNX, RS232, Infrared, digital inputs and outputs, analogue inputs, temperature sensors and power switches, etc.

In large systems the installation of additional software is often subject to strict rules. GlobalControl IP is suitable in these situations as the configuration and programming of the control logic are determined by an open standard, the HTTP protocol. The system integrator needs an IP connection and a to put the system into operation. No software has to be installed and the system is web-based. It can therefore also be configured from all computer worlds and software systems without any preparatory work. It can also be operated and controlled by the user from all Internet-ready computers, Smartphones, WebPads, touch panels, i-devices and mobile phones.

In conclusion, the basic precondition for an open system, today and in the future, is the possibility of integrating all the “island solutions” under one communication standard, the TCP/IP and GSM standard.

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