In the old days, a busted rooftop unit meant an urgent phone call from the facilities manager and a costly emergency deployment of a field technician from a contractor, integrator or controls distributor. For many in the building automation industry, it’s still the old days. But for those who are interested in solving building equipment problems with digital and less costly solutions, diagnosing a problem can be as easy logging into a computer.
Secure remote connectivity is standard in many other industries by now. But when a system on the operational technology side of a building network turns off when it’s not supposed to or cycles on and off in an unintended pattern, everyone scrambles to diagnose and fix the problem, often after it has been occurring for days or weeks.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The technologies that have changed the operation of countless other industries is also available to the building automation industry, people have just been turned off by security concerns or commitment to old processes.
The security concerns around remote connectivity have, up until now, been valid. High profile data breaches achieved through compromising an IBMS plaster news headlines. From there, attempts to solve the problem have over complicated the issue. But as with other industries, there are ways to do remote connectivity right, without compromising anything on the security front and without a PhD in cybersecurity.
The products that are succeeding use technologies already widespread and proven in other industry applications – such as VPNs and VLANs. When applied correctly, the advantages of these remote connectivity products are tremendous.
While you may have shied away from remote connectivity for your BAS with good reason, new products available today don’t require a complete OT network overhaul to get secure remote access to your building systems. These products plug directly into individual units to create a secure portal into that one device or the entire system. Digital transformation sounds like it would require a full system retrofit, but that is simply not the case. As soon as your next system fails or falters, it will become clear that the age of fearing remote connectivity is over.
Check back next week for more details on our favorite remote connectivity products available for building automation applications.