BAS and OT Terms to Know

As you’re considering ways to make your commercial buildings more energy efficient and looking into options for how to cut down your operating budget, you may run into some terms that are new to you. Here we have defined key terms that we’re writing about on the blog and discussing with contractors and integrators on a daily basis.

analyticsthe simultaneous application of statistics, computer programming, and operations research to quantify web performance.

big dataa term used to describe the exponential growth and availability of structure and unstructured data, made commonplace by Internet companies like Google and Facebook who process massive amounts of data and develop innovative ways of harnessing that to gain insight into users.

building automation system (BAS) – centralized, interlinked networks of hardware and software which monitor and control the energy environment of commercial, industrial and institutional facilities.

building controls contractor – specializes in designing and building controls systems for commercial buildings, typically sub-contracted by the mechanical contractor on the job. See also systems integrator.

building managersthe position that oversees employee and visitor safety within a commercial or industrial building.

building retrofits – when building managers decide to replace old, perhaps broken or inefficient building systems with new technologies and controls to improve energy efficiency and save money.

cloud computingdescribes when virtual servers are used to house applications and user data, taking the information out of the hardware and putting it at a neutral, third-party location.

cloud services see cloud computing or hosting services

commercial buildingsthis can include office buildings, warehouses or retail. Commercial buildings are subject to strict zoning regulations.

cryptoprocessing – see secure cryptoprocessor.

data centera facility used to house computer systems and components.

data model a structure designed to assign relationships to data, making it easier to search and understand.

data visualizationthe presentation of data in a pictorial or graphic format.

design-build – A contractor with design-build capabilities typically has a licensed Professional Engineer on staff and covers multiple disciplines within the “building construction” umbrella, such as mechanical, electrical, civil, piping and plumbing, etc.

direct digital controls (DDC) enable automated control of HVAC devices and lay the groundwork for remote monitoring of building systems.

encryption – the process of packaging a messaging in such a way that a special key is required to open the package.

energy efficiencyperforming the same tasks while using less energy.

energy managers – see building managers.

fiber optics see optical fiber.

Honeywellan American, Fortune 500, multinational conglomerate headquartered in Morristown, New Jersey.

hosting servicesrunning internet servers so that customers can access the internet and internet-enable applications.

HVACheating, ventilation and air conditioning technologies to control temperatures in built environments.

industrial buildingsthis can include factories, power plants, water treatment facilities, sawmills, shipyards, manufacturing facilities, nuclear facilities, textile mills and others.

integrated building management system commonly abbreviated to IBMS. See building automation system.

Internet of Thingsinformation networks that are built into physical objects and connected to internet servers. Commonly referred to as IoT.

Johnson Controlsan American Fortune 500 company located in 150 countries offering technology products to optimize buildings for energy efficiency.

lighting control system like other building controls, a lighting control system gathers lighting data and processes it through a computer in order for the information to be used by building managers to more efficiently manage their buildings.

master systems integrator – see systems integrator.

Niagara AXowned by Tridium, a global software and services corporation, Niagara AX is a software framework and development platform for building device-to-enterprise applications and internet-enable products.

Niagara 4  the next generation of Tridium’s legacy software framework for building automation management, Niagara 4 advances the management capabilities for building device-to-enterprise applications and internet-enable products.

OT network – short for operational technology network, this is the backbone that connects component parts in an integrated building automation system.

operational technology – simply put, everything that is bolted to the building. For example, HVAC, lighting, elevators, video surveillance. Operational technology requires a specific network architecture to manage the computers, routers and other IP-enabled devices that monitor or alter the physical state of a building.

optical fiber – glass strands used to communicate across vast distances at the speed of light. For building automation, optical fiber provides better alternatives to metals for a variety of reasons.

Project Haystack – a trade organization created to establish a common tagging protocol for building equipment systems.

remote connectivity the ability to access devices within the operational technology side of building infrastructure in order to log into a system securely from a remote location to diagnose problems, assess network up-time or conduct routine maintenance on the device or system.

secure cryptoprocessor – a specific part of a computer chip that is dedicated to securing that device by carrying out what are called “cryptographic operations.”

service contracts – used to establish an ongoing relationship between a vendor and a client where recurring support is needed.

systems integratora person or company specializing in connecting building subsystems into one integrated computer network so that they function together and can be managed jointly.

tagging – the act of assigning metadata meaning to a word or phrase, thus creating a category by which that word or phrase can be searched within a network.

VLAN short for Virtual Local Area Network, VLANs help operational technology networks to scale and stay secure by filtering network traffic and virtually managing LAN configurations.

VPN – short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN gives users the ability to securely send and receive data across a network.


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