Friday, August 14, 2009

The first BACnet workstation listings

The long grueling ordeal is finally over, the press release submitted, and first five BACnet workstation listings are now published on the BACnet Testing Labs (BTL) website.

I had to dig back into my files to ascertain correctly when this all began and yes, it was almost two years ago that we submitted Envision for BACtalk (EBT), Alerton's BACnet workstation, to be one of the candidates for the "first round" of workstation testing by the BTL. (In these "first rounds" we are not only testing devices, we are also testing the testing procedures and the candidate devices are all tested concurrently, but nobody other than the BTL officially knows who submitted devices -- this helps protect those who withdraw for whatever reason, which has happened in "first round" testing.)

This was of course preceded by years of effort to identify, define and write the tests that would be applied, but it was complicated by moving targets -- not only were the requirements changing but in the process we realized that the "one size fits all" requirements of the B-OWS (BACnet Operator Workstation) device profile in the BACnet standard didn't really match up well with the variety of workstations on the market. So we had to define new profiles, eventually adding the Advanced Workstation (B-AWS) and Operator Display (B-OD) profiles to the B-OWS, which appeared in Addendum l. (Download it here.)

Just to make it even more grueling, not only the targets were changing but our workstation was too. EBT was close to matching the proposed B-AWS profile, but not completely, so we had a long series of meetings to determine the new capabilities needed, how they would be added, and how work was progressing on their development. And all the while our target, the proposed Addendum l, was itself changing.

When its third public review ended this spring, with the testing also nearly complete, we could only sit and hold our breath. Even after the testing ended, we would not really be done until ASHRAE published the addendum because changes could still creep in, changes that could require changes in our software.

But we got there. Addendum l was published, we were able to submit our listing applications and on Thursday the listings for EBT and four other workstations went live.

And finally, after almost two years, I definitively learned who were the other participants. Congratulations to you all -- and to our hard-working EBT team!

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