Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Romantische BACnet

I have to admit, the North American BACnet plugfests, aka "LAN-parties" or "Interoperability Workshops" where representatives from BACnet manufacturers bring their devices (existing, new or still in development) to test with each other in a closed, cooperative and constructive environment, have been nothing like the one this week in Germany.

I will admit up front that, like most Americans, I had never heard of the city of Saarbrücken in northwestern Germany. The travel guides I read barely even mention it; all I heard was "a city in the industrial Ruhr valley," so I didn't expect much. And difficulty in sleeping upon my arrival (leaving this Seattleite "Sleepless in Saarbrücken" -- but it's my fault) didn't improve expectations.

Was I ever wrong.

I had little time to tour, and from this point on it's (almost) all business, but I truly enjoyed my short walking tour around the old town yesterday, with at least a few photos of Saarbrücken with which to remember it. I hope sometime I will be able to return, better prepared.

But that's over and now we're deep into the plugfest testing at the Handwerkskammer des Saarlandes (Saarland Chamber of Crafts -- a great facility, by the way: spacious and comfortable). It's a serious event so, because many of us are competitors, we have to lighten things up a little.

One new jest centers on the general conduct of the event: the testing teams are paired up, two by two, and for a couple of hours test their products together. The tests start with a simple "Can my device see yours on the network?" and (usually) quickly progresses to more testing sophisticated interoperations involving setting up time schedules; trendlogging data; configuring, issuing and acknowedging alarms; and more. But this pairing is now called "speed-dating."

But an important part of plugfests is to foster a spirit of cooperation, and so it frequently includes a friendly dinner together for the entire group.

Frank Schubert noted last evening, following the day's "speed-dating" our intrepid band of BACneteers had settled down to a romantic ("romantische") candlelight dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant.

But now it's early morning, we have another day of "speed-dating" ahead of us, and I must go prepare. "Tschüss" (bye).

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