Echelon launches converged controller for buildings, lighting, other IoT applications

Control networking vendor for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) segment Echelon announced on Thursday the availability of its converged controller for building automation, lighting controls and Internet of Things applications combined with power line communication meshing capability. SmartServer 2.2 is a universal gateway and controller for multiple protocols including LON, BACnet and Modbus offering customers a broader selection of devices that can be integrated into, and managed by one head-end user interface.

Enhanced connected networks give customers the flexibility to customize a mix of applications such as integrating parking lot lighting with building automation for simplified installation, management and maintenance; creating sound masking for enhanced productivity; and interfacing between two or more emergency systems for improved safety.

The SmartServer 2.2 supports power line communication meshing which enhances outdoor lighting networks by maximizing the capacity of a single controller. As a result, fewer segment controllers are required which gives customers greater cost efficiency. The ability to integrate a wide range of lighting, building and IoT devices at greater distances enables customers to expand the reach, scale and performance of their connected networks, as well as the ability to implement standalone networks.

For example, a building’s intercom and call boxes can be integrated into the building automation infrastructure for a customized security system. In the event of an emergency evacuation, all doors can automatically unlock and the event can be immediately communicated internally to employees, and externally to first responders for a safe and rapid exit by building occupants.

“Having the ability to offer a solution that crosses both building automation and lighting control will give our customers more options with regard to the types of systems they can create that help support their overall business objectives. For instance, customers that have large buildings and large parking lots can now have a single control for the entire system. This can save them lots of valuable manpower,” said Alan Slabodkin, Vice President, Western Allied. “The integrated solution can also enable us to expand our customer base because we’ll be able to offer a wider range of customized, automated systems that address the needs of new and different markets.”

Incorporating feedback from its customers, Echelon built the SmartServer 2.2 on open standards, allowing customers the flexibility to add IoT applications and connect a wide range of devices for a more robust, integrated system. Performance enhancements reduce commissioning time and increase responsiveness of Web pages that interact with the converged controller. Peer-to-peer connection capability for all applications lets integrators use SmartServer 2.2 to create networks that provide rapid response to events.

For example, lights in a parking garage can be programmed to automatically illuminate when a car triggers a motion sensor in that specific location, allowing the garage owners to create a safer and more inviting environment, while reducing their energy consumption and cost.

“The insight we have into the challenges that our partners and their customers are trying to address helped us recognize that one integrated, scalable network that they can use to manage their systems and applications would be a huge advantage,” said Rick Schuett, Echelon’s senior vice president of worldwide sales. “Customers now have a platform on which they can easily add on smart, Internet-based applications and dynamically adjust systems to continuously meet their ever changing and growing business demands.”

SmartServer 2.2 is currently available. Versions of SmartServer 2.2 are available with support for the two most commonly used communications media for LON networks which are free topology (FT) twisted pair and power line (PL) carrier using existing power lines for communication.

All SmartServer versions also support Modbus RTU and Modbus TCP devices. A driver is available from ConnectEx that adds support for BACnet MS/TP and BACnet/IP devices.

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