Niagara Summit 2012 - Fascination & Passion Continues |

Niagara Summit 2012 - Fascination & Passion Continues

August 272012
Niagara Summit 2012 - Fascination & Passion Continues
August 2012
By Bill Lydon, Editor
The 2012 Niagara Summit at the Red Rock Resort, Las Vegas April 29 – May 1, 2012 was bigger and better than ever with conference attendance of 1,255 - a large increase over the 925 that attended in 2010.   Participant included end-users, integrators, manufacturers, consultants and developers. The conference featured 57 Exhibitors, 60 educational sessions spread over four tracks - Applications, Business, Community, and Development & Technology.  As usual, the Niagara Summit featured one night of bowling and another evening with dinner and entertainment by The Fab Four, Beatles tribute band, and an Ed Sullivan impersonator.
Marc Petock, Tridium's Vice President of Global Marketing and Communications, opened the Summit with an overview of statistics about Tridium’s installed base in over 52 countries, over 65,000 JACEs and 45,000 Sedona devices. There are currently 302 Certified Niagara AX developers and 16,000 Niagara AX certified professionals.
After the Summit, Petock commented, "We had record attendance and are extremely pleased with the enthusiastic support provided by the speakers, exhibitors, industry allies and the Niagara Community who helped to make this event a big success."  "This year the Summit provided great thought leadership and was well attended both by returning attendees and many newcomers.”   The next Niagara Summit takes place in spring of 2014:
Industry Topics & Update
Steve Fey, President of Tridium, shared his thoughts on industry topics and provided an update on Tridium products. He noted that most of these topics would be covered in the breakout sessions.
Mobility Growth
Demand has been growing rapidly for mobile device system interfaces, becoming the choice for many users. This includes smart phones and tablet devices.
Fey said, “A couple of years ago Tridium released a GPRS module option for JACE’s and the adoption has been very narrow in its application and frankly that is about to change, and change in a significant way.”
Fey noted that as more data is provided to users it gives them an appetite for even more data. He stated we are entering into an era of big data, referring to the IDATE-UMTS Forum 2011data. He noted that total worldwide mobile traffic will reach more than 127 Exabyte (EB) in 2020, representing a 33 times increase compared with the 2010 figure. (Note: An Exabyte is 2 to the 60th power, or 1,152,921,504,606,846,976 bytes.) 
In 2020, Asia will represent 34.3% of total world mobile traffic, Europe 22% and Americas 21.4%. This also relates to machine to machine (M2M) data interchange much of which will use mobile communications. “Technically we know that data is valuable and executives also believe it is important,” said Fey. Fey also cited a CIO Incites survey that 61% of respondents feel big data will fundamentally change the way their business works. The data rate of mobile devices is increasing as systems move to 4G. Regarding the building automation industry, Fey commented, “In our industry, the M2M industry, the use of cellular is very basic, really at the very beginnings.” “A couple of years ago, Tridium released a GPRS module option for JACE’s and the adoption has been very narrow in its application and frankly that is about to change and change in a significant way. Wireless carriers recognize the potential of this industry to help drive their future business. I am very pleased to announce today a new company that is launching here at the Summit, SmartComm ( ), to bring affordable and reliable cellular communications plans to the M2M industry.” Fey discussed the large amount data that is already being collected, and to be successful in the future, the challenge is to extract and take advantage of data to achieve energy and operational savings.
Web Development
Fey noted that the browser has become the de facto interface for all web experience including desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. “The most significant change is the emergence of JAVA script as the language of the browser,” said Fey. He suggests that this has created a large ecosystem community of web developers and reference resources that totals in the millions.  Referring to the Apple Apps store, he believes this is creating a new set of user expectations to search the WEB to identify multiple solutions and choose one for an application and download it. “The M2M industry is not there yet, but we need to get there because customer expectations are evolving,” said Fey.
“Our industry has been largely immune from cyber attacks and that is changing.” He elaborated that with the number of devices connected to the Internet, the market is demanding higher levels of cyber security.
Tridium Products Preview
Steve Fey went on to review the following new products and developments.
Sedona has been on the market for two years and six exhibitors showed Sedona based products at the Summit. “Tridium is continuing to invest strongly in this latest addition to our framework family,” said Fey. Last December Sedona 1.1 was released that completed a lot of the wireless work done in support of the NXP micro controller (formerly JENIC) ( ). “Since the product (Sedona) was released, the market has basically told us they are a little bit confused by what Sedona is and what Sedona isn’t,” said Fey. Key principals of Sedona are portability, extensibility, deterministic, IP enabled, and open source.
The next Sedona revision (1.2) is under development and the focus is on development tools. Key features will be development of applications offline and simulation.
NiagaraAX 3.7 (Currently in Beta test)
Fey reviewed key features:
  • Added Transport Layer Security (TLS) and still support SSL.
  • The Niagara Workbench will manage certificates.
  • Graphics have been improved by partnering with QA Graphics that has a broad set of advanced graphics.
  • Ongoing additions and image management in the Jace has been enhanced to only load image on demand as required by an application to optimize memory utilization.
  • New Hardware Scan Service feature provides a summary of all the physical connections and protocols used by a JACE and what is available for expansion.
  • Tridium introduced bajascript to support visualization across all platforms. The bajascript enables creation of Web applications that run on all major Smart Phones, Tablets and PCs.
Niagara Spirit Award
This year Tridium started a new tradition with the Niagara Community Spirit Awards by recognizing individuals who embrace Niagara and are active within the Niagara Community. The individuals are selected by a group of their peers.   The first Niagara Community award winners include:
  • John Leslie, MGM International Resorts
  • James Johnson, VYKON
  • Paul Quinn, Duke Realty
  • Dan Drury, HVAC Concepts
  • Noel Courtney, Airmaster
  • Terry Swope, Lynxspring
  • Dr. Gert-Ulrich Vack, Sysmik
  • Rodrigo Garcia, R&R Controls
  • Paul Oswald, ESI
This award will be given at each future Niagara Summit.
Thoughts & Observations
I wonder if Steve Fey’s comments that users expect to be able to find apps on the web and download them means Tridium is thinking about creating a commercial interchange for application objects.
Tridium has surrounded the buildings industry with products sold and applied by Vykon system integrators, Distributors, OEMs, Honeywell Authorized Controls Integrators (ACI), Honeywell Building Control Specialists (BCS), Honeywell WEBs (new category of  BCS-Introductory contractor), and others that incorporate their products into offerings, including companies like Johnson Controls, Schneider Electric, and Siemens Building Technologies.
Tridium continues to invest is Sedona that is currently being used by a handful OEMs and, I suspect, internally by Honeywell since it is ideal for small OEM controls. More broadly, I believe Tridium views M2M applications as a major market for them that are still in the early growth stages. Sedona wireless devices are 6LoWPAN and 802.15.4; and Tridium developed a protocol mechanism called CHoPAN for compressing HTTP requests and responses into small binary UDP packets that is analogous to 6LoWPAN compression of IP. CHoPAN is a proprietary communication protocol that Tridium submitted to the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) for adoption as an IETF standard communication protocol.  The ITEF has since selected a different communication protocol for M2M, known as CoAP.
Tridium’s mantra of, “Why build it when you can build on it,” continues to resonate with the Niagara system integrators, distributors, OEMs, and end user community. Attendees were as enthusiastic as ever.
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