ASHRAE Jan 2011 Part 2

There are always a couple of things at a show like this that make me laugh, some that repel me and once in a while some that are just astonishing.

Since the majority of my work right now is Marketing and Sales and the things that made me laugh and repelled me are all Marketing related things, I’ll forgo that discussion and get right to one of the things that astonished me.

The really impressive new item at the show was the Sedona Framework. This is a smaller footprint, open source version of the very popular Niagra Framework introduced a number of years ago by Tridium.

Niagra and the Niagra framework have proven extremely popular with Integrators in the Building Automation Industry. And now they’ve cleverly shrunk it down to make it even more useful as a platform for lower level devices.

The way to understand this is to think about mobile phones before the Google Android. If you understand what Google did with that phone you’ll understand the Sedona Framework.

If you wanted to develop a phone application, what did you have to do? First, you would do a deal with the phone manufacturer to get the API, learn all the intricacies of the specific phone, learn the programming language for the phone and lots more. And if you wanted your app to run on another phone or a different phone from the same vendor you probably would have to do a lot of that all over again.

What the Android did was to make an open, hardware independent, fully functional, OS independent platform for mobile application development. It took a lot of the risk (proprietary platforms are inherently risky for developers) and work out of your development. They gave you the base to build your mobile application.

Tridium has now done the same thing with Sedona. They took their proprietary Niagra Framework, shrunk it down to run in less than 100K and released it as Open Source. There’s a lot to say about this but here’s the key points:

·         Platform independence – Sedona has a Virtual Machine (VM) that can theoretically run on any hardware platforms. Vendors will be building hardware with Sedona on top of all sorts of processors

·         Language – Sedona uses a component oriented programming language with objects common to Building Automation delivered as part of the development environment

·         Open Source – Tridium controls the Source for Sedona but it’s open and many people will be contributing objects to it making it more and more useful as time goes by

·         Sedona incorporates a number of common wired and wireless protocols for several different topologies. The idea is that you shouldn’t have to worry about these communication interfaces. The system comes with it.

·         Support from real, legitimate heavy weights like IBM and INTEL. IBM has endorsed it for its connected buildings program and Intel has it running on its ATOM processor.

·         There’s a ton, I mean a huge base, of BA Integrators that have been trained on the Niagra Framework and will easily adapt to Sedona. It should find quick and easy acceptance in a lot of applications in the future.

I’m impressed with Sedona and what’s been done to date. It’s great technology. Time will tell how it is received in the marketplace.