Wising Up About Intelligent Buildings

Technological advancements in communication protocols and transmission methods are allowing building systems to achieve connectivity and functionality like never before. Learn how to provide clients with total system solutions that optimize the capabilities of security as well as its value proposition.

XBee (digi.com) — A brand name from Digi Int’l, these modules come in two types: XBee and XBee Pro, which can have a range of up to one mile. The modules operate in the MHz and GHz range. Existing systems can be retrofitted with the Digi’s XBee adapter to provide a wireless mesh network back to its ConnectPort X gateway product. Building sensor and controller information can then be relayed through services such as their iDigi cloud services.

RuBee — Works in the long wavelength (LW) band with an optimal carrier frequency of 131kHz and uses magnetic rather than radio waves. Its peer-to-peer transceiver devices are similar to the other Bees, with a potential battery life of up to 15 years using a simple coin-size Li battery. Due to its low frequency, RuBee has no reflections and is not blocked by steel or liquids. This makes for a robust signal in harsh environments and security applications. The data rate is very slow at 1,200 baud. This technology is relatively new but worth keeping an eye on.


Making it easy to integrate commercial HVAC control with lighting and AV automation, the QuickServer gateway opens up business opportunities for integrators focused on commercial and large residential projects. Photo courtesy FieldServerTech Talk Tool Tip

In keeping with this month’s theme, I have selected the newly released QuickServer Gateway from FieldServer Technologies. This module is fully integrated with the well-known Control4 systems. This combination now allows access to more than 110 commercial/residential device networks such as BACnet, LonWorks, Modbus and more via serial, bus, or network (Ethernet, TCP/IP).

FieldServer Technologies (fieldserver.com) designs and markets devices to enhance communication between various instruments, systems, machines and other devices that utilize noncompatible data protocols. Control4 (control4.com) provides autom
ation systems for homes and businesses to control lighting, music, video, energy and security through more than 2,200 integrators, retail outlets and distributors in 72+ countries.

About the Author


Bob is currently a Security Sales & Integration "Tech Talk" columnist and a contributing technical writer. Bob installed his first DIY home intercom system at the age of 13, and formally started his technology career as a Navy communication electronics technician during the Vietnam War. He then attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering and went on to complete a Security Management program at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Since 1976, Bob has served in a variety of technical, training and project management positions with organizations such ADT, Rollins, National Guardian, Lockheed Martin, American Alarm Supply, Sonitrol and Ingersoll Rand. Early in his career, Bob started and operated his own alarm dealership. He has also served as treasurer of the Wisconsin Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and on Security Industry Association (SIA) standards committees. Bob also provides media and training consulting to the security industry.

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