15 min read

Smart Building Project Management and Oversight

By Phil Zito on Oct 14, 2020 4:24:29 PM

Over the past couple weeks, I have been getting a lot of questions around Project Management. That’s why I released a Project Management episode, and that led to questions surrounding, “but what about owners”. What do owners do from a project management perspective?

Topics: building automation smart buildings
4 min read

How to Integrate Systems

By Phil Zito on Sep 23, 2020 11:38:44 AM

Integrating systems is not difficult. 

Topics: integration Protocols
6 min read

How to Identify What Vertical Market you Should Serve

By Phil Zito on Sep 1, 2020 11:43:48 AM

John is trying to grow his Building Automation Business from $12M in revenue to $20M in revenue over the next 12 months. Every Monday John and I have a call to discuss how he can make this happen. 

Topics: business
10 min read

Making Sense of indoor air quality

By Phil Zito on Aug 11, 2020 10:38:17 AM

You've probably been hearing a lot lately on the topic of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). And for good reason, recently a group of employees at Epic Systems to the tune of 89% of the employees expressing dissatisfaction with Epic's return to work strategy.

One of the key factors of a building that is perceived healthy is indoor air quality. But what is indoor air quality? SBA has compiled the guide to teach you what you need to know about IAQ.

 

Topics: Guides
3 min read

Read These 3 Tips About Building Automation Retrofit Sales To Double Your Business

By Phil Zito on Oct 3, 2019 8:56:10 AM

There's a market opportunity that is coming that I don't see anyone talking about and that is the coming retrofit market.

So something I haven't seen a lot on LinkedIn, I haven't seen it in any of the news periodicals, is a discussion about the coming retrofit market.

Topics: Sales Building Controls Business
3 min read

Is your BAS open?

By Phil Zito on Nov 13, 2017 5:00:07 AM

Back when I worked at Johnson Controls I used to get asked this question quite a bit..

Topics: bas sales Sales
2 min read

IT vs OT... What does it mean?

By Phil Zito on Nov 10, 2017 6:11:42 AM

There's been a phrase floating around lately, and if I'm honest, it's driving me nuts. I'm not quite sure why but it just feels irritating. And that phrase is IT vs OT.

Topics: OT Information Technology
3 min read

5 Reasons Why Your Building is Still Dumb...

By Phil Zito on Sep 19, 2017 6:00:20 AM

Take a look around the Internet and you'll see a ton of "thought-leadership" around the topic of smart buildings. It seems like everyone has the "Skynet" of buildings, yet here you are, everyone's advancing and yet your building is still... how do I say this... stupid...

Topics: smart buildings Building Controls
19 min read

My most common IT questions

By Phil Zito on Jul 16, 2017 7:00:31 AM

In this article I am going to explore a lot of the different IT questions I've been asked by my IT for BAS Students. As you may or may not know, I run an online training program called Information Technology for Building Automation System Professionals.

I've had a lot of good questions from folks in this program. And while I've been going through this program I've had tons of conversations about all sorts of things.

Topics: bas it Information Technology
8 min read

6 things you might not know about IP Addresses

By Phil Zito on Jul 9, 2017 6:00:13 AM

So what is an IP Address?

And why should you care?

In this post I discuss one of the most fundamental concepts of information technology, IP Addresses! And you know what, we're gonna have some fun doing it!

Topics: Information Technology Information Technology
2 min read

What's in a name a look at BAS naming Standards

By Phil Zito on Jun 30, 2017 6:00:54 AM

I'm an advocate of standards. In a complex world, standards make things a little bit easier. But yet, it seems outside of some of the universities and a handful of corporations standards are about as common as a purple unicorn.

Topics: naming standards Building Controls
4 min read

How to create the ultimate project training plan

By Phil Zito on Jun 28, 2017 6:00:56 AM

Throughout my career, I've been guilty of doing the same thing everyone else does. You know what I'm talking about. It's the end of the project and there is one thing between you and getting off the job. It's the "Vendor shall provide 8 hours of training by qualified factory representative".

Topics: Building Controls BAS Training
4 min read

Wrangling in out of control alarming

By Phil Zito on Jun 26, 2017 6:00:33 AM

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was standing in the control room of one of the biggest life sciences organizations in the world and their central cooling plant had been down for three hours...

Topics: alarms Building Controls
3 min read

Redlines vs As Builts - Are They the Same?

By Phil Zito on Jun 23, 2017 6:00:03 AM

Redlines vs. as builts: Two things that seem to be exactly the same but are they?

What are Redlines? Redlines are, quite simply, original drawings that have been redlined to reflect the changes that have been made. As I mentioned in previous articles when a project is being installed the installation team uses a series of plans and specs to guide them in how to build the project.

Topics: Building Controls construction drawings
2 min read

An overview of CSI MasterFormat

By Phil Zito on Jun 21, 2017 6:00:13 AM

In my blog article What are MEP Plans, I discussed the first half of the infamous Plans and Specs. In this article I am going to take you through the most common specification format there is the Construction Specifications Institute Master Format.

Topics: Building Controls
2 min read

What are MEP Plans

By Phil Zito on Jun 19, 2017 6:00:09 AM

What are MEP plans? Chances are if you've been in the building automation industry for any period of time you've seen mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) plans.

These plans are the blueprints that detail out how a building should be built.

Topics: Building Controls
5 min read

The non-techie guide to API's

By Phil Zito on Jun 16, 2017 6:00:52 AM

I get asked a lot lately, "What is an API?"

You'd think this would be something you could Google and be done with, but the problem is, apparently no one has told the folks writing all the API articles that the folks reading the articles don't know what API's actually are!

Well, if that's you, you're in luck! This article assumes zero IT knowledge. I will take you through what an API is in such a way that almost anyone can understand it. 

Topics: building automation smartbuildings Information Technology
3 min read

So you're new to BAS... here's what to do!

By Phil Zito on Jun 15, 2017 6:00:43 AM

I still remember when I started my career in BAS. It was February 1st 2007 and I had no business being in the BAS world. I've told this story before so I'll keep it brief.

Essentially I was leaving the US Navy and needed a job. I had the options of interviewing at a soap factory, glass factory, or Alerton BAS dealer.

Topics: building automation Building Controls
4 min read

What is a communications bus?

By Phil Zito on Jun 11, 2017 8:47:48 AM

Have you ever wondered what a communication bus is? When I was starting out, I didn't know what a communication bus was. You've probably heard the term though but maybe you heard it called something else... Comm bus, Comm Trunk, Trunk. MS/TP...

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
5 min read

What does decaying yard waste and an old building automation system have in common?

By Phil Zito on Jun 2, 2017 6:00:45 AM

They both stink, grow old and fall apart.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
4 min read

My 5 step process to epically vanquish BAS Comm trunk issues

By Phil Zito on May 27, 2017 8:02:46 AM

So I was talking with a buddy of mine yesterday on Skype. He and I started discussing communication trunks and the best way to troubleshoot them.

There is nothing more frustrating and difficult then troubleshooting communication trunks in existing buildings.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
2 min read

If you don't patch your BAS you're an idiot

By Phil Zito on May 15, 2017 4:08:28 PM

Well, that's an attention grabber eh?

Unless you've been living under a rock the past couple days you've probably heard about the malware that's been plaguing Windows machines.

This new malware called "WannaCry" has been encrypting folks hard drives keeping them from accessing their data.

The reality is, ransomware (malware that locks up files until someone pays the hacker money) is nothing new.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
5 min read

Cutting through the BS- The Truth about the Target Hack and IoT DDoS

By Phil Zito on Feb 17, 2017 7:00:47 AM

It seems every week lately I get a question about the security of Building Automation Systems.

Topics: smartbuilding Information Technology
3 min read

The best of 2016

By Phil Zito on Jan 2, 2017 6:00:10 AM

Man oh man, 2016 was a blast. I started a podcast, published a book, and wrote a ton of quality articles.

Topics: Best of
7 min read

Systems Integration 101: Developing a Sequence of Operations

By Phil Zito on Oct 10, 2016 6:00:01 AM

So here we are. 8 weeks ago I started to take you on a journey through the wild and crazy world of systems integration.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
5 min read

Systems Integration 101: Detailing out the data model and system requirements

By Phil Zito on Oct 3, 2016 6:00:37 AM

I was on a live stream the morning I wrote this article and I was discussing my new book, with my pre-sale customers. A question popped up around data normalization, and data warehouses vs data lakes.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
8 min read

Systems Integration 101: How to create a Integration map

By Phil Zito on Sep 26, 2016 6:00:10 AM

Up to this point, I’ve covered relatively simple integrations but what happens if you have a complicated integration one involving dozens if not hundreds of systems?

I remember the first time I did a very complicated integration.

I was using the OPC protocol to integrate building automation systems from several different data centers into a centralized reporting hub.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
5 min read

Learn Series: BAS Inputs, what you Really Need to Know

By Phil Zito on Sep 21, 2016 6:00:33 AM

Hi, I'm Phil Zito owner of building automation monthly and welcome to the first post, of the second learn series module! In this new learn series module I am going to be discussing everything you need to know related to building automation controllers.

 

Topics: Learn Series smartbuildings
5 min read

The 3 steps to creating amazingly useful integration maps

By Phil Zito on Sep 19, 2016 6:00:23 AM

I remember it like it was yesterday, I was trying to get a new LON system tied into an existing building automation system and it was chaos.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
4 min read

Learn Series: How Binary Control Works

By Phil Zito on Sep 14, 2016 6:00:01 AM

I like to show up to work early. Usually I get into the office around 5:45 am.  I do this because I am able to get so much more work done without the distraction and noise.

Did, I mention I have a really bad case of ADHD? Oh, wait I'm off topic again...

Where was I, oh yeah, the office. So, I go into the office early in order to get things done, but... lately there's been a problem...

Topics: Learn Series smartbuildings
6 min read

Systems Integration 101: How to Use a Gap Analysis to Detail out the New Systems

By Phil Zito on Sep 12, 2016 7:00:39 AM

In this post, I going to teach you how to perform a Gap analysis.

But before we get there, let's travel back to 2007 when I was a brand new technician...

Picture this, you are a newly hired service technician and you arrive at a customer site. Customer comes up to you and tells you that the air handling systems they ordered are ready to be pulled into the building automation system.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
3 min read

5 Common BAS Terms Every BAS Professional Should Know

By Phil Zito on Sep 11, 2016 9:01:24 PM

Every profession has their own secret language, and the world of building automation is no different.

In this post, I will help you to demystify the lingo of building automation by exposing the 5 most common terms in the building automation world.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
3 min read

Learn Series: How Floating Control Works

By Phil Zito on Sep 7, 2016 6:00:10 AM

Welcome to the fourth Learn Series article!

This series is a blast and I am having a ton of fun providing valuable content for you to take your building automation career to greater heights!

This article is going to cover the 3rd control mode that is commonly found in the building automation space, floating control!

Topics: Learn Series smartbuildings
4 min read

Systems Integration 101: How to Identify and Diagram Existing Systems

By Phil Zito on Sep 5, 2016 6:00:07 AM

This is article #3 in the Systems Integration series, and in this article I am beginning to dive through the process of identifying the systems landscape. This process is critical to adequately assess the time, effort, and cost that each of our use cases will require. Up to this point we have identified the difference between systems interfacing and integration, and we have identified our use case.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
4 min read

Learn Series: How Sequenced Control Works

By Phil Zito on Aug 31, 2016 6:00:01 AM

Welcome to the third Learn Series article! Man I did not expect the response I got from this series.

Thank you so much for everyone who has been e-mailing me telling me that this series is helping them unpack concepts they've been struggling with! BAM Nation you all are friggin awesome!

Topics: Learn Series smartbuildings
7 min read

Systems Integration 101: How to Create a Systems Integration Use Case

By Phil Zito on Aug 29, 2016 5:43:16 AM

Welcome back to another exciting article in the systems integration 101 series. In this article we are going to walk through the first step of the systems integration process, creating use cases.

Over the years I've created tons of systems integration use cases. I like to think I've come up with a pretty good process for detailing out use cases that works quite well. In today's article I am going to walk you through just that.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
4 min read

Learn Series: How to Tune a PID Loop

By Phil Zito on Aug 24, 2016 5:00:12 AM

Welcome to the second Learn Series article!

If this is your first time ever reading the learn series then you're in for a treat. In these articles I discuss a technical topic and provide solid education for those in or thinking of joining the building automation field.

Topics: Learn Series smartbuildings
3 min read

Learn Series: PID Loops Overview

By Phil Zito on Aug 17, 2016 6:00:39 AM

[smart_track_player url="http://traffic.libsyn.com/buildingautomationmonthly/Episode17.mp3" title="BAM Episode 017: The How, What and Why of PID Loops" social="true" social_twitter="true" social_facebook="true" social_gplus="true" social_linkedin="true" social_email="true" hashtag="smartbuildings" ]

Topics: Learn Series smartbuildings PID Loops
5 min read

3 Evaluation Criteria for Protocols that you've Never Seen

By Phil Zito on Aug 15, 2016 7:00:24 AM

How can my building automation system communicate with xyz system?

What protocols can my BAS support?

BACnet, Lon, Modbus, all I really want to do is run my building!

Do any of these thoughts sound familiar to you?

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
8 min read

Ensure Legacy System Support with these 3 Questions

By Phil Zito on Aug 8, 2016 7:00:13 AM

How can you ensure that your investment into a BAS will be around 5 years from now?

Can you determine if your new BAS will work with your legacy systems?

How do you manage software upgrades and critical system patches?

A building automation system is a life-cycle investment. However, the BAS is often only evaluated based on first cost.

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
8 min read

How to evaluate your BAS training

By Phil Zito on Aug 1, 2016 7:00:24 AM

Let's face it most informal training sucks!

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
7 min read

3 Things that Determine if Your Post-Install Support Sucks

By Phil Zito on Jul 25, 2016 6:00:21 AM

How can you build the skills you need to support your BAS?

Topics: smartbuildings Building Controls
6 min read

Learn How to Evaluate Controls Architectures in 3 Easy Steps

By Phil Zito on Jul 18, 2016 6:00:48 AM

How do you know if your BAS is designed efficiently?

Does your BAS have the correct capacity to grow with you?

These are questions that every building owner and controls contractor face at some point in their career. Up until this point there really hasn't been an answer to these questions.

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls
5 min read

3 Steps Evaluate Your BAS Tools

By Phil Zito on Jul 11, 2016 6:00:06 AM

Do you know what tools are provided with your new BAS?

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls
7 min read

Article exposes the top 3 criteria for BAS trend capabilities

By Phil Zito on Jul 4, 2016 6:00:54 AM

Did you know that there is an analytics package built into your BAS?

Would you like to ensure that you have the ability to look at the historical performance of your BAS?

Does the thought of sifting through hundreds, maybe even thousands of data-points seem more painful than a root canal?

If so, don't worry, in this article I'm going to help you pin down the key capabilities you need to effectively implement a trending strategy. This is the fourth article in a 10-part series on how to evaluate your building automation systems.

Topics: building automation Building Controls
5 min read

The Critical Alarm functionality most specifications don't address

By Phil Zito on Jun 27, 2016 6:00:27 AM

Are you overwhelmed with how fast the BAS market is changing?

Do you find yourself struggling to keep up with systems and how to evaluate them?

Are you looking for an easy way to consistently evaluate BAS's that is vendor neutral?

If so you are in the right spot. This is the third article in a 10-part series on how to evaluate your building automation systems.

Topics: building automation Building Controls
11 min read

4 things you didn't know about IT networks

By Phil Zito on Jun 20, 2016 6:00:35 AM

What's a Network?

Hey BAM Nation,

Topics: building automation Information Technology Information Technology
7 min read

Evaluating Graphics won't be hard anymore after you read this

By Phil Zito on Jun 13, 2016 6:00:44 AM

Are you overwhelmed with how fast the BAS market is changing?

Topics: building automation Building Controls
12 min read

How to Evaluate a BAS Even if you've Never Seen a BAS: Openness

By Phil Zito on May 30, 2016 6:00:43 AM

Are you overwhelmed with how fast the BAS market is changing?

Do you find yourself struggling to keep up with systems and how to evaluate them?

Are you looking for an easy way to consistently evaluate BAS's that is vendor neutral?

If so you are in the right spot. This is the first article in a 10-part series on how to evaluate your building automation systems.

Topics: building automation Building Controls
4 min read

Convergence versus Integration

By Phil Zito on May 10, 2016 6:30:45 AM

I recently received an email asking me about my thoughts on technology convergence versus integration. As I started to write a response to the email I noticed that my response would answer a question that I get here quite often.

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls integration

3 Questions to Ensure your BAS Design is Aligned with IT

By Phil Zito on May 8, 2016 1:11:07 PM

3 Questions to Ensure your BAS Design is Aligned with IT

 

Topics: Uncategorized
8 min read

Expert shows 3 ways to improve your Chiller performance right now!

By Phil Zito on May 5, 2016 8:56:11 PM

I remember an interesting call I got back when I lived in Texas. I was on a troubleshooting call to a church in Southlake, Tx. They were having issues cooling down the rooms in the children's wing and they couldn't seem to figure out why. Upon checking the air handlers sure enough the discharge air set-point wasn't being met despite the cooling valve being 100% open.

Topics: analytics building automation systems Building Controls trends
5 min read

Your Outdoor Air Damper is Costing you A Hundred Dollars a minute

By Phil Zito on May 2, 2016 6:00:21 AM

While you are reading this article a good percentage of you are sucking hot humid air into your building just to cool it down.

Sucks doesn't it? You spend all this money to control your building only to have your energy budget being blown by some hot humid air.

Topics: analytics building automation systems Building Controls trends
4 min read

The most impactful feature of your BAS, that you aren't using

By Phil Zito on Apr 27, 2016 7:00:31 AM

Its right there in front of you. Can you see it?

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls trends
5 min read

Information Technology for BAS Professionals

By Phil Zito on Apr 22, 2016 8:40:33 PM

Information Technology, IT, Technology!

Those words strike fear in the eyes of many BAS professionals. Now, before you get defensive, this has nothing to do with capabilities but rather it has to do with training. Up to this point no dedicated training program existed to provide those in the building automation space with the core IT skills they need in today's world.

Topics: Technology Skills Information Technology it Information Technology
4 min read

Five Things to Consider Before you Integrate

By Phil Zito on Apr 15, 2016 7:00:45 AM

I was sitting in a cramped room, surrounded by several software engineers who were passionately arguing among themselves about a data model and how we could integrate two systems seamlessly. I interjected, being the glutton for punishment that I am, what is the value this will deliver? They turned and looked at me with a look that beamed, "Who is this guy and why is he asking about value? Doesn't he understand that there can't be any value if the systems can't even talk?"

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls integration
2 min read

The Hidden Costs of First Cost only Thinking

By Phil Zito on Apr 10, 2016 8:02:26 AM

It sucked, I literally wasted 3 hours of my life one Saturday waiting to buy tickets for a dance recital. What really sucked was when I realized 2,000 other people were doing the same thing. There we were standing cramped in a small dance studio waiting to buy tickets for a dance recital, what an awesome use of my Saturday morning.

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls life cycle costing
3 min read

Guess who Just Hacked a Building Automation System?

By Phil Zito on Feb 17, 2016 12:31:04 PM

Woke up to news early this week, IBM X-Force hacked a Building Automation System using a combination of common vulnerabilities. Based on the report IBM produced, here is what happened.

Topics: Security building automation systems Building Controls cybersecurity
1 min read

Yet Another BACnet Explorer- My Favorite BACnet Library

By Phil Zito on Jan 19, 2016 7:45:35 PM

This is quite possibly going to be my shortest blog post ever. When I am coding integrations I often have to use a BACnet library. Because I can't share my production library that I use for my "company code", I had to find another library that I could use for any code I share online.  Because I like C# and .NET for a variety of reasons I had to really dig to find a C# BACnet library.

Topics: BACnet Library building automation systems BACnet BACnet/IP
3 min read

What are The Green Rating Programs For Buildings -Part 1

By Phil Zito on Sep 13, 2015 9:52:04 PM

This is the first of two articles that discuss what are the green rating programs for buildings.

When I say green what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Do you think buildings? If so why not?

In case you haven't heard, there's been a push around creating Green, sustainable, net-zero buildings. The "Green Building" craze that has come about over the past ten years and only now are the green rating programs for buildings starting to catch on.  Therefore I can't really fault you if you're not completely up to speed.

Topics: Energy Green Programs building automation systems LEED
8 min read

How to Optimize Your Building Systems

By Phil Zito on Aug 30, 2015 9:21:27 PM

How to Optimize Your Building Systems

Well it's good to be back!

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls integration optimization
5 min read

Will Interoperability Destroy A Hospital's Network?

By Phil Zito on Jan 28, 2015 7:38:14 PM

Today, I had the privilege of attending a one-day seminar put on by IHE USA. IHE, which stands for Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise is one of a few select groups like HL7 that is working towards creating a standardized data exchange framework. I believe, based on my experience as a solution architect designing technology for healthcare environments, there is a chance that interoperability will destroy a hospital's network. There are a multitude of factors as to why I believe this...

Topics: healthcare Information Technology
7 min read

The Basics of Web Servers

By Phil Zito on Oct 31, 2014 3:34:14 PM

Web Servers make the world go round. If you are connecting to your bank online, you're connecting to a web server. Do you like Amazon? Guess what also a web server. Just about everything you connect to out their on the internet is by definition a web server.

Topics: how to web servers Information Technology
7 min read

The Basics of Sub-netting

By Phil Zito on Sep 14, 2014 2:57:55 PM

Topics: it subnetting Information Technology
3 min read

Top 5 IT Certifications for those in Automation

By Phil Zito on Sep 2, 2014 2:26:47 PM

Topics: building automation systems it Information Technology
13 min read

The Hows, Whys, and Whats of Remote Access to Your BAS

By Phil Zito on Aug 26, 2014 2:51:11 PM

I recently received an e-mail question via the Contact Phil Section of my blog. I enjoy writing articles for my blog but I enjoy even more when I get interaction from my readers.

The question posed by my subscriber is pertinent to so many people that I felt it deserved to be posted in its entirety.

Topics: VPN building automation systems Building Controls cybersecurity
6 min read

SQL Commands that Pimp Out Your BAS!

By Phil Zito on Jul 4, 2014 7:13:02 AM

In my previous article I discussed the fundamentals of SQL and provided an overview of SELECT, the first of the four main SQL commands. In this article, I will cover some beginner/intermediate topics:

  • Sub-queries
  • Joins
  • Table Creation
Topics: sql Database Information Technology
4 min read

Learning SQL: The One Language That Keeps On Giving

By Phil Zito on Jun 11, 2014 8:57:05 PM

You need to learn SQL, not tomorrow, not in a few hours. You need to learn SQL right now! The good news is SQL, which stands for Structured Query Language, isn't that hard to learn.

Topics: sql Database Information Technology
8 min read

BAS Hacking 101: Scan and Enumerate

By Phil Zito on May 16, 2014 12:30:24 PM

BAS Hacking 101: Scanning and Enumeration

In the BAS Hacking series I am diving deep into the bowels of building automation networks and systems! I am going to take you through the full process of exploiting a system so that you can better understand the thought process of your attackers. The series consists of 4 articles:

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls cybersecurity
6 min read

Why the BAS of the Future Will not Have Controllers

By Phil Zito on May 11, 2014 1:25:57 PM

I'm gonna tell it to you straight, BAS controls are changing! Multiple technology systems have gotten away from the proprietary controller model and if buildings are ever going to be truly intelligent than BAS systems need to do the same. In this article I will discuss what I see as the BAS of the Future and how I see it impacting our industry.

Topics: building automation systems it Building Controls
3 min read

IoT Mobile ThermoStats

By Phil Zito on Apr 5, 2014 2:36:33 PM

In my new role I have the privilege of leading my company's  partnerships and alliances with the world's top technology companies . One of the buzzwords that keeps coming up especially with the recent announcement from Cisco is the "Internet of Things" or the IoT.

Topics: building automation systems IoT it Building Controls
3 min read

Do People have a Clue What to Do with IoT?

By Phil Zito on Mar 14, 2014 6:28:06 AM

I come across all these beautiful articles around the Internet of Things (IoT) filled with graphics, network diagrams, and a generic finger reaching out to touch some translucent screen in the distance. As if a finger, some Adobe Photoshop items, and a network diagram are all we need to make the IoT work...

Topics: building automation systems design IoT Information Technology
5 min read

Everything You Need to Know About HL7 and Healthcare Informatics

By Phil Zito on Feb 28, 2014 8:19:00 AM

It's been a while since I last posted and I have been up to quite a bit. One of the areas I have dug into is Healthcare Information Systems. In the past I mainly interacted at the facilities level so to gain visibility into what happens on the clinical and surgical side of the business has been quite interesting. In this post I am going to pull back the curtains on HL7 (think XML for Healthcare) and describe the various aspects of healthcare informatics! Are you ready to learn all you need to know about HL7 and Healthcare Informatics?

Topics: healthcare hl7 integration Information Technology
8 min read

BAS Hacking 101: Target Selection

By Phil Zito on Dec 19, 2013 12:57:08 PM

In the BAS Hacking series I am diving deep into the bowels of building automation networks and systems! I am going to take you through the full process of exploiting a system so that you can better understand the thought process of your attackers.

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls cybersecurity
2 min read

BAS Hacking 101 Overview

By Phil Zito on Dec 7, 2013 12:17:17 PM

My article How to Hack a Building Automation System is one of my most read articles. However, one of the criticism's I received was that it didn't go into how to actually hack a BAS. Being that December is Data Security Month, I am going to walk you through the a BAS Hack on a system I have here in my house.

Topics: Security building automation systems cybersecurity
2 min read

What Are You Doing With Your Customers Data?

By Phil Zito on Dec 1, 2013 2:21:09 PM

What Are You Doing With Your Customers Data?

So it never fails, I hung up all our x-mas lights yesterday and a strand in the middle of the icicle lights died. Off I went to run errands and to purchase some new lights. Normally I do my shopping at Lowe's but since I was closer to Home Depot I decided to go there instead. As I was checking out the credit card machine prompted me and asked if I would like to have my receipt e-mailed to me.

Topics: analytics building automation systems Building Controls
3 min read

2 Database Technologies in 2 Minutes

By Phil Zito on Nov 26, 2013 10:14:01 PM

Big Data is in the vogue. As a business leader, technology enthusiast, or aspiring technologist you need to be aware of the different database technologies what they can accomplish and how they align with your business needs. This article is by no means an exhaustive look at databases but rather a 30,000 foot flyover to help you familiarize yourself with an ever-expanding solution set. This was originally going to be called 5 database technologies in 5 minutes but the article started to get really large and I decided to split the article up.

Topics: databases Information Technology
5 min read

Big Data Don't Ignore Small Business

By Phil Zito on Oct 31, 2013 3:22:10 PM

Big Data Don't Ignore Small Business

Back when I was in grade school we would pick teams for pickup games of dodge ball and kick ball. It never failed that the smaller kids were always left for last. Now, the funny thing was that the team captains judged the talent on size and it never failed that a kid named John was left out. However, this day we happened to play a pickup game of baseball and the team that finally picked John found out real quick that John for his small size was an amazing pitcher.

Topics: analytics building automation systems Building Controls
6 min read

The Top 5 Questions to Ask Your BAS Consultant

By Phil Zito on Oct 27, 2013 3:04:50 PM

I've thought a lot lately about the convergence of IT and BAS and the rapidity at which new products and offerings are proliferating the market. I said to myself, if I was an owner, what would be the top 5 questions I would want my BAS consultant to be able to answer.  The list that I created was not created in any particular order, but rather it is a semi-legible consolidation of my ramblings as those of you who have read my blogs in the past seem to enjoy (why else do I keep getting readership :-D ).

Topics: consultant building automation systems Building Controls
6 min read

Is your control system becoming the next Tower of Babel?

By Phil Zito on Oct 24, 2013 8:16:24 AM

Is your control system becoming the next Tower of Babel?

BACnet, LON, Obix, M-Bus and P-Bus... There is a veritable alphabet soup of controls protocols and systems within the market place and although the industry is moving towards an open framework, we still have a ways to go.

Topics: building automation systems design Building Controls integration
7 min read

Condensing Systems 101

By Phil Zito on Sep 3, 2013 3:39:05 PM

Central Utility Plants are the life blood of an HVAC system. This series will begin to give the reader an understanding of what Central Utility Plants are and will act as a spring board from which we can launch into deep control discussions.

Topics: HVAC Condensing Systems
5 min read

How a BAS Hacker Can Create a Multi-Million Dollar Law Suit in a Few Clicks

By Phil Zito on Aug 20, 2013 8:54:24 PM

Wow! What an eventful week I have had. I read through the Cylance Google Hack article again and after fully digesting the information around the hack I had an epiphany.

Most facility owners are just a few clicks away from a multi-million dollar due care/due diligence lawsuit.

I will get into the how in a second but let's first describe what due care and due diligence means.

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls cybersecurity
3 min read

The 5 Building and Energy Websites Everyone Should Know About

By Phil Zito on Aug 17, 2013 2:25:57 PM

Do a quick search on building and energy websites and what comes up within the first page? You have some stuff from the DOE (Department of Energy) and other government entities but chances are you will only find one of the top 5 building and energy websites during your search. This means that decision makers, consultants, and designers are missing out on key information that directly impact the efficiency and effectiveness of their building management and energy programs.

Topics: Energy building automation systems Building Controls
5 min read

Do You Need an Isolated Network for Building Automation Systems

By Phil Zito on Aug 9, 2013 10:32:07 AM

Do You Need an Isolated Network for Building Automation Systems

Based on my experience there are so many other security concerns that are being ignored that going and splitting your trunk onto a physically isolated network is a secondary thought. Quite honestly, the concern around  if you need an isolated network for building automation systems should be something you think about only if you are in a regulated or DoD environment.

Topics: building automation systems security it Building Controls
7 min read

The Invisible Employee: Applying Building Analytics Within the Workplace

By Phil Zito on Aug 2, 2013 4:09:37 PM

Imagine an employee who works 24 hours a day never stopping, not requiring benefits, with the ability to clearly communicate the needs of your organization to hundreds if not thousands of employees at the same time. Do you see him?

Topics: analytics building automation systems Building Controls
7 min read

How to Hack a Building Automation System

By Phil Zito on Jul 28, 2013 1:48:11 PM

I just finished reading two interesting articles about hacking BAS systems and thought I would share my thoughts with all of you on how a BAS could be used to hack a building. First off, we still have some educating to do around BAS as a whole in the industry. Reading through Brian Prince's article at Dark Reading titled Google Building Management System Hack Highlights SCADA Security Challenges brings to mind one of the first areas in which we need to educate our IT counterparts.

Topics: cyber security building automation systems it Information Technology
6 min read

Pimp My BAS

By Phil Zito on Jul 21, 2013 5:53:18 PM

Pimp My BAS

People like shinny new  things. Your BAS can be controlling to tolerances tighter then the atomic clock but if it doesn't have a "nice" User Interface your customer will wonder what exactly are they paying you for.

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls
6 min read

My BAS Can Do That: And other Myths about BAS Analytics

By Phil Zito on Jul 14, 2013 1:47:17 PM

My BAS Can Do That: And other Myths about BAS Analytics

I have had the privilege of working in the automation industry for more than a decade and have seen it move from stand-alone systems all the way to full-blown web-based platforms. However, until recently, we have not had the ability to capture, analyze, and report on massive amounts of data.

Topics: analytics building automation systems Building Controls
4 min read

When is Your Control System Too Old?

By Phil Zito on Jul 5, 2013 8:12:21 AM

A lot of things get better with age, a good wine, a nice dry rubbed steak, a collectible convertible. However, the one item we don't associate with the age/quality relationship is a control system. Yet, in thousands of buildings across the United States the one system that could impact a building's total energy spend by upwards of 20-40% (per the DOE ) remains untouched.

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls
7 min read

Energy Efficiency Where to Begin? Identify Part 2

By Phil Zito on Jun 18, 2013 8:05:56 AM

In the previous article of the Energy Efficiency Where to Begin series, I began to discuss how to identify the key information you need to plan, create, and implement an Energy Management Program. In this article I will explain the last two points you need to identify and will summarize the identify step. 

Topics: Energy energy
5 min read

You wouldn't use a Drill as a Mixer....

By Phil Zito on Jun 11, 2013 7:08:10 AM

An Evaluation of Enterprise Energy Management

Overview

I really do believe in the power of cloud based applications, especially analytics. I realize for some, especially those in the Building Automation Systems sphere cloud based (or if you prefer to call them distributed) analytical solutions are new to the market. Averaging about 2-3 years old the energy analytics market is quickly filling up with analytical solutions.

Topics: analytics building automation systems Building Controls
3 min read

Who gives a $^&$ about BAS security?

By Phil Zito on Jun 9, 2013 2:35:41 PM

In this article I am responding to a great question from a fellow LinkedIn group member.

She asked, and I paraphrase, "Do you have any articles about why someone should even care about IT Security for their BAS?"

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls cybersecurity
8 min read

The Fundamentals of Building Automation Security

By Phil Zito on Jun 8, 2013 1:32:27 PM

Prior to reading this article I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you view the video below. This video will give you foundational knowledge of the building automation security topics I will discuss below.

Topics: building automation systems Building Controls cybersecurity
4 min read

Energy Efficiency Where to Begin? Identify Part 1

By Phil Zito on Jun 6, 2013 8:10:59 PM

Energy Efficiency Where to Begin? Identify Part 1

Overview

In the previous article of the Energy Efficiency Where to Begin series. I identified the 50,000 foot view of energy management and the overarching themes of an effective energy management program. In this article we begin to take a detailed look at an effective energy management system.

Topics: Energy building automation systems energy
4 min read

Energy Efficiency Where to Begin?

By Phil Zito on Jun 5, 2013 6:13:35 AM

In this article I will discuss the fundamentals of energy efficiency and "where to begin". I have been blessed, truly blessed, to have a role where I literally travel the United States and Canada meeting with companies around their need to reduce energy consumption. The consistent theme seems to be inconsistency. Now stop and think about what I just said there. The industry, in regards to Energy Efficiency is fragmented.

Topics: Energy building automation systems energy
7 min read

Pumping Systems 101

By Phil Zito on Jun 3, 2013 7:38:59 PM

Central Utility Plants are the life blood of an HVAC system. This series will begin to give the reader an understanding of what Central Utility Plants are and will act as a spring board from which we can launch into deep control discussions.

Topics: Central Utility Plants HVAC
7 min read

Central Utility Plant (CUP) 101

By Phil Zito on May 30, 2013 2:50:32 PM

The Central Utility Plant is the life blood of an HVAC system. This series will begin to give the reader an understanding of what Central Utility Plants are and will act as a spring board from which we can launch into deep control discussions. This series will cover:

Topics: HVAC central utility plant
4 min read

Measurement and Verification Option C

By Phil Zito on May 19, 2013 9:04:20 PM

In my earlier post M&V Overview I discussed that I would be creating posts centered around each of the M&V approaches. In this post I will be writing an in depth review of Option C Measurement and Verification (M&V). You can expect to learn the following from this post. The layout of this post is going to be very similar to the other M&V posts as it is my goal to give you an in-depth review of the four M&V methods to aid you in selecting the right approach.

Topics: option c Energy m&V
4 min read

Measurement and Verification Option B

By Phil Zito on May 19, 2013 9:01:46 PM

Measurement and Verification Option B

 

Topics: Energy option b m&V
3 min read

Measurement and Verification Option A

By Phil Zito on May 19, 2013 8:57:31 PM

In my earlier post M&V Overview, I discussed that I would be creating posts centered around each of the M&V approaches. In this post, I will be writing an in depth review of Option A Measurement and Verification (M&V). You can expect to learn the following from this post. The layout of this post is going to be very similar to the other M&V posts, as it is my goal to give you an in-depth review of the four M&V methods to aid you in selecting the appropriate approach:

Topics: Energy option a m&V
2 min read

What is Measurement and Verification (M&V)

By Phil Zito on May 19, 2013 8:54:14 PM

The Definition

According to the Berkley Laboratory Measurement and Verification (M&V) is:

“M&V is the process of using measurement to reliably determine actual savings created within an individual facility by an energy management, energy conservation or energy efficiency project or program. As savings cannot be directly measured, the savings can be determined by comparing measured use before and after implementation of a project, making appropriate adjustments for changes in conditions.”

Topics: Energy m&V
3 min read

What is BACnet Part 4

By Phil Zito on May 10, 2013 9:19:01 AM

BACnet MSTP

This article is part of a four-part series on BACnet, you can access the other parts below:

Topics: BACnet Building Controls
4 min read

What is BACnet Part 3

By Phil Zito on May 10, 2013 8:52:06 AM

This article is part of a four-part series on What is BACnet, you can access the other parts below:

BACnet Part 1: BACnet Overview
BACnet Part 2: Communication 101
BACnet Part 4: BACnet/MSTP

BACnet is the most prevelant protocol in the building automation space but to many it is a six letter word that screams confusion! 

Topics: bacnet building automation systems Building Controls
4 min read

What is Bacnet Part 2

By Phil Zito on May 6, 2013 7:25:02 PM

BACnet Communications

This article is part of a four-part series on BACnet, you can access the other parts below:

BACnet Part 1: BACnet Overview
BACnet Part 3: BACnet/IP
BACnet Part 4: BACnet/MSTP

BACnet is the most prevelant protocol in the building automation space but to many it is a six letter word that screams confusion!

Topics: bacnet building automation systems Building Controls
2 min read

What is BACnet Part 1

By Phil Zito on May 6, 2013 12:11:26 PM

What is BACnet

This article is part of a four-part series on BACnet, you can access the other parts below:

Topics: bacnet building automation systems Building Controls
4 min read

Network Fundamentals

By Phil Zito on May 4, 2013 8:36:39 PM

Networks, they are the lifeline of modern systems and they are the bane of many owners and contractors! I'm not going to solve world hunger with this article but I will promise that you will leave here with a the Network Fundamentals that you need in order to do your job!

Topics: networks it Information Technology
2 min read

Proper Network Design Part 1

By Phil Zito on May 3, 2013 12:59:59 PM

Identifying Your Network Needs

When someone purchases an automobile, they usually do so to meet a specific need. The same is true with a network. This article gives you the top 5 areas to consider when performing network design:

Topics: network it Information Technology
7 min read

What is the TCP/IP Stack

By Phil Zito on May 3, 2013 11:28:06 AM

Topics: it Protocols Information Technology
5 min read

What is the OSI Model

By Phil Zito on May 3, 2013 11:20:48 AM

You most likely found my blog through Google Images looking for the OSI Model, after you are done reading through this article be sure to check out some of the other IT articles I have included just for you at the bottom of this article! Thanks for stopping by!

Topics: it OSI Model Information Technology