8/27/2003 - Echelon Corporation (NASDAQ: ELON), the creator of the LonWorks® device networking platform for connecting everyday devices to each other and the Internet, announced that the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has passed a significant hurdle to releasing the Corps standard building automation specification built around ANSI/EIA709.1-B Control Networking Protocol – the communications protocol underlying the LonWorks platform. The US Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for creating building specifications for bases and other properties of the United States Army. Approximately 50% of the Corps' projects are military and 50% civil, such as dams and flood control. When released, the new specification, which calls for LonMark® certified interoperable LonWorks based devices for all major building subsystems and network management tools based on Echelon's LNS® network operating system, will be the template for the design, implementation and procurement of building automation systems for Corps building projects.
The Corps recently completed an Industry Forum – the major step in the rigorous public review process required to finalize and release such a specification during the fourth quarter of 2003 – at which industry representatives were allowed to provide input and suggestions to the specifications. The specification documents, UFGS13801 and UFGS15951, were designed to solve building automation problems faced by the Corps including a requirement for multi-source procurement by requiring non-proprietary, open systems to overcome limitations in the previous specification that resulted in multiple single-vendor, closed systems and high costs.
"The Corps experiences the same pain and frustration as private building owners and managers around the world – closed, expensive to maintain proprietary systems, limited or non-existent bidding opportunities for expansion and change, product choices limited to just those offered by the original suppliers, and high costs over the life-cycle of their buildings," said Anders Axelsson, Echelon's senior vice president of sales and marketing. "By basing their new building system specifications around LonWorks technology, we believe that the Corps is not only sending a clear message to the buildings industry to adopt open systems for military and government Corps projects, they are sending a message to the broader market of end-user building owners and operators that LonWorks systems are a way to drive down costs while improving the quality of their building systems."
According to the Corps document, "Issues from Industry Review" dated July 24th, 2003, "Although the protocols are equally open [BACnet and LonTalk®] in theory, in practice the available reference implementation of LonTalk and the availability of the Neuron® chip allows for more consistent (thus more open) implementation of LonTalk between different vendors." The Corps document further states that the government needed to "specify a database standard so that the system will remain open for future expansion and modification by the maximum number of vendors/contractors." Echelon's LNS network operating system (by virtue of its open database approach) was chosen because it is the "most non-proprietary, open, widely-available and supported database standard for the building controls industry."
The LonTalk protocol is typically implemented in Neuron Chips, available from Toshiba and Cypress Semiconductor, and from Echelon in the form of twisted pair and power line smart transceivers. The protocol is standardized for use in any processor in the ANSI/EIA709.1-B-2001 Control Networking Standard and can be purchased at http://global.ihs.com/.
The latest published schedule update from the Corps targets final publication of the UFGS (specifications) and UFC (design guidelines) in the Fall of 2003. As part of Corps on going training programs, training on UFGS13801 and UFGS15951 is scheduled to begin in October 2003 and a final technical report is due in 2004. More information about the Corps can be found at http://www.usace.army.mil/.
Echelon Corporation (NASDAQ: ELON) is the creator of the LonWorks platform, the world's most widely used standard for connecting everyday devices such as appliances, thermostats, air conditioners, electric meters, and lighting systems to each other and to the Internet. Echelon's hardware and software products enable manufacturers and integrators to create smart devices and systems that lower cost, increase convenience, improve service, and enhance productivity, quality, and safety. Thousands of companies have developed and installed LonWorks products and more than 30 million LonWorks enabled processors have been shipped for use in homes, buildings, factories, trains, and other systems worldwide.
The protocol underlying LonWorks networks and the signaling technology used by Echelon's power line and free topology transceivers have been adopted as standards by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Echelon is also a founding member of the LonMark Interoperability Association, an open industry forum of hundreds of leading manufacturers, integrators, and users dedicated to promoting the use of interoperable LonWorks devices. More information is available at http://www.lonmark.org. Further information regarding Echelon can be found at http://www.echelon.com.
Echelon is a sponsor of the LonWorld® Exhibition, the world's largest event devoted to the networking of everyday devices, to be held October 15-16th 2003 in Munich, Germany. The show is being organized by TEMA AG. Concurrent with the LonWorld Exhibition, Echelon will hold an international developers' conference. More information on the show can be found at http://www.lonworldexpo.com or http://www.tema.de. Contact Echelon for more information about the developers' conference.
Echelon, LonWorks, LonMark, LonTalk, Neuron, LonWorld, LNS, the LonMark logo, and the Echelon logo are registered trademarks of Echelon Corporation registered in the United States and other countries.
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