Types of Connected Devices

With more than 200,000 FieldServer units, supporting over 140 protocols, installed in commercial and industrial facilities, Sierra Monitor’s FieldServer brand is the industry's leading multi-protocol gateway. System integrators and OEMs around the world trust us to not only support the most efficient, standards-compliant, and certified implementations of the well-known protocols, but also support the drivers required to connect obscure Protocol X to obscure Protocol Y. From a brand new, state-of-the-art boiler to a legacy fire panel, we connect a vast range of devices with the most efficient and effective interoperability solution in the industry.

Below are examples of some of the devices we work with.


Boilers

Boilers are pressure vessels designed to heat water or produce steam, which can then be used to provide space heating and/or service water heating to a building. In most commercial building heating applications, the heating source in the boiler is a natural gas fired burner. Installed alongside a boiler is a boiler control system or controller, which is an interface for maximizing boiler and system efficiencies.

Oftentimes, boilers and their control systems need to be integrated with a building management system for monitoring purposes since boilers are typically located in dedicated boiler rooms, basements, or otherwise hard-to-access locations. We’ve provided countless protocol gateway solutions to boiler manufacturers with the ability to support BACnet, Modbus, LonWorks, Metasys N2, and other protocols to seamlessly integrate with building management systems. Additionally, the FieldServer gateway’s auto-discovery capability can simplify installation and integration of boiler units.


Building Automation Systems and Management Systems (BAS and BMS)

Modern building automation systems require the integration of many different components into a unified operational view that allows all of these devices to be managed through a single interface. Proper BAS and BMS integration allows facility managers to reduce operating costs, increase security, and achieve greater energy efficiency. This is integral to the creation of modern "smart" buildings.

Facility managers must be able to integrate their BAS into a single, common operational view that offers the capabilities to make critical control decisions that impact monitoring, security, and energy costs. An effective facility manager must have a BAS integration solution capable of analyzing multiple sources of data and providing collaboration between these sources. With Sierra Monitor's FieldServer solutions, you'll enjoy more efficient performance, simplified operations, and reduced energy and operating costs.

Our FieldServer solutions are scalable to your facility's needs now and in the future. BAS and BMS integration in a modern facility can include myriad systems, including lighting, elevator, boiler, chiller, fire alarms/suppression, access control, HVAC, and others. All of these systems may operate on different networks using different protocols: BACnet, Modbus, LonWorks, SNMP, etc. Effectively connecting these systems improves operational efficiency.

Learn more about our BAS/BMS integration solutions »


Chillers

Chillers are machines that remove heat from a liquid to be used in cooling and refrigeration processes. Industrial chillers are used for controlled cooling of products, mechanisms, and factory machinery in a wide range of industries. However, different types of chillers, like vapor compressor chillers and absorption chillers, are selected depending on specifications from a facility. When integrating a chiller to a building management system, one must consider monitoring control panel features such as the local control panel, remote control panel, fault indicators, temperature indicators, and pressure indicators. This is necessary for any industrial business operation.

With the FieldServer gateway, integrating a chiller’s control panel data into a management system is seamless with its multi-protocol support. No matter the chiller manufacturer,FieldServer has a protocol translation solution.


Data Center Information Management (DCIM) Systems

DCIM systems collect a lot of data from the typical electronic systems in the data center, often through SNMP based collection schemes. However, a data center also uses many devices used in generic building management such as electric sub-meters, HVAC-specific sensors, and physical access control systems. These devices or subsystems, typically running on BACnet and Modbus protocols, need to be integrated into the data center's or larger facility's building management system (BMS), and they also need to feed into the DCIM system so that the DCIM dashboard can offer a holistic view of the health of the data center.

As data centers continue to evolve, integrating a variety of BACnet and Modbus devices used within a data center facility to a BMS and/or DCIM system becomes important to centralizing access and reducing ongoing costs related to data center production, such as power and cooling. Through the DCIM system, facility managers can monitor real-time device information and benefit from integrated monitoring, ticketing, and reporting for better accuracy and speed. Facility managers can also adjust temperature and humidity levels to control energy usage within the data center through the DCIM.

As data center facility managers look to integrate more BACnet and Modbus devices into a DCIM system to ensure peak monitoring and controlling capabilities, Sierra Monitor’s FieldServer products are the key to full interoperability.

Learn more about our data center monitoring solutions »


Electric Sub-meters

Electric sub-meters are used for monitoring, controlling, and managing energy usage for residential, commercial, and industrial settings. Well-placed sub-meters can track energy usage and power consumption for tenants, different departments within a facility, entire buildings, and individual pieces of equipment. Electric sub-meters can be a big part of an organization’s energy saving program and integration project.

Monitoring real-time energy usage or tracking monthly usage trends are important to any energy saving program. Therefore, integrating all electric sub-meters into one management system will help achieve full automation. Electric-submeters, typically running on BACnet and Modbus protocols, can be easily integrated with the FieldServer gateway.


Fire Alarm Control Panels (FACP)

A FACP is the controlling component of a fire alarm system. The panel receives information from environmental flame sensors designed to detect changes associated with fire, monitors their operational integrity, provides for automatic control of equipment, and transmits information necessary to prepare the facility for fire based on a predetermined sequence.

When integrators need to interface Fire Alarm Control Panels to the BAS, they look to Sierra Monitor’s FieldServer protocol gateway, the industry’s clear leader in interfacing FACP products. FieldServer provides the ability to view the ancillary information and not interfere with the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) approved fire control system. We have a range of FACP protocol drivers, including EST3, HochikiFireNet, SimplexGrinnell, and more.

Learn more about our FACP integration solutions »


Flow Meters

Flow meters are devices used to measure the flow rate or quantity of the liquid, gas, or vapor that passes through a pipe. Flow measurement applications are very diverse and each situation has its own constraints and engineering requirements. Determining the kind of flow meter that is needed for an application depends on several factors, such as what kind of gas or liquid will be measured, possible flow disturbances within a facility, if a flow computer is needed or not, and what type of output signal or readout is needed for the project.

Flow meters and flow computers are an integral part in building automation.While an external protocol gateway is a good solution for automation, it may not be ideal due to the small nature and placement of flow meters. Flow meter manufacturers can also look into our OEM-specific FieldServer embedded design that meets all protocol translation requirements while eliminating the need for external protocol gateways and providing an easy method for configuration via a web interface.


Gas Detection Systems and Detectors

Facilities ranging from small CNG filling stations to fleet maintenance buildings, wastewater lift stations to wastewater plants, compressors, pipelines, refineries and even data rooms and cell tower huts present a common set of risks of hazard gas.Facility managers must identify hazardous gas risks, mitigate the possible causes and design continuous monitoring systems to warn of dangerous conditions. Only then should a facility manager look to install the right gas detection solutions, which include gas monitoring system controllers and detectors.

A growing need in the facility management sector is to integrate system controllers and detectors, usually Modbus-based, to BACnet management networks for central monitoring purposes. Gas detection solutions can be installed in the hardest to reach places within a facility, so making it easier for a manager to oversee their facility from one location is preferred.

Learn more about our gas detection solutions »


Generator Sets

Generator sets are useful appliances that supply electrical power during a power outage and prevent discontinuity of daily activities or disruption of business operations. Since generator sets are used primarily as an emergency back-up power supply, generators operate on various fuels such as diesel, gasoline, propane, or natural gas in combination with an electric generator.

While generator sets are not frequently used, it is important to monitor them to ensure proper function in the event of a power outage. A combination of a generator set failure and lack of oversight into its health would halt business operations for an extended period of time, possibly losing an exorbitant amount of money. Therefore, interfacing a generator set to a building management system,including the ability to reduce the time and errors associated with installation and commissioning of the generator set units, is easily done with FieldServer products.


Humidifiers

Humidifiers are cooling systems that help sustain proper working environments within a manufacturing facility. Throughout various industries, the correct level of humidity is of such significant importance that it becomes an essential success factor for manufacturing productivity. Examples where humidifiers are needed include data centers, pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, and paper and pulp production facilities.

Monitoring the air quality level the humidifier produces can be done by integrating humidifier units to a management system with the FieldServer gateway’s high level of flexibility with installation and automation through multi-protocol support.


Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Equipment

HVAC equipment and systems are used in residential, commercial, and industrial settings for indoor environmental comfort. A HVAC unit may also be responsible for providing fresh outdoor air to dilute interior airborne contaminants such as odors from occupants, volatile organic compounds emitted from interior furnishings, and chemicals used for cleaning. Overall, the goal for HVAC is to provide building tenants with thermal comfort (heating and cooling) and acceptable indoor air quality.

Modern industrial buildings today have building service designers, mechanical engineers, or building services engineers that analyze, design, and specify the HVAC systems. As HVAC units are typically installed on rooftops, controlling and monitoring a unit’s health from one location is more efficient than climbing to the roof for every problem. It is up to the specialty contractors or system integrators come in to commission the systems, integrating HVAC units with the central building management system.

With the FieldServer brand of multi-protocol gateways, routers, and explorers, it is simple for contractors and integrators to commission HVAC equipment. As the most recognized standards for HVAC design are based on ASHRAE data, we have BACnet Testing Laboratories (BTL) certifications on our products and have been committed to the BACnet world since the late 90's, with ongoing updates to our implementation of BACnet objects and services in support of our customers.


Kitchen Ventilation

Kitchen ventilation systems control indoor air quality within kitchens by diluting and displacing indoor pollutants. In these cases, the pollutants are caused by grease, smoke, and other odors as a byproduct of cooking food. Adequate kitchen ventilation systems should remain as close to the cooking equipment as possible to remove fumes from the source and remove excess hot air and introduce incoming cool clean air so that a comfortable environment is achieved. Modern kitchens today have control systems that ventilation equipment can be connected to for insight into how each piece of equipment is working.

Connecting kitchen ventilation equipment to a central building management system is simple with the FieldServer gateway. The ability to fit the FieldServer gateway technology, external or embedded, while incurring no time to market or technical risk can help any kitchen and its building achieve full automation.


Lighting Controls

A lighting control system is an intelligent network based lighting control solution that incorporates communication between various system inputs and outputs related to lighting control with the use of one or more central computing devices. Lighting control systems are widely used on both indoor and outdoor lighting of commercial, industrial, and residential spaces. Lighting control systems serve to provide the right amount of light where and when it is needed.Lighting control systems are employed to maximize the energy savings from the lighting system, satisfy building codes, or comply with green building and energy conservation programs.

Within a large building with multiple stories, lighting control systems can be installed on every single floor. Integrating the many lighting control systems with a building management system helps provide oversight over energy consumption within an entire building from a central location. We’ve worked with numerous lighting controls solution providers to provide the ability to translate proprietary protocols into industry-standard protocols such as BACnet, LonWorks, and Modbus, enabling integration with facility-level management systems.


Solar Panel Monitoring

Industrial solar power systems primarily provide electricity to remote areas where conventional power is too costly or difficult to reach. The systems can be skid mounted, roof mounted, pole mounted, trailer mounted, or assembled with industrial quality walk-in shelters. With solar power systems, comes solar panel monitoring devices, which can offer functionalities such as plant performance monitoring, error detection, and revenue grade metering.

The versatile FieldServer gateway can simplify the integration of solar plants to utilities, regardless of the protocol in use by the utility, speeding up successful product deployment, power availability to the grid, and revenue generation for the plant owner.


Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS)

A UPS is an electrical apparatus that provides emergency power to a load when the input power source or mains power fails. Different from a generator set, a UPS will provide near-instantaneous protection from input power interruptions, by supplying energy stored in batteries, super capacitors, or flywheels. However, the on-battery runtime of most UPS’s is relatively short but sufficient to start a standby power source or properly shut down the protected equipment. UPS’s are typically used to protect hardware such as computers, data centers, telecommunication equipment, or other electrical equipment.

While UPS’s are not frequently used, it is important to monitor their health to ensure the application is protected in the event of a power outage. Without proper foresight into how a UPS is doing, the downtime with no power can be very costly to an organization. Therefore, interfacing a UPS to a building management system, including the ability to reduce the time and errors associated with installation and commissioning of the UPS, is easily done with FieldServer products.