A new industry organisation called the Fairhair Alliance has been launched to help driver interoperability in lighting, building automation and IT for the building services industry.
The six Alliance founding members: Philips Lighting, Lutron Electronics, Siemens, Osram, Cisco and Silicon Labs - recognize that individual building service companies cannot easily break down the existing barriers between the different building services communication standards that exist today.
With an estimated 25 billion connected things in the Internet of Things (IoT), and with connectivity becoming a more critical aspect of every business, existing buildings are increasingly challenged to integrate multiple building services that do not share common IP network infrastructures.
The founding members of the Alliance believe that a cross-domain, concerted effort is required to make common IT and IoT technology choices, suitable for the popular communication standards used in today's building services. This collaboration is the basis for the Fairhair Alliance.
The Fairhair Alliance explained it is not creating a new or additional application protocol, but is closely working together with popular ecosystems such as BACnet, KNX and ZigBee to enable them to transition to IoT technology. The Fairhair solution will utilise IPv6 enabled networking technologies including 802.15.4 mesh, Wi-Fi and Ethernet.
The long-term vision of the Fairhair Alliance is to enable a cost effective and highly secure IP-based common network infrastructure that can serve as a basis for interoperable lighting and building automation systems.
This effort to move from standalone networking solutions for Building Services communication standards to a common building network infrastructure will support the IoT of resource constrained devices, including sensors, lamps, luminaires, thermostats, dimmers and more.
Ultimately, the Alliance will help ensure better interoperability, suggest common standards, and encourage a more universal approach to IoT management. Unification is a key element in the Fairhair Alliance mission, which is aptly named after the Norwegian King Harald Harfagre (Fairhair), who unified Norway into one kingdom.
The Fairhair Alliance is looking for additional members who share its vision for creating conditions for a single IP-based interoperability standard, enabling more effective implementation of the IoT in buildings.
The Alliance’s goal is to make an increasingly powerful contribution to high-performing, interactive, smart buildings. In turn, this will establish a greater degree of comfort and flexibility among owners, users, facilities managers, property developers and manufacturers.