ASK THE EXPERT
JOHN CONNOR is the Director of Integration Technology for the Buildings Business of Schneider Electric. John holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Penn State, and master’s degrees in computer systems engineering from Northeastern University and software engineering from Brandeis University. John represents the Schneider Electric™ Building Business Management Systems (BMSs) on the EcoStruxure™ Architecture Committee.
Q: What are web services?
A: Web services are really a communication technology, which has developed as the Internet has grown and connected more systems together. Web service technology enables systems to easily connect with one another and share information and functionalities in a secure way that is readily embraced and understood by IT departments. A common example is making purchases online, when web services are used to exchange information between your bank or credit card company and the vendor you are making a purchase from.
Q: What role do web services play in EcoStruxure and its systems?
A: Although each EcoStruxure system already has its own real-time database of information, it has been a challenge to share that information with other systems that use older, industry-specific communication technologies such as LON, BACnet, and Modbus. EcoStruxure Web Services allows systems to share information using a common interface, making them easier to integrate and more powerful.
Q: So what are the benefits of EcoStruxure Web Services?
A: EcoStruxure Web Services take the complexity out of accessing and analyzing information from multiple systems by providing an easy-to-use interface. Additionally, since web service technology is already understood and trusted by IT departments, systems can be easily set up and maintained on an organization’s network because administrators are already comfortable and familiar with the technology.
Q: How will EcoStruxure Web Services be rolled out?
A: The first to launch is the DataExchange service, which is available with the recently released StruxureWare Building Operation v1.2 software. It will soon be supported on other StruxureWare software applications and will enable these to exchange real-time values, alarms, and historical data, while determining if information is available from other systems. Over time, other EcoStruxure Web Services will be released to support Schneider Electric Smart Grid and Analytics initiatives.