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Quantum House wires the intelligent building.

Although many talk about integration among building management, telecommunications and office automation, in the "intelligent building," more attention needs to be paid to details like cabling.

Closer examination of systems indicates that it is only building services such as power, light, heat and the like which are controlled and integrated. Little consideration is given to direct improvement of productivity and efficiency for the staff whom the building exists to serve.

The solution would be a system that integrates the complete spectrum of a building's management functions into one system supporting a mixture of operating systems--DOS, Windows, OS/2, UNIX, AppleTalk--with different network protocols (Ethernet, token ring, Arcnet) and a whole host of different types of text or graphics based systems interfacing into a flexible, reconfigurable system that addresses key issues.

BICC Bonus (Building Operations Networked Utility Service) is a modular range of distributed software tools, supported by a multi-platform architecture based upon industry standards, that enables all control functions and information requirements to be integrated into one distributed management system.

Its integrated design avoids multiple data entry requirements by ensuring that a single transaction automatically updates all functions within the system. The system is structured around the concept of flexible organizations and work patterns and is configured to interface with existing proprietary systems wherever possible.

A pilot Bonus system has been implemented in Quantum House, a 25,000 sq. ft., two-story office and laboratory complex in Hemel Hempstead, 30 miles west of London. Quantum House is headquarters for several BICC Group Companies. They manufacture electronic packaging, circuit boards and development systems, power conversion and networking products.

The pilot is under the management of Gio Lusignani, manager of integrated buildings technology.

The project uses components and systems from BICC Companies, and third party manufacturers such as GPT-Siemens, CardKey and Hengstler interfaced to Bonus. Strathclyde University, Scotland, serves as an independent consultant.

Tracking the Movable Staff Structured cabling was chosen as the physical distribution basis. Information is a key asset, the dissemination of which needs to be controlled and managed. In many businesses, 30% of staff change location or information requirements each year, so it must be easy to follow them as they move.

One of the most significant recent innovations in the field of distributed information is the ability to switch and multiplex analog video over UTP cabling. This means that multi-party video conferencing on the desktop becomes an achievable, low-cost reality and that a completely flexible video surveillance system can be installed without having to overlay extra coaxial cabling.

The first stage of the Quantum House project, started in July 1991 and completed in January 1992, was installation of structured wiring throughout the building. It is one of the first projects in the U.K. to fully conform to the recently published EIA/TIA-568 Standard for the commercial premises wiring.

The first choice facing Lusignani was the selection of media. It was decided that the main distribution media would be UTP and STP in copper, with some fiber backbones. Copper was chosen as the primary media because of its new capability to support a 100 Mb/s data rate at low cost, both in terms of component cost and installation. Although at the time EIA/TIA-568 did not specify cables for 100 Mb/s operation, Lusignani felt that this was a necessity for future-proofing the installation.

The UTP cables exceed the standard requirements in performance, but still maintain the pairs, impedance, color coding and use of RJ-45 connectors.

All cables for Quantum House were made by Brand Rex and installed by Balfour Kilpatrick, with BICC-Vero Electronics supplying the wiring closets, patch panels and other components for the termination and routing of the network cabling. BICC Data Networks (now part of 3Com Inc.) and BICC Information Systems & Services were involved in network design and systems integration.

The termination technology was defined as the RJ-45 connector, used in both normal and screened configurations. The choice of supporting FDDI on copper moved the RJ-45 connector into previously uncharted territory as far as speed was concerned. Although well proven in the slower token ring and 10Base-T protocols, extensive testing of patch panels and cable assemblies was carriedout by BICC-Vero to ensure that crosstalk and impedance mismatches would not be a problem at higher bandwidths.

The telecomm closets on each floor are three-bay 19-inch racks. Since the closets are in full view on each floor, appearance and technical performance were both important considerations in the choice of unit. The Imrak closets chosen won the IF Design Mark by the Hannover Fair Committee for esthetics.

In large systems such as the Quantum House project, labeling of patch panels and terminations is a key issue, and products are well provided with dedicated areas for affixing the identification labels to various circuits.

From the telecomm closets, the horizontal distribution terminates in special 8-way floor panels. Each junction box feeds two desks and is mounted in a flexible conduit that allows layouts to be changed on a 2-meter grid. The 8-way junction boxes contain 2 by 4 modules--one for each desk, each containing the Voice/ISDN, Data 1 for AppleTalk/Ethernet, Video, and Data 2 for TPDDI.

Since the system is person-specific, software enables flextime attendance to be recorded, meetings to be scheduled on the system, assets and access control to be linked to each person, as well as ensuring that information is made available over the networks on a need-to-know basis.

The key criterion for the network is to allow access to all management information from any PC or workstation attached to a LAN or WAN, regardless of its operating system or network protocol.

Information can be shared between systems regardless of where it is stored, and different interpretations of the same raw data, for instance a schematic vs. a physical view, or a 2D vs. 3D isometric view, are supported for different tasks. Information entered into Bonus is automatically routed to all the elements of the system that require an input, so as to avoid multiple data entry requirements.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Painter, Tony
Publication:Communications News
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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