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Why Fairhair?

The Internet of Things is coming to commercial buildings, and this requires a common IP-based infrastructure, which is simultaneously cost-efficient, secure and standardized. Fairhair has a key role to play.

The mission of the Fairhair Alliance is to define the open standard for the Internet of Things (IoT) in commercial buildings. Fairhair will enable an interoperable infrastructure that allows our members to leverage their existing core businesses.

To achieve this, it is necessary to break down the barriers between different building-service sectors such as lighting control and building automation, which each have their own requirements. The Fairhair Alliance brings together the relevant expertise from the lighting, building automation and IT industries.

Breaking down barriers

Building services such as lighting control and building automation lack a common IP network infrastructure for their resource-constrained devices e.g. sensors, lamps, luminaires, thermostats and dimmers. This means that multiple networks have to be installed and maintained, which is costly and time consuming. Also, large and expensive gateways are typically required for interoperation across service domains.

A common IP-based network infrastructure is an enabler for implementing the IoT in buildings, offering many possibilities for building-service optimization.

But companies from a single building-service domain cannot break down the cross-domain barriers by themselves. It requires a concerted effort, with companies working together and making common IT technology choices. This is where the Fairhair Alliance comes in.

Existing eco-systems

Several organizations – notably BACnet, KNX and ZigBee – have established application-layer protocols and eco-systems. However, Fairhair believes that a separate entity is required to establish common system services that can help these eco-systems to transition to the IoT.

Differentiating on common system services by a single vendor or eco-system is not sustainable, and will hamper overall market development. Similarly, defining these common system services in the scope of a single eco-system will restrict the ability for adoption by other eco-systems:

  • Due to fit or mismatch with technical solution approach
  • Due to branding considerations
  • Due to intellectual property and ownership considerations

Fairhair will define a set of common system services that are independent of the data models used by these eco-systems.

Benefits of Fairhair

 Members of the Fairhair Alliance contribute the necessary state-of-the-art expertise related to building automation, lighting control and the Internet of Things.

 Fairhair is positioned as a neutral entity. It is a global alliance, so is not focused on or limited to regional solutions.

 Liaisons have been established with each of the major eco-systems –BACnet, KNX and ZigBee – to facilitate cooperation. Fairhair members have steering positions within these eco-systems.

 By facilitating the IoT in buildings, Fairhair will enable BA&LC companies to focus on their core businesses without concerns about IT infrastructure, security and compatibility issues.

 Establishing a common IT infrastructure for BA&LC makes it much easier for end users to monitor building utilisation, energy usage, air quality and other factors.

 A common IT infrastructure also helps to avoid the additional time and cost involved in implementing and maintaining multiple networks. Lack of interoperability and integration challenges are also avoided.