Methods of Integration

The Siemens Apogee system is a complex system which has evolved over the past 30 years.  There are several options when it comes to integration into a 3rd party system.

Some of the integration methods link into a specific physical layer of the Apogee architecture (P1 is a common choice) while others rely on integration options offered by Siemens themselves such as the BACnet server running on the Insight PC.

Each of these methods has its own advantages and disadvantages.  Below we discuss the most common non Siemens methods of integration.

1 HMI to BACnet gateway (terminal emulation)

This is the oldest and most common integration method.  Each panel has a serial port connection which on legacy equipment is called the MMI but was renamed to HMI for political correctness one would assume.  (MMI = Man Machine Interface)

The HMI is a console like interface which is keystroke driven.   This method of integration relies on a program to "type" commands to the HMI and poll for system point values and to command points to new values etc.

The newer Siemens panels with ethernet connections support the same console interface via telnet.

Advantages:  Very simple (cheap) to write software interface.  Gives access to all panel and TEC points on the local BLN network.

Disadvantages: Very (very) slow on large systems.

2 P1 to BACnet gateway

The P1 to BACnet gateway replaces each panel in the system and controls the P1 communications.  The P1 protocol is a (M)aster (S)lave design and the gateway takes on the (M)aster role polling each connected TEC device in turn.  This is the same design as BACnet MSTP.

Advantages: Fast (low latency) and with auto discovery, easy to engineer.

Disadvantages: None of the panel system data is integrated.  Also the TEC management code such as ON / OFF schedules will need to be created on the new system which adds costs and engineering time.

3 P2 to BACnet gateway

The P2 protocol is a token passing (peer network) protocol.  This means that a gateway can be added to the P2 BLN network without removing / replacing the panel as was the case with the P1 network.

Advantages: Fast (low latency) and with auto discovery, easy to engineer.

Disadvantages: Very difficult (expensive) to write software capable of P2 network communications.