2012 is going to be a very special year for The S4 Group. This year marks the 10-year anniversary and we are taking what we have learned about customers’ needs and wants from their building automation systems and enhancing our products to help them realize their expectations. The trend towards convergence of traditional BAS technologies with industrial automation and process control technologies is accelerating. You’ll see a number of our products accommodating this convergence.
The S4Group has always taken customer input and requests into consideration when designing the next iteration of S4 Open Products. That’s not about to change. One of the things that will change is the speed at which new products can be introduced because of the solid framework around which the current products have been developed. The New Year will usher in new products that take the company beyond the phase of having primarily a Metasys® integration product focus. New products will continue in the open technology mission the company has embraced since its inception.
The S4 Group, Inc. will reach another major milestone with the release of the S4 Open: BACnet – EnOcean gateway which marks a major investment into wireless building technology and an application of our expertise to leading edge BAS technology instead of our historic focus on legacy systems. It also allows the company to be a player in the new building construction marketplace as well as the legacy building retrofit and upgrade area where we have always been a strong niche player.
In order to lay the foundation for this product the S4 Group, Inc. has been very active in the EnOcean Alliance, BACnet International, and the BACnet Wireless Working Group helping to define the relationships between BACnet and wireless protocols.
We will be participating in the EnOcean Alliance activities at the AHR Expo in Chicago and would like to meet with as many integrators and building owners as possible at the show. We will also be sharing a booth with the EnOcean Alliance at the NFMT show in Baltimore and our goal is to have a fully tested product at that point.
As the company continues with development and support for the current technology we are planning to release major revisions to Obermeier Software’s OPC server and agent products which will introduce support for MODBUS, PROFInet and PROFIbus. We are also offering BACnet servers for each of these protocols as well as for OPC and SNMP. Testing for these new products is already underway and we are seeing good initial results. The code behind these new protocol implementations conforms to the protocol plug-in specification developed for our S4 Open appliances. This means that our promise of interoperability of protocol plug-ins between our S4 Open appliances and the Obermeier Software products is now a reality.
Major enhancements will continue to be made to the S4 Open Appliances. The most significant will be the ability for each N2 Device to be published as its own virtual BACnet device. This feature is being tested in the BACnet servers mentioned above and will rapidly migrate into the BACnet-N2 Router. Other significant enhancements in the works include the ability to run Metasys® configuration and commissioning utilities in “passthrough” mode from any Windows PC on your network.
As The S4Group, Inc. enters its 10th year of operations; it will expand its leadership role in the industry and increase visibility in industry publications, associations, and standards groups. You’ll see an increased emphasis on quality assurance and multiple initiatives to make sure that we effectively reach out to our Integration Partners, Distributers, and their customers to make sure that we build upon the success we have seen these last 10 years.