Web Trick with Tridium Jace Controller

If you are always looking for ways to make something better, you sometimes have to think outside the box and use other products and services you might not otherwise come across. This is how I was able to get notifications for a JACE being offline and offer a solution to a customer's need.

Ever since I started working in the DDC Controls Industry, I have always liked the extra widgets and the flashy cool graphics. I have created custom graphics, modified existing graphics, and played around with a lot of different widgets and apps. So when I saw that Mike Arnott at Kors Engineering created an object that allowed you to send data from a Tridium JACE Controller out to the internet… I couldn’t help but get the object and start figuring out what else I could it.

This is a really old video of some steps to connecting the JACE, the object and the internet feed.

Pachube is now called Xively, which is a Platform as a Service and is dedicated to allowing developers to connect sensor derived data to the web.
The Object allows you to link any point you want to it and then you can see the current value and a little trend line that graphs the object over time. So I played around with it. At first, I couldn’t find any real reason to use the object link because if you have internet access to the website then you probably have network access to the JACE. But then…

 

JACE Communication Offline Notification

I have always looked for a way to be notified if a JACE controller is down or not communicating since it can’t notify you if it is down or if it loses its Internet connection without a 3rd party app being used.  So when I figured out that you can setup on Xively, if it hasn’t received a new value in a certain time period then send a text message or email out that the JACE is down. So I tested this out and it all worked, but it was a lot work to get it set up to push data just for this one thing.

QR Codes Link to BAS Sensor Readings

Scannable Building Automation QR Code

You can scan this QR code with your phone right off the screen and get sent directly to the webpage showing the BAS temperature of my office in Montana.

Then I figured out that the website when you were looking at the specific feed looked really nice on a smart phone. So I started thinking about what our customers or the maintenance guys at a building have to do during their normal work day. Most of them have an office and a computer but when they have to go to the mechanical room then they really have no idea what the controls system is doing. So they end up calling another maintenance guy to look on the computer or end up walking back and forth.

So that is when I thought… Well if there was an easy way to get to the website from a smartphone then they would be set. So I had to figure out an easy way to get to a website on your smartphone without having to type in the long confusing website. So I created a QR code then all you have to do is have a QR code scanner app on your smartphone scan the code and it takes you right to the website. So imagine you want to see the some temperature, you would walk over to the sensor scan the QR code sticker that has been put on the sensor and it takes you right to a website, shows you the current value and a trend of what it has been doing.

 

This widget is not something we would really sell to a customer or implement on every project, but it mainly just shows what is possible. If you take the time to check out what is out there and what cool little things other people are doing you can always change it up to make it work for you.

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