AX to N4 upgrades across a diverse campus

STANFORD UNIVERSITY

Project state: 2018

Completion date: Complete

Location: Palo Alto, California

Goals: Niagara 4 upgrades, modern graphics, cybersecurity, unified user interface

Technologies: Niagara 4, BACnet, HTML5

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Buildings IOT completes Niagara 4 upgrades for 17 campus buildings and laboratory spaces without interruption to campus life

When Stanford University wanted to migrate from Niagara AX to N4 at specific buildings across their campus, they hired Buildings IOT for our experience in the field. Starting with their least-risk buildings on campus and working our way through some of their most complex and prestigious spaces, we completed upgrades in all 17 of the pre-selected buildings within the allotted timeframe and to great client satisfaction.

Each building served a different purpose on the campus, from a library to the math department and performing arts center to the jet propulsion laboratory and the linear accelerator center. Existing protocols included a wide variety of BACnet, Modbus and Lon as well as direct Niagara I/O control. Our integration team established a pre-launch testing system where we stood up the sites in an offline, low risk mode before deploying them at the University.

Throughout the project, we coordinated closely with all stakeholders involved at each building to complete site walks, evaluate existing conditions, install hardware, program on-site and develop graphics off-site. We worked across the campus in zones established by the client, taking from two to six weeks to integrate each zone, depending on the size.

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Goals

  • Anticipating Niagara AX end of life, Stanford wanted to be on a long-term supported platform, Niagara 4.
  • With older software comes outdated security. A big goal of the upgrade was to bring BMS systems in line with university-wide cybersecurity efforts.
  • The University wanted to take advantage of the advanced features in the new software, including single-sign-on and HTML 5.

Challenges

  • All upgrades needed to be accomplished with minimal interruption to the stakeholders and constituents of each building.
  • Each building brought its own specific and unique conditions to consider when reconfiguring the BMS, for example the humidity levels in the performing arts center.
  • Due to the sensitive nature of some of the laboratory spaces, physical access to the buildings required special clearance and certain allowances for sensitive areas, like in the clean room at the jet propulsion laboratory.

Successes

  • The collaborative and phased project approach led to on time and in budget project delivery and the client was extremely happy with the whole process.
  • Each of the 17 buildings is now running the latest version of Niagara and has been for over a year.
  • Our integration team developed a testing protocol to ensure the software was configured correctly before it was dispatched for live implementation, which limited the amount of time needed on-site or for call-backs.

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