Johnson Controls’ says that building automation just got easier with the launch of Facility Explorer in Europe. The company says that Facility Explorer combines the strength and reliability of the Niagara platform with the proven ease and engineering of Johnson Controls. Using Niagara enables the open integration with different building systems, making installation, configuration and commissioning faster and easier than ever before.

As an established product with more than 14 years of development behind it, the launch comes at a pivotal time for Johnson Controls as the organisation looks to strengthen its independent channel offering in Europe.

Speaking at the Niagara Forum, Jason Sawyer, senior product manager – BAS for Johnson Controls, said: “We’re really excited to be able to introduce Facility Explorer to the system integrator network here in Europe. Johnson Controls is all about buildings today; we’ve divested our automotive business and power solutions and recently merged with Tyco, so we’re 100% into the building market.”

“As part of the development of Facility Explorer, we’ve partnered with Cisco; this allows us to use their MRP ring technology which is industry leading. We can have up to 100 controllers on a single loop, where some of the other technologies are limited to around 16 devices.”

“We’re just releasing a new generation of MSTP controllers with more processing power and new features like the background download, which avoids needing to reset the controller once a new program is loaded into the controller. And, we’ve got new sensors coming out with CO2 built in besides Temperature, Humidity and Presence Detection, which is unique to us. We’re constantly introducing new products into the market.”

“We hope that System Integrators are going to be as excited about Facility Explorer as we are. It’s a new offering, something they haven’t seen yet on the market; it’s a really solid product that will allow them to differentiate themselves. We understand that the labour in this market is hard to come by and retain, so we’ve automated a lot of the more mundane tasks to allow businesses to better utilise their existing resources and introduced a lot of Productivity Tools, which really make Facility Explorer unique.”

Facility Explorer’s productivity tools include:

  • FX Appliances – a selection of productivity tools and wizards that allow System Integrators to create their system configuration database in minutes in the comfort of their office before setting foot on a job. Just a few of these tools include:
  • Station Wizard – quickly prepares stations with check-box interface
  • Project File – time-saving tool that lays out an entire job on a spreadsheet, defining the different controllers and the spaces they serve, as well as attaching the application files that go with the controllers
  • Auto-Tagging – specially developed tag-library and software tool that automatically deploys tag information
  • Schedule Manager – centrally organises system schedules in one easy-to-use interface.
  • Controller Configuration Tool – provides an interface to simulate, commission and customise any application parameters and transfer files to Facility Explorer programmable controllers.
  • Selection Navigation – due to launch early 2020, a secure, cloud-based tool that allows System Integrators to estimate and engineer a project much faster – information can be downloaded at a click of a button.

Jason added: “At Johnson Controls we pride ourselves on the unrivalled support we provide our customers with. We do a lot of hands on training and accompany BMS engineers on their first jobs to support them more closely. We offer 24-hour technical support, forums where customers can share their questions and a comprehensive range of training videos and application guides. Ultimately we want our system integrator partners to be successful and ensure the reputation of our Facility Explorer brand.”