ECS gains remote access to all its building-management systems via a single solution

MAKING THE CONNECTION – SECOMEA PROVIDES BMS COMPANY WITH SECURE REMOTE ACCESS

Efficient buildings rely on integrated controls – a building-management system (BMS) – to keep systems working in harmony and to cut energy consumption to the minimum. One BMS provider wanted to do more for its customers: to log into its control panels remotely for faster responses and speedier problem-solving. So ECS Power & Control turned to Secomea for help. With SiteManager installed in every BMS, ECS can now check and manage the performance of its entire portfolio through a single, secure and easy-to-install solution.

 

The challenge:
COULD A PROVIDER OF CONTROL PANELS AND BUILDING-MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS OFFER A FASTER AND MORE EFFICIENT SUPPORT SERVICE?

ECS Power & Control is a designer, manufacturer, and maintainer of control panels and control systems primarily for HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems. ECS’s control panels are at the heart of building-management systems (BMSs) within a wide range of settings, including universities, hospitals, and industrial and commercial organizations. A BMS installed by ECS keeps a building running comfortably and efficiently, day and night, which is why ECS offers its customers 24/7 support.

However, that type of support service is essentially reactive. If something goes wrong, the customer contacts ECS, which then sends out an engineer to investigate. With better tools, ECS could assess the situation before it sends out an engineer – and possibly fix things remotely.

“SiteManager has transformed the way we support our customers. We make fewer site visits because we now fix many minor faults from a desk in our own offices, which means we’re fixing problems faster and without the cost of travel or the hassle of gaining access to installations in locked rooms. Commissioning of new installations is easier too because we can support our onsite teams remotely. And there are no security issues to worry about because the entire Secomea system is certified according to IEC62443 security standards„

– Peter Clarke, General Manager at ECS Power & Control Ltd.

The solution:
ONE SITEMANAGER IN EACH LOCATION PROVIDES SECURE ACCESS TO A SITE-WIDE BMS

ECS was already experimenting with remote access before it got in touch with Secomea. But the tools it was using – remote desktop protocols and virtual private networks – were disparate and time-consuming, and each had its own unique set of login credentials.

Nevertheless, ECS knew that remote access was the key to faster service for its customers and a more efficient operation for its own team. What the company lacked was a simple, time-saving tool to turn its vision of lightning-fast customer service into reality.

That tool turned out to be SiteManager, the leading industrial IoT gateway. All ECS had to do was install a single SiteManager unit in each location that it supports, and it would have a secure gateway to the entire BMS within that location. Even better, the Secomea solution gives ECS one centralized tool for making remote connections to all its customers. The GateManager technology enables ECS to combine all remote maintenance operations within a single solution.

Despite the simplicity of the connection, the security protocols governing GateManager and SiteManager are rigorous. The Secomea Solution is among the only remote-access solutions in the world to be certified to IEC62443 security standards.

The result:
EASIER BMS COMMISSIONING, FASTER RESPONSES, FEWER SITE VISITS, AND THE POTENTIAL FOR 24/7 LIVE MONITORING

Site commissioning and subsequent support from ECS are now faster and more efficient. With SiteManager in place, ECS can remotely diagnose and resolve programming bugs, commission front-end graphical systems, and check that newly installed control systems are operating correctly. Should a fault arise at any point thereafter, ECS can check to see if the issue is BMS-related and, if so, whether it requires a site visit or not. In many cases ECS can fix the fault remotely.

ECS engineers and support teams are now working in greater comfort because GateManager is accessible from anywhere. Ease of access doesn’t, however, come at the expense of security. ECS’s customers know that their connections are secure because ECS issues each one with a full set of security certifications.

SiteManager has opened up new possibilities for ECS as it prepares to offer the ultimate in 24/7 support. The next step is to enable a feature within SiteManager that would let ECS monitor its installations continuously. With an always-on SiteManager connection, ECS could monitor BMS performance 24/7, and react as soon as performance crosses any pre-defined threshold. Round-the-clock monitoring would allow ECS to be as deeply immersed in the efficient operation of the buildings it supports as its on-site control systems are.

ABOUT ECS POWER & CONTROL LTD

ECS Power & Control is a designer, manufacturer, and maintainer of control panels and control systems primarily for HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems. ECS’s control panels are at the heart of building-management systems (BMSs) within a wide range of settings, including universities, hospitals, and industrial and commercial organizations. A BMS installed by ECS keeps a building running comfortably and efficiently, day and night, which is why ECS offers its customers 24/7 support.

ECS directly employs around 65 personnel. With a head office and production facility based in Norwich since 1982 and a satellite office in Cambridge since 2016.

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