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  Technical Resources

Articles, information,
guidelines, specifications,
and downloadable files for
LonMark Members, and the
entire LonWorks® community.


I’m new to the world of LonMark.  What makes it so important?
From the beginning, LonMark branding has been about differentiating products built in the spirit of interoperability from others: about separating the wheat from the chaff.  In this vein, defining new rules and a structure for interoperation allowed for competing manufacturers to sit down at a neutral table and design for the betterment of their industry.  Though a monumental task, it was fueled by the desire to grow the market from a level playing field—irrespective of company size and market dominance.

“LonMark Task Groups” were formed to allow experts to focus on the vertical markets for which they could contribute the most: building automation, lighting, security, homes, transportation; right down to specific applications like sunblind control.  It was the goal of the groups to accomplish interoperability by profiling the interfaces to a device’s functions at the exchange level—leaving the definition of algorithms and processes to each manufacturer. The result: “functional profiles” that allow for modular implementation with the assurance of being able to connect data points in a logical, meaningful way regardless of manufacturer.

How was it done?
By defining the “dictionary and encyclopedia of control networking.”  For example, the technical components of LonMark communications can be compared to a human language like English; where without context, a person may have difficulty conveying their thoughts to another person:

Letters/Sounds = a, b, c
Words = dog, cat, bonnet
Dictionary = bonnet: engine hood of automobile
Sentences = “Lift the bonnet.”
Context = “…to put oil in the engine” – Manual for Car Repairs
Bits/Bytes = 0xFF, 1111 1111, 256
Basic Types = char, unsigned long
SNVTs/SCPTs = SNVT_temp_p: temperature by 1/100° Celsius
NVs/CPs = “nvoTemp”
Profiles = “…present temperature of the room” – Thermostat Functional Profile

Just as a bonnet is the term for an automobile hood, it can also be a metal cover for a fireplace, a hat for a baby, or a cap for a man.  Without a common, singularly defined dictionary, there is no common definition.  Likewise with temperature data, it must be defined in a common resolution and units—like Celsius to 100th of a degree, for commercial and residential heating systems.

Is that enough?
Not really. In a thermostat, there are several points of temperature data.  To know which is which, sentences must be given context, and data points must be given templates that define their context: functional profiles—the little encyclopedias of a device’s interoperable interface.  Certification to the LonMark Interoperability Guidelines ensures use of LonMark functional profiles in the development of interoperable devices.  This has been the cornerstone of LonMark for more than a decade.

What’s next?
Our technical reach doesn’t stop at Certification of Devices: we have taken things an extra step and have been qualifying people for many years.  We believe this expanded direction gives building owners and specifiers more confidence in the concept of “open” control-systems maintenance and the longevity of their investments—again, separating the wheat.  Further, we also have the Certified System Integrator program for companies employing LonMark Certified Professionals

We hope you now have a little better understanding of our role in the industries that interest you, we welcome you to browse our Technical Resources section to experience where we have been and where we are going, and we invite you to come along for the ride.

- LonMark

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  From Our Members



The foundation for the disciplined application of LonWorks is the existence and availability of communications Standards that make product interoperability viable, and LonMark delivers these Standards.

– Terrence R. Reynolds, PE, CEM
Partner, Vice President
Control Technologies Inc.

More Member Testimonials