BMS and smoke ventilation systems: what are controls protocols?

Posted by Conor Logan on 18/08/15 11:30

Part 1 - Selecting the right solution to control smoke ventilation systems


As a property owner or developer, when you have to select the best solution to control your building’s smoke ventilation system, you will most likely encounter the debate about the pros and cons of open and closed control protocols. This is the first in a series of articles that I hope will help you navigate the bewildering amount of information that is available on the subject.

I will start with the basics: what is a protocol and what does it mean when we say it is open or closed. 

Protocol: to put it simply, this term describes the language that components on a network use to communicate with the central control panel.

Open protocol: this is when different manufacturers use the same language, so that their devices and control panels are effectively interchangeable.

Closed Protocol: this is when the manufacturer produces all the devices and control panels for the complete network, creating a stand-alone system where there is no compatibility with any other manufacturer’s components.

You can find a more detailed explanation in this excellent Whitepaper from Apollo Fire that describes the available protocols and explores the pros and cons of each.

Article 2: Reducing complexity in smoke ventilation systems controls.

Article 3: What the control system must deliver.

Conor Logan Conor Logan is a Technical Manager of Colt UK, Smoke and Climate Control Division. Conor designs innovative smoke control and HVAC systems and is also Chairman of the Smoke Control Association.

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Topics: Smoke Control, Smoke ventilation, Controls