I know that I’m early in posting anything about Tridium’s latest version of Niagara which they’re calling Niagara 4 or simply N4. The software’s release date is too recent for there to be significant field results, but an early peak at the new software and platform looks promising. The system, built on the success of the proven Niagara AX platform, finally moves to HTML5 and offers significant enhancements.

Tridium’s premise when they created Niagara was to deliver an open system that enabled connections to and between existing building systems. Niagara AX enhanced that functionality with significant improvements in capacity, application engineering toolsets and user interface. N4 is more than a graphic upgrade to AX. It promises new functionality that should make it much easier to deliver intelligent building solutions that enable operators to optimize the performance of their buildings.

To me, the highlight of the system is the integration of meta-tags into several critical areas. Meta tags are “names” applied to the parts of a software system. In N4, tags can be used to create graphics, reports and fault diagnostics. Niagara tags aren’t new; add-in tagging functionality for AX has been around for years. N4 has not only added support for tagging, the tags are integral to system navigation, a new search function and graphics templates.

One of the best features of N4 tags is the tag dictionary service. This feature allows the import of established tags or the creation of custom tags. Haystack tags are standard in N4! Project Haystack is an open source initiative that has created a standard set of tags that describe building systems. A system that’s correctly configured with Haystack tags can be easily configured for fault diagnostic tools such as Skyspark or graphics tools like J2Finn.

I’m excited about the prospects of N4. Let’s hope it delivers.