Robust, wireless I/O is now suitable for everyday BMS applications. Find out how your organisation can add 30-40% profit to its bottom line and achieve competitive advantage.

Why Wireless?

There are many misconceptions surrounding the use of wireless IO, namely that it’s too expensive and is only robust enough for use in niche applications. This post looks to dispel the myths and explain why wireless I/O is not only affordable, but gaining in popularity is mainstream applications such as retail stores.

In the past…

Wireless technology was been used sparingly for either niche applications or in small volumes – a room sensor here or there for example. These days, things are very different: Our wireless technology is now so robust, that it’s completely reliable for use in a 100% wireless capacity and is live in this capacity in over 5,500 buildings throughout the UK.

The future’s bright. The future’s wireless…

WEMS’s wireless I/O is proven to deliver very significant additional profit margin to systems integration businesses. However, in order to achieve 30-40% project savings it’s going to take a change in your approach to system design. If you’re used to working with hardwired alternatives, you’ll be moving from a highly centralised I/O installation to a distributed model.

What is the difference between centralised wired I/O and distributed wireless I/O?

A highly centralised I/O system is characterised by concentrated I/O hardware in a single area, with network or hard-wired connections extending from that location to the controlled plant. In contrast, a highly distributed I/O system has the I/O hardware distributed across many operational and physical areas, often adjacent to the plant they’re controlling with localised network or hard-wired connections extending from these remote locations to the plant itself.

Which route offers the best project outcome?

In reality, many systems are not completely centralised or distributed in terms of either I/O or control. While the control design imposes some limits on the degree in which it is possible to centralise or distribute I/O systems, expert system designers will be able to strike the right balance by combining the best of both worlds.

For many system designers, this will require a change in mindset when surveying sites. Rather than seeking to connect all plant centrally (which in turn impacts on increased  labour costs), their priority is to identify labour savings made possible by using distributed I/O throughout the project. it’s only by combining the two, that you can achieve an optimum system for both the client and yourself.

Isn’t wireless more expensive than wired I/O?

Although the cost of the hardware for wireless I/O may be a little more expensive than their wired counterparts, the labour savings for installation are such that total job costs come in significantly cheaper. Once the number of cables runs become apparent and any difficult terrain or material (for example asbestos) have been overcome, the labour cost on the project could be cheaper. Typically, our wireless I/O can contribute to project savings of around 25-30% (in comparison to hardwired alternatives).

The cabling/labour cost isn’t the only benefit; wireless installation also causes less noise, less mess, less disruption, usually requires no out-of-hours working and greatly reduces the chance of running into asbestos.

 Using wireless I/O to intelligently plan your projects could provide a huge competitive advantage to your business. Not only does it allow you to be more competitive on price, but due to a reduced install time you can complete more jobs in a calendar year. Across an estate of retail outlets, for example, this has the potential to deliver considerable savings for both client and integrator.

Give me a real-life example

At a mid-sized high street store in Essex, two quotes were provided by BMS and energy management system integrator Aimteq, one based on a hard-wired system and another based on distributed wireless technology (WEMS wireless I/O) – both systems featured Tridium Niagara head-ends. Although the equipment costs were more expensive for the wireless system, this soon paled into insignificance when adding up the labour costs.

For the wireless system, third party installation along with labour costs for project management and engineering worked out to be some 52% less than the equivalent system based on hard-wired technology. The latter would demand around 10 days on site, as well two extra days for the engineering process, and longer commissioning time. Conversely, the wireless system would only necessitate five days on site. Clearly, this is a result of simpler system configuration in terms of wiring runs, connections and modifications to the fabric of the building.

As a result, the total cost of the wired system for this particular store amounted to £15,796.60, whereas the total cost of the wireless system was £11,505.90, giving the customer an impressive 27% saving. What’s more, as the store is part of a nationwide chain, the potential savings for the business as a whole are enormous.

Is wireless technology sufficiently robust?

Yes, the days of wireless I/O only being suitable for niche applications are long gone. Furthermore, even though modern wireless I/O modules are industrial grade, today’s robust wireless solutions are much more than the sum of their individual parts; they are the result of innovative integration with consideration given to every aspect of the overall system.

Is wireless always the best option?

Not always. There are times when mixing hard-wired systems with wireless solutions offers the best value. Understanding when this applies is a vital role of the technology supplier and system integrator.

Does it integrate with other systems?

Yes, it does. The WEMS I/O system has been designed to work as a standalone BEMS or can be connected to other systems, including Trend, Niagara, Schneider, Cylon, Johnson Controls and Honeywell via our BACnet Gateway.

Are there any other advantages for end users?

The ease with which a wireless system can be installed means less disruption for both staff and customers at retail outlets, warehouses, depots, museums, historic buildings and so on. Furthermore, should the facility expand at any time in the future, ease of system scalability can be very beneficial. Likewise, if a customer chooses to change premises, our wireless I/O is completely portable. It can move with the client, be re-installed and re-commissioned to work within their new building.

What are the advantages for system integrators?

The simplicity of wireless systems means that system integrators are able to complete around 30% more installations on average in comparison with installing hard-wired systems, thus enabling the business to take on more work, generate additional revenue and stimulate growth.

Further benefits include the potential to spend less time on site and reduce out-of-hours working. Needless to say, the ability to avoid any potential contact with asbestos is also highly desirable.

The simplicity of wireless systems means that system integrators are able to complete around 30% more installations on average in comparison with installing hard-wired systems


I’ve got a project where this would be great, can you help?

Of course we can. If you have a project that you would like some advice on (whether it’s UK or internationally), we’re more than happy to chat. We can provide a free telephone consultation or perhaps even a site visit in order to assess how our products could fit into your proposed system. To get in touch email or call directly on +44(0)7545930196 or call the office on +44(0)161 694 0115.

Download our product brochure to view our full product range, including wireless I/O, sensors and accessories.

Product Brochure - WEMS Wireless I/O and Sensors

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Designed and manufactured in the UK

Proudly designed & manufactured in the United Kingdom | BACnet® is a Registered Trademark of ASHRAE | WEMS Limited© | Registered in England. Company No. 09727151 | WEE Reg: WEE/AA1747YV

Designed and manufactured in the UK

Proudly designed & manufactured in the United Kingdom | BACnet® is a Registered Trademark of ASHRAE | WEMS Limited© | Registered in England. Company No. 09727151 | WEE Reg: WEE/AA1747YV