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Building automation systems (BAS) provide automatic control of the conditions of indoor environments. The historical root and still core domain of BAS is the automation of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems in large functional buildings. Their primary goal is to realize significant savings in energy and reduce cost. Yet the reach of BAS has extended to include information from all kinds of building systems, working toward the goal of "intelligent buildings". Since these systems are diverse by tradition, integration issues are of particular importance. When compared with the field of industrial automation, building automation exhibits specific, differing characteristics. The present paper introduces the task of building automation and the systems and communications infrastructure necessary to address it. Basic requirements are covered as well as standard application models and typical services. An overview of relevant standards is given, including BACnet, LonWorks and EIB/KNX as open systems of key significance in the building automation domain.