Al Rayyan Stadium: World Class Power Management With Network Connections Via MSA’s EZ Gateway

October 26, 2020
Richard Theron

Popularly known as Al Rayyan Stadium, this multipurpose complex in Qatar will be the site of the 2022 FIFA World Cup soccer matches. The stadium is currently home to the Al-Rayyan Sports Club and the Al-Kharitiyath Sports Club.

Originally built in 2003, the stadium had a seating capacity of 21,282, but will be expanded to 40,000 for the upcoming global soccer championship series. The planned renovation includes a huge media information façade with a membrane that will act as a screen for projections, news, commercials, sports updates, current tournament information and matches.

The Challenges

Located on the edge of the desert, preserving nature has long been a priority in Al Rayyan – and this arena fits the model perfectly as one of Qatar’s most traditional cities. Every part of the stadium district has been designed with environmental sustainability in mind.

Construction at the site in preparation for the World Cup event has been ongoing since the beginning of 2016. After the 2022 FIFA World Cup has come to a close, Qatar plans to remove almost half of the stadium’s 40,000 modular seats and give them to football development projects abroad.

The stadium’s Building Management System (BMS) features a sophisticated Honeywell Building Automation System (BMS).  The BMS includes the capability to monitor and manage power equipment located throughout the facility supporting the diverse range of critical infrastructure necessary to assure its complex operations for the safety and comfort of the guests and athletic teams.

Like all major stadium and entertainment complexes, Al Rayyan will require large amounts of electric power to operate at its new seating capacity.  Managing power to operate everything efficiently from entrance security systems to HVAC in stadium boxes, field lights and team locker rooms, to food and beverage areas to scoreboards, restrooms, informational displays and much more, is a huge potential cost.

In addition to reducing those utility costs, managing power efficiently is increasingly important and consistent with the stadium’s environmental sustainability initiatives.  Around the globe, building managers and operators are increasingly aware of the environmental carbon footprint and impact of the facilities they run on a wide range of pollution issues, including climate change, water quality and solid waste management.

The Solutions

To manage electrical power consumption and assure power quality for efficient power distribution throughout the stadium, dozens of Socomec Power Monitoring Meters were installed at the facility and connected to the BMS’s automation system.  These panel-mounted power monitoring devices are used to report electrical parameters to the automation system, such as the equipment voltage, current, energy use and power quality of the entire electrical system.  Their role is critical in terms of balancing equipment performance while also assuring power quality and efficiency.

Due to the stadium’s scale and array of automated equipment and systems, communications networking of the many, many devices also becomes a challenge for the BMS.  In addition the expansion and/or retrofitting of large stadiums, buildings, retail complexes, institutional facilities and industrial process or manufacturing plants, requires system integrator engineers to address the complexities of devices potentially operating on a mix of multiple legacy and current network automation communication protocols that are generally not all compatible.

Rather than retrofit all the installed and new equipment with a single matching communications bus, which would be prohibitively expensive, system integrators and automation system equipment suppliers turn to a network gateway solution that can accommodate the various communication protocols. The MSA FieldServer EZ Gateway was chosen for this role at Al Rayyan Stadium because of its ease of implementation, reliability and simplified commissioning.

The EZ Gateway Modbus to BACnet (FS-EZX-MOD-BAC) is an easy-to-use, high-performance building and industrial automation protocol gateway for integrators to interface Modbus devices, such as power meters, flow meters, and other Modbus-based controllers, to BACnet networks in commercial buildings, campuses, and industrial facilities. The EZ Gateway supports up to 1000 data points and can connect the various flavors of Modbus to BACnet, including: Modbus RTU, Modbus TCP/IP, BACnet/IP and BACnet MS/TP.

At Al Rayyan Stadium, up to 25 Power Monitoring Meters operating over the Modbus protocol were connected to each EZ Gateway for management over the BMS BACnet system.  The EZ Gateway collects 15 power management data points from each meter.    The BMS system uses the power data for graphic display and reports as part of its energy management program.


The system engineers responsible for the project appreciated that the EZ Gateway solution allowed them to copy the meter’s profile once and transfer it quickly to the other EZ Gateways to make the commissioning as easy as possible. With the EZ Gateway, an integrator or contractor does not need to be a protocol expert to connect any Modbus device to a BACnet system using either BACnet protocol.

Based on a long-standing association with Modbus, MSA consistently implements the latest Modbus innovations on its FieldServer protocol gateways and tests them thoroughly for interoperability. With tested Modbus features like bit extracting, 32-bit float/integer support and scaling, the EZ Gateway’s Modbus-to-BACnet interface works with virtually any Modbus device right out of the box.

The EZ Gateway Modbus to BACnet configuration features two RS-485 ports, enabling connection for fewer devices per port, which improves response time. With two RS-485 ports, up to 64 Modbus RTU devices can be connected to the EZ Gateway without the need of adding a repeater to the RS-485 network. Compared to single-port gateways, the dual-port EZ Gateway can reduce the cost of device connectivity or double the speed of connected devices.

This success story was recently featured by BACnet International.

Richard Theron
Richard Theron is the product line manager for FieldServer at MSA, where he works intimately with companies in the building automation, industrial automation, energy management and life safety markets to help them cloud-enable their equipment.

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