Award winning manufacturer of IT-based building automation.
EMAIL INTERVIEW – Shaun Klann and Ken Sinclair
Shaun Klann, Vice President of Business Development, Intelligent Buildings, LLC
Shaun Klann has over 15 years of experience exclusively dedicated to transforming the concepts of the Smart Building industry into reality. This includes the development of many of the nations largest Smart Buildings programs and most advanced guideline documentation on the topic. As recognized leader of smart, connected real estate, Shaun is a is an outspoken advocate and has been dedicated to both the advancement and the adoption of technology inside of various real estate types.
Shaun will run a conference workshop: AN INTRODUCTION TO INTELLIGENT BUILDINGS – DEFINING, PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTING A SUCCESFUL PROGRAM. He will also moderate a discussion on Cybersecurity within the Smart Commercial Buildings Conference
In your opinion for either a current or prospective Smart Building
Owner what are the one or two 'must do' projects that they should be
Klann: Well, there are some foundational elements that should always be the starting point, and these have to do with your first step which is getting access to your data. Commonly these first step efforts ensure your selected technologies are both ‘open’, by means of protocols and databases, and ‘connected’, by means of a consolidated data backbone. But with that said let's make the assumption these foundational elements are in place and that you have access to your data. In that case I would say that there are two 'must do' projects for any Smart Building Owner and they both have to do with step two, protecting your data.
Project One: Invest in a single consolidated, Smart Building Database (SBDB). While that doesn’t sound exciting or flashy it's rapidly becoming an investment that will pay for itself time and time again. More Smart Building Software solutions are moving both to the cloud, and to subscription based pricing models. This gives the building owner new flexibility in selecting the best of breed Smart Building Applications. We already know that when moving at the speed of software the best-in-class today will be outclassed by a competitor tomorrow. Embracing a software as a service model lets the owner easily swap providers as needed to maintain that best-in-class edge. However, the transition from software to software needs to be cost effective and essentially painless. This is where the SBDB comes into play. The SBDB provides a controlled environment where the the data is owned by the building, not the software provider. Furthermore, it provides data that has been normalized and formatted for easy consumption by any third party Smart Building software application. This is essential to make that transition from software A to software B both cost effective and relatively painless.
Project Two: Secure your data and your systems. All current day networked building systems and the aforementioned trend of moving data to the cloud have real cyber risks. This can materialize from your third party support contractors, software providers, or even internal threats. Each building owner regardless if the building is ’Smart’ or not should have a building system cyber security policy and remediation process in place. Therefore we strongly encourage all building owners to develop and implement a project that first evaluates your current building system cyber risks and vulnerabilities followed by the development of internal governance processes to both remediate and mitigate these risks.
Sinclair: Does a Smart Building Database provide an owner with operational savings in the way that other Smart Building attributes impact energy or sustainability?
Klann: Good question. Most building technology projects are justified by some form of an ROI calculation. In this particular instance before you can start this calculation you first need to acknowledge and embrace the disruptive changes taking place in the facility management software marketplace. Analogous to how one might switch your online TV streaming services from Amazon to Netflix for the sole purpose of viewing ‘House of Cards’, (a Netflix exclusive program) you have to adopt that same mind set for facility management software. Who has the best Fault Detection Analytics software, who has the best chiller optimization algorithms or work order tools……. this year? If you embrace this mindset then the new software features will provide the ROI but this can only be done if there is a low cost / no cost model for switching over. This is why building owners need to first, own their data and second, have a one time investment in ‘normalizing this data’ inside of the SBDB for easy access to multiple software applications.
Sinclair: The second project you mentioned was around Cyber Security. Does this mean that Smart Buildings are at a higher risk?
Klann: No, not at all and it's a common misperception in my opinion. The fact of the matter is that any building that contains a monitoring or control system installed in the last 15-20 years is going to be networked and is going to be at the same or perhaps higher risks than that of a ‘Smart' Building. These building all have workstations, servers, networks, and in many cases outside internet connection, all that have been installed under the watchful eye of no one. In most cases a Smart Building will lower the cyber risks because a skillful design or implementation partner will employ today’s best cyber security counter measures and mitigation tactics. These measures and tactics have not been a staple of traditional design or construction practices over the last 20 years. So for this reason I would argue that a Smart Building is more secure than a traditional one.
Sinclair: Transitioning a bit, we hear a lot about the role of IOT devices inside of a Smart Building, in your opinion which one of these ‘devices’ will have the greatest impact to the sophistication of tomorrow's Smart Building.
Klann: You are right, there is a lot of talk right about IOT and how these connected devices will create incredible amounts of consumable data for Smart Building applications. On average each new IOT device will produce 5-20 consumable data points so an investment in 100 widgets will get you somewhere on average of 1,000 new data points. In my opinion, the next big THING isn’t a device at all but rather, a byproduct of our current day design tools. Modern designs produce millions to billions of data points captured inside of a BIM Model. These BIM models are invaluable during the design and construction phases of the project but historically are underutilized during the operational phase of a building's lifecycle. The next big data source isn’t going to be a light sensor or a meter but a new level of building meta data that defines in great detail the very characteristics of construction that will provide tomorrow’s Smart Building with a new level of sophistication for monitoring and control algorithms. Accomplishing this comes with its own challenges that perhaps we can dive into during our next conversation.
Sinclair: From the vantage of your firm's philosophy what make a Smart Building project or program successful.
Klann: Well it's not the technology that’s for sure. I suspect many readers won’t be surprised by that answer. Our philosophy engages the human element of technology which means addressing in parallel to the technology, the operational infrastructure such as organizational alignment, technology change management and redefined facility management policies and procedures. We call this FM Transformation, and the premise is that technology has and will change faster than organizations and working cultures can evolve to. Therefore if you want to get the most value out of your technology investment it becomes necessary to inject a catalyst to accelerate the traditionally slow evolution process. It's about revamping legacy cultures and procedures to better align with the capabilities of today's technology.
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