December 2009

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Demystifying Cisco’s role in the Real Estate Industry 
As we grow our role in the Intelligent Building space we do face increasing concerns and questions from the established building industry stakeholders.

Rick Huijbregts,
Vice President, Vertical Industries
Cisco Canada

David Raffetto,
Partner Business Development Manager,
Converged Building Systems Business Unit

With the launch of our Cisco Building Network Mediator and the ongoing investment in our Smart + Connected Real Estate approach, we are seeing solutions being deployed at a rapid pace around the world and the first significant Mediator installations have been completed. Please keep watching our contributions in to read up on case studies and customer success stories. 

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As we grow our role in the Intelligent Building space (read also page 6 of the inaugural RealcommEDGE), we do face increasing concerns and questions from the established building industry stakeholders. We would like to address a few of them in an effort to demystify our intention. 

Smart+Connected Real Estate is the Mediator, and the Mediator is Smart+Connected Real Estate.

Wrong. Smart+Connected Real Estate is an APPROACH that starts the transformation of the building and facilities industry. It marries technology with building related systems to drive cost out of operations, reduce energy consumption, improve environmental sustainability, provide increased safety and security for the building users, improve workforce productivity and health, and make buildings part of changing life’s experience (integrating social networking, media, etc. into the physical environments). There are many technologies that augment the built environment and can contribute to the transformation of the industry. Relevant technologies that contribute to this approach are our Digital Media product line, collaboration technologies (business video, telephony, etc.), physical security suite (IP video surveillance and access control), data center, and our converged building systems (with the Mediator) and many more. The only constant technology that makes for Smart + Connected Real Estate is the IP Network. The IP Network (with its routers, switches, fiber, wireless) is the platform over which we deliver business solutions to our collective real estate customers and drive transformation in the business of real estate and the businesses that take place in this real estate. 

The Mediator is replacing building controls and competes with the established BAS products.

Wrong. Our Mediator product is an extension to the IP Network – adding a multi protocol router to the IT infrastructure that serves as a gateway between the IT world and the BAS world. Building controls now can be managed and supported over one converged, secure, and resilient IP infrastructure that allows reduction of cost  (design, installation, maintenance and management) for the building owner – don’t we all want that? Cisco brings 25 years of networking and IP expertise into the built environment. Our partners in the BAS industry bring the expertise in building controls and facilities management. The building mediator allows to connect the two worlds so we collectively have the opportunity to provide greater value to our collective customers. The mediator simplifies the integration between different building automation systems, security systems, IT systems, but also irrigations systems, trash compactors…just to name a few of the o-so-many systems that make a building and business function. The Mediator (as part of the IP network) makes for the open exchange of information that helps improve building performance, reduce energy and improve sustainability, reduce operating cost, and transform the user experience. Combining IT, building automation, and security systems over one IP network (where the Mediator can provide the glue where needed) provides the power and efficiency that has changed businesses before us (mind you; the building industry is one of the last industries to adopt IP technology for the purpose of process optimization and transformation). With this Networked approach in building portfolio’s, the client can now easily consolidate the visibility and management of its building performance across distributed real estate assets.  

[an error occurred while processing this directive] Cisco is eating the business of BAS contractors.

Wrong. As a matter of fact, with a networked building approach (with the Mediator as part of the architecture) we provide increased business opportunities for the BAS contractors. Where traditionally BAS contractors could primarily support those control systems that they sell or install, now, we allow them to provide services across the customers portfolio – also of systems that aren’t theirs or systems that go beyond BAS. The Mediator as part of the BAS architecture increases managed services and revenue opportunities for the established contractor community. The need for BAS contractors remain…and we rather see them as partners. There is a very natural fit between our IT systems integrators and the BAS integrator community. Between the two, there is the powerful opportunity to drive extended services into the customer account while greater impacting cost, energy, and business productivity. Together, we truly can impact the business (process, productivity, health, profitability) of our customers – which each on our own can impact a lot less. Several BAS contractors already have turned into Mediator resellers, and numerous times we have seen the positive collaboration between BAS contractors and our IT and Mediator integrators. 

Everyone who can sell a Cisco technology can sell a Mediator.

Wrong. The Mediator is what we call an “Emerging Technology”. We require our resellers to have very specific certification, training and authorization to ensure the success of the deployments. This means that, today, not every IT systems integrator nor every BAS contractor can resell the technology. We primarily still rely on the partners that have long experience in selling Richards-Zeta technologies from prior the acquisition. We will open our partner program to selected new partners in the months to come. If we try to solve our customers business imperatives with creative solutions, we require a collaborative approach where we bring the right partners to the table that each do what they do best to secure the best possible results.  

For more information on the Mediator and our Smart + Connected Real Estate approach, please visit our website at and

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Recent articles and interviews regarding Cisco:

Research Viewpoints CABA Facilitates Intelligent Building Technologies in Government Buildings  Rawlson O’Neil King,  Communications Director, CABA

My Clouded Thinking Clears  The clouds are open and scalable and are my new tool set. Ken Sinclair Editor/Owner

Building Automation and the Cloud  The Cisco Network Building Mediator not only provides the technical "glue" between the facilities and IT world; but it helps enable the convergence of industries. Rick Huijbregts, Vice President, Vertical Industries Cisco Canada

Cisco's Mediator Helps Buildings Reduce Energy Use with Internet Intelligence Michael Bordenaro, BIM Education Co-op


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