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EMAIL INTERVIEW - Steve Jones and Ken Sinclair
Steve Jones, Founder and Managing Partner
The S4 Group Inc
10 years development in the building automation integration arena
2012 is a special year to The S4 Group Inc. it marks 10 years of innovative product development in the building automation integration arena. The company was founded with the mission to create technology that opens up historically proprietary environments, extending their useful life, and enhancing their functionality through the addition of open technologies.
Sinclair: Steve, what does 2012 hold for The S4 Group?
Jones: 2012 is going to be a very special year for The S4 Group. It is our 10 year anniversary and we are taking what we have learned about customers’ needs and wants from their building automation systems and enhancing our products to help them realize their expectations. The trend towards convergence of traditional BAS technologies with industrial automation and process control technologies is accelerating. You’ll see a number of our products accommodating this convergence.
Sinclair: How do you feel about reaching the 10 year mark and how are you using that information to make better products?
Jones: We are proud of the fact that The S4Group has always taken customer input and requests into consideration when designing the next iteration of S4 Open Products. That’s not about to change. One of the things that will change is the speed at which we can introduce new products because of the solid framework around which we have developed our current products.
Sinclair: Do you have some specific examples?
Jones: The New Year will usher in new products that take the company
beyond the phase of having primarily a MetasysŪ integration product
focus. New products will continue in the open technology mission the
company has embraced since its inception.
Sinclair: In addition to enhancing your standard products, are you designing/releasing products that address new technology?
Jones: We will reach another major milestone with the release of the S4 Open: BACnet – EnOcean gateway which marks a major investment into wireless building technology and an application of our expertise to leading edge BAS technology instead of our historic focus on legacy systems. It also makes us a player in the new building construction marketplace as well as the legacy building retrofit and upgrade area where we have always been a strong niche player.
Sinclair: How did you enter this new arena?
Jones: In order to lay the foundation for this product we have been very active in the EnOcean Alliance, BACnet International, and the BACnet Wireless Working Group helping to define the relationships between BACnet and wireless protocols.
Sinclair: Did you participate in the AHR Expo last month or at other meetings/tradeshows to showcase this new product?
participated in the activities at the EnOcean Alliance booth where we
met with many building owners and integrators to confirm that the
momentum around the EnOcean technology continues to expand
rapidly. As the technology becomes widely adopted, the need
for enterprise integration becomes critical.
Sinclair: Sounds great Steve, what other development efforts has The S4Group been involved with?
Jones: As the company continues with development and support for the
current technology we are planning to release major revisions to
Obermeier Software’s OPC server and agent products which will introduce
support for MODBUS, PROFInet and PROFIbus. We are also offering BACnet
servers for each of these protocols as well as for OPC and SNMP.
Testing for these new products is already underway and we are seeing
good initial results. The code behind these new protocol
implementations conforms to the protocol plug-in specification
developed for our S4 Open appliances. This means that our promise of
interoperability of protocol plug-ins between our S4 Open appliances
and the Obermeier Software products is now a reality.
Sinclair: Great news Steve, You talked about making enhancements based on
customer input, what if any enhancements are being planned for your S4
Open Products in 2012?
Sinclair: Sounds like a busy year ahead for the S4 Group; do you have any last words about the direction or goals for the new year?
Sinclair: Thank you for your time, I look forward to watching your progress and growth in the new year.
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