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February 2020
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Planning For The BAS IP Revolution

THE END HAS COME!? 

....For RS485...... For Building Automation Systems....... 

Scott Cochrane
Scott Cochrane
President, CEO
Cochrane Supply & Engineering

Contributing Editor

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Welcome to 2020!  It’s like we just woke up here and as I look around, WOW, it’s nothing like the industry I started in more than 20 years ago.  The new digitally enhanced IP experience we are working in is about to obsolete the old, and we need to start planning these changes instead of being dragged into the new technology just to keep projects and customers.     

Before we develop a plan, we first must assess our own capabilities. Here is a quick list of questions to ask yourself about your BAS company’s IP capabilities.

Integrator IT Self-Assessment:   

  1. Can you or do you work with someone that can manage IT departments effectively? 
  2. Do you know the key components required to set up a stand-alone, managed IP network?
  3. Can you self-manage or host a customized cloud solution on a network for your customer?
  4. Do you understand how to cyber protect a building control system?
  5. Do you have a company policy for setting up or accepting remote IP communications to a building control system?

Okay, so you're not an IP expert—neither am I, so what do you do?  Here are some planning ideas for you to consider:

          1. Hire or Partner with an IT expert.  Yes, they are out there. They come from all sorts of educational and work backgrounds and here are some of the IT fields to consider:
          1. Introduce IP Pilot Projects.   This is where you partner with your customer, pick a small-scale application and start installing IP controls instead of 485 to deliver a new, improved experience for your customer or maybe even the occupants within.  As you go down the rabbit hole, questions and answers will come up and with it you can teach yourself what it's all about.  Our BAS manufacturers, along with distributors like myself, have support for you, so don’t be afraid to ask a dumb question—there is no such thing in this Google world we live in.  Pilot projects bring you closer to your customer and the accomplishments can develop successful relationships.  Now is the time to talk to your customers as there are many building owners struggling with good ways to introduce better technology into their buildings.  
          1. Organic Business Development - GO FOR IT!!!!!  Make the right turn decision to go forward with IP, start estimating every opportunity with IP controls, assess your team and add or train the appropriate resources. Get some IP work to gain experience as soon as possible and keep going even if it's hard to do.... I am seeing many in the industry dive in this way. They are still questioning that decision today, but I believe there is a BIG future out there for the new capabilities we will bring to the industry through the new technology we FINALLY have to utilize.

There's no time to wait. The day of IP control is here and if you don’t jump on the ship quickly, you might get lost for a very long time.......


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