January 2010


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2009, The Year Smart Grid Came To Be
Smart Grid represents an important new business vehicle that BAS players can leverage utilizing existing skills and customer base.


Anto Budiardjo
President & CEO,
Clasma Events Inc.

Contributing Editor  


We started 2009 with a great sense of the excitement and unknown. Excitement as we were clearly entering a new era, some would argue it was the beginning of the next decade, and a great sense of the unknown due to the economic and business front with a recession that some would argue was as fierce as the 1930’s depression.

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It has also become clear that the energy topic has gained significant momentum. With Green Buildings, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Resources, Demand Response and Smart Grid being some of the key areas of growth and investments.

Smart Grid became a global topic of discussion in 2009. Clasma have been organizing events in the Smart Grid space since 2005, and the interest from vendors, utilities and other players have dramatically increased in the past few months. As a metric, attendance at our events roughly doubled on average in 2009, indicating the strength of this important topic during recessionary times.

So, how does BAS fit into all of this?

When I first came across Smart Grid, it was striking how similar it was to BAS. Basically, both involve automating complex systems with sensors, automation controllers, some output device and interaction with users and enterprise level systems. The difference is that BAS is in the context of buildings, and Smart Grid is basically everything that generates or uses electricity.

Since buildings represent over 50% of electricity consumption, and that many buildings (specially large ones) already have an automation system in their BAS, buildings provide a huge opportunity for the energy industry. Effective Smart Grid implementation will require integration between energy suppliers and building owners and occupiers.

Smart Grid represents an important new business vehicle that BAS players can leverage utilizing existing skills and customer base.

A Huge Opportunity

This amounts to a huge opportunity, the question is for whom?

We are already seeing evidence that buildings are being integrated to the Smart Grid. There are many stakeholders in such a complex integration, from utilities, building owners, tenants, government as well as BAS system vendors, integrators and contractors. This may also be the golden time for the so-called Master Integrator to start to make a bigger impact to buildings.

I don’t have a magic silver bullet answer to who is going to benefit from this, save to say that I think there is significant benefit that can be gained from all parties, since the magnitude of the opportunity is huge, much larger than any of the included industries alone. It is a true collaboration opportunity!

We have also started to see new players from the IT and Enterprise space that are starting to participate in solving this problem. The armies of $500/hr consultants are eying this space with gleam. Large businesses are paying this sort of money today.

What Should You Do?

If you are in the BAS industry and want to improve your business position, it is critical that you open your eyes to new opportunities. Even if you do actively participate in Smart Grid, if your role is a specialized one (which is ok,) it is critical to understand the changes that are occurring to the industry.

Those attending the AHR Expo in Orlando can learn more about the trends and opportunities presenting the BAS industry by attending the B2G-Summit on Wednesday January 27th at the same venue as the AHR Expo. This year’s summit features leading speakers from NIST and BAS vendor community. It promises to be a very interesting discussion on how Smart Grid is impacting BAS. Visit www.B2G-Summit.com for more information.

For more in-depth understanding of Smart Grid and energy related trends, technologies, and, you should attend Clasma’s main events in 2010.

ConnectivityWeek and BuilConn (www.ConnectivityWeek.com) is a must for any BAS professional intending to work in this space. The discussions taking place May 24-27 in Santa Clara, CA will be focused on the intersection of buildings, IT and energy. We anticipate around 1,500 attendees at this year’s event, with a rich lineup of top speakers.

For those more interested in the depths of standards, architecture and product development, Grid-Interop next December in Chicago is key (www.Grid-Interop.com). It has become the annual conference where broad issues of interoperability between all systems in the Smart Grid is discussed and furthered.

Lastly, at the big-picture strategic level, GridWeek has become the main annual conference for Smart Grid (www.GridWeek.com). Held in DC this coming October, with an expected attendance of 2,000, GridWeek will provide BAS leaders with the best perspective of the direction and impact of Smart Grid to our future energy landscape.

Happy New Year for 2010

I know that the past months have not been easy for many, in this brief article I hope that I am able to help readers understand the potential impact of Smart Grid to BAS. I do wish you the best for the future; please feel free to contact me at anto@clasma.com if you have any specific question or comment.


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