2014. Trends to Keep Your Eyes On
They are in no particular order of significance, and by no means capture all of the trends that are affecting our industry.
is sure to be an interesting ride. While it is never easy to predict
with certainty what is likely to happen, I believe as we prepare for
2014 there are some trends that will impact our industry and we should
keep our eyes on.
looking at the changes we’ve seen in technology and the evolving
demands of the market that have taken place in our industry over the
last several years, combined with the ones taking place now, I believe
we will see unprecedented growth when it comes to anytime, anywhere,
real time information and business intelligence that further drives the
way we manage and operate facilities. Also the industry will continue
to shift in how facilities are managed being driven not just by the
technology side, but by the business side. As a result, we are
experiencing a shift in the value equation, moving beyond the important
goal of energy efficiency to a more holistic view encompassing overall
performance of buildings and their increasingly sophisticated equipment
systems as assets to be exploited for increasing value to the business’s bottom line.
architecture of intelligent systems will continue to collapse as more
devices directly connect to IP networks. The result being more direct
and streamlined connectivity between systems and decision-making. This
is driving increased collaboration across the business functions which
represents potentially the greatest opportunity to transform our
industry. And it's not just the economic factors that can be captured
with simple ROI calculations; it's a combination of the economics, and
the rising expectations of building owners, operating management and
the users who increasingly live in a technology environment that is
more advanced than their building systems.
here are 10 trends (+1) to watch in 2014. They are in no particular
order of significance, and by no means capture all of the trends that
are affecting our industry.
#1. Disruption. Disruption will
continue (in a good way).
Advancements in technology have long been considered great disruptors.
Combine the current advancements and new developments in the pipeline
by technology providers with the changes taking place at the business
level, the impact of collaborative communities working across the
historic boundaries of individual product manufacturers and the result
is continued and accelerating transformation of our industry. The way
control systems are built and distributed will continue to evolve with
seamless system-level data sharing and device-level application
Cyber Security. Cyber threats and vulnerabilities will
continue to make
headlines and yes, within our industry. Cyber threats against the
facility environment are becoming more frequent and increasingly
sophisticated and our systems and devices are targets of and vectors
into the network. Our building protocols were never designed or built
with security in mind. Protocols communicating with BAS/EMS have
their origins in serial communications and provide little, if any,
security. The unfortunate truth is that these protocols do not possess
a robust security framework that can deal with today’s real world
intrusions and breaches. BAS/EMS cyber threats and risks are real and
will continue to invade these systems; more vulnerabilities and
pitfalls will be identified and attackers will step up attacks against
these pitfalls. That doesn’t mean that security can’t be dramatically
improved. Better understanding of points of vulnerability, increasing
oversight, and proven IT industry security technology provide viable
methods of reducing risk. Cyber security will be on the agenda of more
CEO’s and they will be demanding accountability, asking what’s being
done, and mandating additional measures to mitigate risks.
Apps. 2014 is likely to be a year where more and more apps
to meet the needs and expectations of end users. The advent of an “app”
model, which can run on “bring-your-own” devices, adds value to the way
we manage and operate buildings. Smartphones and tablets have changed
the mindset of how we go about almost all of the tasks of daily life
and shifted applications out to the edge leveraging cloud-based
functions to transform system architectures. From an application
perspective, apps will continue evolving to resemble consumer
experiences and focusing on flexibility, speed, ease of use,
intelligence and value. The development of applications is moving at a
fast pace providing facility managers and building owners with a wide
range of choices. The range of choices though may actually become a
barrier as organizations struggle to approach facility management from
the perspective of specifying and pre-designing everything their teams
utilize. This is at odds with the world of apps where I can choose to
download and try out an app to see if I like it without waiting on
approval from some higher level. Applications will be a catalyst to
drive increased value creation for BAS. Value creation will not only
come from the applications themselves but through their integration
with one another and how they are managed together.
#4. Data. The data journey
will continue and in fact accelerate. While
there’s still a way to go from where we are today to deliver on the
total vision of a data-enabled building enterprise and using data as
actionable information, 2014 will be the time where data oriented
management tools see dramatic increases in adoption. 2013 saw numerous
high-profile proof points for the value of using data to better manage
facilities. It’s a trend that is here to stay. The value of data is in
the insights derived using the analytic tools. These tools can be used
with batches of historical data, or with real time data. Acting on
instantaneous and predictive analysis of rich data will become the
norm. There are challenges to applying analytics. The biggest being the
need to combine scattered data sources. Industry groups like
Project-Haystack are working on standards and tools to simplify this
process. Over time we will see an increase in “open data” that includes
necessary semantic information to enable it to be automatically
consumed by different applications. Standardization of naming and
tagging conventions and taxonomies, data models for building equipment,
and operational data for energy, HVAC, lighting, and other
environmental systems will enable dramatic reductions in the costs of
utilizing data for improved facility operations. Enhancements to data
technology will continue evolving, but the issue of data ownership will
still be debated and have to be figured out.
Cloud. With more smart devices comes more data. This creates new
challenges for managing that data and make sense of it. To meet this
need, cloud architectures will continue to go from experimentation to
deployment. We will move from hype and promise to true deployment to
improve the exchange of building automation system data. In addition,
SaaS momentum will continue.
6. Collaborative communities will continue to accelerate
new developments and create simpler and more advanced experiences for
users. These groups and open collaboration are driving a fundamental
shift in how technology is created, deployed and consumed and represent
an opportunity for us to move away from the status quo and engage in
the next wave that will shape and change the way we do things. From
being misunderstood as threats, collaborative communities are
increasingly being celebrated and encouraged - as they should be. It is
a great thing for our industry.
#7. Acceptance of New technology.
2014 will mark a period of greater
acceptance by building owners and operators to deploy technology and
practices that improve and drive building performance and efficiencies.
Many buildings are hamstrung by BAS technology that is effectively a
decade old, limiting operators ability to take advantage of energy and
cost saving strategies. Relying on a loose federation of siloed
applications and disconnected manual tasks to support, operate and
control facility operations is no longer practical or effective, and
is starting to be apparent on the bottom line. As companies across
every industry continue to be held to greater standards of accuracy,
speed, and accountability, they will use automation to stay in line
with market demands, compliance requirements and cost expectations.
#8. IoT – The Internet of Things.
The IoT race is on and next year we
will see more demonstrable evidence of the Internet of Things (IoT)
becoming a field of its own. While most of us have moved beyond
speculating about the value of connected devices, there are many out
there who have yet to see it. Much of the technology needed for the
Internet of Things (IoT) has been available for some time, but
connecting a world’s worth of devices to the cloud, users and
enterprise applications requires more than just an Internet connection.
For IoT deployments to be successful, business models and pain points
for players on both the device side and network side must be
identified, followed by solutions that can collect and analyze data
securely and efficiently. The IoT parade will continue to get larger
with an increase in players joining the parade line including more IT
and consumer industry players. With a level of saturation and the
ability of devices to coordinate actions through a constant exchange of
data, the promise of automating most of life’s mundane tasks and
proactively responding to anticipated needs will have a transformative
effect in the expectations of society as a whole.
# 9. Device to Enterprise---Devices
that connect directly to the
enterprise will accelerate. These new devices will be smarter, more
powerful, offer higher levels of functionality with enhanced embedded
systems software; present direct to cloud capabilities, and will become
less dependent on middleware. In many cases they will bypass the
brittle infrastructures of conventional BAS to give users more
immediate solutions to their needs. The BAS will not be the “clearing
house” for all data and activities related to facilities management.
#10. IT Involvement.
If there’s ever been a role that’s changing
quickly, it is the role of IT as it relates to building management
systems and facility operations. It was not that long ago when
our technology and systems were viewed as a necessary evil and received
only the most basic attention and resources from IT. This is changing
and 2014 will be a year in which IT’s role will accelerate. Several
influences are driving this including the continuation of convergence;
transformation of our technology and systems to full-blown IT systems
resulting in different data and operational requirements; the network
as the conduit that allows information to flow between the BMS/EMS, the
enterprise and the outside world; the importance of building management
and control both operationally and strategically to an organization;
IT’s increasing role to reduce energy consumption at their companies,
cyber security; and finally, the wall separating facility and IT is
starting to come down.
#Plus 1. Riding Off Into the Sunset.
Like the Wild West days of the
Internet (you remember them don’t you) where companies appeared
overnight and it was fashionable to offer technology that really
provided little to no value and caused a great deal of market
confusion. We have seen the same when it comes to energy management.
2014 will be the time where we will begin to see the disappearance of
some these companies into the sunset.
Perhaps 2014 will be the year for these efforts to begin to shake
themselves out, into those that can prove their value. It will be an
exciting year for sure; enjoy the journey.
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