Award winning manufacturer of IT-based building automation.
EMAIL INTERVIEW – Steven Guzelimian and Ken Sinclair
Guzelimian spent 1990-2016 developing domain expertise in Building
Automation in Canada and the USA. In the 1990s he was working hands on
in critical environments (Laboratories, hospitals and cleanrooms).
During this time he studied commercial building technologies at
Northeastern University and later in 2007 began the work business side,
managing an international channel partner network. He has achieved
numerous sales awards for outstanding achievement from his
employers. His combination of sales and hands on technical
expertise make him an unusual person with blended skills. He is the
President at Optergy, a company is dedicated to providing the global
market with products to improve productivity, energy efficiency and
with reduced effort for facility management.
Sinclair: Why are you interested in small buildings?
is nothing small about the impact that small commercial buildings have
on energy use in the United States. In fact, the 4.6 million small
buildings across the nation consume 44% of the overall energy use in
buildings, presenting an enormous opportunity to cut costs, energy use,
and greenhouse gas emissions.” http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy14osti/60917.pdf
Small buildings represent a
disproportionate amount of consumption. When you consider the
impact we can have as building automation experts, this is the area we
should be looking at more vigorously. In my career I have seen
very little activity in these buildings and manufacturers were not
catering to this market. When you consider the economics of the
small building, controls have always been too expensive. Traditional
controls usually meant multiple stand-alone systems that did not even
benefit from simple time scheduling on/off or set point adjustment
controls for HVAC and lighting.
Sinclair: Small buildings don’t always have technical talent to manage complex BMS/EMS systems? Is it worth the effort?
Our challenge as a manufacturer is to build products that people can
use, that is economical on the first cost, that deploys easily, and can
be maintained by service providers or by the end-users themselves.
Manufacturers need to provide the full experience to their customers;
that means making the tools available to configure the system and all
the documents and self-paced e-Learning training needed to realize the
benefits of their system economically. The small building often
houses a business, and these systems need to enhance their operation,
with improved comfort to keep workers productive, increased energy
efficiency to reduce operating expenses, and business work-flow
improvement to make the business work better.
Sinclair: Building and energy management have been around for years, where does Internet of Things (IoT) fit in small building management?
Guzelimian: Building automation has traditionally connected HVAC, lighting, and access controls, using Standard protocols like BACnet, Modbus, LON, KNX, and others. Integration was usually done with hardware to software integrations (gateways). With recent changes in mobile connectivity, and the desire to connect non-traditional appliances to local networks, there has been interest in making software connections and sometimes host applications on cloud servers that do the processing and provide a user interface. This Internet of Things concept is the mechanism for integration, but on its own does not add value until applications are created that leverage the customer data to gain a customer outcome. Domain knowledge is the key to successful outcomes, IoT is an enabling concept that can help build tools, however, it is standards (ANSI/ISO) that will help bring this together so that dissimilar systems can communicate to one another, and securely. There is more work to do in this area and no shortage of creative energy to launch products.
Sinclair: What happened to Big Data?
data is still there, but as trends go, some things go big and consume
resources, and some things go small but provide valuable data. In
recent years one of the drawbacks of wireless technologies has been the
available bandwidth and the ability to keep its power supply with as
little maintenance as possible. There have been successes and
flops in wireless technology, but one
thing is certain, if you use a lot of data, you will need power and if
you do this often at high rates of speed the data usage will grow. One
thought here is to right-size the data for the application, if you
collect a water meter data, you probably don’t need to ping the value
thousands of times, some things are time sensitive but many are
not. We should as an industry be pursuing small data, the
opportunity is that we can extend battery life and to make managing the
data easier. If less is more than Small data is valuable data.
Sinclair: What trends are you interested in?
at Optergy are interested in improving outcomes for its
customers. Building management systems have sometimes become
problem generators; we like to think that we can bring the balance of
economics and problem solving together into software features people
can use to increase their productivity. After all the building
alone does not simply need to be controlled; it is the occupants that
also need to be considered and that both should serve the intended
purpose and design of the enterprise. We only need to look at the
balance sheet of a building as it has income and expenses. The number 1
expense is often Payroll, if we can do even the slightest bit to
improve productivity, we have a tremendous impact on the income side of
the balance sheet. If we can reduce operating expenses then the
value of an owner operated building increases in value when you
consider the capitalization rate (a property metric) of the building. http://www.propertymetrics.com/blog/2013/06/03/cap-rate/
Another trend is the growing adoption of energy & building management in developing nations. We at Optergy are working to make products that can be easily localizable; that means not engineering a system use the native language but rather provide a simple translation that can be further customized by the end user simply and with built in web based tools. They used to say all business is local, and that is true, if you don’t speak the local language, it might be that much harder to realize the benefits of automation.
Optergy will be displaying at AHR 2017, Booth #C1075 Optergy's Theme for 2017 - It’s all about the small building.
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