November 2006
  
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THE Building Technology Conference
A White Paper Outlining an Industry Driven and Sponsored Event

Thomas J. Lohner
P.E. Vice President
TENG Solutions
lohnertj@teng.com

CABA IIBC Chairman

The following white paper was developed for the sole purpose to solicit interest from building technology companies that have a desire to enable and facilitate growth in the application of building technologies that promote integrated and intelligent buildings (IIB's). The Continental Automated Building Association (CABA) will be hosting the call and are very supportive; however at present, CABA is not planning on taking a leadership role to own and operate the event. This will be a industry driven - collaborative initiative. Interested companies should attend an organizational teleconference to be held on November 17th at 12:00 (Noon EDST) by e-mailing Hannah LeGrande at legrandeho@teng.com (call details will be forwarded).

Background

The Building Construction Industry consists of fragmented, single system oriented trade associations, conferences and design and construction delivery processes. Building technology oriented contractors, product manufactures, system integrators and design professionals that desire to improve their knowledge and awareness of integrated and intelligent building technologies, system integration methodologies, evolving standards, new products, etc. are unable to effectively deal with this challenge.

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This is primarily due to the number of associations and trade conferences that must be attended to stay on top of the various segments of building technology. Likewise, product manufacturers and contractors that desire to compete in the growing integrated and intelligent building (IIB) industry, must exhibit at a staggering number of venues. From a design professional and system integrator perspective, the cost associated with attendance at multiple venues is cost prohibitive, thus only a select few can be attended. The product manufacturer and contractors do not have the luxury to pick and choose which venues to attend. In order to be a player in the IIB industry, the product manufacturer and contractors must attend all related venues. This results in minimal participation in most events and further degrades the value of attendance for all industry constituents.

Summary of Existing Building Technology Related Conferences

Conference

Related Associations

M2M United

 

AHR Expo

ASHRAE, BACnet

Realcomm

IFMA, BOMA, etc

BuilConn

 

NFM & T

 

InfoComm

InfoComm International

Light Fair

 IES

ISC-West/ISC-East (Security)

SIA

IB Leadership Forum

CABA IIBC

World Energy Congress

AEE

LonWorld

LonMark

Tridium Summit

 

Building Intelligence

 

BICSI Conferences

BICSI

Hotel Next Generation Technology

HNGT

FIATECH

 

Discussion

The AHR conference in the past has been a conference highly attended by most of the major HVAC control companies and related building technology companies (primarily lighting control, and system integration and graphical user interface software). Exhibits were of high quality and expansive and resulted in significant expense. Over the past 10 years attendance of actual qualified buyers of products and services promoted in these exhibits has dropped significantly. It is not usual to hear AHR exhibitors say the only value one gains from exhibiting is spying on competition, recruiting new staff (from competitors) and a good venue to host meetings.

In the last four (4) years there have been several attempts to host an industry wide building technology related conference. These include; BuilConn, Realcomm and the CABA Intelligent Buildings Leadership Forum. At some point in time the organizers of all three conferences have had more than one discussion about collaboration and joining forces in an attempt to bring the industry together into a common venue. However, these collaboration efforts have failed due to several reasons like; inability to reach an acceptable revenue sharing agreement, location, format, etc.

Recommendations

Create an industry wide – building technology conference that addresses many of the pit falls of the past conferences and creates enough critical mass to be considered as a serious – must attend venue. The following represent proposed key components – steps necessary towards achieving this end goal:

  1. Create a non profit corporation as the conference entity which will be responsible to host, plan, promote, provide logistic support and staff the conference. Initially, this entity may be a third party operating as the agent of the non-profit to provide key logistical support, staffing, etc. for the event

  2. A board of directors that are comprised of platinum level sponsors; and an Executive Director will operate the non-profit corporation. (Eventually the Executive Director will be permanent - paid position). The minimum and maximum number of platinum level sponsors will be 5 with no more than 15. No more than 3 sponsors per building technology sub-system will be permitted. Platinum sponsorship will be available a first come basis. Multi-year sponsorships will be encouraged and promoted.

  3. Sponsor fees will be used to pay for cost of planning, logistics, promotion, staffing, etc. and other related expenses incurred during the planning year. All other revenues generated from advertising, exhibit booths, and attendee registration fees, etc. will be used to pay for outstanding expenses. Any profit resulting from the conference will be distributed back to the sponsors and divided evenly based on level of sponsorship with a small reserve for immediate next year expenses.

  4. Secure key sponsors from the key building technology sub –system industries. The goal is to secure key sponsors from more than just the HVAC control industry including; Lighting Control, Fire Management, Security, Enterprise Networking, Structured Cabling, Digital Signage, Audio – Visual, Wireless control and networking, Enterprise System Integration and Power Management.

  5. CatNet Systems Subsidize the cost of meeting space to promote technology trade and standards associations to host meetings in conjunction with the conference. Also, provide the associations the opportunity to host / lead conference tracts that focus on their industries. Several of the key associations to target include:

a. LonMARK
b. BACnet International
c. CABA – IIBC
d. MODBUS
e. oBIX / OASIS
f. Gridwise
g. BICSI (regional meeting)
h. FIATECH
i. IES
j. International Security Systems Engineer Association (ISSEA)
k. NFPA (regional meetings)
l. Building Security Council
m. AIA (regional meetings)
n. US Green Building Association (regional meeting)
o. BOMA (regional meetings )
p. IFMA (regional meetings)

  1. Encourage and support logistically trade and standards organizations to conduct training programs, testing and certification classes.

  2. Plan the conference around a total workweek to permit ample time for channel market and business meetings associated with product manufacturers and other special interest meetings. The idea is to use this week as productively as possible so we can send our guys and make the week outstanding from multiple areas. The actual conference / seminars / panels would only be a three (3) day event

  3. Host the initial conference in conjunction with the winter AHR conference for 2008. Due to cost (depending on negotiations with AHR) co-located in a major convention hotel near the convention center may be desirable. Sponsors will then have to decide on sponsoring both the new event and AHR conference….or choosing to sponsor at just one event.

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