November 2012

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Connecting Connection Communities

This topic is on my mind because I have been in dialogue with several in the industry about our event at this year's AHR Expo "Why we need to be part of several Connection Communities?"

Ken Sinclair,

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Over the last several years organizations and groups have been extremely successful in connecting our industry. The name “Connection Communities” has been attached to the purpose and function these organizations provide. I invite you to join us to learn about existing connection communities, and educate yourself to the advantage of being part of various communities.

This is our 14th year of providing these free education sessions, our industry has grown immensely, control by a few has shifted to many, and communication standards have greatly evolved and their respective connection communities have grown extremely large. Connection to the data cloud is no longer just buzz, but a reality and a necessity.

All this change has created a very different industry in which the ability to interact and change are key requirements of us all. Our Free education session titled 2013 Trends and Direction of Smart Green Building Automation will open dialog on this change.

Our Education Sessions at AHR Expo Dallas 2013:

Our Changing Industry and Connection Communities for BAS
Speakers - Jim Sinopoli & Ken Sinclair
Monday, Jan. 28, 9:00 – 10:00 am
Jim Sinopoli our contributing editor and I will discuss trends and directions that occurred since Chicago AHR Expo that are rapidly changing our industry.

Market Trends for Integrated and Intelligent Building Systems
Speakers - William Rhodes, Market Analyst, & Ken Sinclair
Monday January 28, 1:30 – 2:30 pm
An update on evolving market size, shape and general trends that are changing our industry. Wireless, cloud and deep integration and the change they bring will be discussed. We hope for a lively question and answer session after the presentation.

Community, Convergence, & Collaboration from Cloud Data for BAS
Speakers - Jim Sinopoli & Ken Sinclair
Tuesday January 29, 9:00 am
Jim and I will discuss how cloud connected smart phones and tablets are changing what folks expect to see as part of our products and services. We will discuss how the data we generate is being used and provide examples of real applications.

Why we need to be part of several Connection Communities
Ken Sinclair, Moderator with Various Industry Leaders
Tuesday January 29, 2:00 - 3:30 pm.
Note Location Change - New Product & Technology Theater on Tuesday afternoon. Over the last several years organizations and groups have been extremely successful in connecting our industry with standards. The name “Connection Communities” has been attached to the purpose and function these organizations provide. I invite you to join us to learn about existing connection communities, and educate yourself to the advantage of being part of various communities.

Representatives from the traditional connection communities like BACnet, Lonmark, EnOcean, Niagara, etc., will each provide a 10 minute presentation with time for a few questions. Click here for a sneak preview.

Our October issue content provides insight to several connection communities existing and evolving with their interactions with each other and our industry. Be sure to read;

In Andy McMillan's column, A Vision for Connection Communities:

So what distinguishes a Connection Community from “just” a community? I think there are at least three facets to consider.


First, in my experience, communication in professional communities is largely unidirectional … from the association office out to members via publications, emails, etc. While there is member-to-member communication at conferences and in association committees, it impacts a limited number of members. In a Connection Community, on the other hand, I would expect to see more direct communication among a larger percentage of the members. The good news is that I’m beginning to see that happen already through community-sponsored forums as well as special interest groups in more generic forums such as Yahoo and LinkedIn. These forums result in broader member participation and much more member-driven (and member-relevant) content.


A second characteristic of traditional professional communities is that they tend to be rather closed, almost a world unto themselves. They create specialized language to describe their domain and often progress their agenda with little regard for (and often little knowledge of) the agendas of complementary professional communities. In fact, they often focus unduly on competing with adjacent communities for members and influence. A Connection Community will recognize that many members are naturally a part of multiple communities and will seek ways to amplify the value of that fact, rather than minimize (or ignore) it. I envision this will go beyond the kind of inter-organization liaison agreements that are typical today and move into some form of inter-organizational direct member interaction. This will enrich the entire community and provide a more integrated experience for members who span communities.


A third facet of answering the question, “What distinguishes a Connection Community from “just” a community?” is related to membership. The membership boundaries of traditional communities are well-defined with clear member identification and extended membership terms (generally a year or more). I would like to think the walls of Connected Communities can be more porous than traditional professional communities. Connected Community membership ought to ascribe to participation rather than “joining” and the term of membership ought to be driven by continued benefit rather than bylaws. This will result in a more flexible definition of “member” and thus increase the opportunities for membership benefits to accrue to a broader group of people.

Reliable Controls Summary

The evolution of traditional professional communities into true Connection Communities will radically transform the experience of “belonging.” It will also create new challenges and opportunities for the people who choose to lead such communities and the staff that aspires to support them.

In this column we have just scratched the surface of a vision for Connected Communities. It’s a broad topic that’s worthy of deeper discussion, especially seeing as how ubiquitous social media is enabling more connection options than ever before. Join me and others at the AHR show in January as we continue to explore the meaning and implications of Connection Communities.

Other Connection Communities that will be represented:

OpenADR 2.0 and the Connection Community - Barry Haaser of OpenADR Alliance

EnOcean Alliance and the Connection Community - Graham Martin, Cindy Woudenberg and Louis Hamer of EnOcean Alliance

LonMark International and the Connection Community - Barry Haaser of LonMark International

We hope to hear more from other connection communities in our issues leading to AHR Expo Dallas.


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