Innovations in Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety Solutions.
EMAIL INTERVIEW – Realcomm Staff and Ken Sinclair
in Realcomm Advisory - 10.11.2012
In The Trenches
In this week's Advisory, we sat down with Ken Sinclair, the Publisher and Owner of AutomatedBuildings.com, and asked him to share his thoughts on how technology and automation have impacted the commercial real estate industry.
RS: How has the industry changed since you first started reporting on automated buildings?
Sinclair: We started with our first issue in July 1999. The internet was new stuff to most and this was our first article; Your Building Address as a .com? With these words; “The concept of a large building as an internet identity with its own web address is now the latest step in presenting and managing your Automated Buildings. We have selected this article to be in our first launch issue because we think it sends us all a wakeup call as to how significant the internet is going to be in the future. Our site is aimed at the Automation of Buildings and integration with the internet will become just another step.”
I am pleased the link to this building still works as it has been an example to all and it was a building I was involved with.
Amazingly enough some buildings today have not even reached this goal. The adoption of what is possible has been amazingly slow. Evolving standards have helped adoption but the cloud, iphone and connected devices type thinking has had more success in the last few years, than the internet did in our first 14 years online.
It is frustrating for us that acceptance and adoption has been so slow. I fear for our industry, if it does not change its slow adoption of the rapidly evolving reality. My answer to the question is sadly - we have had great changes in technology and ability but very little change in (in “dust” ry). Only by a few early adopters have embraced what is available.
RS: What are the major trends you see in the industry?
RS: What's your prediction for which technologies and platforms will emerge as clear victors in the market?
and platforms that are not owned
by major control or data companies will bubble to the top as the clear
victors. Platforms that appear Connected, Open and Cloud-based will
win. Products that approach platform independence will be preferred and
will emerge as the winners. The building automation industry and
Realcomm folks have just found the power of open and cloud and are not
willing to sell out to major vendors again. It will be a tough fight.
Even major industry platforms that have created the internet success
such as Google, Amazon, Yahoo, etc are falling to corporate
manipulation. This of course opens the door to new web service
companies that appear open and cloud based. Note I talk about the
appearance of open, if you have a community of a few million folks that
are able to interact as a successful connection community in my mind no
matter how not open you are the product will be successful as in
the example of Apple. The true success of an application will be
its ability to exist on several platforms and be easily moved from one
to the other.
RS: What's the prognosis for the big data companies coming into the industry – like IBM?
Sinclair: Cisco has been in and out and back in again to our industry. Building Automation is different than big data. Most major data companies (and even major control companies) greatly underestimate the complexities of our existing building automation industry We now have JCI’s Panoptix, IBM-Tririga’s Smarter Buildings, Honeywell’s Attune Advisory Services and several others vying for market share. Although they have great insight in big data and its security, plus how to finance it all, they lack the touch with the buildings. That touch generally comes from people with faces not big data. Their successes will be determined by their ability to create a powerful connection community that is able to combine touch, feel and big data. Generally the Dilbert style of management of big companies struggles with the needed touch and feel plus an understanding of the true value of a community.
They believe community does not have a bottom line and ultimately 'quarter baked thinking' from the top (“we must make a profit next quarter”) leads to their demise. This keeps their cycle of change based on what they have not yet implemented and creates the nature of their business. This quarter baked thinking is the cancer of American business; most successful global companies have goals that involve years and decades. Short-term planning and the quarters within a year are no indication of total performance and lead to corporate manipulation to achieve quick goals.
In addition to the above interview some additional thoughts from Ken:
Felt good to get some of that frustration out……..smile
This rant has been going on for a while. Actually digging through dinosaur dung it even amazes me how long we have done nothing new as an industry
Note Honeywell keeps Tridium's Niagara path from field to enterprise open, it mentions you Marc.
Quarter baked thinking coupled with traditional marketing practices is eroding our markets.
Many of our control and automation companies seem pre-occupied with making a profit in the next quarter and are not focusing on the fact that we are in the middle of an era change. If they do not extend their planning window beyond the next quarter they will lose their market share and possibly their complete companies to new IT companies and/or off shore folk who have fully baked plans in place.
Looking to our existing market for help is of little use; they have only a slim idea of what is the potential available. We must lead our markets into the new era.
In my Virtual Value Visions
for Building Automation in 2006 I wrote; "I love this quote from Henry
Ford, the automotive pioneer: "If I had asked people what they wanted,
they would have said faster horses." I
believe there are those in the traditional building automation industry
who are designing faster horses, rather than trying to get their minds
around the fact we are moving into a new era."
was ironical that while I was in Chicago at the Exposition, the Ford
Motor Company announced massive cuts back. I am sure that their
marketing plan was a careful survey of their existing Ford owners who
when asked what do you want for the future? responded with "a better
Ford". Ford believing this line of bull gave them what they said they
wanted and built them a "Taurus" to be exact. It was a disaster and the
rest is history. What did the market really want? Something that looked
like a Lexis and performed like a Toyota Prius. Why did they not ask
for it? The conventional market did not know that competitors would
provide better value cars and the gas prices would double. I wonder if
Henry would have made the same mistake? I think not.
We are moving into the information age, a new era of integrated
everything, not just information but everything which will lead us to a
new way of doing everything. We cannot move into this new era selling
dusted off dinosaurs for control systems because we think we can squeak
one more quarter out of them. The new IT stuff coming down the pipe is
slick and works well. Off shore markets are leapfrogging us with fully
baked plans that provide connection to the new era. We must concentrate
on providing a complete plan and lose that quarter baked thinking to
provide new era connections to all of the pieces.
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