November 2018

Innovations in Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety Solutions.

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John PetzeAnto BudiardjoEMAIL INTERVIEW –  John Petze and Anto Budiardjo
Anto Budiardjo, Fractional Entrepreneur

Contributing Editor

John Petze is a partner and Co-Founder at SkyFoundry, the developers of SkySpark™, an analytics platform for building, energy and equipment data. John has over 35 years of experience in building automation, energy management, and M2M, having served in senior level positions for manufacturers of hardware and software products including President & CEO of Tridium, VP Product Development for Andover Controls, and Global Director of Sales for Cisco Systems Smart and Connected Buildings group. He is also a member of the Association of Energy Engineers. At SkyFoundry he helps facility operators take advantage of advanced operational analytics to create truly intelligent and efficient buildings.

Facility IT Interview with John Petze

This interview is one is a series of interviews by Anto Budiardjo on the subject of Facility IT.

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Facility IT is a discipline lying at the intersection of Building Automation Systems (BAS), Facility Management (FM), and Information Technology (IT). It’s best described as the use of information technology to ensure that the building systems are performing and delivering on the needs of the organization who pay for and rely on the facility. Facility IT emerged from the New Deal for Buildings initiative.

Anto Budiardjo:  What is your take on the Facility IT movement?

John Petze:  The concept of facility IT correctly captures the reality that intelligent buildings require a combination of both OT technology and skill sets and IT technology and skills in equal portions. The current gap in service providers  (systems integrators, engineering firms and the like) that can provide both is perhaps the major issue holding back the adoption of more intelligent, efficient, sustainable and comfortable buildings.

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Anto Budiardjo:  Would you consider yourself working in Facility IT?

John Petze:  Yes, as a software company providing data analytics software for the built environment, we are squarely in the eye of this storm. It is when organizations try to collect and utilize the data from their equipment systems that they encounter (often for the first time) the OT and IT issues related with utilizing operational data. Much of our development work is focused on helping to address and streamline the functions involved with connecting to, normalizing and managing device and equipment system data to help lower the cost and time involved in implementing data-oriented solutions.

Anto Budiardjo:  How can Facility IT can improve the BAS industry?

John Petze:  I think it is a fair critique to say that the majority of the BAS industry has not fully embraced the IT aspects of intelligent buildings. For too long networks were provided by others and perhaps most importantly many of the BAS products and software available is still a generation behind in IT and software technology. This causes a range of challenges. Even today new systems are installed that do not make it easy to integrate with other systems or to access data for value-added applications such as analytics, KPI tracking, benchmarking and reporting. Owners deserve to be able to easily use the data generated by the systems they purchase and in too many cases that is not the case.

Control Solutions, Inc Anto Budiardjo:  How does Facility IT relate to those involved in the Haystack Project?

John Petze:  The reason for launching the Project-Haystack initiative was to address a fundamental issue related to equipment system data, that being a standard approach to defining and using metadata that describes the meaning of equipment and device data. The need for the Haystack initiative demonstrates the Facility IT gap. The IT industry long ago agreed on a standard way of “marking up” information so that software applications could interpret that information automatically and without human involvement. The example I am referring to is HTML - a standard method of marking up text and documents so that any application (think a browser) could interpret and present the information. I can point my browser to your website and read what you have published because you follow the worldwide HTML standard. What surprises many IT people when they come over to the OT side of the house is that a similar standard for “marking up” equipment data did not exist. Haystack is the most widely adopted standard to address that need. It is by definition a facility IT technology.

Anto Budiardjo:  What would you say to readers keen on understanding Facility IT?

John Petze:  First I would say that it takes a learning effort. Virtually no one has command of all of the technologies, requirements, and issues involved in Facility IT and OT systems. That leads to the next point, which is that no one provider can provide it “all”. Intelligent building projects need to involve more elements and service providers. One of the trends supporting this is the concept of a Master Systems Integrator. By this, we mean a service provider that possesses domain expertise in the range of IT systems and networking, as well as building automation and controls, equipment systems, application software analytics, and support services. While an MSI may not be the final “expert” in every system or technology, they are expert in understanding the issues and managing the process and various other system integrators responsible for different vertical technology domains.


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