October 2018

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Keith GipsonAnto BudiardjoEMAIL INTERVIEW –  Keith Gipson and Anto Budiardjo
Anto Budiardjo, Fractional Entrepreneur

Contributing Editor

Keith E. Gipson is the Chief Technology Officer for Phoenix Energy Technologies, bringing 30 years of experience in the retail, commercial and industrial energy management and controls industry as well as leading the development of industry-changing technologies.  Keith has been leading the advancement of technology in the field of Energy Management and is the recipient of many awards. Most recently, Southern California Edison recognized him as a Modern Day African-American Inventor for his contributions to the utility and EEM industries.

A Facility IT Interview with Keith Gipson

This interview is one from 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?

Keith Gipson:  I think it’s long overdue. There’s a ton of market confusion as I’ve had to deal with from a sales and marketing standpoint with our company. There are so many acronyms floating around (BAS. EMS, EEM, IoT, M2M).

Anto Budiardjo:  Would you consider Phoenix ET a Facility IT company?

Keith Gipson:  Yes. From a strategic implementation “go to market” point of view - I believe the term “Facility IT” captures the essence of “what we do” for our customers. In doing my “homework” and studying up on the three-sided pyramid of what makes of “Facility IT”, I see the oft-neglected component: “Facility and Engineering Services”.

Anto Budiardjo:  What attribute of Phoenix ET is focused on Facility IT?

Keith Gipson:  It seems in these days of SaaS offerings, like our own platform Enterprise Data eXchange (“EDX”) - sometimes the support services side is over-looked. Although most commercial and industrial customers can manage their own portfolios of facilities with their own tools, some customers, like our retail store customers need additional services added on (monitoring, call management, energy, and analytics, maintenance and scheduling, re-commissioning) in order to best utilize the enterprise software solution to its fullest.

Anto Budiardjo:  How does Facility IT align with what you call EEMS?

Keith Gipson:  Ha! It’s interesting...the term “Enterprise Energy Management” (EEM) was first coined in 1997 just over twenty years ago when I co-founded the first “EEM” company, Silicon Energy Corp. Back then we were furiously trying to educate customers and the industry as well as to exactly what EEM meant. What it meant back then to us was “transforming electricity from an uncontrollable cost into a strategic resource flow”. We worked hard on that sentence! :) Seriously we focussed on injecting the word “resource” into that description because it was akin to “an ERP system for energy”. But to answer your question directly - I think Facility IT encompasses so much more than just Energy Management - at the enterprise level. Also, I believe the “EEM” designation actually might contribute to more market (and customer) confusion because the term “EMS” is synonymous with “BAS”, “BCS”, “FMS” and the intent is not to be just a web-based enterprise control system!

contemporary Anto Budiardjo:  How does Facility IT add value for your customers?

Keith Gipson:  By integrating together, and helping customers better manage and optimize their portfolio of facilities. The underlying activities of Facility IT strategically align in order to support the business goals of the client. More efficient, comfortable and “smarter facilities”.

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

Keith Gipson:  Supporting an initiative such as Facility IT is good business. Many times when IT departmental support is needed in order for strategic business and operational goals to be met, IT can become at times, a roadblock instead of an enabler. Facilities consume a great portion of the world’s total energy available and energy efficient facilities reduce carbon footprint and is good for our planet. This should be weighed in the balance when deciding which projects are supported and which are not.

Facilit;y IT


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