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An Opportunity to Rethink Building Automation

Smarter Summit 23 will be held on

Sunday, Feb/5 on the eve of the AHR Expo.

As we prepare for AHR Expo 2023 in Atlanta in February, I cannot help thinking about the significant amount of progress that has occurred in the BAS industry since the last “real” AHR Expo 2020 in Orlando (Las Vegas was really held under COVID rules and sparsely attended). It seemed like the COVID lockdown drove us to contemplate our collective future and organize ourselves to identify and address some of the industry’s most intractable problems, thanks to many Zoom calls.

What are some of these advancements I speak of? Consider our realization that Digital Twins has immense potential for remote maintenance and that having an independent data layer provides much-needed flexibility, consider the value of creating a framework for Div 25 specs, the need to create a secure and interoperable BACnet infrastructure, and addressing the immense workforce challenge we have in the industry. These are just some of the awesome initiatives that have made a great deal of progress in the past three years.

What building owners want

Building owners and operators, our collective customers, have had the largest challenge during COVID. They are having to rethink the very nature of their business of providing space that many stopped using as we became productive working and spending more time at home. And now, post-COVID, owners are still unsure if things will return to the normality of the before times. This, combined with the renewed focus on sustainability driven by climate goals, is forcing real estate owners to explore new ways to think about their portfolios in terms of what they need to own, how they design and construct, and, most important, how these buildings are operated. It seems that the mantra for buildings may have changed from location, location, location to flexibility, agility, and manageability.

This new reality is not unique to buildings; all of our lives have or will be upended by COVID, climate, and massive technological advancement. In most other fields, we see the role of information technology as a critical tool to manage increasing complexity and constant change. Just think of transportation (EV and rideshares), shopping online, working online, media consumption, etc. Our reliance on smartphones and cloud services is everywhere, except in how we manage buildings.

It is clear to me, listening to many building/portfolio owners speaking recently, that they know with 100% certainty that there has to be a new way to think about managing buildings. While they may not be able to verbalize the solutions to their needs (that’s not their job), they know that the past and current offerings will not satisfy their needs in the new world of constant change. Enterprises especially know the power of IT to manage immensely complex functions such as manufacturing and supply chain. As they begin to realize the importance of their facilities, they wonder why they can’t use the same IT tools to get on top of managing their facilities and not have to deal with the 20th-century technology and vendor lock-in they see still being offered by many vendors today.

Getting back to the advancements we have seen since 2020, surely they are what owners need. Yes, indeed, they are the components of what is needed. What is significantly missing is a cohesive picture of how these initiatives relate and build upon each other to allow us to rethink how buildings are managed in the 21st century.

Connecting the Dots

As we plan our time at AHR Expo in Atlanta, it is important that we all understand these initiatives and how collectively they are reshaping what we can offer to customers clearly needing something they are not seeing in the market today.

To help with this, the Coalition for Smarter Buildings (C4SB) and Monday Live!, in partnership with a host of other industry organizations, is organizing the Smarter Summit on the Sunday before the AHR Expo at the Georgia World Conference Center in Atlanta.

The Summit plans to recognize the key initiatives in the industry and have the experts behind them explain their motivation and relevance to other initiatives. Collectively, we intend to paint a picture of what the industry would look like when all of these initiatives become adopted broadly by OEM and technology vendors, specifying engineers, system integrators, and building owners.

The Summit is structured as a networking gathering, so attendees can have ample opportunity to speak with the people driving many of the ongoing initiatives so that we can all start thinking about implementing many of the solutions that owners need.

Be Part of the Movement

The organizers of the Smarter Summit invite you to participate at this seminal event that will gather industry leaders to define the future of building automation to make buildings smarter.

Participation is FREE, and space is limited; register early at the link below.