February 2005

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Leighton WolffeEMAIL INTERVIEW – Leighton Wolffe & Ken Sinclair

Leighton Wolffe

Leighton has been active in the energy and facility technology industries for 20 years serving as a consultant and as director of engineering and facility operations at Harvard University, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 20th Century FOX, Paramount, and Marriott Corporation. Understanding customer needs, he founded two control contracting and systems integration companies to implement LON, BACnet, and web based HVAC, security and energy management applications to government agencies and large institutions.

His entrepreneurial approach to providing new products and services to customers along with a deep interest in the convergence of emerging technologies has allowed Leighton to provide a balanced and integrated world view of current and future applications that increase business value and improve operational efficiency.

Leighton’s recent activities include working with providers of intelligent building systems and enterprise level technologies to develop and implement national sales and marketing strategies and the creation of channel partner programs and other initiatives to generate growth.


 What are the benefits and business value of being able to integrate an ‘open’ building automation system onto a standard IT platform and into the business management systems in place at virtually every Fortune 1000 company today?

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Sinclair: This has traditionally been a strong track at BuilConn. Can you tell us what to expect?

Wolffe: BuilConn has helped to propel the acceptance and development of open building systems, and has helped this vision mature, by providing a timely and ideal forum for owners, manufacturers, integrators and developers of new applications to come together and learn about needs, trends and technologies throughout multiple industries.

The questions to be asked are: Where will this trend go if the numerous initiatives start to work together? How quickly will new IT standards impact and influence the world of BMS manufacturers? How can an owner leverage their existing building assets and prepare for truly open systems – without having to replace what they currently have installed? What are the benefits and business values of being able to integrate an ‘open’ building automation system onto a standard IT platform and into the business management systems in place at virtually every Fortune 1000 company today?

The sessions at the Open Systems Track at BuilConn will address these issues and present some answers as well as new questions for us to work with.

Sinclair: This sounds like a lot of ground to cover.

Wolffe: When you look at the evolution, adaptation and implementation of IT standards and applications into other industries, and then view our industry and our history of change, we see there is significant disparity in the speeds in which these standards are applied. Our industry is starting to deal with and anticipate these changes with IT related associations and initiatives such as oBIX, OASIS, XML Symposium, and all the other elements in place at BuilConn. The typical acceptance cycles and development of intra-industry IT standards tend to occur at a much faster pace than we are used to. But we are catching up.

We have all agreed that open is good, and have for the most part we have collectively gotten past the technical hurdles, now comes the challenge of having all these disparate systems work together – in ways that are meaningful to the customer.

Sinclair: Do we really know what customers want?

[an error occurred while processing this directive] Wolffe: In many respects yes. Let’s think of it in this way; most every corporation, institution or Fortune 500 Company utilizes real time business tools throughout each level of the organization. These tools are enterprise applications residing on IT platforms, and operate seamlessly together, usually speaking. To a large degree, building automation systems are not interoperable and fully integratable to the performance level of these enterprise applications. This can create problems with gaps of information from multiple facility and energy systems to the rest of the organization.

Since much of what we are doing with open systems has to do with creating avenues for the  facility systems to talk to each other, and then elevate these to the enterprise, the natural benefit will be an increase of business value for upgrades to an open system. The ROI can then be tied to improvements in business methods, in addition to the traditional factors of operational and energy savings.

Sinclair: Who will be presenting in this track?

Wolffe: Stakeholders from BACnet, LonWorks, oBIX and Niagara as well others responsible for future product development, corporate strategies and development of customer services. The panelists are leading implementers and visionaries helping to drive and steer the convergence of open systems. We’ll hear perspective from the Facilities, IT and Enterprise communities as well. We plan on providing emphasis with the owner focus this year relative to what customers are looking for, what their needs are, and perhaps most importantly, what they view as necessary for an ‘open system’ to add value.

Sinclair: This sounds like an exciting track.

Wolffe: It will be. Much information will be presented about product, technology and standards initiatives. We look forward to seeing you there.

Interested in learning more about this track at BuilConn?  Click here.


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