Interview - January 2004
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EMAIL INTERVIEW  Anto Budiardjo & Ken Sinclair

Anto Budiardjo2003 Review

BuilConn 2004Anto Budiardjo is President of Clasma, Inc., 
the marketing and conference company organizing BuilConn 2004 in Dallas,
 April 13-16, 2004 (

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Sinclair: What’s your summary on 2003?

Budiardjo: 2003 was a wake-up call. It should be remembered as the year that the next generation of building systems started to take shape. It was the year that XML and TCP/IP started to be widely used in this industry, although I know some would say it started a few years back. Yes, 2003 was the start of this “revolution”.

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Sinclair: And your prediction for 2004?

Budiardjo: I’m afraid to say that 2004 will be a confusing year for many. There will be several pulling forces in play over the next few months, and to the casual observer it may not make much sense. The battle lines have been drawn. 2004 will be about evolving the standards, technology, products and mind set to move from an HVAC-centric industry into an IT-centric industry.

Sinclair: Can you explain that some more?

Budiardjo: In the past, the controls industry (an extension of the HVAC industry) ruled its own destiny. It created “open” standards for itself and developed proprietary products, solutions and methodology. This industry has been able to do this simply because there were no driving forces for convergence. The IT community was too busy with their own problems, and they viewed the “mechanical” nature of HVAC as lowly, unimportant stuff. The world left us alone.

Sinclair: And in the future?

Budiardjo: Because of convergence, the Internet and the inherent value of data in buildings, HVAC is becoming a part of something bigger. HVAC is now an integral part of how a building and its systems can make a positive impact on the organizations that own and manage them. And corporations will rely on their IT departments to manage this new found “asset” (their buildings). This is a certainty, as IT is heavily relied upon to manage all other information that impacts the bottom line. It’s so fundamental. That’s what IT means: Information Technology. A corporation will look at a building (it’s systems, resources, energy usage, performance, etc.) as a bunch of information, and IT has all of the Technology to manage Information. Where else would a corporation go but IT?

Sinclair: You seem to have a unique perspective on all of this.

Budiardjo: Because of my background in IT, HVAC and security it’s been very interesting to see it unfold. The enormous amount of support we’ve had putting BuilConn together has also strengthened our understanding of what’s going on with this revolution.

Sinclair: What have you learnt from organizing BuilConn?

Budiardjo: That there is a significant pent-up demand and desire for convergence to happen. There are enough people who know it is going to happen and who know how to make it happen. Convergence advocates just want to deliver owners and operators the very thing they need – a more effective way of managing their facilities. The things that have prevented progress to date are technology and an old mindset shared by many companies and individuals in the industry. BuilConn proved that technology is no longer a barrier, and even the largest companies with an old mindset cannot hamper progress driven by those who want to make it happen – it’s the Internet mindset!

Sinclair: And the trend is set to continue?

Budiardjo: Looking again at BuilConn, yes. Current numbers of BuilConn 2004 attendees and exhibitors looks like it may double if not triple what it was in 2003. As far as content, there is absolutely no problem filling up the four days worth of multiple tracks of the BootCamp, Conference and MasterClass.

Sinclair: That reflects the growth in traffic on!

Budiardjo: I’m not surprised, and am very glad to hear that. Your site is a great resource for the industry.

Sinclair: What about oBIX?

Budiardjo: As I see it, oBIX is another element driving all of this. The fact that it has an enormous following, especially in the three face-to-face meetings to date (around 60 people each, in person and on the phone) is very encouraging. The progress of work by the technical groups is also impressive. CABA and Paul Ehrlich did a great thing making this happen.

Sinclair: Where is the future for oBIX?

Budiardjo: The work is evolving from a guideline development into the development of an XML- and Web Services-based standard – this is very important for the industry. oBIX is currently investigating moving from CABA to one of the standards-based organizations that is driving Internet-based standards. The most likely future home is OASIS, a standards body that is home for many XML and Web Services initiatives for the IT and other industries.

Sinclair: When is this likely to happen?

Budiardjo: Very soon, Ken. Lookout for some announcement at the AHR Expo in Anaheim at the end of January. You have to remember that things in the IT and Internet world happen very fast! oBIX was only born in April of 2003 – seven months ago!

Sinclair: What of LonMark and BACnet?

Budiardjo: It is without a doubt that their role is anything but diminished or concluded. Those two key groups hold a great deal of HVAC and buildings-related expertise, not to mention the vast amount of products, services, installed systems as well as skilled product development and project engineering people. Neither TCP/IP nor XML/oBIX will replace them; I view all of this as complimentary pieces of the puzzle.

Sinclair: Is this part of the confusion you spoke of earlier?

Budiardjo: Partly, but this one will just need to run its course and it’s futile to try and figure out which one will “win” and which one(s) will go away anytime soon. LonMark, BACnet and TCP/IP-based approaches have a very significant amount of momentum behind them, and so do proprietary systems and other connectivity initiatives such as Metasys, OPC and Konnex. Just think how long it took for pneumatic systems to go away. That’s right; you can still find them in many relatively new buildings.

Sinclair: What indications do you have of IT taking an interest in buildings?

Budiardjo: In the past few weeks, I have spent more time in Silicon Valley and the Northwest than ever before talking with IT-centric companies about what is going on in buildings. Names like Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and others are starting to become familiar names to a few people in the buildings industry. It is early days for full fledge involvement, but dialog is starting, a great leading indicator.

Sinclair: Tell me about some companies to watch out for in 2004

Budiardjo: It will be very interesting to watch Trane. They were a company making mechanical boxes a few years ago, and now they make a significant amount of controls (in the top five by controls volume, I’m told). Their vision is to become a significant player in integrated buildings. Tridium is also on my watch list, they seem to be doing the right things from a technology and strategy point of view. Gridlogix is another one who is totally committed to XML, and so is Computrols. On the energy management side, players involved with enterprise monitoring and management using the Internet could contribute a great deal—companies like WebGen and Impact Facility Solutions. Other groups to watch are distribution companies such as Engenuity.

Sinclair: Looks like it will be an interesting 2004.

Budiardjo: Indeed, Ken. Thanks for this opportunity and for your support in 2003.

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