July 2006

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CIO’s and Tridium:  “Making Connections” at Realcomm

Jim Hayman, Director, Business Development, CGNA

There were industry leaders and over 500 exhibitors at the recent joint Realcomm/BOMA show on June 25-27, 2006, in Dallas, Texas. The three-day event was non-stop workshops, business opportunities and product demonstrations for those involved with commercial buildings. The Realcomm theme was “Making Connections – The Intersection of Commercial Real Estate, Corporate Real Estate and Technology,” and there is no doubt that many important connections were made. One of those connections was between the CIO’s who came and the open system possibilities of Tridium’s Niagara Framework.

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A Blended City

The ‘invitation only’ CIO Roundtable on the opening day was a strategic time. Realcomm addressed a very specific need by setting up a six-hour session for Chief Information Officers to come together as major IT decision makers. The agenda included discussions on how to align IT strategies with business objectives in the commercial real estate industry. Part of the struggle for CIO’s is how to connect the incredible technology now available into what Michael Joroff of MIT called in his Realcomm keynote address, “a blended city.”

Professor Joroff defined a blended city as commercial real estate that brings together a physical and digital environment to enable human capital to contribute to the global economy. He described communities where intelligent buildings are helping the tenants in them to live and work better as they impact a universal marketplace. John Petze, CEO of Tridium, Inc, www.tridium.com, was one of the speakers at the roundtable and he highlighted recent developments that make possible intelligent building convergence across an enterprise.

“The CIO’s get it!”

Tridium is the developer of the patented Niagara Framework, a software platform that integrates diverse systems and devices into a unified platform regardless of manufacturer, communication standard or software. Certainly one of the challenges that CIO’s face is how can all of this technology be brought together as a workable business project and deliver business value? The possibilities presented at the Realcomm roundtable resulted in numerous conversations at the Tridium booth over the next two days and often led to the same practical questions: How can we implement this? Where do we begin with a project that involves multiple vendors, engineers, consultants and building owners for a commercial building? Ed Merwin, Director, Vykon Channel, for Tridium was ready with the answer.

Tridium has spent the last five years partnering with integration distributors from around the country who specialize in implementing building automation open systems for commercial real estate. After talking with the CIO’s at Realcomm about the integration distributors in Controls Group North America (CGNA), www.cgnacontrols.com, Ed stated at the close of the show, “The CIO’s get it. They understand the technology is available TODAY to connect their portfolio to the enterprise using standards such as oBIX – they also see that using an organization like CGNA for implementation is the right path to successful connectivity”.


Realcomm once again brought together the most forward thinking people and companies to collaborate on the technology available for building blended cities. The technical expertise represented at the show was impressive. Yet at the end of the day, bringing an intelligent building together in a workable model is also very much about human business connections, not just digital technology. The challenge is to find a resource that is established in business relationships with multiple technology product vendors, who also have the understanding to specify and program those products for the contractor installer.

CGNA is the largest network of independent integration distributors in the nation and they are each certified for multiple technology manufacturers’ product lines. With IT professionals on staff, the CGNA integration distributors know how to connect a broad range of devices and systems seamlessly on the Tridium Niagara Framework. They are the intelligent building hub that is needed to bring commercial building projects on-line. CGNA integration distributors are uniquely able to bring together vendors, consultants, engineers, building owners and contractors all to the same table. As Realcomm emphasized, it’s all about “making connections.”


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