July 2021
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Control Solutions, Inc. - Minnesota

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Platform Wars

A Software Platform provides the glue for all the digital building data to be aggregated, normalized, redistributed, and secured, all while providing real-time control for mechanical and electrical systems.
scott

 Scott Cochrane, President & CEO,

 Cochrane Supply & Engineering

 Contributing Editor



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Control Solutions, Inc

In a galaxy not so far away, exists a market on the verge of eminent change into a domain where only the tech-savvy succeed by mastering the key element in winning the building owner’s choice. What key element? The BAS software PLATFORM. YES, Platform, not the GUI, not the super cool graphics, NO! 

 

A Software Platform provides the glue for all the digital building data to be aggregated, normalized, redistributed, and secured, all while providing real-time control for mechanical and electrical systems. In the old days that meant the BAS graphics. But, with systems integration, open API’s and the Internet, holy crap! It's a new day when it comes to BAS software capabilities!  

 

Episode 1: The Good Old Days | In the early days of the Platform Wars, independent BAS systems integrators and innovators learned how to leverage new software capabilities at an incredible rate, developing some of the most extensive BAS software services ever seen on Earth. Paul Oswald is one of my great mentors in this arena and was one of those individuals. More than 15 years ago, him, Brian Oswald and the team at ESI internally developed and introduced a SaaS model for big buildings that included an analytic engine that could detect failures, inefficiencies, PM work and even the cost payback for completed work. And what was so cool is it worked! Their customers are still happy and they’ve been incredibly busy ever since. I don’t think they look back very often. 

 

These successes and countless others from BAS systems integrators, now master systems integrators, have become a normal part of the BAS industry. Most large real-estate portfolio owners utilize these capabilities and after 10+ years of independent domination, Wall Street woke up and realized something changed in the BAS industry. They realized some of the traditionally dominant players no longer had control of the market. Instead, it has been invaded by rebels who have no allegiance to any dominant brand. They are one coder away from unlocking all the software capabilities they will need for their customers. And so, today starts a new era in the Platform Wars as Wall Street companies quickly spin up new SaaS capabilities and launch them into the BAS arena. The now traditional MSI’s will have new competition against all the new Platforms appearing at a very fast rate.  

 

So why is everyone so excited over this and why is the Platform so important? When a BAS project / system is sold, the owner’s corner typically includes construction, facilities and now IT. The platform chosen is what everyone in the owner’s camp talks about when the topic of BAS comes up. They don’t talk about the valve actuator manufacturer or the VAV controller, no—they talk about the software they use every day and rely on for the information that is their job. The Platform has become the most important part of the BAS system and now EVERYONE knows it!!!!

 

Episode 2: The New Frontier | Wall Street has hustled to meet the current capabilities of independents and is now openly marketing it. The independents are regrouping, however, and developing new capabilities at a faster rate, forcing Wall Street to continue investing to keep up. This is AWESOME for the BAS industry as we are finally going to see some really cool new capabilities coming in at a much faster rate. So sit back for the next five years and enjoy all the new, cool innovations we will see from all the camps involved.

BUT... who will win? Wall Street or the Independents?  You will have to watch the rest of the movie—I think it will be whomever masters the FORCE...
 


 



















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