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Summary of the CABA Conference in San Diego

Cybersecurity has become a major issue for building owners as well as corporate entities.

James CarliniJames Carlini, President &
Certified Infrastructure Consultant
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“Much of the efforts done so far in cybersecurity are nothing more than building an ineffective Maginot Line for cyber-defenses.”

I pointed this out on a morning keynote panel discussion on Intelligent Infrastructure and Cybersecurity moderated by Roberta Gamble, of Frost & Sullivan, at the annual Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) Conference held at the end of last month.  The panel discussed some of the issues facing real estate property owners who need to insure their buildings are not being overrun by hackers or other malicious intrusions. Cybersecurity has become a major issue for building owners as well as corporate entities.

CABA Conference

CABA held its Intelligent Buildings and Digital Homes Forum conference in San Diego at the Handlery Hotel and Resort in San Diego on April 26th to the 28th.  Executive Director, Ron Zimmer, was happy with the turnout of over 190 executives who came out to discuss the real estate market and some of the key issues facing them when it comes to new strategies like supporting the Internet of Things (IoT) for attracting and maintaining corporate tenants in commercial buildings and cybersecurity.  There was also a track of sessions on the evolution of digital homes and their focus on energy management and security.

There were many companies represented at the event from CISCO, Honeywell, IBM, INTEL, Frost & Sullivan, Realcomm, and Siemon to other national and international real estate and electronics companies, like CBRE, Cadillac-Fairview, JJL, PLC, General Electric, and others.

“The Internet of Things is only as good as the Internet of Reality: the Network Infrastructure.”

This was one of the conclusions I presented in my keynote address on the first day of the Conference.  With more companies installing sensors, cameras, and other digital devices driven by software and servers, the network needs to be able to handle all of this increased traffic.

Between now and the year, 2020, we are anticipating a large growth in the number of devices. Today, there are about 10,000,000,000 wireless devices out there.  By the year 2020, the amount of devices is predicted as follows by the three companies listed:

COMPANY                YEAR 2020 PREDICTION
ABI RESEACH            30,000,000,000
CISCO                      50,000,000,000
MORGAN-STANLEY     75,000,000,000

With this amount of predicted growth, we need to insure the network infrastructure can handle that amount of devices and their anticipated growth in traffic from new applications.

How It All Started

A basic timeline for the evolution of standalone, intelligent buildings in the early 1980s into Intelligent Business Campuses of today:

1984-1986 - Initial concept, initial buildings - The initial idea of new, Intelligent Amenities versus Traditional Building Amenities to attract a higher-caliber of tenant.  Shared Tenant Services (shared phone systems and office automation), early Building Energy Management Systems (computerized versus manual controls), and internal network infrastructure became the building owners' responsibilities. The IBI (Intelligent Buildings Institute in Washington, DC), came up with some basic definitions and new terminology.

Most of the momentum dropped off when the real estate industry skidded to a slowdown in 1989 through the early 1990s.  (Note: I wrote several papers focusing on the difference between traditional building amenities and new intelligent amenities like computer and telecommunication services as well as concept of comparing buildings in a whitepaper, “Measuring a Building’s IQ” in Real Estate Review in 1985.)

In 1988, Johnson Controls came out with, The Intelligent Building Sourcebook, a comprehensive published by Prentice-Hall.  In this book, I wrote a chapter on “Measuring a Building’s IQ”. The idea of comparing buildings based on their intelligent amenities started over three decades ago when working with JMB Realty, I designed a Building Test which measured three areas: Information Systems, Telecommunication Systems and Building Automation Systems.  I compared six commercial buildings in the downtown Seattle area in 1986 (thirty years ago).  This was the first endeavor at measuring intelligent amenities offerings between commercial buildings in a major metropolitan area and coming up with a score to compare buildings.

1990s - Some progress in the area of building infrastructure, but other concepts were not really adopted or refined by majority of the real estate industry. The integration of cabling systems grew and a 1999 Initiative in Taiwan started a resurgence (development of Intelligent Industrial Parks (IIPs)).

contemporary Fiber optics started to play a larger role in network infrastructure and mission critical networks. 

One of the big breakthroughs was the design of the Chicago 911 Emergency Communications Center where we demanded that trunks to the two supporting central offices be fiber optics, and not copper. We also connected 80 police and fire buildings with fiber on a 176-mile network across the city. At that time (1995), no other entity except for a network carrier had so many miles of fiber in the ground for a communications network.

2000s - More adoption, more sophistication, more integration. Evolution to multiple intelligent buildings and campuses occurred, not just single, standalone buildings. Clusters of buildings in Intelligent Business Campuses (IBCs in US), more Intelligent Industrial Parks (IIPs) in Asia (Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, Korea), and use of redundant broadband connectivity (Fiber Optics, multiple network carriers)

2010s – Continuing clusters of buildings - more IBCs and IIPs (commercial) across most continents.  The new impact of Smartphones as the new "edge technology" was being adopted across many areas.  Single venue developments for Smartphones (NFL Stadiums,  Ball Parks), to multi-venue Intelligent Retail/Entertainment/ Convention center (IREC) complex and the new concept of an area covered electronically (the "Virtual Resort") where a multi-venue area is developed for improving regional economic development (Cross-marketing of retail,  other venues, eCoupons, eDiscounts, customer demographics(Big Data), and increased sales taxes for municipality).

As we move forward, the impact of the growth in devices and sensors in buildings will demand more expertise in electrical contractors, network engineers, and system integrators to insure all these systems work flawlessly in a compatible environment.

At the conference, all the CABA Board of Directors were given a copy of LOCATION LOCATION CONNECTIVITY, the visionary book on the convergence of Real Estate, Infrastructure, Technology, and regional Economic Development as Smartphones and Tablets become the new edge technology.

Remember, 20th century real estate and technology solutions cannot solve 21st century challenges in this new market.  Get this comprehensive book and understand the new market:

To contact James Carlini, reach him at 773-370-1888 or james.carlini@sbcglobal.net


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