Is our industry Building-IoT ready?

BACnet and Building-IoT in the smart building industry
How Amazon, Google, and Apple will change building automation for years to come

Right now, the building automation industry is dominated by four massive, multinational companies. Companies with long and storied pasts, that have been around since the dawn of electricity. Companies with a monopoly on the market, and little competition or disruption. 

That’s not going to last much longer. 

The building automation industry isn’t changing fast enough. It isn’t embracing, or even adapting to new technology like IoT, big data, the cloud, AI, or visualization. There are still buildings running on pneumatics and MS/TP, instead of DDC and IP/Ethernet. If some of these big companies had their way, they would never have adopted BACnet. (Learn more about that in our whitepaper, “Why should you invest in BACnet?”) They’d still be running all their buildings on proprietary protocols, so they could keep their claws in for the lifetime of a building. 

I’m coming into the world of OT from an IT perspective. I’m in the middle, and I can see the industry is coming from behind. If these big companies don’t respond and fundamentally change the way they do business, soon they won’t be industry leaders anymore. Instead, they’ll be replaced by companies from the digital age. Companies that built themselves around the cloud, data, web, and consumer electronics; companies that built themselves around change. 

It’s already happening. 

Look at Google’s acquisition of Dropcam and Nest, Amazon’s new Ring, or Apple’s HomeKit.  These companies are normalizing “smart” in our homes, with “Hey Siri, “Alexa,” and “OK Google.” They’re completely transforming the individual consumer’s world. Now there’s growing evidence that consumers’ behaviour will seep into the commercial and enterprise space. 

Do you really think they’ll stop there? 

There’s so much opportunity being squandered in our commercial spaces with Building IoT (B-IoT). Even if these mammoth companies don’t see an opportunity yet (and I’d be surprised if they don’t), the demand for smart technology in commercial buildings is only going to increase. Why should our homes be smarter than our offices, university campuses, and airports? We might make fun of Millennials and their digital addictions; but while we’re busy criticizing, the Gen Y companies will take over everything. 

As it stands, we’re poised to be the next industry conquered by the digital age. We’re hotels (AirBnB), cabs (Uber), and retail (Amazon). If they wanted to, Google could buy one of the big four and take the industry by storm overnight. 

The game isn’t over yet, though. 

Acuity’s a lighting company. They acquired DistechDGLogik, and Lucid. Within two years, they went from a traditional, metal and lightbulbs company to a force to be reckoned with. The company now brings digitalization to lighting and building automation systems, with visualization, analytics, and the cloud. 

Siemens, one of the traditional big four, is also shifting into this B-IoT space. They’ve gone on a huge buying spree in recent months, acquiring J2 InnovationsEnlighted, and Comfy. These companies “wake up” our brick and mortar buildings at every level — from the framework and analytics to all the bits in between that keep us comfortable.

Companies like Acuity and Siemens don’t want to get left behind by disruptors of the new age. These acquisitions are their insurance against obsolescence.

This industry is ripe for change. It’s ready for disruption — but who’s going to be the one to disrupt it? It could be an outsider with a digital predilection or an insider with industry know-how. The rate of change in the world is the highest it’s ever been in human history, and many companies are taking advantage of this. Those that don’t will be left in the dust, like so many fossils before them. 


Article originally published on Automated Buildings.

Recent Blog Posts

The consulting specifying engineer of today is venturing into totally new territory: Division 25.

Right now, the building automation industry is dominated by four massive, multinational companies. Companies with long and storied pasts, that have been around since the dawn of electricity.

Over the years, we’ve dug into solutions for the most common problems we see on BACnet networks: everything from MS/TP issues, to Global Who-Is broadcasts, duplications, and Circular Networks.

When I really think about it, I’m astounded by how much movement and change there is among companies in the building automation industry.

The world of IT does not look quite like it did 40, or even 30 years ago. 

Recent Projects

Penn State University Visual BACnet Site Monitoring Optigo Networks

PENN STATE UNIVERSITY

When Tom Walker first started working at Penn State University four years ago, there were a lot of network issues. Buildings were dropping offline. Broadcast traffic was pushing 90,000 packets per hour. Walker was on the phone almost every single night because devices were down or had to be reset.

 

Torre Manacar Optigo Networks Optigo Connect Mexico City High-rise shopping centre

TORRE MANACAR

When MR Soluciones began work on Torre Manacar, they knew they needed a flexible and scalable network infrastructure to support a wide array of integrated systems. Optigo Networks was a natural fit for the massive project, designing a robust network at a competitive cost.

short

SHORT PUMP TOWN CENTER

Short Pump Town Center, an upscale retail center, underwent a complete renovation in 2014. The flexibility of Optigo Networks’ solution meant the retail center’s unknown final design was not a barrier to placing IP surveillance equipment in the field.

BOULEVARD MALL

BOULEVARD MALL

Optigo Networks connected New York-based Boulevard Mall’s security surveillance devices in December 2015, using a Passive Daisy Chain topology.

Tech Support Team

TECH SUPPORT TEAM

One tech support team at a manufacturer purchased an account with Visual BACnet in April 2017, for technical problems around the world.

Aster Conservatory Green

ASTER CONSERVATORY GREEN

The Aster Conservatory Green is a residential community comprising 352 residences across 24 low-rise buildings. The buildings use advanced surveillance and access control technology, including 40 HD video cameras and 60 FOB-access-tele-entry points for access control.

25 NATIONAL CIRCUIT

25 NATIONAL CIRCUIT

When Delta Building Automation (Australia) won the BMS Upgrade at 25 National Circuit for the Australian Trucking Association, they partnered with Optigo Networks to create a secure and robust Building Services Network (BSN). Optigo Connect more than delivered on this project with a scalable solution that restored the building network to perfection.

Optigo Connect Seattle Stadium

SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT CENTER

Optigo Connect offered a simple, cost-efficient solution for a premier Seattle-based stadium. Optigo Networks’ design improved the surveillance system to crystal clear perfection, made it dependable, and allowed the security system to scale with the addition of more than 40 16MP cameras.

TELECOM DATA CENTER

TELECOM DATA CENTER

Optigo Networks and Controlco offered a secure and scalable solution for four data centers’ HVAC and Access Control systems throughout the United States. Optigo Connect’s performance in the first data center was so impressive, the client asked that Optigo replicate the network design for three other data centers.

bueno

BUENO SYSTEMS

Energy analytics company BUENO Systems was working on a mall when the worst happened. The network failed and equipment failed to “ON,” which kept units running 24 hours a day. As it turns out, the mall’s network was overloaded and glitching before BUENO even deployed. It had been for a while. These latent issues were a ticking time bomb and would have resulted in a failure if any new devices were added to the network. Because it was BUENO’s device, though, they had to fix it. The only way to fix it was out of pocket.