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

By Pook-Ping Yao, CEO, Optigo Networks

June 2, 2020 Vancouver, BC – Optigo Networks, the connectivity, monitoring, and analytics company, now offers a complete networking solution for Operational Technology (OT).

May 26, 2020 Vancouver, BC – Optigo Networks is pleased to welcome Joel Schuster to the company’s board of directors.

Every March for the last few years at Optigo, we’ve taken a moment to celebrate women in tech and building automation.

Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) are different in a lot of ways, from their design to their maintenance workflows and more.

Recent Projects

Data center expansion with OTI and Optigo Connect


Stack Infrastructure is a portfolio of hyperscale computing data centers. OTI completed work on Phases I and II, and returned for the Phase III build-out of a 4-megawatt data hall and brand new central plant. The Optigo Connect network put in place in Phases I and II was expanded on this project. The team achieved quick roll-out of a large, multi-service redundant network using the Optigo OneView management interface. Going forward, the facility management team can use OneView to remotely monitor equipment, manage power usage, and meet up-time goals.

Optigo Connect MR Soluciones The Landmark


The Landmark is a sophisticated mixed-use high-rise in Mexico. The owners wanted to integrate all OT systems in the skyscraper, while maintaining separate networks for each application. The Landmark is the fourth joint project between Optigo Networks and MR Soluciones. Together, these companies provide robust services to meet any challenge.

Australian Bureau of Statistics at 45 Benjamin Way with Delta Building Automation


Delta Building Automation (Australia) had a big job renovating the Headquarters for the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) at 45 Benjamin Way. The building owner wanted to improve the building’s energy use and increase their National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) score to more than 4.5 stars, out of a possible total of six. Securing the network both internally and externally was a big priority, as well.

Penn State University Optigo Networks Visual BACnet


When Tom Walker looked at Penn State University’s Navy Yard network, he saw huge issues. The system was busy and loud, to the point where the overrun network was bringing down the entire building. Because this was happening on the MS/TP network, pinpointing the problem would mean boots on the ground to segment and test the chain, piece by piece.

Penn State University Optigo Networks Visual BACnet


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 Mexico City Optigo Connect


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 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.



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

Visual BACnet 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 Optigo Connect


The Aster Conservatory Green is a 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.