December 2015
Review
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Going Global

The first Global Building Automation Summit recently took place over two days in Berlin, Germany.


Jim SinopoliJim Sinopoli, PE,
RCCD, LEED AP
Managing Principal
Smart Buildings LLC

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The first Global Building Automation Summit recently took place over two days in Berlin, Germany. Luxatia International produced the event. In attendance were representatives from the US and Canada, and around 7 to 8 European countries; there were a total of about 30 people in attendance. Ron Zimmer, the president and CEO of CABA was the chairman of the event; other media partners included AutomatedBuildings.com and eu.bac, the European building automation controls association.

There were a few presentations by start-up companies that sounded similar and familiar; that is a business built on deploying some type of sensors within buildings and then monitoring and managing the data in the “cloud”. Underlying the basis of these prospects were the predictions of the numbers of IoT devices and the markets for buildings and home automation. Some of the startups were designed and driven by technologists, with little experience in the design, construction and operations of buildings.

There were a number of event highlights. One was the new Deloitte building in Amsterdam presented by their CIO, Eric Ubels. If you have not seen the video online (http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2015-the-edge-the-worlds-greenest-building/), I’d suggest doing so. Their approach to energy, sustainability, and amenities for their employees is exceptional. The building is being called “The Smartest Building in the World”. From a cost point, the technology in the building was only a modest 10% increase for the construction costs. Pretty impressive.

Another highlight was an interesting discussion about Apple moving aggressively with their home automation product, HomeKit. Some of the attendees had different views about Apple being successful in home automation and were skeptical. Others thought that anything with the Apple pedigree is gold. The Millennial Generation like the cool products of Apple and will wait in line for days to get the latest Apple product. However, another opinion was that IT companies have had a history of having difficulties moving into building automation; think Cisco and IBM.

Reliable ControlsAnother highlight was the presentation of Jaf Samani with Intel and other organizations addressing cybersecurity. Mr. Samani is considered to be one of the top world cybersecurity experts and advisors to government and companies. His presentation was enlightening and educational.

While the event had 30 attendees it was able to attract great speakers. What may have been missing was a deep dive into integrating systems, and the need to have separate tracks for home automation and building automation. Although this is the first attempt at a building automation event on a global scale, the industry needs such an event, and I hope the sponsors and organizers plan to undertake another similar event next year. 

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