March 2019

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Scott CochraneEMAIL INTERVIEWScott Cochrane and Darrell Driver

Scott Cochrane is President and CEO of Cochrane Supply & Engineering, a leading industrial IoT and building controls supplier with locations throughout Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky, as well as President of Canada Controls. Scott earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business with minors in Marketing and Finance from Eastern Michigan University and holds an additional minor in HVAC Technologies from Macomb Community College. In 2000, he took over the business from his father, Donald Cochrane, Sr., who founded the company in 1967. Scott is now an advisory council member for multiple industry manufacturers including Honeywell, Johnson Controls, and Tridium. He is also an IBcon Digital Impact Award Winner for going above and beyond to positively impact the smart building industry, as well as a winner of the ControlTrends Impact Person of the Year Award for his impact on continuing to move the industry forward.

Contributing Editor

Darrell DriverDarrell Driver is currently General Manager, Manitoba, for BSD Solutions, an Ainsworth Company. Ainsworth recently acquired BSD Solutions Ltd, a company where Darrell was serving as President, to help enhance the wide range of technical services offerings provided by Ainsworth including Mechanical and Electrical Services, System integration and complete BAS installations.  Darrell’s career spans over 35 years starting with temperature control and automation design and programming with JCI, then moving on to sales, project management and contract management with Honeywell before starting BSD Solutions Ltd in 2001.  The team at BSD has extensive knowledge in BAS and System Integration installations including support for Tridium products from VYKON, Alerton, Distech, JCI FX, Phoenix Controls, Siemens Talon and SkySpark Analytics. Darrell is extremely proud of the accomplishments of his team and their ability to perform integration of multiple building platforms, aggregation of the data these integrated systems provide and assistance to the end user in realizing how this data can help optimize control and comfort of any environment.

Master Systems Integrators (MSI)

They make sure all systems communicate properly, coordinate all project participants, collaborate with building owners to ensure systems information will be accessible and usable, and they develop software layers responsible for integration, aggregation, and communication of the building systems.

MSI Interview Series

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Scott Cochrane of Cochrane Supply & Engineering has the unique benefit of working with 300+ of the best systems integrators in the country. Cochrane recognizes the critical role they have within the building automation industry and is speaking with a different highly-regarded MSI each month with the goal of providing examples of industry trends, best business practices, and the growing value of an MSI.  This month, he interviews Darrell Driver, General Manager, Manitoba, for BSD Solutions.

February 19 Interview with Scott Papay, Sales Manager, Building Automation at LONG Building Technologies.

January 19 Interview with Josh Reding, Senior Vice President, General Manager of Sunbelt Controls

December Interview with David Crosley, of Waibel Energy Systems

November Interview with Derek Drayer of RoviSys.

October Interview with Preston Blackwell of Enervise.

September Interview with Tom Davis of ERMCO, Inc.

August 18 Interview with Continual Energy Inc

July Interview with Ian Morse, Division Manager, Building Automation Systems, Conti Corporation

June Interview with Marc Dugré, President of Regulvar, Inc.

May Interview with Rick Gorka, President of the Airon Group of Companies

April Interview with Colin M. Murray, Owner of Solution Control Services

February Interview with Jeff Murphy, President and CEO of ECT Services, Inc.

January 18 Interview with Chris Saltz, Managing Principal of FIX Consulting LLC.

December Interview with Jason Houck from Hepta Control Systems.

November Interview with Geoff Hunter, President and Senior Principal of Palmer Conservation Consulting (PCC)

October Interview with Brian Oswald, Managing Director for CBRE | ESI.

September Interview with Joe Napieralski the Co-Founder and Director of Development of Smart Building Services LLC

August Interview with Sidney H. Blomberg, Jr. the founder and President of K & S Ventures, Inc

July 17 Interview with Scott Cochrane and Ken Sinclair

This month (March 2019), he interviews Darrell Driver, General Manager, Manitoba, for BSD Solutions.

Cochrane:  How did you become an MSI?

Driver:  It was quite by accident, actually. We had dabbled in system integration through the early 2000’s, and in 2008 we were lucky enough to have been awarded the BAS and system integration contracts for a LEED Platinum state-of-the-art building in downtown Winnipeg. The integration included weather stations, waterfalls, windows, blinds, lighting, solar chimney, metering, and temperature control.

Cochrane:  Can you explain what some of the characteristics are of a good MSI?

Driver:  I believe a good MSI must be open-minded to evolving and emerging technologies, have a very diverse group of technical employees, and always be willing to source out the best solutions for their clients.

Cochrane:  How do you sell Master Systems Integration services?

Driver: We are becoming known more for the solutions we can help bring to clients and less about the products we represent. We are, for the most part, product agnostic. That doesn’t mean we don’t respect or value our partners. Quite the opposite, in fact. Having multiple relationships allows us always to bring a solution to the client that best suits their needs!

Cochrane:  How do your customers procure MSI services?
Driver:  Our most recent experiences have included detailed proposal calls followed by individual interviews with large groups of stakeholders involved in specific projects. In some instances, we used our own workspace to model an integrated system that had a look and feel we believed the client was looking for. Like the discipline, the contracts are ever-evolving. The challenge for the traditional consultant/contractor chain is to try and fit an MSI into a traditional construction contract.

As an MSI crosses over many project disciplines when executing their work, it is hard to assign an MSI to any one trade. In some instances, we have been removed completely from a general contractor and contracted directly with the end user. In other cases, we have been assigned as a sub-sub-contractor representing a more traditional contractor relationship.

Cochrane:  As an MSI, what percent of your time is spent in the following categories? R&D, Consultations, Field Commissioning, and Software Programming.

•    R&D: 10%
•    Consultation: 20%
•    Software Programming: 40%
•    Field Commissioning: 30%

Cochrane:  Describe a few challenges that you’ve encountered as an MSI.

Driver:  One big challenge for an integrator is to get the rest of the stakeholders to start examining physical network solutions before they set out integration expectations. There has been a bit of an industry shift to have all things “operational” on a separately-managed network and have it connected to the overall IT network. There are several advantages to this type of network configuration including commissioning, validation and software updates and overall troubleshooting to name a few.

The issue still remains in the fact that IT generally does not like to see things running outside of their control. Further compounding the network issues in traditional system installation, this topic is normally addressed at the end of a project, and each of the parties involved in the overall integration or convergence of networks has, for the most part, provided their solution as an island. This inevitably puts the MSI and the IT group at odds and increases the difficulty in providing the client with an integrated solution on a converged network.

Another key issue is trying to define “packaged” equipment systems and where the responsibility of start-up and commissioning ends for an equipment supplier and the integration of their equipment to an overall system starts with the MSI. Far too often the MSI is the catch-all for ensuring all parts of an integrated system are properly verified and commissioned, and this becomes very costly to the MSI. And towards the end of providing an integrated solution to a client, there is always a discussion around analytics and reporting and to what level the MSI is responsible for generating fault detection and report generation. Often times the MSI is left to try and figure out how to accumulate and aggregate data that may not have been identified early on in a project BUT is deemed necessary by the stakeholders once they discover it’s available.

Cochrane:  Do you envision Master Systems Integration is a part of your business in the future? If so, how?

Driver:  Absolutely! Our view of the automation and system integration market is that system integration has become a part of a standard BAS system. The traditional controls contractor who does not embrace integration will see their opportunities for business quickly erode as clients seek out ways to gather and manipulate data across several different platforms, old and new.

From our point of view, if you are still trying to figure out what a smart building is you’ve already missed the wave transforming smart buildings to intelligent buildings. The trick for us is to continue to invest in our people and technology wisely, so we have the ability to try and help our clients see what meets their needs today, and future-proof them for tomorrow’s emerging building technologies.

Controls-Con 2019

To dive deeper into the topic of Master Systems Integration, current trends to utilize in your business, and future trends to prepare for now, don’t miss out on your opportunity to attend Controls-Con 2019! Controls-Con will take place May 2nd and 3rd, 2019 at the MotorCity Casino Hotel in Detroit, Michigan. This fast-paced, education-packed event brings together hundreds of integrators and end-users from throughout the United States and Canada to explore the latest technologies and possibilities of Building Controls and the Internet of Things (IoT) in commercial and industrial buildings. Learn more.


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