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EMAIL INTERVIEW Keith Gipson & Ken Sinclair
Keith Builds on BuilConn™ 2003
Keith E. Gipson, CEO and CTO
Impact Facility Solutions
Sinclair: What's the significance of XML and other web-related technologies to the Controls industry?
Gipson: At BuilConn last week in Dallas, various industry executives addressed this issue head on. Web technologies of course have always contributed to improved business processes, however as the Controls industry moves forward, we'll start to see an intersection of web standards like XML and Building Controls standards like BACNET and LonWorks.
Sinclair: The Controls industry has sometimes been slow to adopt new standards. What's the difference this time around?
Gipson: Since Controls vendors have been responsible for controlling critical processes, it makes sense to proceed with caution when evaluating new protocols and technologies in the field. Especially where guaranteed messaging, transaction processing and data queuing are required. These control systems are working 24/7 to do the behind-the-scenes job of controlling environments, etc. What has happened now is that the web has enabled enterprise-level access to Building Controls systems...so the Controls are just another information "producer" (and consumer). The underlying field technologies will still perform pretty much the way they always have, enabling commoditization of the hardware to a certain extent.
Sinclair: What about differentiation of features between vendors?
Gipson: Well, there's lots of room for specialization at the field and even the enterprise level. What we're talking about is enhancing the connectivity of these systems, which by nature enhances their native capabilities. For example, my Building Control system can automatically read in the college class schedules so that it can turn the lights on and off at the right times and save money.
Sinclair: It seems like things have gotten more complicated as well?
Gipson: Absolutely, so the Systems Integrator with an IT background is going to play a major role in making sure all of these systems work well together and the customer gets the desired solution. The bar has been raised and there is no turning back now. Personally, I believe that the death of proprietary systems, as well as the intersection of IT and the Building Controls industry took place last week at BuilConn. Things will never be the same again.
Mr. Gipson has been a technologist for more than a decade. Starting out as a Technician with Honeywell Inc. in 1987, an Engineer at Johnson Controls in the mid-90's and at Pacific Gas and Electric in 1997.
A successful entrepreneur and business professional, Mr. Gipson co-founded in 1997 the world's first, internet based Enterprise Energy Management company, Silicon Energy Corp. The privately held company has grown from three persons to a 120 plus employee, multi-million dollar company. Silicon Energy was acquired by Itron in March 2003.
Mr. Gipson was Awarded United States Patent number 6,178,362, Jan 23, 2001 as Co-inventor of: an Energy Management System and Method utilizing the Internet to perform Facility and Energy Management of large corporate enterprises.
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