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Interview - December 2001
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EMAIL INTERVIEW  Frank Capuano & Ken Sinclair

Frank Capuano is Technical Product Manager for TAC Americas and can be reached at frank_capuano@tac-americas.com

LonWorld2001 Show


Sinclair:  What was your overall impression of the LonWorld2001 show?

Capuano:  I thought the show was a big success this year. The show, held in Frankfurt Germany this year, attracted approximately 1400 visitors and 87 exhibitors from 21 different countries. The exhibitors included manufacturers of infrastructure products, controllers, security systems, Building IT solutions and Home Automation solutions. A majority of the attendees that I talked to were either LonWorks savvy or had LonWorks installation experience. Attendees with LonWorks installation experience wanted to expand their future LonWorks installations beyond HVAC control to include security, access, lighting and power monitoring. A welcome new addition to the LonWorld show was the strong attendance of many of the LonUsers organizations in Europe. One entire wall of booths was occupied by LonUsers organizations.

Distech Controls

Sinclair:  What is a LonUsers Organization?

Capuano:  A LonUser organization is a collection of manufacturers, system integrators, distributors, and end users of the LonWorks technology. There are about 11 organizations spread throughout Europe, each representing a European nation. Each organization hosts events within their country and presents LonWorks technology information and success stories in their native language. They are strong local supporters, promoters, installers and users of the LonWorks technology.

Sinclair:  What new products will make a significant change to the industry?

Capuano: There were a variety of new products shown that will affect the industry. Echelon released several new LonWorks development tools including Node Builder 3.0 and the Short Stack Developerís Kit. Node Builder is a development tool that manufacturers use to develop and program new LonWorks controllers. The changes to Node Builder make it easier for manufacturers to include LonMark objects and LonMark Functional Profiles into the controllerís program. This will make it easier for manufacturers to get their controllers LonMark Certified. This will lead to an increase of certified devices. The Short Stack Developerís Kit makes it easier for manufacturers to produce Hosted controllers. A Hosted controller uses a Neuron Chip to access the network and a 3rd party processor to run the controllerís program. This type of controller can support hundreds of network variables and run extremely complex and aggressive applications.

CatNet SystemsSinclair:  What was the highlight of LonWorld 2001 for you?

Capuano:  The highlight of the show for me was when the LonMark Association presented me with an award for submitting the most Case Studies for their annual Case Study publication. I know that sounds selfish, but for me that was the highlight. LonMark published this annual yearbook of Case Studies in color on glossy paper. This yearís book includes 17 multi-vendor LonWorks case studies of which 9 are from TAC covering European and Americas installations.

Sinclair:  OK. But seriously, what did you see as the highlight of the LonWorld 2001?

Capuano:  Actually there were two things about the show that really stood out, one the three distinct areas of exhibitors and two the high number of success stories presented. It appeared to me that 90% of the exhibitors were showing solutions in 3 markets, the Building IT market, home automation, and the security industry. In past shows the majority of exhibitors were showing individual components that a installer could collect into a solution. Now exhibitors are either showing a complete solution or they are working with other companies to collect their products and present a multi-vendor solution. The Building IT and Security solution providers promoted their solutions through success stories. They still had the obligatory marketing and technical product information in their booth, but there was a definite emphasis in showing where the products have been applied. Past shows did not have this high a number of success stories visible in each booth. Not only on the show floor, but success stories were also the popular choice of presenters. In past shows there were more product description presentations.

Sinclair:  What was the highlight of the show for TAC?

Capuano:  All of the exposure. The TAC presence was very visible. We promoted our new TAC Xenta 110, which is an application specific controller for dual duct control. One full wall of our booth was case studies in brief that showed point counts and site name. We had great exposure in the LonMark case study yearbook. We received an award for participating in the winning multi-vendor project contest. The TAC name was everywhere at this show, which is a testament to our LonWorks expertise and product robustness.

Sinclair:  What was the multi-vendor project contest?

Capuano:  The contest was between 6 installations around the world that used LonWorks products from 8 or more different vendors. TAC products were used in 4 of the projects considered for the award. This is an outstanding example of the level of confidence and applicability of the TAC products.

Sinclair:  It sounds like LonWorkd 2001 was very successful for TAC. What is next?

Capuano:  Our next focus is the AHR Expo in 2002 in Atlantic City New Jersey. We want people at this show to see the TAC name and realize that we are a serious player in open system installations. We also want people to see our ongoing commitment to our I/NET solution with our new release of I/Net SEVEN. By the end of the show we want people to understand that the TAC solution is the Building IT solution they are looking for.


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