Innovations in Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety Solutions.
EMAIL INTERVIEW – Brian Turner and Ken Sinclair
Brian Turner, President, OTI
Brian Turner, LEED-AP BD&C, is President of OTI, a leading-edge building master system integrator and automation solution provider. He provides hands-on expertise to architects, engineers, contractors and building owners to design and implement integrated building systems.
Sinclair: What is different about the role of the master systems integrator today versus 10 years ago?
you look up “systems integrator” in Wikipedia, you’ll see in the first
two sentences “the term is generally used in the information technology
field.” I would argue this is an outdated definition, but an important
one for those of us on the operational side of buildings to take note
of. Traditionally, the only systems that needed to be networked and
communicating across devices were IT devices like computers and ERP
software. But now that building automation devices like lighting
panels, temperature sensors and air handlers (just to name a few) are
IP-enabled, operational technology needs its systems to be integrated
as well. So systems integrators with HVAC or general OT backgrounds are
offering a different skill set to the MSI field.
Sinclair: Is this increased competition ultimately good for building owners and operators?
Turner: Competition is generally a good thing.
In this case, people who call themselves Master Systems Integrators are
having to look out at a few different directions when they assess where
they may best be able to play for buildings IoT. For building owners
and operators, I think they’re getting the most value out of MSIs who
have controls experience but who have also spent the past few years
really learning about the challenges that the IT side of the buildings
are facing in the IoT. The responsibility for security and network
up-time falls on the IT team, and while OT devices get more involved in
that world, the controls experts are going to have to develop stronger
relationships with the IT professionals. So the MSI who can walk this
line and sit at the decision-making table is the one that is going to
provide the most value to building owners and operators.
Sinclair: Should Master Systems Integrators be involved in the high level decision making and the on-the-ground installation of the systems?
Turner: It’s always been true that it’s
difficult to excel at anything if your expertise is an inch deep and a
mile wide on just about everything. That’s especially true with the
IoT. There are simply too many devices and too many systems to be doing
both the on-the-ground work and the high level system architecture
work. In my mind, a good MSI today knows a great deal about the best
products available for optimizing building operations and has a strong
network of trustworthy contractors who are forward-thinking enough to
have experience installing those new products.
Sinclair: Where does the theme of “people powered transformation” fit into this MSI discussion?
Turner: I think people live at the heart of
every transformation. We will succeed and fail based on the ability of
our people to understand and adapt to the changes coming our way. At
the end of the day, it’s people who have to operate the buildings,
people who have to use the buildings, and people who have to decide the
best ways to use all the new technologies available to us.
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