Innovations in Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety Solutions.
EMAIL INTERVIEW – Greg Barnes and Ken Sinclair
Greg Barnes, Vice President, Activelogix, LLC
Barnes is an Owner and Vice President of Marketing and Sales at
Activelogix, LLC. Previously a Director of OEM Sales at Tridium, Inc.,
he has 30 years of experience in management positions within the
Building Automation, Energy Services and Work Order/Asset Management
In general, how is IoT changing the landscape for Building Automation System (BAS) Distributors?
BAS Distributors have been ahead of the curve on IoT for some time.
Many innovative distributors have been supporting IoT technologies like
the Niagara Framework TM for years. We’ve also trained customers on
analytics tools and helped design network communication architectures.
We are often approached by the more innovative product manufacturers
and asked to market and support their IoT offerings through our
expansive contractor network. Innovative distributors are an ideal path
to market for many manufacturers because of our ability to move a large
volume of product, the strength of our training center and the strong
Consulting Engineer relationships we’ve developed. In general, we
feel like we’ve become more of a Technology Distributor!
How has IoT changed the product and services mix supported by distribution?
Barnes: We’ve had to increase the number of hardware and software products that we offer and support. Our bread and butter is still building and energy automation systems devices but we find ourselves supporting and integrating more of the auxiliary systems such as gas detection, lighting control, work order management, electric vehicles charging infrastructure.
Sinclair : What is different about the skillset needed for IoT? Has it affected the hiring of sales and technical resources?
I think the biggest change involves the need to hire a broader set of
skills within our own support staff. Our integrators and contractors
are required to do so much now. They have to understand the basic
engineering theory of heat transfer and PID control. They also need to
understand network topologies and 3-4 industry specific protocols. If
you add in the challenges of visualization design and network security,
you just created the Ultimate Warrior of technicians. We still start
with a technical person that is comfortable in their understanding of
mechanical and electrical systems and we add in network skills. Many of
today’s graduates are well versed in networking technologies and are
comfortable with software tools and mobile devices, so we often are
teaching the nuances of a particular product.
What should contractors and integrators look for when partnering with a Technology Distributor?
hard for many contractors to find the ideal IoT technical support
person and to keep them trained on the innovative technologies. A good
Technology Distributor can offset the need for many contractors to hire
each of these specialists on staff. A large percentage of the
contractor’s work is still designing and programming using a specific
manufacturer’s tool. If a Distributor can offer a slice of the value
added skill set on-demand, it can make our customer’s projects more
profitable. When our customers do hire a specialist, the Technology
Distributor can provide local training and support. In fact,
Activelogix has announced its inaugural Activelogix Technology Forum (www.AlxTechForum.com) in part to further the education and networking of technology professionals in our industry.
Tell us more about your ALX Technology Forum.
organized the event for end users, consultants and contractors to hear
from leading IoT industry experts and manufacturers on topics important
to our channels. Speakers include executives from companies like
Tridium, Honeywell, Schneider, Intelligent Buildings and Harbor
Research. Topics include IoT Security, Analytics Case Studies,
Mobile Visualization and Critical Systems Monitoring. We have a full
day of information and networking in the exciting venue of the NASCAR
Hall of Fame! The Event is October 12th in Charlotte and registration
is available at www.AlxTechForum.com
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