Innovations in Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety Solutions.
Separating the Wheat from the Chaff
– Simplifying Building Complexities™
|Patty Anderson, CEO, &
Jon Sargeant, VP Technology,
‘Separating the Wheat from the Chaff’ is a challenge that many building owners are faced with when analyzing today’s technology solutions. Simply defined, this means ‘to separate what is valuable from what is worthless’ or ‘to choose the things of high quality from those of mixed quality’. With today’s marketplace saturation of over 100+ smart building technology solution providers and a building industry recovering from a recession, building owners have been faced with a unique challenge. While there is an abundance of technology solutions, the recession has forced them to re-focus operational resources, staff, and budgets on their existing portfolio and legacy building systems. The requirement of having to do more with less has a resulted in a stagnation of technology adoption and created a relational mismatch: efficient technologies versus available skilled resources.
This challenge is not going away - it is only going to become more
difficult. The IDC Energy Insights Report ‘Business Strategy:
Global Smart Buildings 2014-2018 forecast’ states that “the market is
expected to grow rapidly as there is increasingly broad market
awareness of the business values generated by deploying smart building
solutions. This global smart buildings forecast projects spending to
grow from $6.3 billion in 2013 to $21.9 billion in 2018 (a 28.4%
CAGR)”. This indicates an additional growth of technology based
solutions and providers, complicating the analysis and decision making
process even further.
For example, a quick market evaluation breaks down many of the
available product technology products, and companies providing
consultation and solution implementation into two main categories:
Existing building infrastructure configurations have made it difficult
for building owners to determine the right fit and application of new
technology solutions for integration to their existing systems.
Dissemination between the value propositions proposed by product
manufacturers versus the technical capabilities of the product solution
is hard for owners, especially since the manufacturer has a vested
interest in the sale of their particular solution. This gap often
leaves owners wanting more from the product solution, or creates a need
of the product manufacturer to stretch beyond its’ core competencies
and capabilities to cover the gap, limiting the owner’s ability to
reach the target goal potential. Also challenging for
owners is to determine who should implement the solution, as there is a
large variance between skills and price when assessing the solutions
from large Fortune 500 companies versus Systems Integration
Concerned about making the wrong decision, owners often choose to make
no decision, even though implementing a technology solution could
provide increased energy efficiency, optimization of the building
systems, or improve the operational performance of their building staff
by equipping them with more timely and relevant system performance
analytics. Owners are hoping the market will stabilize, allowing
the strongest leaders rise to the top while the weaker technologies are
absorbed or disappear, ultimately making their selection process
easier. Our research indicates while there are new entrants into
the marketplace, unfortunately there is still no single system that
will meet all building owners needs to combine, interpret, prioritize,
and visualize critical building data – there is no magical ‘silver
So how are building owners making decisions today? Sorting
through the technology providers to determine core competencies,
features and benefits, manufacturer support, and implementation
capabilities is a daunting task. This is due to the continuous
evolution of technology and the emerging solutions coming to
market. The continuous evolution of the technology and its
manufacturers, has complicated the analysis and selection of
market-ready products, how they fit into the various levels of an
enterprise-wide solution intended to optimize building performance,
increase staff efficiency, and gain energy savings.
This complicated scenario and desire to ‘Separate the Wheat from the Chaff’ has many owners partnering with Consulting Firms and Master Systems Integrators to help define their key objectives, parse through the available solution providers, and to evaluate and recommend technical solutions aligned to meet their target goals and objectives. This partnership is best-served by providing a neutral independent lens to help owners. By assessing their existing building infrastructures, determining the needed product applications, identification of Return On Investment (ROI) and Net Operating Income (NOI) strategies for their portfolio creates roadmaps to enable implementation success. Defining the correct application of technical solutions and leveraging existing assets will ensure gaps and overlaps in technology have been addressed and planned for, while enabling owners to achieve the long term goals they desire.
Introducing new technologies to an existing portfolio of building
systems or even incorporating smart building design concepts on a new
construction project is not as easy as specifying the use of a building
automation system that communicates via open protocols.
Assessment of existing infrastructures, reviewing design criteria on
new construction projects, planning and coordination with vendors and
trades and confirmation of existing system configurations and procured
equipment are all activities that have to be carefully orchestrated at
the forefront of any project introducing any technology solution.
By employing this approach, the issues that are often uncovered during
implementation or commissioning are identified up front, reducing the
initial system configuration effort and implementation hurdles that
require both extra time to resolve and cause owners additional project
One of the factors that has owners, consultants, and Fortune 500
Property Management firms partnering with Master System Integration
companies is the technical depth and expertise they offer. Our
experience has shown that the ability to quickly assess building
technologies to determine their technical capabilities, their
suitability to the clients’ existing infrastructure, identification of
capability gaps or overlaps, their strengths and weaknesses have
enabled customers to validate their existing implemented solutions or
the potential introduction of new technologies.
As long as owners have building stock within their portfolio with legacy building systems or “one-off” systems, there is a need to partner with Master Systems Integration companies with specialized experience and flexibility to determine the best solution; taking into account the overall implications of the environment and proposed solution. You wouldn’t use your family doctor to perform Lasik surgery – you would go to a specialist who has vast experience and the proper tools and training; building owners should likewise leverage the expertise of qualified system integrators when deciding how to manage the challenge of adopting new building technologies.
Performance Building Solutions, is a small-women owned business with over 50 years combined experience. As Master Systems Integrators, we provide technology consultation, building system integration and enterprise analytical solutions design, turn-key project delivery, and optimization services. Our transformative, solutions-integration approach, empowers customers to access pertinent, key data points in simple, easy to access methods. The outcome enables systems optimization, improved energy performance, and reduction in energy and operational costs.
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