May 2015

Innovations in Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety Solutions.

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Matt HendricksEMAIL INTERVIEWMike Hendricks and Ken Sinclair

Mike Hendricks, Business Development, Control Solutions, Inc.

Mike develops new and existing customer relationships for Control Solutions, Inc. as well as sales, marketing, and new technology development. He enjoys working with people and offering a product with a consistent evolution in technology.

He began his career as a plumbing apprentice with River City Mechanical, eventually becoming a job foreman before moving to Chicago. There, he changed careers to become a Brokerage Liaison with TD Waterhouse. In 2001, he returned to Grand Rapids in sales for River City Mechanical. His varied background provided valuable experience in both mechanics, sales, customer service and account management.

Factors driving demand for BAS integration

The biggest challenge we face as an integrator is the customers’ understanding of why they should integrate and a fear of consolidating their building systems to one interface and one service provider.

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SinclairHow familiar are your typical clients with building automation systems, and what are some of their main questions or concerns when you take on a new project?
Hendricks:  Around 50% really understand what a BMS system is and what is does. Of those 50%, around 25% understand what the parts are and what they do, how they are installed and programmed. Most questions are related to “open systems,” web access and what systems can work together. This is the same for new projects and current customer systems.
SinclairWhat are some of the biggest factors driving demand for BAS integration in Western Michigan right now? What do prospective clients ask about when they first reach out to you?
Hendricks:  Energy usage and building management.
We are typically called into customer-direct opportunities when a potential customer’s system becomes obsolete and needs an upgrade or an integration, better service, or to work and manage their current proprietary system. We ask what their current issues are and what goals they’d like to reach.
For example: 

Usually, the customer chooses to integrate their existing system as opposed to a full replacement, allowing us to reuse and/or repair existing parts and piece to make the system fully functional. At this point, we will work with the customer to create a schedule to convert the remaining devices to new over a period of time, typically 1 to 5 years.
SinclairTell us about some of the biggest challenges you face as an integrator.
Hendricks:  The biggest challenge we face as an integrator is the customers’ understanding of why they should integrate and a fear of consolidating their building systems to one interface and one service provider. Also, like every new product or service, a fear of change is a concern.
SinclairWhat are some big-picture trends you see happening with building automation systems in the near future?
Hendricks:  System(s) integration, HTML5 programming, wireless technologies, data analytics, energy monitoring, kiosk visuals and remote accessibility via smart devices.
The industry standard is remote access, and there are many flavors depending on the manufacturer. Smartphones and tablets are making it easier to access these systems, but with smaller screens and Java issues, it can be quite cumbersome and you lose function. The mobile apps currently available offer less function and aren’t very popular.
As such, we offer fully functional remote accessibility with an HTML5-based scalable software application that works well on all computers and smart devices. We’ve simplified and removed the heavy graphics typical in building automation software and offer a simple and fast tile-based system allowing full control, monitoring, identification, trending and alarming.
SinclairIndustry-wide, what challenges do you see for the rest of 2015 and over the course of the next few years?
Hendricks:  Updating obsolete building systems and devices, JavaScript programming issues and system security.
As far as system security, we work with Tridium, which offers security patches to resolve any issues and vulnerabilities.
The market is most definitely shifting toward HTML5 and JavaScript applications over traditional Java applets and programs. This is specifically due to HTML5's wide adoption across various operating systems and devices, ranging from desktops and laptops to mobile devices, as well.


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