October 2006

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EMAIL INTERVIEW  Gary Bark & Ken Sinclair

Gary Bark ConnectivityWeek Amsterdam & SingaporeGary Bark is the Managing Director of CONVERGED Building Solutions Ltd, in the UK. He has been involved in the building controls industry for the past 20 years. His background prior to CONVERGED includes six years as the Sales and Marketing Director of Plexus Technology Ltd, five years with CSI Control Systems International (now TAC) and 10 years with Andover Controls (now TAC) where he developed successful sales channels throughout the EMEA territory.

CONVERGED Building Solutions provides independent consultancy on the convergence between Building Control Systems and the IT world. Services are offered to Technology providers, Partners and Integrators as well as End Users.  Gary can be contacted at gary@convergedbuildings.com

BuilConn Track “Selling Connected Buildings”

It is our customers that that will change the industry, we need the technologists to drive the boundaries and we need end users to be convinced of the business case and the value proposition it will bring to their organization.

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Sinclair:  Gary, a question I am always asking myself given the compelling reasons for Intelligent Buildings is, why aren’t more owners moving in this direction?

Bark:  Good question Ken, I believe this is down to three fundamental problems; education, procurement and the business case for doing it. Let’s address them one by one:

  1. Education - the whole supply chain from owners right through to the delivery partners, there is still of a lack of people who really ‘get-it’. However, this is changing and events like BuilConn are helping to influence this.

  2. Procurement - this is always challenging us, given that technology has moved on at a pace most can’t keep up with, yet the way buildings are procured is really no different to the way it was done 20 years ago. Again, I personally have seen signs in the past 12 months that show this is changing, slowly, but it is changing and over time this will reduce the obstacles that stop real intelligent buildings being implemented.

  3. Business Case - This may sound somewhat obvious, but the business case needs to be developed right at the beginning of a project, not half way through the construction phase. Most buildings don’t work hard enough! A huge amount of money gets spent on them and most end up as expensive sheds used simply for sheltering people and assets. We need to make buildings work harder, by which I mean they need to play an extensive and active part in meeting the corporate objectives to reduce costs, lower environmental impact, increase occupant productivity and maximize Return On Investment.

Sinclair:  What do you believe are the key drivers that will change our industry?

Bark:  I believe it is a combination of two factors; the first is ‘technology’, this enables change and the way we do businesses, however the technology itself is not holding us back today. The second is more fundamental ‘our customers’; it is our customers that that will change the industry, we need the technologists to drive the boundaries and we need end users to be convinced of the business case and the value proposition it will bring to their organization. Once this is well articulated and proven, what we implement in our buildings and the way we implement it could change significantly.

[an error occurred while processing this directive] Sinclair:  Where is the real value in Converged Solutions?

Bark:  One aspect that needs to be appreciated in this whole ‘converged building solution’ is that the business benefit is not derived from ‘system to system’ integration. We have seen this type of integration for many years and as we discussed earlier, it is still not the mainstream. This is because in general, it does not deliver a compelling business case. By converging business systems with building systems we now have an opportunity to create far greater business value to the customer that we previously could not address. It is the combination of IT network and open standards that has bought these worlds closer together and provides a media by which the building and business worlds can collaborate. This is now being identified by many businesses globally, the challenge now is to find the organizations that have the expertise to bring these two very different worlds together. Some of the leading companies in this field will be participating at BuilConn either as presenters or exhibitors.

Sinclair:  What is your track aiming to achieve?

Bark:  We have a lot of experience in the presenters that are involved in this track, the aim is to pass on some of the wealth of knowledge through these industry leaders to the BuilConn delegates, who will be able leave BuilConn with new ideas, applications and business models.

Sinclair:  Finally, what type of delegate is likely to benefit from this BuilConn track?

Bark:  This track is not simply targeted at sales professionals who need to sell to end users. At the end of the day, even the owner that we sell to on a daily basis is likely to have to sell the proposition internally within their organisation. I am sure a wide range of delegates including building owners, consulting engineers, systems integrators (both IT and Controls) and Technology Solution Providers along with anyone who is interested in the business case for Intelligent Buildings will benefit from this track.


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