The technology world is brimming with a constantly replenishing supply of buzzwords and hyped new trends, but one new tech trend that promises to have some serious staying power is the concept of smart buildings.
So what is a smart building? According to Bob Ehlers, vice president of business development at RGB Spectrum, it means standard API and network connectivity for all systems, and API standardized calls between systems. It is a central interface that allows you to handle all of the elements that you need in order to get that building to do that thing that you want.
Smart buildings provide an opportunity for companies to save money on electricity, to understand how their building is being used and to optimize it so that all systems are communicating effectively and can be controlled easily, remotely and automatically. They also provide a world of new offerings for integrators ready to embrace the concept.
Daniel Gallo, COO of myVRM, thinks that this is especially important in the age of telecommuting, where people are no longer congregating in masses into corporate offices but are going there for specific functions and specific applications. “There needs to be a utility where Exchange is communicating from an active directory standpoint who could be in those buildings. And that’s going to be tied into security, air conditioning and videoconferencing —making sure rooms are suited to have people there for meetings,” he says.
This change, he continues, is going to call on integrators to start looking past the purview of what audio and video can do. “Integrators need to start to realize that there is a critical opportunity for us to enter into the management of the entire space — and that’s huge.”
Lee Denhart, field sales manager at Draper, agrees that smart buildings may very well be the opportunity that many integrators are looking for to expand their business. “Of course, some will stick with the channels they are comfortable with — traditional audio and video — and that’s fine. But if you are able to face this new challenge, it can provide a serious new revenue stream for years to come.”
Denhart adds that he hopes InfoComm will devote more energy to educating integrators about smart buildings in the near future.