48 ELECTRICALCONTRACTOR | FEB. 17 | WWW.ECMAG.COM
we enjoy with the apps on our smart
devices is coming into the realm of
commercial building controls,” Leonard said.
This will only grow as the power
and capability of cloud-connected
devices increases. Lighting and
control are becoming information
Whether a phased approach is applied or not, digitalization
and data-driven intelligence are front and center for the building industry.
“Our industry is currently undergoing massive digitalization,” said Michael White, national business development
manager at Siemens’ Building Technologies Division, Columbus, Ohio.
Roughly 20 percent of a building’s cost today is construction; the remaining 80 percent is attributed to operations.
White said a lot of data comes with the integration of building
management system for those operations. Data and analytics
play a crucial role in construction.
“We’re seeing some major players coming up with their own
unique way to leverage big data in various modeling environments,” White said. “Virtual reality, augmented reality and even
mixed reality have found their way into construction. With the
explosion of big data, we’re going to see more exciting developments in the near future.”
Traditional building models such as design/bid/build are struggling to properly address smart building technology design as
a whole, White said.
“A true IBMS [integrated building management system]
integrates building systems into one, which is a challenge to
specify when contracts are siloed by trade in a traditional delivery method,” White said.
For that reason, early collaboration is important. In fact,
greater collaboration is transforming the construction process.
Bringing the right technology partner to the table early will
help maximize the benefits of intelligent infrastructure.
White recommends that contractors develop and leverage
relationships with preferred technology partners.
“Know the difference between a technology partner who
provides a true IBMS and one who is simply bundling various
disparate systems,” White said.
There is a distinction between integrated and integral systems. An integral system component is composed of a single
element with multiple cross-disciplinary functions, while an
integrated system typically consists of two separate pieces of
equipment operating as one through software.
“For example, lighting, shade and [heating, ventilating and
air conditioning] control may all be fused into one integral
controller in lieu of three separate
integrated systems,” White said. “Inte-
gral components reduce the need for
coordination between trades and can
provide a lower first cost by eliminat-
ing redundant infrastructure.”
ECs should consider local amend-
ments to codes and standards and
engage the authority having jurisdic-
tion (AHJ) early. New technology can sometimes catch AHJs
off guard and delay the project.
“For example, fusing the building automation and fire alarm
systems together for smoke control may eliminate redundant
infrastructure, but the technology may be new to the local
AHJ,” White said.
For that reason, contractors and technology providers are
tasked with educating the community on emerging technologies.
“Promote adoption of recent editions to codes and standards such as NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling
Code,” White said. “Codes and standards are struggling to keep
up with technology but are slowly embracing the movement
towards intelligent infrastructure, such as using ethernet for
fire alarm and emergency communication systems.”
Opportunities are now
For business managers, it’s not only about saving energy but
also offering a more comfortable workplace. Comfort plays a
key role in employee satisfaction, and recent studies show the
correlation between comfort and productivity.
In the next few years, all predictions point to the Io T going
from hype to reality, White said. Siemens is positioning itself
front and center in the ecosystem of the Io T, and with an
expected 50 billion devices to be connected by 2020, “there
will be tremendous impact to our business,” he said.
Leviton also provides assistance to contractors as they build
intelligence into their customers’ systems.
“Technology is moving at such a rate that it’s critical for
our contractors to exploit the opportunity and consider these
advances a core component of future business,” Leonard said.
“Technology and automation is no longer a luxury or a frac-
tional part of our industry. It’s at the core of it. Take advantage
of manufacturers’ support resources to make controls a central
skill. Technology is not waiting, and the needs and opportuni-
ties aren’t either.”
ECs can help building owners proceed through the phases
of their deployment even as technology evolves. The energy
savings gains with LED lighting and controls are significant
and immediate, and getting them in place to seize these ben-
efits is key.
“Take advantage of what today’s technology can offer, and
build from there,” Leonard said.
S WEDBERG is a freelance writer based in western Washington.
She can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. R H