Energy Manager

COLUMN – Collaborating Convergence and the Changing Industry

December 3, 2013 - This December column is about “Collaborating Convergence” or as I like to joke “The Gear Heads meet the C-suite”… I think we all have accepted that the convergence model is inevitable, but I am not sure we understood how much we all would have to collaborate to insure successful convergence.

December 3, 2013  By  Ken Sinclair

I have just returned from a very successful event at the Microsoft campus called CoRETech 2013 that saw the very large national and international real estate folks collaborating with the developers of cloud based energy control and monitoring systems. See my review of event, although sponsored by RealComm the event was anything but real calm. Radical change and impressive penetration of technology on a global scale was touted and demonstrated with peaceful collaboration of Gear Heads and the C-suite. Lots of talk about the many things that are on the convergence table and the necessary collaborations to complete collaborated convergence.

The best part of the event was it generated some great content for our December issue. I am very pleased to have an interview with Darrell Smith of Microsoft that provides greater detail about how the Redmond Operations Center (ROC) that connects to two million data “points” across 35,000 building assets was created.

AHRExpo 2014 is in New York January 21 to 23. We are preparing our 15th year of free education sessions. I am proud of this achievement and our long term relationship with this leading industry event which is held with the ASHRAE winter meeting. is also sponsoring a Connection Community Collaboration meeting at AHR which is evolving online on LinkedIn. We would be pleased to have you follow the meeting evolution and provide your comments and of course, please attend if you wish. Meeting maybe a bit for gearheads only, as connection, collaboration and convergence will be discussed very frankly at a new higher level. For insight, take a look at Required Reading For Connection Community Collaboration Meeting New York.

I have also reached out to the connection communities to update their interviews and presentations from last year’s first ever event in Dallas.

One of our thought leaders for New York CCC meeting, Marc Petock of Lynxspring, states in this article—The Value of the Collaborative Community:
Today, many innovations are being fueled by collaborative, connected community efforts. We see it most clearly in the Internet and web, where new capabilities are continuously developed by communities that build on the work of others, creating “mashups”, and new complimentary applications. We also see it in M2M and are beginning to see it to some degree in our very own industry. Collaborative community efforts are helping drive new ways to extend the value of our building systems and effecting change and innovation.

Collaboration is a powerful alternative to conventional processes and procedures for effecting change and driving technological innovation. Collaborative connected community efforts tend to be loosely structured, highly adaptive, and inherently creative. Collaboration aims for speed, efficiency and pervasiveness. By creating collaborative opportunities where community connections are made, ideas are cross-fertilized, and collective knowledge is developed and shared, collaboration generates rich opportunities for innovation. When the right people are brought together in constructive ways and with the appropriate information, they are able to create powerful visions and robust strategies for change.

Collaboration through Connection Communities appeals to people in a wide spectrum, not because it offers everything to everyone—but because it deals with a fundamental belief distinct from a program or agenda. Collaboration requires that we look not only at the outcomes of our efforts, whatever they happen to be, but also at the process by which we arrive at those outcomes.

In this article, Who Will Win the Energy Management Software Business for Smart Buildings?, Allan McHale of Memoori writes:

Whilst presently BEMS and Enterprise Energy Management software operate as separate businesses they will only deliver against customer value propositions if they work together.

Today there are four different businesses that can and will play important roles in managing energy and the environment in Smart Buildings. Of these BEMS sits at the center and provides the control of the buildings environment and delivers most of the data and information upon which the EEM system provides an end-to-end solution for enterprise energy management in the building.

The ESCO’s and System Integrators are crucial to delivering the solution. ESCO’s because they can be both buyers and/or influence the buying decision and provide the finance and energy supply. System Integrators because they now have the skills to integrate the BEMS and other technical services in buildings such as lighting and electrical management systems and finally connect up to the EEM system.

Smart Building owners will require that EEM software will integrate with BEMS and meters, interface with IT, Data Centers, Telecoms, Lighting Controls, Primary energy and on-site generation. It will need to feed in weather data, utility tariff rates, energy benchmark and data on financial incentives and benchmark against new regulations and mandates.

In addition customers will require supplier management account tracking and energy procurement programs. This is only a part of the list of the functionalities that will be required.

The software architecture must be scalable if it is to be purchased by the retail, banking, educational and health sectors for they have many hundreds of buildings spread across countries, regions and continents. It’s not uncommon for real estate’s to have a 1000 or more large buildings spread across countries and different continents and these will require different user interface languages. Having past these tests clients need to be satisfied that the supplier has the organizational and financial resources in place and equally as important does he have alliance and partnerships with capable System Integrators.

Our industry is abuzz with change and I feel compelled to keep the flood gates open. I know I am also starting to talk funny for an old building automation guy using words like collaboration, disruption, building bridges, and connecting to things that are automatically smart that get smarter, but it is not just me, but the industry that is changing. We just publish what they all have to say while trying to ride out the information tsunamis.

Ken Sinclair is the publisher of and can be reached at

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