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Interview – CABA’s Ron Zimmer on 2011 Intelligent Building Roadmap

The Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA)—through its Intelligent & Integrated Building Council and new Research Program—has completed its 2011 North American Intelligent Building Roadmap.

January 12, 2011  By  Anthony Capkun

CABA is a not-for-profit industry association dedicated to advancing intelligent home/building technologies. The 2011 North American Intelligent Building Roadmap research project was designed to outline long-term opportunities in the intelligent building industry.

Ken Sinclair interviewed Ron Zimmer, CABA’s president and CEO, to learn more:

Sinclair: Why did CABA undertake the Intelligent Buildings Roadmap?

Zimmer: The Continental Automated Buildings Association, through various collaborative industry discussions, commissioned a research project titled “North American Intelligent Buildings Roadmap 2011” with the objective that it could assist in enhancing the building industry’s knowledge base and perspectives on intelligent and integrated buildings.

CABA has had wide-ranging experience in developing technology and industry roadmaps and legacy research projects. Since 2002, CABA has been publishing consultative reports that are designed to help industry, its supply-chain, academic and research groups, and governments come together to jointly identify and prioritize the technologies needed to support strategic research and development, marketing and investment decisions.

In 2002, CABA and the Government of Canada officially released the Technology Roadmap (TRM) for Intelligent Building Technologies. The following year, CABA published a Best-Practices Guide for Evaluating Intelligent Building Technologies. In 2007, it published the CABA Intelligent Buildings Roadmap and in 2009, CABA also released a comprehensive report on “bright” green buildings. In 2010, CABA published the Intelligent and Integrated Buildings Technologies: Market Size in North America report.

With such demonstrative experience, CABA has the expertise, the ability and the mandate to undertake a series of Roadmap projects.

Sinclair: What was the Roadmap designed to do?

Zimmer: The Roadmap research project was designed to outline long-term opportunities in the intelligent building industry. The Roadmap provides an understanding of the collective influence of emerging trends within the intelligent building industry, such as energy efficiency, renewable technology, IT convergence and the integration of buildings with the smart grid.

The Roadmap also investigated the current and future direction of the intelligent building market in North America and the opportunities it represents for participants within the value chain. The Roadmap also sought to understand the influence of current and emerging intelligent building technology solutions, with an analysis that considers commercialization, market preferences and product acceptance.

Sinclair: What was the main purpose for the project?

Zimmer: The underlying purpose of the Roadmap project was to strengthen the existing industry knowledge base and perspectives on intelligent buildings. This initiative consequently established a vision for the market today and its near-term evolution by providing a framework to support players in the intelligent building arena. It is our clear expectation that the Roadmap will be used by CABA members to identify unique opportunities in the intelligent building marketplace. The Roadmap provides a snapshot of current market dynamics within the intelligent building industry in North America and outlines evolving trends and the long-term industry outlook.

Sinclair: Who was involved in the research project?

Zimmer: CABA’s Intelligent & Integrated Buildings Council (IIBC), through various collaborative industry discussions, commissioned the research project.

Organizations that participated in the research project included: Belimo Air Controls, Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Distech Controls, Inc., Echelon Corporation, Honeywell International, Ingersoll Rand/Trane/Schlage, Johnson Controls, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Natural Resources Canada, Ortronics/Watt Stopper/Legrand, Optimum Energy, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory/U.S. Department of Energy, Philips Electronics, Schneider Electric, Siemens Industry, Inc. and Sloan Monitored Systems. Frost and Sullivan, a business research and consulting firm, undertook the research.

Sinclair: How do collaborative research projects through CABA work?

Zimmer: The collaborative research projects that CABA undertakes run through the new CABA Research Program. This new effort builds upon and succeeds the research efforts that were undertaken by CABA’s Connected Home Research Council and CABA’s Intelligent and Integrated Buildings Council.

The new research program helps firms evaluate both smart home and intelligent building technologies and creates strategies to successfully commercialize new products and services and position them within the global marketplace.

Utilizing the CABA Research Program, firms can forecast industry growth, benchmark their success within the industry, target appropriate customers, plan product development, better understand their market and competition, identify the needs of their customers and identify key barriers to product adoption.

CABA provides its research program participants with technical and advisory services to facilitate the creation of objective market research through consumer surveys, product pilots and primary research studies. The association provides options for both individual and collaborative research participation.

In collaborative research projects, the Continental Automated Buildings Association will work to manage projects between multiple partners, utilizing systematic and proven project management techniques to maximize the benefits of research collaboration for all participants while minimizing costs. In individual research projects, CABA will specifically work with single, specific companies to fulfill their research objectives. In all cases, CABA will act as an agnostic platform to ensure that realistic and neutral research results are achieved.


Sinclair: What was the research methodology used for the Roadmap project?

Zimmer: Frost & Sullivan used a combination of primary and secondary research methodologies to compile all the necessary information for this project.

Primary research formed the basis of this project. It also formed the basis for analysis of the case studies that best demonstrate the capabilities and benefits of intelligent solutions in the real world. Primary research interviews were conducted with technology providers who are supporting this project, as well as competitors in each of the technology markets. To provide balance to these interviews, industry thought leaders who track the implementation of the outlined technologies were also interviewed to get their perspective on the issues of green and intelligent technologies. Furthermore, primary research included interviews with selected facility managers to collect information for case studies. This was supported and consolidated with documented materials provided by the technology providers.

Secondary research comprised the balance of the research effort that included published sources such as those from government bodies, think tanks, industry associations, Internet sources, Frost & Sullivan’s own repository of research publications and decision support databases. This information was used to enrich and externalize the primary data.

Sinclair: When will this report be made available?

Zimmer: The research has been released to these funding partners and the executive summary of the report will be made available to CABA members. There will also be a presentation about the report which will be held at the CABA Intelligent & Integrated Buildings Council meeting on January 31, 2011 during AHR Expo 2011. The entire research report will be made available for purchase to the rest of the industry after an embargo period. Companies enquiring about the meeting and the report can contact John Hall, CABA’s research director, at or (613) 686-1814 ext. 227, or George Grimes, CABA’s business development manager, at or (613) 686-1814 ext. 226.



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