AMERICAN AUTOMATION 2014 TECHNOLOGY DAY: PROVIDING BUILDING SOLUTIONS TO LOWER THE TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP

Posted on: June 21st, 2014 by Lisa Buckley No Comments

American Automation, Colorado’s Premiere Systems Integration provider held its 2nd Annual Technology Day at Echo Tech Institute on May 30, 2014. 

“We had great attendance, great learning and information sharing in our breakout groups; and fantastic product demonstrations from the Manufacturers and Services providers that were key sponsors of the event,” stated Lisa Buckley CEO Of American Automation Building Solutions, Inc.

 Started in 2013, Technology Day was an outgrowth of client needs for greater training for their employees and technical staff to understand and exploit Networked Buildings.

 However with tightening budgets, it was more and more difficult to have key influencers to understand the product offerings that a System Integrator like American Automation provides.

 To address the complex nature of networked buildings, including total cost of ownership; and the need for owners, facility managers, engineers, architects and developers — all key stakeholders — to better understand the key elements of networked buildings — Technology Day was born.

 Background

American Automation provides clients — including Government and Commercial, solutions to meet their long term facility needs. As a provider of Honeywell Building Automation solutions — including building controls, security, lighting controls, energy management systems, metering, HVAC and communications — American Automation is a full service provider — from design to installation to maintenance of leading edge building control systems.

 In working with key stakeholders, they are able with both retrofits and new construction — build in lower costs, and most can be at a level of 30% or more savings — including energy efficiency as well as significant savings on upfront labor costs.

 Developers and A&E Firms — Time to Design it Right!!

During the Technology Day breakouts, many of the participants shared “horror stories” on how many clients — Developers as well as Building Owners, don’t understand how the technology has changed, and they are not getting the “whole story on how to best complete their building designs for Division 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28 and specialties.

 There are two issues — first is the bid package, and second are the players “responsible” for networked buildings.

 “Too often, Owners take the word of well-meaning GC’s and their bid packages, and go out as they always have — with the intent of making things easier for bidding — not addressing the total cost of ownership, or worse, not having accountability of how networked buildings are really designed. As noted above, the element of Networked Buildings is becoming more and more of a need and concern, and the stakes are very high — from when it is done right, and when it is done wrong.

“When in reality, this process actually can cost the owner as much as 30% or more upfront for non- value added work, when owners allow their Networked Buildings to be led by those players that don’t provide value to the network and securing the systems ” stated Chief Technology Officer and Company President Ishmail Buckley. This most often includes MEP’s electrical, and HVAC firms. Although they all have key pieces to the building puzzle, non of them truly OWN THE NETWORK; MOSTLY THEY ARE CONCERNED WITH ONLY THEIR RESPECTIVE AREAS.

 Unless an IT centric company like American Automation is included in the design and installation process for the building network — the Owner without a doubt — is paying way too much for the possibility of a building that is not as efficient as it could be; as well as compromise of the design, that may not be done by a IT centric company; whereby short and long term, having a closed-end system that will cost significantly more both in terms of new contraction design and installation; maintenance costs and operational costs.

 CIO and CFO — The Key Players

In discussions with industry experts in attendance, there does seem to be more acceptance from Architects to understand how to best make networked buildings a reality– and many believe this is due to the great work done over the past decade including LEED certifications; US Green Building Council, ASHRAE and others that have embraced and understand the impact that networked buildings can have on the operational efficiency of a building. You don’t have to give up atestics or beauty for efficiency or vice versa.

There is room for leadership here, and it appears that Architects who many in the industry would say mostly have been concerned about building aesthetics, have now began to slowly change. Here, it is not uncommon depending on the size of the project that the key stakeholders in the process may not be the Company CEO but the CIO — Chief Information Officer and the CFO — Chief Financial Officer.

 The CIO clearly understands that the network not only impacts the day to day operations of the organization but it also impacts the safety, security, and efficiency of how the building or even a campus operates for decades to come. Everything Cyber is key here. Just ask the CIO from Target — although key elements are still being investigated, it has been widely reported that the breach at Target in late 2013 happened due to the HVAC company working on the Target system unknowingly compromised the network while completing work on the HVAC system. Again, all elements of the building are interrelated and must be designed, and managed as such. Millions of American suffered and the economic costs are still being calculated. Again, let the professionals work on the networks.

 The CFO — who has to continually be concerned about operational costs vs. overhead costs knows that the technology exists today to have a building run far more efficient today than even 5 years ago. With an open-networked Tridium System on the Niagara platform, the total cost of ownership can be significantly lowered by just having an “open platform” architecture.

 Here, the industry is changing rapidly, where it used to be only brand X could maintain their systems, and basically lock an owner or management company into their maintenance for decades! Here, no market competition– you have to use only their techs, when they can come out, and at their price. The beauty of the Networked Building Automation System now is that the technology has expanded so much in key areas that even the Federal Government systems are now specified to be on an open platform. Go figure!!

 

 Key Manufacturers and Service Providers:

 All the manufacturers and service providers in attendance have two key things in common — a commitment to building efficiency and leveraging the technology that allows significant cost savings — many on a Return on Investment ( ROI) that can be either immediate (free) or within a short time frame!

 ADI

Is a leading provider and distributor of products for the security industry. Recently expanding their local branch, they are a global industry leader in the product and support they provide.

www.adiglobal.com

 Assy Abloy

With their break through “energy efficient access control system, Assy Abloy has made their mark in Colorado. With a new distribution center in North Aurora, to their product at the new Denver Union Station, the R&D shows in all that they do. Again, looking at total cost of ownership at all levels!

www.assyabloy.com

 Honeywell

The Tridium Based Building Automation System from Honeywell is the industry standard. Because the industry is based on Tridium, this allows for open system performance — including design, and maintenance– which for Networked buildings today — allows for the 100% assurance you can leverage and take advantage of changes in technology as they come down the pipeline. And cost — because you don’t have to be locked into a certain service contract, your internal employees can be trained with confidence to manage your network — should you choose to do so.

www.honeywell.com

 Iluminar

Lighting solutions from Iluminar provides LED solutions for exterior applications — which can be coupled with surveillance systems; or stand alone, and provide significant cost savings as well as high quality. They are providers to commercial and government clients alike.

www.iluminarinc.com

 Lutron Lighting Solutions

Many have called Lutron the Cadillac or Mercedes Benz of lighting controls. This over 50 year old company has led the industry in making lighting controls that interface with building automation systems — affordable to government and commercial owners. Lutron smartly partners with Integrators like American Automation, but also with Xcel Energy.

 In reviewing with a GC at Technology Day, the great operational and cost savings available to him for his client’s projects — the question was “why don’t more owners and GC’s do more lighting solutions? Well we know that the LED market is growing like crazy right now, and there is one main reason –why wouldn’t you put in a lighting solution that can save you up to 60% of your LONG TERM TOTAL UTILITY COST?? Duh!

www.lutron.com

 NICE

NICE Systems is a global brand in security applications — from RFID cards, analytic software to access solutions, to networked interfaces, NICE is an industry leader with the key products and services they provide.

NICE Systems, Inc. is a 27 year old security software company with security products that manufactures:NiceVision: Network Video Recorder (NVR) Video Management Software (VMS): IP based video surveillance recording supporting thousands of cameras per location if necessary.

www.nice.com

Panasonic

With their Panasonic Technology Van all the way from New Jersey, participants had a chance to really touch and feel the great products that Panasonic has on the market today. This included world class surveillance systems that provide unbelievable capacity and a brand known for quality!

www.panasonic.com

 Xcel Energy

Xcel is a key partner of American Automation — and if you have not taken advantage of their energy rebate and other programs — shame on you!!! You might as well be burning dollars!!! Their programs are among the most competitive in the nation — and depending on the situation can bear fruit immediately in terms of cost savings. If you are trying to keep the CIO and CFO happy as noted above — let us know, and we will work with Xcel to put together a solution for you that will have everyone happy!

www.xcelenergy.con/rebates

Echo Tech

Yes — that building at I-225 and Mississippi that you wondered what it was with all the solar panels outside? It is a technology college!! The event was held at Echo Tech, which is the Harvard of the West in terms of training of the engineers and technicians to being educated to serve our industry. American Automation is proud for the second straight year to have our event at this LEED Certified, world class training facility. All participants were able to learn and be exposed to great insights on where the industry is going, and what great talent will see this to fruition.

 TechForums and Tech Day 2015

As you can see from above, the participants had a lot that they were able to take away from Technology Day 2014. And we are working already to make 2015 event better!! From our great speakers, including Aurora Councilman bob Roth, Chamber CEO Kevin Hougen, and Captain Craig Oldham USN, we gained significant information on the industry, economy, and how we can be better players in it!

 Beginning in October, we will have our next TechForum — which is a Mini-Tech Day that helps keep key building stakeholder up to date on all that is networked buildings — from lighting controls, security, energy management, building controls, HVAC and communications — these are events that are smaller in size but packs the punch to keep key players informed on what is going on in the industry from regulations to technology. Be sure to check www.americanautomation.com for information on our 2014-2015 TechForum Calendar.

 Although you may not have been able to attend our event — don’t wait until 2015!! Give us a call today to let us help you navigate through the world of networked buildings and make sure that your organizations achieves the efficiency and savings you should be demanding today!!

 

Lisa Buckley is CEO of American Automation, and can be reached at 720-529-0764 or lrbuckley@americanautomation.com / www.americanautomation.com

 

 

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