Dave Branson and I greatly appreciate the opportunity that International Exposition gives us to "speak out of the box" free of sponsors and associations. We have a lot of fun with this annual event, as do the folks who come out to join us. We talk about directions we see the industry going and look forward to discussions from the floor. To provide some insight, I have listed the titles of the last couple of years sessions as a quick overview of the diverse content covered.

Atlantic City 2002: Building Automation Stabilization - Fact or Fiction?; The Indispensable Internet; Ease of Use in Today's & Tomorrow's Building Automation Systems; and An Open Forum for Automation and the Future.

Chicago 2003: Improving Occupancy Integration with Web Technology; Nurturing the Necessary Network; Update on Proprietary Perspectives on Interoperability; and Implementing Web-Based Facility Operations.

This year's topics deal with industry trends.

The Building Automation Sessions for the 2004 AHR Expo in Anaheim, CA include the following:

  • Planning for Convergence: Plugging In Real Time Information - Monday, January 26 at 9 a.m.

    The building automation industry's presence in creating a convergence plan changes everything. We, as an industry, bring new concepts and tools to the convergence table in the form of "real time information."

    Many industries are aggressively participating in the convergence phenomenon. None involve more dynamic data than ours. We cannot wait until a defining framework is completed and then get involved with how it gets marketed, because it will be too late; the marketing plan will not include a functional representation of the building automation industry.

    Our business is collecting, acting on, and distributing real-time data: temperature, pressures, energy usage, client comfort, humidity, IAQ, video, security card ID's, etc. As an industry we are just starting to grasp the concept of how this real-time data converges with our clients' information enterprise. Our clients are also just starting to discover how information that is easily presented (and anywhere) can be extremely useful for enterprise growth and for staying competitive.

    This session will focus on comments made in the Engineered Systems supplement called "Marketing Convergence" that appeared in the November 2003 issue.

  • Creating Connections - Networking Tools that Connect Directly to the Client's Enterprise

    - Monday, January 26 at 1:30 p.m.

    This session is about the tools to connect with and things to connect to as an industry - tools like oBIX / XML and other IP solutions, BACnet, Lon, DALI, and more, all connecting directly to the client's enterprise.

    Open building information exchange (oBIX) is on our minds. How will this be achieved? This session is intended as an introduction/overview of present connection trends while providing linkage to the valuable work being done by various committees. We will provide an introduction to the Tuesday XML Summit at the ASHRAE host hotel.

  • Overview of Automation Tools and Demonstrations Available Online

    - Tuesday, January 27 at 9 a.m.

    In this session, we will explore how the Web can be effectively used to share information with our new trading partners. Web tools will be explored and demonstrated. We will view online presentations of our industry's capabilities. Our observations will be generic and focus on form, not actual products. We look forward to good dialogue from the floor to help us as an industry better express our newfound capabilities to the world.

  • Wireless Controls: Real Applications and Evolving Protocols - Tuesday, January 27 at 1:30 p.m.

    This session will provide information on real applications of wireless controls, evolving protocols and how to create your own communication clouds.

    Wireless has become very real in the last few years, with much off-the-shelf equipment at low cost providing amazing functionality at both the building and enterprise levels. Are you aware how to leverage the available technology in your projects? Dave Branson has considerable expertise in this area and will explain some very interesting projects.

In Summary

We hope you can make it out to our sessions at the AHR Expo in Anaheim, January 26 and 27, 2004 to share your input on these exciting topics. We are always pleased to carry on discussions after each session to get your candid feelings and possible future topics.ES