In last month's column titled, "Guess Who is coming to Dinner?", I promised to provide more information about Cisco's and Hewlett-Packard's (HP) impact at BuilConn Europe.

These are new kids to our industry, but they are well-known giants in the IT industry. Collectively, they have now decided that the time is right to help us in our convergence struggle. This is great news because it shows that our industry has matured to a point that interest is very high by those outside our usual circles.

Below, I have extracted key comments regarding Cisco and HP from Anto Budiardjo, president and CEO of Clasma Events Inc., organizer of BuilConn Europe 2005, which was recently held in Amsterdam.

Here is his report on Cisco's message at BuilConn Europe 2005 (

The message from Cisco at BuilConn Europe is that the building automation convergence "decision zone" is now upon us. The growth of IP controls is poised to dramatically accelerate in the next few years. Robbert Kuppens, EMEA managing director of Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group, in his keynote presentation in Amsterdam, November 9, declared that in a similar way, the PBX industry reached the decision zone around 2002, the BAS market is now at this point in what they call a decision zone.

PBXs these days are predominantly IP-based, and Cisco was one of the leading players that enabled and grew the IP-based PBX market.

Cisco quotes ARC Advisory Group data on the above. The group states, "As BAS become part of a much larger IT infrastructure, customers are increasingly demanding a scaleable capability to connect, monitor, integrate, and control functions in a single building, groups of buildings, or even entire cities." The ARC Advisory Group further states, "The BAS industry has come to realize that the convergence of BAS and IT and the growing demand to share information between systems offers a tremendous opportunity, which is rapidly becoming a requirement".

Here is Anto's report on HP's message at BuilConn (

First of all, IP is the enabler for HP's interest in buildings; without IP-centric solutions, buildings would not be part of the enterprise picture, not part of the integrated corporate network. IT systems integrators thrive on IP and the data standards revolving around it. To sum this up, John's comment is, "The future is IP everywhere." If you've been around IT consultants at all, you know that they are driven by ROI; it is ROI that they use to justify their services, and in buildings, this is no different. In what is probably the most valuable slide, John presented the ROI proposition that HP together with their partner Cisco have evolved in delivering ROI to building owners.

While optimization and reduction of costs is part of this ROI picture, the most valuable is the top left, the ability of intelligence in buildings to generate incremental revenue for the building owner. This became one of the key discussion points throughout BuilConn in Amsterdam. How can we shift the focus from saving costs (with its finite scope) to generating new and increased value, which is not limited? Other ROI areas include hard issues such as health and safety (something we all know about) as well as the softer (but nonetheless important) area of ‘the wow factor' - providing the best-in-class environment for the building occupants.

John Geaney concluded his presentation with the following:

  • Start with business issues, not technology.
  • Ensure the network is factored into the buying cycle early.
  • Engage with partners early in the design stage.
  • IT partners need to be part of the solution.
  • Look for a solution that delivers reduction in complexity, "future-ready" infrastructure and fastest possible ROI.
  • Intelligent buildings can be delivered today.

As an observation, at BuilConn we see more and more integrators and consultants saying the same things as HP.

In addition to the above from an interview in our December issue, Anto states:

Between HP and Cisco's significant presence there, the release of the convergence study by i&i ProPlan, our partnershisp with ZigBee and OASIS, and the many presentations and discussions on the subject, BuilConn Europe 2005 could be regarded as the turning point and uptake of Building-IT convergence.

2006 will be another exciting year of rapid evolution for our industry, and the presence of Cisco and HP will change forever our focus and di-rection. My comment several months ago about our industry coming out of the weeds into the corporate spotlight is truly occurring. It is really a great time to be a purveyor of news. ES