As an impressive follow-up to its inaugural year, more than 500 building automation specialists and device connectivity professionals descended upon Dallas, April 13-16, forBuilConn 2004and the premier M2M (machine-to-machine) Expo and Conferenceto discuss and learn about the current status and future of intelligent, integrated buildings and the burgeoning relationship of buildings and smart devices.

BuilConn 2004 united manufacturers, contractors, dealers, technologists, specifiers, and systems integrators from the disparate sectors of the buildings industry to explore the benefits of total building systems integration. BuilConn hosted more than 90 presenters delivering more than 70 presentations - mostly panel-based - on topics ranging from network security and industry trends driving change to open systems discussions and the reach of enterprise systems.

The Building Systems and M2M Expo featured more than 60 exhibitors representing the multitude of disciplines in the building systems industry including HVAC, security, access control, lighting, IT, and enterprise building management. The synergy between the two industries allowed buildings professionals to investigate the innumerable possibilities and solutions the world of M2M provides while the M2M community had the opportunity to further the scope of their applications.

With a more technical bent than its inaugural year, the dominant topic of interest at BuilConn 2004 was the upsurge of enabling technologies including XML and Web Services. A first-of-its-kind event, the XML Pavilion held in the Expo offered attendees a first look at nine manufacturer's new applications, products, and services all utilizing XML/Web Services to further enable interoperability. Also noteworthy was the industry-wide acceptance of the convergence of IT and building systems that infiltrated many conversations, product demonstrations, keynote sessions, and panel discussions.

BuilConn 2004 was also the debut year of the Buildy Awards, created by the BuilConn organizers to increase awareness of the benefits of whole building integration and honor successful implementation strategies. The winner of each of the four award categories emerged as triumphant at the industry gala held on April 15.

Within the four award categories-Vision, Best Integration Project, Best Product and Best Building-the winners are a dynamic representation of all facets of the integration process and have all demonstrated superior strategies for intelligent buildings.

"The Buildy Award winners represent a brilliant group of professionals who have taken immense steps in furthering true building integration. They each have listened to market demands and are using the wide array of available technologies to deliver what are certainly considered to be state-of-the-art buildings, products, and initiatives," Anto Budiardjo, BuilConn organizer and Clasma president and CEO, said.

"These winners were very difficult to narrow down; all award submissions represented highly successful integration strategies and visionaries, and that sends a very strong signal that whole building integration is not only becoming a reality but a norm."

Paul Ehrlich, business development leader for Trane, was presented with the Vision award for his vision of whole building integration and interoperability through advocacy, promotion, educational, and training endeavors. Ehrlich has dedicated his time and energy to chairing oBIX (Open Building Information Xchange), the CABA-initiated project created by the buildings industry to develop XML/Web Services standards for buildings. Such an initiative is recognized by the industry as the primary vehicle in which true integrated, intelligent buildings will be delivered. In addition to product development at Trane and oBIX-related activities, Ehrlich has also chaired an ASHRAE committee on specifying DDC controls.

The Best New Product award was presented to WebGen Systems in honor of the IUE (Intelligent Use of Energy) software suite, a product that successfully overcame a significant challenge, enhanced or simplified the integration process. IUE is an enterprise-level suite of open protocol software tools that provides real-time monitoring and command of building systems to generate operational benefits and energy savings. The system connects all aspects of building management systems to automatically measure, monitor, and control energy consumption, and it has been designed to easily integrate all legacy and open system building automation platforms via XML, BACnet®, LonWorks® and various other communication protocols.

Presented to building consultant ARAS Systems for the Echelon Campus was the Best Building award in honor of the most progressive building technology supporting the vision of whole building integration. The 78,000-sq-ft Echelon Campus houses an office complex, a lab facility, a parking structure, and common outdoor campus areas, all of which are completely automated and monitored with the goal of optimizing each occupant's productivity, comfort, and safety. Occupancy, lighting, HVAC, audio/visual, touch screens, card access, perimeter security, video cameras, video recording, blinds and shades, irrigation, energy meters, fire and life safety, and even the elevators are monitored and controlled with off-the-shelf interoperable products from multiple vendors.

Finally, the Best Integration Project award was presented to ECI, Energy Control Inc. for the Cottonwood Office Building, in recognition of the successful integration of a wide array of building systems and their operation over a corporate IT infrastructure. The 30,000-sq-ft, energy-efficient, and cost-effective building features building automation with DDC to the zone level and access control. Integrated systems include 24/7 video streaming and monitoring video surveillance, fire and life safety, data networking, information technology, and Internet-based monitoring, all of which were financed and paid for from achieved energy cost savings. ECI aided in mechanical and electrical design and completed building-wide automation, and as a result of these enhancements, the Cottonwood Office Building has been submitted for certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Existing Building pilot program.

"The acceptance of new technologies, business strategies, and cooperation-based relationships over the past two years has been remarkable," Budiardjo said. "BuilConn has set the stage for the next chapter in our industry, and 2005 will be the year when we will see product and solution deliverables. This new crop of innovative products and solutions will be a result of the industry-wide push for IT convergence and the use of XML and Web Services to truly monitor and control buildings at the enterprise level."

Following two successful years of BuilConn in the United States, the show organizers are producing a similar event for the European marketplace. The premier BuilConn Europe will be held in Brussels, Belgium at the Brussels Sheraton Hotel and Towers, October 26-28, 2004. For further information on this event, please visit www.builconn.com/europe.