I am writing this column after returning from BuilConn's Connectivity Week in Palm Springs, and I feel compelled to share with you the excitement of this event.

The following is extracted from a perspective and review by Anto Budiardjo, president and CEO of Clasma Events Inc.:

"The collection of BuilConn, M2M and GridWise was given a new moniker in Palm Springs: Connectivity Week. Connectivity is at the core of all the events and conferences in Palm Springs. Firstly, because technically it is about connectivity, specifically the connectivity between devices, systems, and people related to smart connected devices whether they are in buildings, other M2M venues, or the electric grid. While the applications are different, the core issues of network protocol, data standards, security, reliability, and applications are common.

"Connectivity Week will forge ahead later this year in Europe in Amsterdam on Oct 3-5 and in Asia (Singapore) on November 14 -16. And, in 2007, the U.S. Connectivity Week will be held in Chicago on May 22-14.

"Cisco Roundtable: In what is likely to be a turning point for the connected building industry, the Cisco Roundtable focused its morning discussion on building owner issues with a distinct difference. Compared to many other prior discussions on the subject, the owners at the roundtable were all high-level IT individuals, including CIOs, CTOs, and senior players from owners with multibillion-dollar projects demanding open, converged, connected, and IP-based building systems."

ROUNDTABLE SUMMATION

The first-ever industry Connected Real Estate Roundtable in Palm Springs was as a well-planned prelude to BuilConn's Connectivity week. BuilConn provided the only logical venue for these extremely necessary roundtable discussions that crossed over and cross-pollinated information of the many industries presently interacting in our converged environment. I was extremely pleased to be invited to the table.

The factual and official reporting of the event is outlined in the below e-mail from Rick Huijbregts, Ph.D., with Cisco Systems, Inc.:

"For us it was a tremendous experience sharing visions, concerns, opportunities, and roadblocks when it comes to delivering intelligent converged environments. And, although we all come from different business backgrounds and represent different corporate objectives, it was a pleasure to see that we all appear aligned in our thinking on the future design and realization of our next-generation built environment.

"In the coming weeks, look for a white paper detailing the discussions and conclusions of our roundtable event. This paper will be developed in collaboration with CIFE at Stanford University (http://cife.standford.edu ). You will be among the first to receive this paper, after which we will make it available to the industry at large - in Cisco's ongoing effort to spread the word and share the vision."

Without a doubt, this pre-conference session set the tone for the new building/IT industry that has gathered at BuilConn. This building/IT industry represents validation from owners and the IT industry to move forward and deliver converged IP-based building systems, taking into account the needs of the new types of stakeholder in the building owner organizations: the IT- and enterprise-focused groups.

KEYNOTES

The Cisco keynote on the first day clarified Cisco's vision that buildings and facilities will be the core of networking. At the heart of this vision is the concept of the network as the fourth utility. By looking at the network this way, the network (and thus Cisco) touches all systems in the building without exception.

This view is furthered in what Cisco calls its "Building Information Network," where the network infrastructure (including building control networks) and interactive layers provide a secure and robust platform for all types of applications from lighting, HVAC, instant messaging, IP phones, as well as traditional data and information applications.

Jane and I were pleased to turn over our year of glory as last year's BuilConn "Buildy Visionaries" to this year's winner, Jack Mc Gowan. This prolific ES contributing editor's vision has transformed him into Mr. GridWise. In addition to winning this award, Jack also won the best keynote speaker with only five minutes preparation when a GridWise keynote speaker was unable to attend at the last moment.

The GridWise Expo and all its sessions were very well-attended, as were all Connectivity Week business sessions.

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