In the April 2007 issue of, our entire staff of contributing editors provided their thoughts on the radical changes needed in the building automation industry. They did what does best: think out loud. It is this process, while using the power of the Internet, that enables us to inform, educate, change minds, and connect industry leaders to take this industry to the next level.

Everyone will support in evolution that they have taken part. When groups meet behind closed doors with narrow agendas and withhold information for perceived market advantage, our industry suffers.

The automated building industry’s broad open agendas become very narrow as it converges and connects, with new players and new directions proliferating and heralding unforeseen opportunities.

Everyone needs to think out loud to move this industry to the next level and set plans for the future. Even the industry name is under discussion. Allow yourself to think out loud about what this means to your future and the future of the industry. Examine your agendas and allegiances in light of out loud thinking.

A Snapshot Of Industry Thinking

We live in a world where the application of a new technology or a single Web service or a cellphone feature will radically change our focus. Thinking in traditional terms of special interest groups is dangerous and does not allow the necessary convergence of all available ideas. Ideas from the convergence model abound, and we must make them part of our industry or those lacking the millstones of traditional thinking will.

I just heard a new term, “grid integrator.” A grid integrator is a person who integrates buildings with the electrical grid. Some in our industry would call him a building integrator. We must unleash our minds and find new pivot points from which to build our future. Below are the enlightening quotes from our contributing editors that provide insight into their out loud thinking.

  • From “Intelligent Buildings Roadmap,” by Paul Ehrlich. P.E. (, “The industry needs to get together to integrate or at least educate all of the people that are involved. The owner cannot integrate the industry, the architect cannot integrate the industry, the industry must integrate itself and take the lead … .”
  • From “Thought and Reflections on the Status of our Industry,” by Thomas J. Lohner ( “Several meetings held in the winter of 2006 and in conjunction with the AHR exposition provided some valuable and interesting insights into what our industry values and potentially some guidance or steps to follow to transform our industry.”
  • From“Buildings 2.0” by Anto Budiardjo (, “Buildings 2.0 Buildings 2.0 is a vision that intricately intertwines buildings with Internet technologies. It is a vision that the future of buildings is one which is controlled, managed and connected to the Internet, in a way that goes far beyond simply placing a Web server to the control system or in the use of IP.”
  • From an interview with Steve Hauser on the GridWise Alliance, (, “We believe, for example, that electrical “loads” (e.g., equipment and appliances) must actively participate in the day-to-day and even minute-to-minute) operation of the electric grid in the future.”
  • From “Smart Buildings to Smart Grid” (, “One really exciting part of GridWeek will be a Congressional reception on April 24 at the Senate Hart Building. This reception will highlight six success stories from six states that are poster children for the future of GridWise.”
  • From Thomas Hartman’s article, “What Does it Really Take to be an Intelligent Building?” “To get our industry to meet its commitment to owners, occupants and the rapidly evolving energy and environmental performance expectations of our society, we need the connectivity we incorporate into intelligent buildings to add valuable function.”
  • From “Capex Happiness,” by Jim Sinopoli, P.E. (, “Simply put, smart buildings just remove the redundancy and inefficiencies of the multiple cables, contractors, cable pathways, equipment and network protocols that are inherent in the legacy design and construction process.”

 In reviewing these quotes, you can quickly get a sense of industry thinking. People outside our industry are also thinking out loud in ways that will radically change it. Consider, for example, this quote from an article in theLos Angeles Daily Newstitled “Electranet Could See Light of Day,” “With his new-found movie star clout, former Vice President Al Gore has begun an aggressive environmental crusade for ground-breaking technology and policy changes to the nation’s electricity grid.”

Want to get involved with helping our industry move to the next level? Join the industry at “An Open Invitation to Participate in a CABA - Intelligent Buildings Industry Development Workshop” on May 25, 2007 in Chicago.ES