The greatest risk, and potentially greatest benefit, to any industry is disruptive technology. There are many examples of this such as the impact of e-mail on the sales of fax machines and on the postal service, or of music downloads on the sales of CDs, cassette tapes, and record albums. Disruptive technologies often provide improved performance and lower costs, largely obsoleting older and more mature technologies.
Building automation is an example of a disruptive technology, largely making older electronic and pneumatic controls largely obsolete and providing better control and management at the same or lower costs. So what is the next disruption coming in this area? There are several areas that we have been tracking, including the use of low cost network technologies and influence from consumer technologies including home and automotive automation. We have seen the use of network technologies become fairly common in BAS, as most systems use web browsers and network communications as standard. However, internet-enabled thermostats and light switches are not yet readily available.