In the past few years, there has been a great deal of buzz over integrated systems and this issue is dedicated to that new way of construction. The terms and their abbreviations used in this market sector are often interchangeable. Integrated building systems (IBS) or building management systems (BMS). Maybe building automated systems (BAS) sounds better. Smart, green, sustainable or intelligent buildings. Take your pick.
One thing's for certain, contractors who can do both high-voltage and information transport systems (ITS)-a new term we think is more precise than low-voltage or voice/data/video-will be in high cotton. A subsector of IBS, which is what we like to call these cutting-edge applications, is security. I've recently attended security trade shows in Dallas and New York, and while everyone knows this market is already huge, it only looks like it's going to get bigger. The Dallas show was enormous; everybody wants a slice of this pie. My article, “Building the Smart Way” on page 115, quotes a security expert from a leading manufacturer. He predicts that citywide surveillance systems, which will depend on high-voltage installations, will be the wave of the future. He asked me rhetorically to guess who is most prepared to install these expensive, elaborate systems? His answer to his own question? Electrical contractors. Not specialty installers.
It doesn't have to be big and commercial to be lucrative. Take a look at Claire Swedberg's “Smart Homes Installation Raises EC Opportunities” on page 20. She examines structured wiring, a consumer option that is no longer restricted to the most expensive of new “smart” homes. The only problem she finds is that contractors aren't getting enough market share. But the residential integrated opportunities are there, and the smart guys will be wiring ITS to specialized computer rooms and theaters for tech-happy homeowners.
There's more. Lew Tagliaferre looks at remote monitoring (on page 38), another growing market that is also concerned with security and energy controls. Many electrical contractors, he said, are content to wire part of these systems, yet they have the capability to do it end to end. Tagliaferre has some ideas on how to realize your potential in this new world.
A note: Our September Children's Hope Hospitality House article listed Irving Ready-Mix Inc., Fort Wayne, Ind., as a project sponsor; it should have been Erie Haven, Fort Wayne, Ind. EC
—John Fulmer, Editor