Hitting It Out Of The Park

SunTrust Park is home to Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves. With more than 1,350 Wi-Fi access points, 30 LED displays and a 64-by-121-foot centerfield video board, the owners tout it as one of the most technologically advanced in the league.

UTC Climate Controls and Security, Farmington, Conn., helped install the park’s advanced building automation system (BAS). In a statement about the implementation of the system, UTC described its new configuration of integrated technology as being “just like the team manager,” saying that it enables building engineers to fully understand the overall stadium operation.

Such technology is not only helping the Braves but also many other companies in a variety of industries. The market for BASs is ripe for growth with an optimistic future.

According to Research and Markets, the BAS market is expected to grow from $53.66 billion in 2016 to $99.11 billion in 2022. The research firm forecasts the growth rate of this market to be approximately 11 percent per year between 2017 and 2022. The impetus behind the growth include factors such as increased demand for energy-efficient systems, growing need for the automation of security systems, and advancement of the internet of things (IoT).

BASs are benefitting from the excitement surrounding smart solutions that are in an obvious growth mode.

“As we see more technology coming out today, there are a lot smarter devices, internet-ready or internet-reliant devices especially on the electrical distribution side,” said Mohamed Shishani, EcoStruxure power deployment leader, Schneider Electric. “Research has shown, by 2020, we’ll have approximately 50 billion connected devices. We’re at 11–12 billion today. That’s exponential growth in this field. Internet-connected devices will be injected into the commercial industrial space and will impact electrical contractors in several ways because they are expected to be involved in the conversation beyond just installing and commissioning these systems. They will need to articulate the value of connected devices to customers.

“Electrical contractors can also benefit from this trend. One way is through services. They can commission and install these devices then use the connectivity to monitor and service these systems by offering preventative maintenance, for example,” he said.

In managing BAS installation and implementation, coordination and organization are key.

“From the beginning of the project, understand the end-user requirements,” said Gina Elliott, U.S. strategic marketing manager, Schneider Electric. “Ask if this is an open system and what interoperability is needed. Throughout the project, collaborate with IT and mechanical. Most systems will require access to the IT network, so provide IT with your design requirements so that they may provide the infrastructure for the appropriate bandwidth and security needs.”

It is necessary to have a well-defined sequence of operations for multisystem integration and interoperability. Ultimately, this results in a successful installation and a happy customer.

ECs and facility managers need to look at these systems holistically, Shishani said, and be aware of the stakeholder needs and how to solve them.

“This means you must go beyond a simple checklist,” Shishani said. “A best practice is to triage critical assets based on how important they are to a specific building and to its stakeholders, like the financial risk and/or human risk. From there, you can create building controls that address each of those critical assets. For example, patient control rooms in hospitals have many critical assets that are directly tied to human risk. When triaged correctly, those assets can be tied back into the system for complete visibility. It’s only when electrical contractors can marry both the operations and financial side will they be able to get the best differentiation in the marketplace.”

The IoT is more prevalent than ever. Automated technologies are probably smarter than ever. Like at Suntrust Park, building systems are being integrated more than ever.

This complexity means that ECs need to think outside of their day-to-day work. They are quickly facing the opportunity for new and complex automation technology that offers much value to their customers.

There is a strong uptrend in using connected systems and devices in all of their work—particularly with BASs. It means they must be collaborative with other trades and owners.

“These worlds that have traditionally been separated are now starting to merge, producing a new world of electrical distribution and a new world of unprecedented value,” Shishani said.

About the Author

Jim Romeo

Freelance Writer

Jim Romeo is a freelance writer based in Chesapeake, Va. He focuses on business and technology topics. Find him at www.JimRomeo.net.

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