FIRA Barcelona
1-4 February 2022

Virtual Meets explore the future of smart buildingRISE Spotlight: Smart Buildings – The Way Forward

AVIXA and CEDIA continued the smart buildings discussion with each holding an interactive virtual meet on the topic.

During the AVIXA session, entitled ‘Smart Buildings and Pro AV’, Sean Wargo, senior director of market intelligence at AVIXA, was joined by Bob Snyder, content chair and editor-in-chief at Channel Media Europe, for a lively debate covering the present and future of the smart buildings opportunity.

Snyder began by highlighting the fact that the investment in new technology for smart buildings actually went up during 2020. “There’s a healthy attitude towards the job that smart buildings have to do in the future to get people back to work and back in offices,” he explained.

This post-pandemic opportunity came up a number of times. As Wargo said: “Helping companies figure out what to do as they come back is not just a big integrator question, it’s a regional, local player who’s trying to account for local custom, preference and work style and who understands the technology.”

Snyder expanded: “The interesting thing about smart buildings is the fact that it’s previously been siloed, and nobody owns that integration piece. All of the stakeholders, whether that’s the building owner or the commercial real estate agency or the tenants, are looking for solutions and for people that can handle as much as possible of it.”

His advice to integrators, therefore, is that you don’t have to take it all on: “Look at what’s closest to your skillset, gradually get more familiar with neighbouring technologies and start to bring that into your regular portfolio and you’ll grow.”

Watch the full AVIXA networking session here

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For the CEDIA session, Ed Wenck, content director at CEDIA, and Pip Evans, director at NV Integration, discussed ‘Smart Buildings: The Way Forward.’

The conversation centred around the role of KNX, how it’s being used and why. As Evans explained: “We arrived to KNX through the need for being able to deliver, because it just opens the door to so many possibilities.”

When it comes to typical applications in the home, Evans cited lighting and HVAC as key uses, be that across a single residence or a block of apartments. The key though is the fact that it’s a modular, flexible and open platform that enables multiple systems to work together. “That combined power and flexibility of having so many products at your disposal is just something that makes customers happy because you’re able to give them exactly what they want,” he enthused.

“Having the customer’s imagination as the limitation is a great conversation starter. So, if you meet a customer who is particularly energy-focused we can show them a module for that; we can put a weather station on the roof and then, because we’re monitoring and reading that data, we’re able to do something really powerful on the back of that happening. For example, for solar gain, blinds could automatically be closed, or for low occupancy devices could be automatically switched to roll back so that they’re not wasting energy.”

When asked what elements of the client vision can lead the conversation in the direction of KNX, Evans said: “Unfortunately, a lot of the time the AV part of my job is to reassure customers that the AV industry isn’t what it used to be and KNX can be a really good way to show that things have changed. But it’s all about their preferences. If you need to bolt on different pieces to build a solution and you want to streamline that, then that can start to shape the discussion of why we build it around a KNX system.”

Watch the full CEDIA networking session here

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