Is There Gold at the End of the Building Automation Rainbow?

Security systems integrators have posed the question many times, to mixed response: Is there gold at the end of the building automation rainbow? Now, we all know that many of the larger conglomerates in the security and building automation world...

Why Chase After the Gold?
o Money is normally the biggest rationale for any good business decision. There is money to be made in the BAS market, and presently somebody else is making it.
o Increasing market share is often a compelling reason for change. If there is no more significant growth in access control in your area, there may be significant growth in the BAS market.
o Keeping the BAS systems integrators out of the security systems integrator market space is probably one of the most pressing reasons for action, for those guys are looking at the security market more carefully each day.
o Federal government is calling for new work to use open systems architecture, bringing a tremendous number of additional opportunities to the table.

Map to the Gold
Knowledge is the key, for in many respects BAS is a whole new world, with different terminology and licensing. The best way to begin to understand the BAS market is to attend an exhibition or BAS convention, and then go on educational courses and maybe even become certified in this area.

A quick way into the BAS market is to acquire talent. Hiring the correct person?say, an ex-BAS employee?can certainly speed up the learning process. Then pick up a BAS product line. There are plenty out there and many of them just need a little effort to get sales working.

Alternatively, buy a company in the BAS marketplace or develop a strategic alliance with an existing mechanical contractor who has a controls group. Grow the business slowly and remain focused on the end game.

Just as it was not possible to ignore the influence of IT technology in the security world, it will not be possible to ignore the market pressures from the BAS area. Interoperability and open systems will drive this force, and systems integrators that get involved early will be able to grow their business. These market forces will push manufacturers to close the gap between security and BAS, and the pressure will be on the them to provide products that are useable in the BAS world as well.

About the Author Lionel Silverman, PE, is vice president of business development for Facility Robotics Inc., a nationwide systems integrator specializing in building automation and security systems for larger multi-location and prestigious clients. He is a member of IEEE and ASIS.