Although the issue of integration of buildings and intelligent buildings themselves pose many opportunities for manufacturers and integrators of audio and video sector, access to them might be questioned whether the necessary adjustments are made.
by: Julian Arcila
Factors such as the lack of standardization within the same industry audio and video, little awareness against reducing energy expenditure by teams of A / V and low capacity for integration with other industries could slow access to the opportunities offered by the segment of intelligent audiovisual solutions integrators buildings.
While the niche automation, green buildings and control systems for buildings is not for nothing new, recently even from InfoComm, it has been mentioning the fact that this sector offers "new opportunities" for companies of our category. Now, how true are these business opportunities? How feasible is that our exclusive professional -those who are only in this branch and have no business in other areas such as security-can come to compete with HVAC and safety engineers, who for years have handled the discourse of integration ?
Although it seems easy, the access to these businesses requires more than connecting cables or meet technology. Everything indicates that the industry A / V must implement radical changes if it wants to be part of the technological maelstrom of smart buildings, which for nearly a decade has been hogging thousands of hours of lectures, leaves in newspapers and magazines, and It is somehow the paradigm of technological progress.
To make this note AVI consulted an expert engineer audiovisual issues, Juan Montoya; an expert engineer interoperability protocols, Ron Bernstein; and an engineer experienced in intelligent buildings, Jim Sinopoli.
Opportunities for all
Juan Montoya, commercial executive for Latin America, Bosch, agrees with the statement that the field of intelligent buildings offers many opportunities for integrators A / V, but warns that not only for themselves but also for security, HVAC and IT (information technology). In this sense it seems that the matter be resolved in favor of those who are most determined to take advantage of these possibilities when, who provide better service and who offer complete packages.
So then it is very important to learn how different subsystems that are involved in a building and how policies to control energy consumption are established communicate, but also how to go from simple communication to interoperability, which is the simultaneous operation and related multiple devices from the information issued by each of the systems and controlled by a TFCS (Total Facility Control System) or Total Control System of a property, for its acronym in English.
And judging by the issues raised by the experts consulted, the opportunities open to the world A / V reside in the gradual importance that their systems have been gaining in the most advanced buildings thanks to a unique advantage: its ability to transmit a message. It is no secret that from the point of view of the users of a building flat screens become the gateways to information, as stated by Ron Bernstein, executive director of LonMark International, the association working for the LonWorks development as a platform for communication within the intelligent buildings.
Now, Jim Sinopoli, director of Smart Buildings.com and consultant in the field of intelligent buildings, suggests that in addition to these teams are important to the end user of the building are also to managers and owners of the same, because "consume too energy involved in the 'plug load' building, require additional cooling and involved feeding 'vampire' (energy consumed by electrical equipment when are off or in standby mode). the industry has recognized that effect on the use energy and has begun to schedule processes on and off these based on a predetermined schedule or occupation of a room equipment. " He added that "educational buildings with a large number of classrooms or corporate meeting many have begun to address the energy consumption of its equipment A / V".
Barriers to integration
But as mentioned at the beginning, there are some drawbacks that could stop access to the benefits of integration for contractors A / V. So if the industry wants to be inserted into the logic of intelligent buildings should generate changes in the two ends of the chain: from manufacturers, generating more efficient in terms of energy solutions, but also more open about its protocols communication, to integrate with other technologies; integrators also have their task, and is trained and understand more fully what it means integration to a higher level, ie in the area of an entire building.
Juan Montoya, for example, in Latin America suggests that unfortunately still not much environmental awareness, which ultimately is the focus of a control process in a building. "Something more critical, believe me, is that even in audiovisual is common to find such absurd statements like that watt consumption of a speaker is still the element of comparison in the specification, which goes against all conservation energy, "he said and then added that" I personally think that even the audiovisual industry in its general design requires more attention in these ecological and efficiency when designing their products and develop aspects ".
Address the issue of integration and communication, Montoya said that "the audiovisual industry has always presented (for different reasons) a trend towards lack of standardization, even within the same industry as an example, there are plenty of ways to measure watts. Not it can be said that the sensitivity and efficiency of a speaker is measured equally by all manufacturers, there is no single standard for transmitting audio signals, the frequency response of a speaker and its coverage is measured in different ways and with different tolerances. And now with the integration / automation this trend is manifested in the absence of a single communication protocol ".
On the other hand, experts on the side of the buildings suggest other challenges for the audiovisual integrator. Ron Bernstein explains that the key factor is understanding the needs of managers of buildings and anticipate the future with new features and better performance. "Innovation is required and this will have some degree of open interoperability associated with it (...) The manufacturers and audiovisual integrators can learn a lesson from the fields of HVAC, lighting and energy monitoring and learn how to become part of a large infrastructure" he says.
Meanwhile, Jim Sinopoli points out further on the findings of Bernstein, saying that "some of the challenges of audiovisual integrators relate to an understanding of what it means sustainability. The industry of building automation routed systems with higher consumption energy within a farm, so the challenge for integrators a / V could be to demonstrate an understanding of how systems and devices can support audiovisual management and energy conservation. "
This note ends in the same way it began: the YES automation industry offers many opportunities for manufacturers and integrators of audiovisual world, but to take advantage should take into account certain recommendations. Bernstein and Sinopoli, experts in the field of buildings with integrated systems offered some guidelines to get the most benefit from this trend.
Bernstein, for example, lies in learning opportunities and adapt to the concept of Total Control of Building and understand, so that teams of A / V end up being part of a large ecosystem. "They should look for ways to use the functionality of existing components in unique and different ways, look what they are doing other industries so that they can get a fresh look at what can and will be done in the future," he says. It argues that the threats will be against the inability to compete due to lack of innovation.
Sinopoli, meanwhile, believes that opportunities may be better exploited by establishing strategic alliances with companies that have complementary skills or markets. "Here there are more opportunities than threats and integrators that best lead will be really successful," he says.
As discussed in note, there are many applications that are having the audiovisual systems in the world of intelligent buildings. The experts referred to some of them.
Juan Montoya, Bosch says that applications are no longer only for mega-projects, but are also finding opportunities in the residential area. "We could not say that a nightclub, a theater or auditorium not require emergency detection system fire immediately communicate the fact to the video surveillance system, which will focus its attention to the initial site and then contact the audio system evacuation will default (and prerecorded) instructions for people clearly must do listen, all this will be coordinated with the existing system of professional audiovisual reinforcement in the room and this in turn will place the system HVAC in the conditions to better control the situation and make the building access system to behave according to the specific situation seeking to save the most lives with an agile, quick and effective evacuation "he says.
Ron Bernstein says that "recently saw a demonstration in which a video monitor flat screen was set up as an information system vital and fire protection. These were installed where normally there would be a signal emergency exit and provided much more information on the current situation as a regular audio alarm. the screen showed, for example, if the output was enabled or not. Imagine such systems attached to a typical system of a / V in a meeting room or conference room ".
Finally, Jim Sinopoli says that fundamental services systems A / V (entertainment, provision of information, communication and education) are required by the owners, occupiers and managers of any building. He adds that "the supply of energy information via digital signage (Digital Signage) within a building or a university complex appears to be a fairly active market today."