Convergence At Its Best

Today , the first employees of PWC will take possession of the first two floors of their new showcase property in downtown Toronto: PWC Tower @ 18 York. When they will walk into their offices, they will not find a light switch on the wall. Instead, they will now be able to turn on, dim and turn off their lights using the Cisco IP phone in the offices, meeting rooms, and quiet rooms. For any technology person this may not seem a big deal, yet it certainly will be a first for the occupants of 18 York.

This capability may appear deceivingly simple. But it is not quite as straight forward as a phone that communicates directly with a lighting system (which has been done before). What makes this really so unique (above and beyond the CAPEX savings of a couple of hundred dollars per light switch) is the underlying architecture that enables it all to happen. 18 York is one of the first buildings with an end-to-end Building Information Network (converged fiber IP network infrastructure) that communicates with the network edge such as IP Phones, sensors, access points, but also with the lighting system, power meters, blinds, and soon also the building’s HVAC.

A gateway technology is used to capture and normalize the data that sits in traditionally silo-ed disparate building systems. A Centralized Management System (CMS) acts as the central nervous systems of the building. Features, functionalities, and policies are set in this CMS with the purpose to optimize the building performance, reduce the building energy footprint, and provide services that will enhance the occupants experience (e.g the ability to personalize lighting levels while maximizing energy savings).

The smart and connected real estate approach turned this state-of-the-art building into an information-centric operation that will provide so many more opportunities for facility and experience enhancements. For starters, the CMS will expose the building information to a cloud-based automated fault detection application that will predict the building’s performance and trigger condition-based and preventive maintenance activities. Also, soon we will be displaying the PWC’s energy consumption on the many digital signs in their modern office. With the IP Network as the building’s “Platform for Innovation”, this will just be the beginning.

The convergence didn’t stop with the technology alone. The true convergence was how the industry came together to make this happen. As the concept broke through technology silo’s, it also ruffled some of the established relationships and contracting methods. Building 21st Century buildings with 21st Century capabilities requires 21st Century thinking in organization, stakeholders, and teamwork. On this project, we saw GWLRA (landlord) and PWC (tenant) embrace and own the vision and everyone else rallied behind it. A big thanks to EllisDon, Cisco, Lutron, Flexity, FifthLight, Canem, and everyone else involved (

Convergence at its best ! Let’s do it again (and again and again).

About Rick Huijbregts

Rick Huijbregts is Vice President of Industry Transformation where he is responsible for Cisco Canada’s IoE strategy and industry business development. The members of his team are industry subject matter experts and each engage in the transformation of their respective industries (healthcare, oil and gas, financial services, education, real estate, and industrial sector). Huijbregts is also General Manager for Cisco Canada’s Smart + Connected Communities practice, including Smart + Connected Real Estate. Huijbregts holds construction and architecture degrees from Tilburg Polytechnic University and Delft University in the Netherlands, and a doctorate from Harvard University. Huijbregts is currently a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Design Executive Education where he teaches classes on Smart Buildings and Smart Cities. He also serves on several boards of Canadian academic institutions and not-for-profits. Rick Huijbregts est vice-président de la transformation sectorielle dont les responsabilités comptent la stratégie de l’internet multidimensionnel et le développement commercial du secteur industriel de Cisco Canada. Les membres de son équipe sont tous des experts dans différents domaines et œuvrent à la transformation de leurs secteurs d’activité respectifs (santé, énergie, services financiers, enseignement, immobilier et industrie). Huijbregts est également directeur général du segment des communautés intelligentes et connectées, dont le volet immotique des immeubles intelligents et connectés de Cisco Canada. M. Huijbregts est titulaire de diplômes en construction et architecture de l’université Tilburg Polytechnic et de l’université Delft aux Pays-Bas ainsi que d’un doctorat de l’université Harvard. Il est actuellement professeur de Harvard à la faculté d’études supérieures pour les cadres en aménagement urbain où il donne des cours sur la gestion intelligente des immeubles et des villes. Il siège également à plusieurs conseils d’administration d’universités et d’organismes à but non lucratif.
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1 Response to Convergence At Its Best

  1. This is an outstanding invention.

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