About three years ago, Cisco signed a collaboration agreement with EllisDon—the first in a series of exciting strategic relationships that have contributed to a visible transformation of the Canadian construction and real estate landscape. With an increasing pace, IP networks are finally becoming the fourth utility of today’s real estate developments. The pervasive expectations of available ultra-high speed Internet, and the proliferation of devices and systems that depend on open access and standardized communication protocols are driving the demand for consolidated and converged building networks. (Hey, and it’s cheaper also).
Now, it never is as simple as it seems. Building out secure and redundant building networks for the sake of building a network will not provide the anticipated value to building owners and operators (operational cost savings, energy reduction, optimized space utilization, enhanced safety and security, improved workforce productivity, future flexibility, etc.). Instead, the value lies in the integration and added intelligence of as many possible building systems and applications. This integration requires new levels of coordination, cooperation and collaboration.
Convergence of IT and building systems requires equal convergence of the human network that is ultimately responsible for building optimized architectures and designs. Partnering must start early in the process. The impact of implementing single converged and integrated networks are profound on the traditional mechanical and electrical systems of buildings. This is even more true as we see the emergence of Power over Ethernet (PoE) devices. To do this right, and to capitalize on all the benefits of networked buildings, we need innovative collaboration and open dialogue between contractors, engineers, mechanical and electrical contractors, vendors and suppliers of the latest technology.
Only when we see the parties put aside their own individual objectives and make place for joined and aligned goals and aspirations, do we see true innovation in construction and real estate take place. It all starts with the people and the processes…very early in the process. When this discussion takes place early enough (before decisions and procurement limits further innovation), together we can make a difference.