College Planning & Management

FEB 2013

College Planning & Management is the information resource for professionals serving the college and university market. Covering facilities, security, technology and business.

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IN THE KNOW EN H A NCI NG + ENGAGI NG + C ON N EC T I NG FEBRUA RY 2 013 THIS MON TH 51 EMERGING TECHNOLOGY 52 TECH WATCH 53 TECH UPGRADE What's Next for AV and Smart Buildings? The AV industry is at the forefront of systems integration. by BRAD GRIMES L ast August, members of InfoComm International's Integrated Building Technologies Task Force attended the National Conference on Building Commissioning in Cincinnati, OH. Their goal: to explain to building facility managers how the AV industry could help them coordinate their low-voltage systems in order to make their buildings operate more efficiently. The task force, which had recently expanded to include members from the architectural and construction industries, came away from the conference and subsequent task force meetings understanding two things. First, that building managers do, indeed, understand the potential benefits of integrating everything from AV and lighting to HVAC and security in the interest of sustainability and reduced maintenance costs. And second, that they have little idea of where to turn to find the right people for integrating those systems into a smarter overall building. "There's a remarkable opportunity and we do not see other disciplines in the design and construction industry seizing it," says David Wilts, CTS, LEED-AP BD+C, chair of the task force and an associate principal for Arup Engineering and Consulting. "We see AV integrators, programmers, consultants, and manufacturers moving to fill this void in the design and construction industry." Why the AV industry and not one of the other building systems trades, such as HVAC or electrical integrators? For one reason, AV professionals are widely recognized as early adopters of new technologies. After all, when clients want the latest and greatest in their boardrooms, lobbies, hospitality suites, and more, it often means an audiovisual experience, and members of the AV industry are called upon to make it work — no questions asked. Plus, in recent years, there has been a considerable emphasis on ease-of-use and ease-of-operation. In response, AV programmers, consultants, and integrators have developed unique skills for creating intuitive, user-friendly tools and control interfaces. What users and building managers often do not see is that behind the scenes, to create those seamless interfaces, AV professionals must often corral complex systems that don't normally communicate with one another — and that's the crux of the challenge when it comes to integrating disparate building systems. "At the end of the day, no one has stepped up to the plate yet because smart building technology is new to everyone," says Wilts. Other trades may deny the opportunity, claim it to be too expensive, or see it as too difficult to tackle, or simply consider it someone else's job. "But really, it's just change. People didn't think Tyvek was worth it when it came out, but now there's no building built without a vapor barrier," Wilts explains. Take It From Here As 2011 wound down, the IBT Task Force presented its fi ndings to the InfoComm Board of Directors. According to FEBRUARY 2013 / COLLEGE PLANNING & MANAGEMENT 49

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