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Does the idea of implementing integrated use cases seem overwhelming? Are you struggling with how to deal with the complexities of MSI and OT? 

In this week's episode we unpack how to implement MSI and OT technologies on a small scale. 

Click here to download or listen to this episode now.

Resources mentioned in this episode

Controls Con

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Show notes

Phil Zito 0:00
This is the smart buildings Academy podcast with Phil Zito Episode 242. Hey folks, Phil Zito here and welcome to Episode 242 of the smart buildings Academy podcast. And in this episode we're going to be talking with Scott Cochran from Cochran supply Cochran supply is one of the larger distributors for building automation within the United States. And one of the things I like whenever I talk with Scott is that he is pushing the envelope on technology and just on how do we approach building systems and building technologies. One of the things that I found really interesting in this interview with Scott was the fact that they are using essentially, I don't want to say Arduino controller, but something very similar to that non, you know, ba s controller, along with some IP devices in order to control an air handler. That's one of the many experiments they are working with and just looking at unique ways to implement controls within the built environment. So Scott and I are going to be talking about MSI semester system integrators, we're going to be talking about what that looks like from a distribution as well as a contractor perspective, what the sales cycle looks like on that what he's seeing across all of his contractors, we're going to be talking with him as well about ot networks and ot technologies, how that all goes about. And then we're going to talk about controls con, which is one of the conferences I think you all should consider attending if not just for the conference itself, but also for the pre sessions that they're going to have. I feel like you all can take some value out of the MSI and the OT pre sessions and I dive into that in this episode as well. So as always everything can be found at podcast at smart buildings Academy comm Ford slash 242 once again, that is podcasts that smart buildings academy.com for slash 232 without further ado, let's roll into the interview. Surely recording. Okay, good. All right, your videos uploading your audio is uploading that is perfect. So Alright, so here's basically what will happen is I'll do a countdown 321 the usual stuff and then we'll start talking. I will not spend a whole lot of time describing you in like saying who you are. people already know that they don't come to listen to that. We're gonna dive kind of right into you mentioning on the last call that you see yourself in the MSI business, which I find fascinating. I think it's very forward thinking because a lot of people feel like I'm missing that. Oh, those are really cool earbuds. Oh, surprise, man. I don't even know what those are they what my career?

Scott Cochrane 3:07
Yeah, they go with my computer I got a you know all Microsoft stuff. My it guys love Microsoft. So they just get me on Microsoft stuff.

Phil Zito 3:15
Oh, praise your IT guys. I can't stand Apple products. My whole house is accurate for me.

Scott Cochrane 3:20
I need

Phil Zito 3:21
I'm galaxy everything.

Scott Cochrane 3:23
Oh, no. You're so funny, man. Look at look at I'm all Google and my whole house is Apple two. Same thing. That's so funny. You say that I'm in the same boat that I hate Apple to pry for the same reasons you do. So much.

Phil Zito 3:36
Now. Okay, so we're gonna go through kind of just what, what you think of the MSI business? What drove you to invest in that space what the market opportunity is, because I think there's a huge one, we're going to talk about data collection being the app, one of the key aspects and factors of the MSI model, which will then t into OT, right, so that'll go into OT, and then we'll shift gears after ot on controls con, I'm going to skip over the physical security, just because to be quite honest, I don't know if the audience is going to find that super exciting. I will find I get tons of questions on MSI, I get even more questions on ot. And then when we go through the controls con, I want to focus in on the pre conference sessions first, because I think those will be tremendously valuable, and then move into the conference tracks. And then kind of through that. Okay, cool. All right. We'll go live in 321. Hey, folks. All right. We're diving in here with Scott Cochran. We're going to be going through a lot of questions here we're gonna talk about kind of the state of the MSI space. We're gonna talk about ot technologies, which he has a lot of experience with being one of the largest distributors in the United States. We're going to talk Through why Scott is seeing himself as not a distributor, or he or rather, I'll let you explain that because I want you to kind of put it in your words versus me try to interpret your words of Last time we talked on the pre call, he said something that was surprising to me. And it was you see yourself as in the MSI business. Now, first off, what does MSI even mean? Because there's like 15 different definitions. And why do you see yourself in that business? Obviously, you see a market opportunity. What is that?

Scott Cochrane 5:32
Awesome. Thanks, Phil, for having me today. Looking forward to our conversation, just like our last one a lot of fun. So, so let's dive right in. So yes, so MSI, what is an MSI master systems integrator, sometimes referred to as just a systems integrator, but as a lot of people in the VA s industry know, the industry shifted, in terms of multi manufacturers being brought together in common platforms, in other words, open systems took over. And what we're seeing now is, is the need for companies contractors to come in and, and bring these systems together in a building so that the building can operate properly. And that's where these systems integrators the master systems integrator concept came from, is simply through the need of bringing these systems together to operate the building properly. So and going into that space, what we've what what's transpired is simply that the the need for from the building owner standpoint to, to bring these systems together to create a more efficient more. Now a safer building. It seems like the demand for that continues to grow. Whether that's because of, you know, what's being put into the buildings or how people look at new technology. But there's seems like there's an endless space for these for these companies that dive into this integration world. Okay,

Phil Zito 7:01
so what is being put into these buildings? Like, one of the things you mentioned is that a lot of people perceive MSI as these multimillion dollar projects, but you perceive them differently.

Scott Cochrane 7:12
Yeah, I believe almost every project is is really an MSI type project today, when you're putting a building control platform, and when you when you go into a building, and you start connecting the mechanical, electrical systems, and you bring them together to the owner, you're providing almost like a platform for the owner, in terms of how they control that that space. And as you develop those services, what you quickly see is not only are you tying together these systems for the owner, but you're putting it onto a network for the owner, or you're putting it on the internet. And let's not kid ourselves. That's integration also, right? we're integrating the data, the real time live mechanical, electrical data from the building into the internet. And that's another integration. So. So that's why I say every Jobson integration, even if you're just taking a BBs system, and making it accessible through maybe an internet type system, you are essentially integrating the internet to the building. Right? So so you, so every project now is really just because of the relationship with the building and the owner and the technology, every job can be looked at as an integration project.

Phil Zito 8:26
So I just took a couple notes, I made some circle back stuff to kind of come back to that data, network data, integration kind of aspect. But before we go into that, talk me through kind of how you see contractors approaching this, how did they become aware, because they're getting these solutions and technical services through your organization, as I understand it, you're you're assisting them, which seemed to be the biggest challenge for contractors was that they weren't able to have relationships to get access to these technology stacks. But when when they have this right, so what are the common solutions you see them putting out in the field? And how does this like talk me through the life cycle of a small project? Like how this would begin what what would happen?

Scott Cochrane 9:18
Well, I guess what we have to establish is where does where does this integration sales start, in terms of between the contractor and the customer? And in my eyes, it starts as soon as we develop, you know, as soon as we put something on that owners network, whether it's a you know, an IP controller, or if we're putting, say, like, like, the niagra software onto the network. At that point, we then become, you know, we then be we've kind of crossed that threshold into that into that side of the market. And, and so, you know, there's, um, for the contractors, as they learn the products, whether it be like a new IP controller From a manufacturer or they learn how to use niagra. Within that software, they quickly see how to tie it into the network. And typically that that is their first layer of integration is like, Oh, I put an IP address in this, I put it on an IP network. Now I can see it with a web browser, right? It's like, that's kind of like their eye opening, like, Hey, man, there's a bigger world outside of BS, right? And then, and then they start to realize that not only is on is there, that integration, but then they start to realize that there's other devices on that same IP network that they can now you know, deliver information to say via BACnet IP. So another new concept comes into play. And imagine that except imagine that going on for years with these contractors now systems integrators, right, every day is a new lesson in integration. And and they develop capabilities over time through these challenges, right? I've built Cochran supply, not necessarily to build them into integrators. No, I built Cochran supply to support them along the way, on their journey and becoming an integrator. So you know, that's why I hire it people to answer their questions. That's why we stand up professional training services to get their people off the ground. But it's their experience that makes them great integrators at the end of the day, right. And that's what's driving this market are those those experiences that they have, and how they deliver the technology for them, is what makes the difference between these contractors now. Interesting.

Phil Zito 11:33
So I'm going to summarize what I just heard you say, because I think it goes in the face of a lot of the marketing out there. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. It rather simplifies it. It looks at it less as a one time massive capital event. And it looks at it as having a relationship with the owner and Lifecycle Management, understanding the owners problems as they move through managing the lifecycle of their building, and then identifying what existing technologies could be tied together to solve those problems. That's

Scott Cochrane 12:06
what my gosh, yeah, that's exactly right. Phil, I mean, you're taking it to the next level is when the owner and the contractor understand the power of integration. They're the ones who invent the future that building together, based on as you mentioned, the needs of the owner, the owners have challenges. And we have technology, and there is oftentimes an answer within that technology, we just have to learn how to utilize it better, is really the key. So

Phil Zito 12:34
so I want to touch base on on three different kinds of technology layers, physical, which would be like IO, sensors, stuff like that. And I'm kind of putting you on the spot here. But systems, which would be you know, entire systems. And then applications like what would you say, is the most interesting to you? The, in the physical layer right now that contractors should be aware of, like just sensors or devices? I know, you mentioned the lemo energy valve as one that was really interesting to you. But what would be things that people should keep their eyes on? Because there's a lot of noise in the market as far as solutions, especially on the prop tech side? So what would you say contractors would be worthwhile to invest their time into?

Scott Cochrane 13:24
Well, that's a great question. So on the physical side, the IO side, first and foremost, as we move over to these IP based systems, let us not forget that the industrial world moved over many years ago. And so there's already a lot of really good IP based products that maybe we weren't utilizing before that we can now utilize, especially in the industrial space. And I want to, I just want to point out like the heavy electrical type equipment, right, your your switch gear, your your heavy duty meters, your backup power, a lot of that is already Ethernet enabled, it's already IP enabled, right? So so that's a, that's a big chunk of, you know, something to look at. But in terms of the new devices coming out, what you're going to see I believe, is really, most of your most important devices will be IP enabled. So in the VA s world, so for instance, and I'm sure most of your audience knows this, Phil, but like most of your VFD manufacturers have now an Ethernet option on a VFD. So there goes all the pumps and fans, right? Right. You're talking all those are IP enabled. Functional device has IP enabled relays. Okay. Current sensors. Yeah. And they've had them for a while and people just don't really like haven't really considered them why because we haven't really had this network to tap them into yet. And you mentioned another one of my favorites, which is the Billy mo energy valve, which is really neat because they basically took the actuator IP enabled it and you can you know, You can control it right on an IP network. So, so like one of the experiments we hope to do this summer knock on wood, is we're going to try and run an air handler without a controller, just by like, writing software at the IP layer and controlling a VFD. Control, you know, picking up the sensors, all of that IP wise, and then doing all the logic in a computer. Why? Just to see if we can just out of curiosity, but again, think about that ot layer with all these devices now on IP. What is the purpose of the controller? Right? I mean, it's, it's just another computer on the network. And do we need more computers? Maybe? For on prem? Right? Yeah. In a physical box and an air handler? Does it make sense to have the computer inside of it? Yeah. Yeah, probably well, for a long time, but does it have to be? Well, maybe not? We're because that's this is kind of the new layer on OT and what it enables that that IO level. So that is a really ballsy move. Yeah,

Phil Zito 15:59
I agree seriously, because you're a distributor, and you're proposing and testing a solution that eliminates potentially controllers, or at least shifts the ability, and everyone's talked about this for the longest time. This like, gets me excited. I'm like, all like, whoo.

Scott Cochrane 16:20
But people, is it possible? I know, we don't know if it's possible, Phil, we don't know. We want to know if it's possible. First and foremost, before we advocated Of course, but but again, you know, it's not our role to decide where the industry goes, it's our role to facilitate the growth of that. And that includes the adoption of new technology and things change around us, we just got to change with it. Right? That's all.

Phil Zito 16:44
So you figure that out, that is like a corner to a market, because then you start using low cost pi boards, and things like that. These low cost boards, or maybe even a centralized? Like little rackmount mini PC. Oh my gosh, yeah, that could be huge cost savings, and then you you're really decoupling yourself from vendor dependence. That's very

Scott Cochrane 17:11
well, and you get into application dependence, right, and a different type of dependence more again, it's going to we're going to be a software driven industry, and the applications will drive that right. And, and so I think that's, you know, that's, that's where you'll see the difference like today, it's a physical controller. Tomorrow, it may be some software that's developed by a consulting engineer that goes into this project to run the air handlers, you know what I mean? Yeah, like, Who knows? Who knows where we're headed? Right.

Phil Zito 17:37
So that's very interesting. So let's talk your, your favorite application right now. What, what excites you in the app space?

Scott Cochrane 17:47
Well, I hate to be like the same, you know, old dog, same trick. But, you know, the niagra framework continues to rock it for us in terms of enabling the Barkat to get the data and get it where they want it in the in the format they wanted. And, you know, we have been very successful with it as data plumbing for a lot of different people and a lot of different waves. And data plumbing is is so critical to feeding those applications, you know, that fell without the right data plumbing. Without the right data model. There's, there's, you know, really nothing, nothing good can come of that. So again, that's, uh, that seems to be the product for that. You know, we're, we're consistently looking at a lot of products. But, um, but that one seems to be the main one for that. So

Phil Zito 18:37
let's talk about the data plumbing. Let's talk about OT, because I know that's another area that you're really excited by, what is oT? When's it applicable? Who are the major players in that space? What are your thoughts on that?

Scott Cochrane 18:51
So an OT network operational Technology Network, it would be stood up next to say an IP business network. And the purpose of the OT network, it's just like a business IP network. The differences is that the devices that go on the OT network would be dedicated to the building, or maybe an industrial application, right? But the devices that go on to the IP network are going to be the business devices that support the business within the building. separating those two networks physically allows easier, I would say it makes it easier for the construction process. And it makes it easier for the facility maintenance process after the buildings built. Now when we got Niagara fell, and forgive me because I was probably one of the people who were the who made the biggest mess of this. But you know, we ran out there and we started throwing these instances in Niagara all over people's networks all over the place, man and dude, shame on us. bad practice, right? Throwing a Niagara an instance in Niagara and that works. is almost like a beacon for a hacker if it's an unprotected network to try and, you know, come in, I mean, it's just suicide, right? I mean, and then and then going on to the owners networks with with our building control systems meant just huge costs and collaborating with IT departments that just never ended. I mean, it never ends with these IT departments in the collaboration within so. So by moving over to the OT networks, and separating them to even physically, it allows us to really help the construction, the consulting engineers design a complete working system, the construction group to put in a complete working system, and the facility group can now maintain a complete system from top to bottom. Now, what that means is that everybody along the way is going to have to become somewhat of an IT expert, okay, your consulting engineer writing the BA spec has to understand IP networks and how to design one so that they can design an OT network for the modern PA system. Why is that? Because every manufacturer in the space now offers a full stack of IP controllers. And with that those all their new capabilities are going into these IP controllers. And if the consulting engineers in the community are not using these, that means they're leaving behind the new technology that these vendors have thought through and built into these products, which, frankly, is it's like, you know, you want to get the best technology you can in the world. You know, that works. Of course. Right? So So anyway, so with with those thoughts in mind, on, you know, OT now is going to be a massive education movement of the BBs industry. It's going to be about not just having like a kind of an understanding of IP networks, but actually commanding and managing them as an industry and saying, No, I'll stand that server up. No, I'll put those managed switches and No, I'll put that VPN and these need to become common conversations in our industry, right. So that's where we're at. So,

Phil Zito 22:06
so let's let's talk through that, because that's interesting to me. Because, as so we run a quantitative skills assessment, I'm not trying to turn this into a commercial about our services. But we run a skills assessment. And the general feedback, most people test pretty high in building automation, and H fac, and even programming but it the results are consistently dismal. And you look at the training out there, and everyone seems to be putting their people through comp to network plus, or they put their people through, you know, the the A plus certification through comp Tia. But yet that doesn't talk about OT and the construction environment that doesn't talk about managing with different tools. So my question to you is, what are the solutions that are out there? And how are you seeing people currently using them? Because I, I'm familiar with optical networks. That's really the big one I'm familiar with. Other than them? Who else is out there? Are people using like a light version of Cisco and a light version of, you know, Juniper and folks like that, or is that what's going on?

Scott Cochrane 23:33
Well, Phil, you? That's a great question. And frankly, yeah, it is the Wild West when it comes to manage switches in the BBs industry right now. I like you, I think optic goes a great product. And the reason why is because what optika has done is they didn't enable everything you can in a managed switch. Instead, they looked at it from just running a facility, and what would be the responsibility of a managed switch in running a facility. And they enable the features that are needed to truly lock down a switch properly to just run a building. Okay? Now, we're not talking about a Cisco switch with a gazillion features and can do a bunch of really neat things. And why do I Why buy buy what I recommend not to go over Cisco? It's simply because, again, the installers or vas technicians, to your man, Phil, they are not highly trained Cisco switch experts, and nor if you sent them to the Cisco training, would they be able to walk away and say, oh, I'll stand this network up for you today. Because why? Because these are very, you know, the IT environment is it can be very complicated. We in the construction community, we don't have time to go to those next layers. We are told what is cyber secure and we implement it, boom, right? We're not the ones who are going to be you know, the testers of IT technology like what these big IT companies are and so, so those are the solutions. Another really neat solution that we sell is called tosee box. And if you heardest Toshiba. Yeah.

Phil Zito 25:01
Yeah. And I know, their president, he's good guy.

Scott Cochrane 25:06
He is. And what the reason why we like that product so much is because it's a physical VPN, I mean, literally physical. So literally, somebody has a managed switch that goes on site, somebody has a USB key. And it's simple. You get the if you got the key, you get into the site, if you don't have the key you don't get in. And it gives the contractors an easy way to help their techs have remote access without leaving those jobs in a very precarious you know, not cybersecure situation. And we all know technicians are famous for throwing jobs out on the internet so that they can get to them later at home at night. And that's great. And we get that as an industry. That's great. And thank you for working late at night, and we appreciate it. Would you please just cybersecure that connection so that, you know, I don't get a call from the FBI that, you know, another server was hacked. And they're in their accounting system? You know that stuff? Yeah.

Phil Zito 26:02
So let's talk about and this made me, I gotta get in a message to paying over there and opt to go and get him on the podcast is I think ot is like a whole episode in itself. But let's just at a high level, let's talk about Okay, your contractor got new construction job using IP controllers using IP lighting? Customers kind of concerned about cyber, how does the OT what are the triggers? So first up, we'll go through this kind of logically, what are the triggers to indicate that this is an OT opportunity? The second question will be then how do you go and position that in the traditional construction model so that you can deploy it because I, I feel the deployment aspect is not too hard. It's just following a process. Optos, front end is pretty easy to work with. It's more of how do you identify a customer? How do you position it? And then how do you bake it into the CSI model? Because CSI is not really friendly to engineer on the fly systems.

Scott Cochrane 27:12
So true. So Phil, so Okay, so like that, you know, and this is kind of like I kind of coaching an integrator, I will tell them, does the owner have a plan for ot are operational technology? Does the owner have a plan for it already? I mean, we do a lot of industrial work in Detroit, for instance. And I'll tell you, those industrial guys, they got a plan for rotate, okay. And contractors are not putting networks in there. Because they have a plan, they've, they've done it on the plant floor. And they're going to do it in the buildings and they got a plan for it. And their IT departments set up to handle that. Okay. And so in those cases, all those it concerns come out of the construction table, they go into the owners hands, and everybody works with the owner and that, you know, those those projects really do not need an OT network per se, because the owner took on that responsibility, right? When do you need no t network is when the owner did not have a plan for you coming on to their network? Okay, Mr. Construction, trade, whatever you are, whatever you are life, safety, security, HVC It doesn't matter. If the owner is an if it's a multi tenant occupied space, again, you're gonna have different businesses within Do you really want one of those businesses to be you know, have the building network on it? I doubt it. Again, you need no t network for that building? Right? It really comes back to common sense fail, you really got to look at the situation between the owner in the building and as the construction community make that decision? Do we need these ot networks or not? How is the building going to be managed after it after it's completed? Does the owner own it? Or is this you know, is this a leased building? You know, these are things that need to be considered because you want the building to operate no matter what so for instance, like if we put everything on the business network of a building and the business moves out of the building, what happens to support for that network?

Phil Zito 29:07

Scott Cochrane 29:08
so so we knowing that this business may not always reside in the building as a as an industry need to understand on premise on prem we need an on prem solution that won't leave the building if the owner does and and the designers in the construction community have to come to grips with this and start working with the owners to make these decisions at the very very beginning of the job not CSI supports a no t spec okay it's in there it's it's in there and and I've seen it in different section numbers so I don't want to dive into and debate shame but it has been done very well. Okay. It has been done and and CSI was built to kind of accommodate this kind of concept. But it does require change and and so like for Cochran supply for instance, I have an individual His name's Greg Fitz. Patrick, and he spends about 40% of his time just working with consulting engineers, helping them develop that change into their organization. Right. So that they, for instance, you know, helping a BA s specifier. Write a network into the BA, spec, for instance, right. So these are the new challenges. And that, like I said, this is something where where, you know, like, that's how we're dealing with it is through through actual consulting, helping consulting engineers, educating them what an IP network is, what are the key things you need? How do they come together on things like that, so

Phil Zito 30:36
interesting. Because so so now we're gonna shift gears, because we want to talk about something that I think is important. It's one of the main reasons we brought you on here. But I wanted to provide, you know, immediate value, because this is, this is going to be value. It's coming in May. But I wanted to provide immediate value. So now that we've done that, let's talk about controls con, because I found it valuable previously, otherwise, I wouldn't be talking to you. But I didn't think it was a vendor Fest, which, you know, thank

Scott Cochrane 31:06
you. So

Phil Zito 31:07
well, you seriously though, I mean, you've been to HR, and you go there, and it's either you're getting you know, a PhD talking to you about astrophysics, or you're getting someone pitching a product. There's like no, in between. Yeah, no.

Scott Cochrane 31:24
So we've given a seminar together, you're in it, too. We do one, pre pre conference seminar, you know, you and I Yeah,

Phil Zito 31:31
well, that's why I wanted to talk about the pre conference. Yes, I'll be honest, that's like, the only part of HR if I valuable is to pre conferences. I know, that's probably not something I should say, and people get all butthurt. But, I mean, that's just the reality. So let's talk about your pre conferences, because you've got a couple of them. And they each touch different audiences. So and I know when we were talking in the pre call, you had laid out, you know, a smaller group of audience. And then when I was talking with you, I was like, actually, Scott, I think this is a bigger group of audience, then you're, you're casting the net, too. And so let's talk through the three pre conference sessions. And then I'll kind of provide a little bit of color on why I think the different audience groups should go to those.

Scott Cochrane 32:21
Cool. So thank you, Phil, for your support on this. We, we, we work really, really hard on this. And we believe it is an education first type of an event. And just like we're kind of an education first type of company. But But anyways, on so yeah, so. So what happened this year is this, you know, this stinking pandemic, right? So we had, we are typically a live audience, we bring everybody in. And it's a big, it's a big to do. Of course, with the situation, we had to virtualize the whole thing, which is good and bad. It's it's unfortunate. We can't you know, mingle with our friends. But it's great because anybody can now attend, anybody can attend. And we're so excited. And so with that we took advantage of it. And we added a pre conference for controls con, which will be the Wednesday before the main event on Thursday. And Wednesday, really, I turn the day over to my product management team, led by Nicole Conklin. And they decided on three sessions, they're each going to be about two and a half hours. And they're bringing together industry experts. The first panel at 9am is going to be on what you and I just talked about Phil all about OT and the gentlemen, Greg Fitzpatrick, whom is been working with consulting engineers, for the last two years on projects, has put together a panel to include manufacturers, contractors, and consulting engineers to talk through, like the project life of an OT type project today. And these are people who have actually implemented, and we'll talk about the good and the bad, and the ugly, and where they think we're going and also, Greg is also going to be spotlighting some future projects and some of the new designs for ot networks. So it's going to be an awesome session. And I think he's already got like six panelists, which are probably too many, but but that's okay. And we will be getting hopefully these panelists up on the website soon so people can check them out. Yeah, um, after that was on that one.

Phil Zito 34:38
Let's pause on that one real quick.

Scott Cochrane 34:39
What's the one on that one?

Phil Zito 34:41
Let's pause on that one real quick. Okay, sure. Sure. So that one, I'm thinking right off the bat. I'm thinking contractors who want to increase share of wallet. That's an opportunity for them to look at a way to get increased share of wallet and get increased cash on existing projects. So they they have some stuff that They want to go and execute, they can get some more cash flow from that. I also see that as opening up to your point, the MSI model, because now they're starting to build a network that they can integrate data into. And they can look at it from a service perspective as well. So to provide my color on it, well, I think the audience should find that valuable, is they should go in there with the questions of, Okay, how can I upscale my project, by bringing this technology into it? And then how can I use this technology as like a day to services play, so that I can then have an ongoing relationship with the customer, because there's going to be a need to support and that will be difficult for the customer potentially, to go and just sub that out, or self execute. So now that provides some hooks in there, but they're valuable hooks, they're not hooks just for vendor locking the customer, you're actually providing value. So I want to as you go through these conferences provide a little color, because I want the audience to see why I believe there's value here.

Scott Cochrane 36:05
Thanks. Yeah, basically, till you're dead, you're dead on. And I just want to add one more thought to that, because I know we're working on this for Greg session is not not only is there value from the standpoint of you know, the new services and the new ideas that you can bring to your current customers. But what we're also going to do is we're going to debunk that, that, you know, that silly myth, that IP is more expensive than mstp. And we're actually going to bring contractors forward, we're going to actually show everybody that a proper IP or a proper ot design will be less expensive insert first cost, then mstp design, which is just again, for the construction community when they hear new technology and cheaper what and also, and these are why we're seeing more and more projects go ot is because it's driving down the costs and the complexity of the projects within fascinating stuff. So Greg's gonna get into that. Then we got Randall Bishop Randall is our security expertise get, I think, like 15 plus years in the physical security industry. And he has been just great for us in terms of helping us understand how physical security and VA s can work together. And Randall is brought in all these new security vendors that frankly, with these IP networks, all these security devices sit on the same network. Why? Why use multiple devices, right? I mean, it's, uh, you know, there's all these new multi sensor technologies that pick up on like vaping, and, and gunshots, but it also picks up temperature, humidity, it's a ul smoke detector. I mean, so there's all this new multi use technology coming out of the security side, the security side, too, has been heavily IP influenced prior to the VA s industry. So again, they have some awesome solutions from an IP standpoint that we can start to take advantage of randles got all sorts of different I'll say concepts to share with the community, and it's gonna be awesome. And the actions on that one, Phil are Yeah, give me your color. Give me your color. Yeah.

Phil Zito 38:14
So what I think about that is once again, greater share of wallet, because I'm always thinking, How do I get greater share of wallet? How can I go and diversify myself as a single source provider for multiple solutions. So I can kind of differentiate from my competitors. There's that there's also the five sec nature, the physical security nature of cybersecurity control, I see all these folks on LinkedIn who are talking about how we have to be secure at the network level. And that's true you do. thing is if they can get physical access to your building, none of that network level security matters, because they're physically connecting to the devices. So I feel that it'll be a huge mess. And also, I'd be very interested and I know we don't have the time to dive too deep into this, but I'd be very interested in the physical security tie to occupant tracking and tracing. Because that is there's a lot of noise about that as we reoccupy is logging occupants, tracing occupants and tracking knowing who was on what floor via badging, knowing who was in the building, at what time in case there is something to do with COVID. That is something that is very top of mind of a lot of building owners, and having a solution to that, that you can then position, I think puts you in the owners, current cognitive processes. So you're not trying to be like, Oh, look at this cool sensor that can do this. You're like, Oh, you need to be able to have a strategy to do occupant tracking, and occupant tracing as you reoccupy Well, this technology stack will provide that solution. So that's what I would challenge. People who attend that session to ask about would be like, How can this be used for those scenarios?

Scott Cochrane 40:11
I absolutely fell. And one of the things that we're going to concentrate on in that session is a thing called frictionless access. And what that is, is that's using like an app on a phone, almost like a card key. So that, you know, you get into tracking occupants and things like that, obviously, access control is built for that. So, so lots of neat features in terms of that, and new tech that's going to be available. So So yeah, that Randall is gonna do a great job on that. And then, of course, our, our, the queen of Niagara, if you may know, Nicole Conklin is going to take over and, and really what she's going to focus on is the delivered experience of these integrated systems. You know, we see so many. There's, there's just so many great ideas out there. And we just want to kind of get it out there and spotlight it and say, Hey, man, did you know you can do this stuff with the data, right, in terms of graphical experiences, so Nick's gonna knock it out of the park with a whole series of different ways of generating information for the owner, and delivering it and she's going to bring in the people who did it and talk about what they delivered and why different use cases. And so it should be, should be real enlightening in terms of for people who are looking to improve their graphical experience that they're delivering. And as we all know, that today, this is the contractors. This is what makes them special is what they deliver, you know what I mean? filled this is the Yeah, it's a huge difference maker and their creativity and their ability to take best a class and put it back together for the owner. Again, huge differentiator for for contractors. So yeah,

Phil Zito 41:58
and and I agree, cuz so I got into a debate on LinkedIn, this one guy was asking, why do we have 3d photorealistic graphics? Like why do they matter? And as explained to him, a lot of owners are maintenance people, they may be even janitors, they may not even be in the mechanical trade. And they need to understand what a piece of equipment looks like, where things are at. And oftentimes, your only exposure to the customer is owner training and graphics. And if something's broken on the graphics, it's like, you know, my wife likes to get cleaners, and we've gone through so many different cleaners in the house, right? firstworldproblems here. So we've gone through so many cleaners because they leave obvious things uncleaned like dusting on the baseboard or something, right? And you know, it's not a big deal. But if it's obvious, right, so if you have graphics that, yeah, it may be perfect, but the floor plan, you know, you use the same floor plan for all seven floors, even though they're different. You know, that's not the end of the world, the system still functions as long as it's been commissioned. But it's apparently obvious that I didn't care enough about your building to take the time to make sure the floors represent what is actually in the building. So yeah, and that that's something people really need to consider. They're creating unnecessary callbacks and work for themselves. That really doesn't need to have it's the same amount of effort. But they're just not taking the time.

Scott Cochrane 43:34
I'm Phil without without hurting your PG PG rating, I also have to say this Hey, buddy, sex sells, okay, sex sells and look at a really sexy interface can take you to some audiences with end users that, you know, you never you know what I mean? Let's face it, a really good looking image that they're building does not hurt, you know, cuz they show you same bracket, exactly using their color scheme, kind of following their marketing. And then, and then the executives are like, look what we got built for ourselves, you know what I mean? Like, it does not hurt your cause as a contractor terms of owner acceptance, right? Well

Phil Zito 44:11
does not hurt your Think about this. So you're working for a portfolio management company, and they've got, you know, 100 buildings, and you have now created a theme so that every time their customers log on, all of the buildings match a theme, and you are now assisting in their branding of their assets. How does that make you valuable to them? Are they going to say, you know, I want that contractor to do all of our portfolio because they follow our theme. They make our assets look good to our end users versus them just shopping it out and getting willy nilly. Hey, this one's yellow. This one's green. This one doesn't even have a floor plan.

Scott Cochrane 44:52
You know, the greats make their customers great. That's all I know. So let's roll.

Unknown Speaker 44:58
Let's roll into the conference tracks and then we'll wrap this whole.

Scott Cochrane 45:02
Yeah, so. So Thursday's are big day, and Thursday afternoon will be the keynote session. And I have two very good friends in the industry who guide me in terms of the big picture of things. One guy's name is Ken Sinclair, and he is the author of the automated buildings magazine. And the other gentlemen is Jim young, who is the organizer and the I think the President of real calm I become, and those two gentlemen will be accompany you know, they'll be my, we will act as a small panel, we'll do, we're going to learn from Jim and Ken a little bit at the beginning. And then the three of us are going to be sitting down with executives from throughout the industry, whom have all prepared different types of messages for the community around technology and around the future, what they're thinking. And then Jim, Ken and I are going to talk to each one and do a little panel with each one. So we have some fascinating people coming. First and foremost, we have we have Martin Villeneuve, who is the SVG for disk for Acuity Brands for distech, essentially, the president of distech. And Martin is awesome. Martin is one of the people one of my favorites in the industry. He's he started Believe it or not, he started as like a tech Project Manager for distech when they were a contractor, and for long he's been there. And for him to go through and see the rise of this tech and be a part of it now to run the company. He's just he's just a wealth of experience, just a wealth in the BS and industry. I, so we look forward to talking to him. And then we also have Pat tsca, from Honeywell, and he's in charge of their like edge device development in terms of what they're building for the next edge type device for Honeywell for the VA s industry. And Pat's gonna talk about what they're looking at in the future and how Honeywell is going to attack that market a little bit, won't give us his best secrets, but there's some very interesting things happening. He's going to unveil that I think people will find a lot of interest in. Um, we Um, excuse me, sorry. Sorry, my computer just glitched on me. That's Oh, God. Yeah. So. So then. And then we also have with us, a Terrell Laughlin, who is the Vice President, General Manager for energy for Johnson Controls. And I don't know if you heard, but they are really working hard on developing their own type of software. Yeah, in terms of, you know, open blue. So he's going to come in and tell us a little bit about that give us a little sneak peek of where that's headed. And how Johnson Controls plans to go forward with that. fascinating stuff. Johnson's a huge influence in our industry. Everything they do, has huge ramifications. And so I can't wait to hear his speech and learn more about it. And then I'm not sure the exact order but without forgetting him, my buddy Ken Schmidt, whom is the president of tritium. I say he is the best kept secret in this industry. I told him I'm like, Ken, I'm pulling out. I have been in the role for two he's been the president for two years. And in the two years he's been president, tritium has had the most successful two years ever. So good. Yeah.

Phil Zito 48:37
Yeah, I was talking to her. And he was saying they're having some major growth,

Scott Cochrane 48:42
major growth, major investment from Honeywell Honeywell, it was one of Honeywell best performing businesses and 2020 of all the businesses of Honeywell, you know, so so and, and Ken has done a fantastic job of that tritium Honeywell relationship, which is a very tricky relationship. And I think I think Ken's done a great job. So I just want to introduce the great, he's a great personality. I want everybody to learn a little bit about him. And, and kind of get a sense of where tritium is headed in the next couple of years, which is also really exciting. So those are my keynotes, as I as I mentioned, Jim, young and Ken Sinclair will be helping me interview each one of those guys. And it should be fun. So yeah, we are rapid. Yep,

Phil Zito 49:29
I did about dystek. And about the Honeywell edge series. There's so many people I run into who don't understand that Honeywell even has edge controllers. It's surprising I talk about the edge controllers that people like what are that, and I mean, the power that has the fact that as a field bus on it, the fact that it has the advanced application controller capabilities, the graphics, the visualization, it's a very underrated controller for what it does. And then this tech. So it's no, it's no surprise that I'm not a fan of back net se. I've made that very clear to everyone on LinkedIn. You know, I

Scott Cochrane 50:10
know. She might, and, and back

Phil Zito 50:16
desex been doing a lot of really cool stuff with API's. They're one of the first people from a controller perspective at scale that's had a RESTful API. Now, I'm not saying restful API's are the solution, but it's a step in the right direction. And and I really find that very interesting. I really hope you all prod him on there, data strategy and their data availability strategy for their control solutions moving forward, because I think that is very promising.

Scott Cochrane 50:49
Yes, yes. They've so going first and foremost, you're exactly right. Honeywell has some really neat things that are available now. They got some really neat things that are coming. Don't forget, they own tritium so they can leverage that technology. I think Pat's presentation will I agree will be fascinating. And then yes, distech has just a fabulous line of IP controls. The RESTful API has been awesome. Phil, I hate to say it, I think they're gonna have back net se i don't know for sure. Everyone's gonna have back then SC I mean, dang it there. We have some audiences that are waiting for that, believe it or not, Phil, some large end users that are mandating that. So we are seeing it. Yeah, we're seeing a kick. So anyways, but uh, no dis Tech's got a full family of IP controls. I just want to say though, Phil, which is amazing. And I just want to point out to the industry as a whole, but, you know, I think there's I think I call 13. Va s, I think there's like 13 va s manufacturers. And at last count, almost all of them now have a full IP VA s controller offering almost every single one of them. I mean, we're talking 13 lines of BS IP controllers that are out there today. insane to me insane. And then people are like, Scott, why do you say this? Oh, t things happening? I'm like, hello. Look what they're launching into the market. I mean, I'm not doing it. I mean, look,

Phil Zito 52:16
I mean, so I remember I remember and I see and your your shirt made me remember it because it says Canada controls. I remember sitting back when I was at Johnson, I remember sitting on the third floor, fourth floor where all the products are, and talking with people and listening to the major account sales people for Canada be like, Oh, crap, we got to develop an IP controller, because delta controls has partnered with Cisco. And at the time, people weren't wise to this, I feel they're wise to it now. But at the time, they're like, they figured out that they can take all of the networking costs for their IP controllers and paste, push that to the F f&e budget and effectively eliminate all their wiring costs. And so delta was getting all these IP controllers, flat SPECT, and all the government work in Canada, and people were losing business. So that's what like, drove this whole IP controls adoption and all the OEMs was they were all having those same conversations about people don't realize how products come about how it's usually it's one major account sales rep who's losing for a major account, and they're like, Oh, crap, we got to react. And it goes into the project organization, and they start scrambling, and that's how these technologies, that's what's happening with sc the GSA, the federal government, these large property firms, they want secure networks, they're demanding it. And so you see SC as a reaction, I don't think that's the best solution. But that's what's going to happen. So it's gonna be cool that you're gonna have all these people here to talk about roadmaps. I feel like we don't appreciate that enough as an industry. We don't really pay attention to what said, and more importantly, what's not said in these discussions, so that we can see kind of where we should be positioning ourselves.

Scott Cochrane 54:05
That's a great point. Phil, that's a great point. So so well, let me just wrap up to I'm on Friday, then to let me finish that off. So while we're still on controls console, we usually Thursday night we have an awards event, which we're still going to have an but it will not be broadcast, but we will be sharing the video starting Friday morning of all the awards. And we give out an integrator the year and they we do IoT innovation award of the Year for the coolest project or, or the coolest end user stuff we've seen so we'll be highlighting that on Thursday night and our own little selfish internal awards for sales and our senior award. Yeah, so we'll be doing those and then and then Friday, we break into two sessions for breaking off to sessions. So my session which is the business track, can Jim and I are going to continue interviewing people and we are getting into MSI case study. with major companies, huge portfolios, all sorts of neat things, I can't get into too much detail because I'm still locking on speakers up. But um, it's really that keynote going to the customer level going out to the customers. And let's talk about this technology and what's really happening out there. So and we're really going to focus on ms eyes and their successes in the market. I'm trying to point out, um, you know, some of the really neat things that have been accomplished so, so that'll be my business track, that'll be Friday morning. But this is probably the one that for your listeners, Phil, for anybody who's who programs niagra Johnson Controls dystek Honeywell, anybody who's a programmer of Bose, we host a tech session that is is world class, and I'm so glad we get to broadcast it for the first time. So my CTO Chief Technology Officer, Mike Mitchell, and Kim Brown, our tech service manager, they have put together some of the best tacks in the industry, who will each be sharing a best practice. And then after we do our best practice sharing, and this is all live on stage with, you know, computers, go and show him the programming, all that stuff that will be recorded. And then we do a thing we'd love to do. It's called stump the chump, where our audience gets to hit these super smart individuals with their hardest tech questions or concepts and see how they respond. We've held this session, you know, this is this will be I think, our like our 10th or 12th 10th, or 11th, controls con type event. And every time we host that tech session, we literally have to, like get the lunch smell in there to get them out of the room because these everybody dies. So they're so into it like yeah, so anyway, we're super excited that we're going to be able to record it, share it with everybody. But um, we'll have tritium experts, this tech experts, Johnson experts, Honeywell experts. It'll be fascinating. So So that'll run at the same time we wrap it up around lunch on Friday. And yeah, so we're so that's, that's the conference. And like I said, it's virtual, we have a super cool platform picked out on and we got a production company. So we're gonna have people live on stage with the video behind and it's, it's gonna be awesome. So it is

Phil Zito 57:19
nice. yet so what do you like? What do you want to leave us with? What what's your closing thought here?

Scott Cochrane 57:30
Yeah, well, I think I don't

Phil Zito 57:32
want to frame it. I just want to throw it

Scott Cochrane 57:35
I just published I just published an article in automated buildings. And I, I Scott Cochran declare that we are at the end of the BS industry. It ended when all the manufacturers of BS man gear, turned out IP controllers. And as we as We're now entering the OT era of the VA s industry, we are here. And I think it's time to just get used to it, everybody. So welcome to the Welcome to the new world, I guess. Right? So yeah,

Phil Zito 58:08
yeah, they've been avoiding it for decades now trying. I don't need to know that IP stuff. So

Scott Cochrane 58:13
yeah, do ya call? I need an IT guy in the room with me. No, you don't you need to become the IT guy.

Phil Zito 58:21
All right. Good stuff. Alright, folks, I hope you really enjoyed that interview. I hope you picked up on all of the things I was pointing out there, there was a lot to unpack. And I felt like if you were listening to it and kind of putting on that creative, how does this apply to my career? How does this apply to my business mindset that you would have a lot of potential action items for you moving forward specific to MSI and how maybe it's not this Omnibus monster, maybe it's something a little smaller, how that potentially ties to this big push on re occupancy right now, as well as ot networks and the concern was cybersecurity. So I hope you took all of that out of this episode. As always, please go to the comments section at podcast smart buildings Academy comm forward slash 242 and leave your questions there and I encourage you to go check out the controls con link at podcast dot smart buildings Academy comm forward slash 240. To check that out, consider enrolling in that conference. It's a relatively low cost. And I believe you will get value from that otherwise I would not have brought this to your attention. Alright folks, Thanks a ton and I will talk to you next week. Take care

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Phil Zito

Written by Phil Zito

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