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Ainsworth Coffee Break Blog

Ainsworth Business Development Specialist Thomas Orimolade held an Ainsworth Coffee Break Virtual event with guest speaker Remo Di Fronzo, ESC Automation’s Director Master Systems Integration to discuss Smart Buildings and Master Systems Integration (MSI).

Q: (Thomas) Why did you decided to choose a career in smart buildings and MSI?
A: (Remo) The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I grew up in a construction family, my dad is a mason by trade, commercial, industrial. I remember my dad describing how much waste exists within the construction process.

I found myself at one of the larger general contractors in Canada, specifically in their technology vertical, and they were very forward-thinking in looking at how technology can be used with respect to the procurement process and building as well as how that technology can move into operating a building.

Little by little, as I had different exposures, I started to recognize that the lifecycle of the building can’t be looked at as one particular process; it has to be an ecosystem. What is being overlooked is how information that can exist in the design stage, can move into the development and operations and therefore drive efficiency and enhance an experience.

When an opportunity came for me to work at a technology start-up and start to push forward discussions like smart buildings and digital twins, I really jumped at that.
Every time we needed to make a digital twin work, I needed to trust our partners that could implement and integrate all the different disparate systems to make our software work, and frankly, the one I continually trusted was ESC, so when an opportunity came for me to join the team, it was a perfect fit.

 (Thomas) What is a smart building?
A: (Remo) I think the most simplistic way to describe it is: taking all the data from a building and making it meaningful information to drive outcomes that either reduce friction or enhance experience in a space.

Q: (Thomas) What is a Master Systems Integrator (MSI)?
A: (Remo) A Master Systems Integrator is going to have multiple building system experience. That typically starts with the Building Automation System (BAS)- the heart of the building.

What’s being expected more and more within these buildings is further integration of multiple systems into one unified source. This includes things like lighting, security, elevators etc. As more and more expectations arise like analytics, real-time locating, intelligent cleaning, hot desking, occupant preference control, apps, and fault detection, you want individuals or groups of individuals that can work with all these systems and unify them.

This can be called a unified user interface (UUI) or even a single pane of glass.

Q: (Thomas) What does ESC Automation bring to the table that makes it such a successful MSI?
A: (Remo) When you are asking someone to be accountable for all the system technology within a building, you want one voice. When I talk about an MSI in general, I talk about having single accountability for all building technology. For an MSI to do that, they need to have high-performance capabilities, multiple platform breadth and depth, and they need to be product and vendor agnostic.

Because we work with so many different vendors, we can recommend one product over the other and give clients options. Being product neutral means that there isn’t a commercial bias as to why we would recommend one product over another.

Q: (Thomas) Why does integration matter?
A: (Remo) There is nothing wrong with having various technologies, the problem is using them in an inefficient way. We create a technology stack for the current state and one that is future ready.

Digital Transformation is providing an innovation in manufacturing, it’s all about creating more efficient ways to do something. We implement it and help with the change management.

There is no point in creating a beautiful user interface that sits in a basement and no one uses. These things have to be functional and drive value, or else all that innovation and implementation is worthless. Don’t focus on the technologies, focus on foundations that allow you to build outcomes.

Q: (Thomas) What is the value of MSI to commercial buildings?
A: (Remo) Owners now have to look at how they’re going to offer technological amenities to their clients and foster a work environment that meets their needs; like collaborative workspaces, parking spaces, control of the space, analytics etc. – that doesn’t work without an MSI. It can connect very disparate systems and deliver those outcomes.

What an MSI does is take all those wiring and cables, and all that data, and make sense of it.