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Master Systems Integrator and SMART Projects

If you are surprised every time your SMART phone has a newer model or amazing new app don’t be, technology these days is changing at an alarming pace and is all of the the infrastructure and the systems that can be controlled by our SMART phones. It is amazing what we can do with smart home functions and it is even more amazing how dagg gone complicated it is to get all of that SMART Tech running at home. Well Beyond our houses SMART technology is taking over on a commercial level and cars, office buildings, factories and entire Cities are going SMART.

And they call it SMART Technology … SMART Buildings, SMART Campuses and SMART Communities. 

As SMART Technology advances, it gets more complicated and the demands on SMART properties to become more energy efficient, environmentally conscious and completely “connected” are becoming increasingly a requirement in new construction.

These SMART designs incorporate a wide array of very complex networks and software systems. Many times, these systems have poor interoperability or none at all. It takes a team a very skilled people with a wide array of capabilities to design implement and manage a SMART project. 

Master System Integrators

MSIs or Master System Integrators are the people that are helping us get through it all. Think of them as “Very SMART” Technology Consultants. MSI consultants are responsible for selecting and integrating the various building management systems servers and networks. The MSI Will provide options on network design fibre management and requirements and network convergence. They engineer the systems to meet the Stakeholder requirements and assure all the new systems are being deployed securely and efficiently typically on a converged network. 

The MSI needs to be knowledgeable on designs, policy, best practices and the various vendors and manufacture options and capabilities. They need to help educate the Stakeholders and construction teams to ensure the system meets Stakeholders requirements and vision and are typically deeply involved in many areas of the construction and design of a SMART project. 

MSIs must be completely versed on all of the various Operating Systems, Protocols and the network layers. It is an ongoing education, not just for the MSI but for everyone involved. 

Challenges for MSIs

The integration of a smart system is complex and challenging. In order for the integrator to achieve success, there will be a lot of variables. These will include but are not limited to;

  1. Different contractors working on the same project. Differing ideas and systems being developed by different companies can cause many problems. There may be several different contracts involved for one project. 
  • Resistance to new or different systems can cause delays and other issues. If one of the sub-systems requires data from the other, there can be complications if they do not meld well. 
  • Communication Breakdown is often a concern. This can happen between the Stakeholders, MSI and the contractors installing the system. It’s vital for everyone to be focused on the same goal.
  • Bringing in the MSI too late can be confusing and even delay the project. The MSI needs to have a full understanding of all the ins and outs of the project, each person’s role and be fully aware of each of their contracts. 
  • Too many contracts and workers from different areas are often a concern. Everyone may have their own idea of what is supposed to happen and there can be gaps in roles or contracts that are overlooked.  Not uncommon for the MSI to manage all technical and network related vendors to provide a cohesive solution without duplicating infrastructure resources.

The MSI is such an important part of these projects, and all parties involved must understand the role of the MSI for the project to run smoothly and reach the end results. 

Master System Integrator Elevated

While there are standards in place for many aspects of a traditional building project, there are not, as yet standards for all of the SMART systems like BMS, lighting, electronics and network systems. Is the job of the MSI to provide a set of standards or guidelines for vendors and contractors engaged in installing the various SMART systems to follow. The MSI assures that the systems that need to talk to each other can and the ones that don’t can’t. There are various organizations working to standardize Smart building deployments and the various PMS systems and in the future,  this will make SMART projects run far more smoothly.

Some MSIs actually function as technical architects and by elevating the role of the MSI to an architect SMART projects can become more streamlined. It is vital that SMART systems are designed on a converged network infrastructure, typically fibre and that security and access can be achieved without duplicating all the network infrastructure.  In the past these networks were all independently running on separate cabling infrastructure, typically copper and no system interoperability. In today’s SMART projects all of the systems like; lights, air conditioning, security and video surveillance are managed over a single converged infrastructure. By having an MSI focused on the oversight integration the all of these systems, they can provide stakeholders with a single view and control of their entire SMART complex.

Trust is Key

The MSI has the knowledge to put in place the best system possible. By leveraging the expertise of your MSI you can have everyone focused on meeting the vision. 

CBF Advisor

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