Starting in 1992 and with a career in technology spanning three decades, James McMillan co-founded Redinet in 1996, and over the years, the company has evolved from a Value-Added Reseller (VAR) to a successful Managed Service Provider (MSP), thanks to the collaborative efforts of its exceptional team.

How did you become involved in the Smart Buildings industry?

First thing’s first – I’m answering most of these questions on behalf of us as a collective, as it’s definitely a ‘we’ rather any individual. I’m hesitant to have a single ‘face’ as a front-man - the work we do within the Smart Building industry is very much a team effort here at Redinet.

We became involved many years ago when one of our existing customers; a well-known commercial property landlord and developer in London, asked us to help support their various buildings (in terms of ‘IT’), and help develop their core network infrastructure(s) to make them ready for intelligent, tenant-focussed apps to make the buildings work for their customers both in terms of efficiency, and functionality. This was before ‘smart’ was in the picture for most properties. It then spread from there to other landlords.

What excites you about the Smart Buildings industry?

The fact that everything is becoming software defined; occupancy, access control, lighting, heating/cooling, energy monitoring – you name it. The number, and types of sensors are increasing every day. When they’re all connected, (securely) monitored and controlled – there’s virtually no imagined scenario that can’t be automated.

Are there any particular technologies that we should be aware of?

As a security-focussed MSP, we would say the industry should be aware of technologies that work towards securing the IT/IP-based infrastructure. Vulnerability management, mitigation, as well as detection and response services within buildings is key. Without it a building’s core services are susceptible to cyber-attack, potentially forcing the tenants out of their workspaces as a minimum.

What services does your organisation offer?

Core network design and implementation, Cyber Essentials GAP analysis & mitigation, information security services (for example; network, device, and endpoint security/detection & response), connectivity, cloud telephony, strategic direction and planning, compliance & governance, Azure and M365 management, and lots more besides.

What are the benefits of a smart building?

There are many benefits, not least optimising a building’s energy usage which can reduce the environmental impact of a building by a huge amount both in terms of sustainability, and space utilisation. Smart Buildings also drive a more personalised environment for its users – the building they spend so much of their time in, should become functionally ‘invisible’ with the help of intelligence.

Who has been the biggest influence in your career?

The guy who gave me my first leg-up in the IT industry, a long, long time ago.

What is the question you are most often asked in your business life?

‘Have you got 5 minutes..?’

What are the best/worst things about your job?

The best part is when customers recognise the sheer pride we have when it comes to improving, securing, supporting, and scaling the technology used within their organisations. We have many great, and very long-term clients with amazing attitudes towards technology.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?

Take a keen interest in technology outside of the office – make it a part of your life. If you enjoy that, you know you’re doing what you were meant to.

What living person do you admire and why?

A number of the people I work with now and in the past, have the most amazing can-do, and positive attitudes. It’s quite something. A person should be surrounded by people they admire, and are inspired by.

Where would you most like to live?

I’m happy in my little corner of SE London

What is your favourite book?

The Expanse (series), by James S.A. Corey

How do you relax?

Music, and Sci-Fi mainly.

What sports team do you support?

London Brawling – London Roller Derby’s ‘A’ team.. although it’s been a while since I’ve been able to get to a match. I’m also a (very) lapsed Charlton Athletic FC season-ticket holder.

What is your desert island disk?

A 1TB disk of all the music I physically own (I still buy all my music). Can I get away with that? If not, maybe something by Gil Scott-Heron.

What is your ideal holiday?

Somewhere I can explore the live music I love.