How did you become involved in the Smart Buildings industry?
I’m a qualified engineer by trade and I’ve always been involved with the controls sector, initially in industrial applications such as machine control. I was introduced to building automation when I joined Carlo Gavazzi some 12 or 13 years ago. Our Dupline product, which we sold primarily into the industrial arena on large sites, was my leap into building automation and, of course, the technology has changed beyond all recognition as the smart buildings market has developed.
What excites you about the Smart Buildings industry?
This is a very fast moving industry. Although the fundamental foundations are pretty much defined, the technology, and the ways you can gather data and control the building, is growing exponentially. Particularly so, now that we are incorporating more of the energy management side of our business into smart building technology.
Are there any particular technologies that we should be aware of, but are currently under the radar?
The integration of technologies will become more paramount. On the one hand you’ve got building automation and on the other you’ve got energy management. Those two technologies are rapidly overlapping and ultimately system integrators will handle both these converging disciplines.
What services does your company offer?
Carlo Gavazzi offers both building automation and energy management solutions and we can integrate the two. Lots of companies have difficulty integrating metering strategies into their infrastructure and we can do that seamlessly with our extensive range.
Another important sector for us is supplying components for the doors and entry, sensors and HVAC markets.
Are people aware of the regulations that they will need to comply with in the near future?
In terms of the expectation of building performance and the energy certification required for the building, the key driver is the Building Regulations. Wireless technology is also becoming more interesting, so people need to be aware of that.
How big are the benefits of a Smart Building?
The benefits are massive, both in terms of the quality of the environment in which you work, for example the comfort of the staff and the way they interact with the building, and the knowledge that a smart building gives you. Knowledge is power – unless you know what’s happening within your building, how can you manage it?
What is the question you are most often asked in your business life?
How do we reduce our costs? How do we integrate energy management into our infrastructure and how do we reduce the costs of installation? Installation costs probably account for around 50% of a traditional BMS installation, these costs can be reduced by using our field bus solution which is based on the Carlo Gavazzi Dupline® system, this offers a realistic alternative to traditional parallel wiring by connecting field devices together on a simple 2 wire bus network.
What are the best/worst things about your job?
The best part is winning new business and working as a team to impart the knowledge, expertise and techniques that we have in order to achieve benefits for customers. On the other hand, not winning the business is always hard for any sales organisation.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?
Work hard and always have respect for other people’s points of view. People will have different opinions and you have to try and accommodate those as much as possible.
What living person do you admire and why?
Barack Obama. His values are sound and he’s a people person.
Where would you most like to live?
Where I live, the Malvern Hills. It’s very sleepy – the complete opposite of my business life. It’s great for walking.
What is your favourite book?
I am a big fan of thrillers and I particularly enjoy authors such as Wilbur Smith and Alistair MacLean.
How do you relax?
Golf, music and walking. I’m not a particularly good golfer, but I enjoy the camaraderie and the competition. I’m a happy hacker.
What sports team do you support?
I was brought up in Rugby and I’m a big fan of the sport. I’m more into the national scene than the club game. We recently had a big weekend of the Six Nations, for me the best competition in the world. I think England has got a good chance this year, and the key match this year will be England versus Wales and I’ve got tickets for the game at Twickenham.
What is your desert island disc?
For me, as it is for millions of others, it’s got to be The Beatles. Anything from The White Album.
What is your ideal holiday?
I’m not a beach bum. I’m into exploring cities, where I can experience the people and the culture. We are going on a tour of Japan this year and we’ll take in Tokyo and Kyoto and experience life in the hills as well. China is on my bucket list and I love the States and the Scandinavian countries. I just love the buzz of cities.