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Smart Building Conference: Content Chair interview

The Smart Building Conference has been an important part of ISE for more than 10 years now, a leading-edge event that addresses the latest in the built environment.
We asked the Content Chair, Bob Snyder, to tell us what to expect at this year’s conference.

Hi, Bob! It’s 10 years now for SBC at ISE. Are you running out of steam on topics yet?
Personally, it doesn’t seem like so long ago. Professionally I’d have to say that smart building technology is still in its infancy. If you look at a clockface, then imagine that 12 hours stands for the life of smart building technology. We are now only somewhere between the first five and ten minutes. For SBC, I have too many important topics, too big a waiting list for speakers, and we run out of time when talking about smart buildings.

What’s happening in the smart building market?
Buildings deploying smart technologies will triple by 2026 because operators and owners want lower energy costs, healthier buildings, more control and automation, and an improved working environment for occupants. 
Disruptive digital, automation, and sensor technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), IoT and data analytics will drive this growth.
By 2026, the number of sensors deployed in smart buildings will exceed 1 billion. As a result, IT and OT will move even closer to a single network as Big Data, AI and digital twin technology change the building network landscape. 
Machine learning and AI will make more use of sensors and IoT for modern buildings, automating how and when energy is used inside buildings today, conditions which have only gotten more complicated.
That’s why our theme this year at SBC is 'The Best Smart Tech Is Yet to Come’. We want to remind delegates that all the technology we’ve talked about for years are finally all converging into realities… and as these fingers of technology learn to work together, they become more like a hand than separate fingers.

You mentioned healthier buildings.
Until 2020, the emphasis of smart buildings systems, including building automation, was mainly managing the physical facility.
Even if it took a pandemic to highlight health concerns, the industry now understands the value of monitoring indoor air quality (IAQ) and other health-related conditions.
Smart buildings can use connected devices to measure everything from temperature, lighting, air quality, noise, vibration, and occupancy levels.
AI-powered systems can recommend changes to facilities management and allow building management to be more predictive.
Companies are even changing job descriptions of facility managers to include mandating smart health for buildings.
I think you can easily say today that being smart means being healthy.

What are some of the topics we will hear about during SBC 2023?
Well, we certainly want to talk about our theme. In addition to individual presentations, we’ll have an opening panel of experts discussing 'The Best Is Yet to Come’.
The CEO of Passive Logic, Troy Harvey, is coming to share their vision of the future.  In 2022, Passive Logic raised $34 million in response to the company view that their “core focus is to redefine how people participate in the design, build, operation, and maintenance of complex systems."
Harvey says, "Buildings are the world's most complex systems, a problem that increases as buildings become 'smart.' We've built a platform that tames increasing complexity and addresses the growing technology needs of the built environment."
Our friend Erik Ubels, Owner and Senior Consultant at MetisReal,  is very popular with our audience. He’ll be back with another controversial presentation, ‘Smart Buildings: The Whole Story’. Erik was the CIO at Deloitte in Netherlands when they built a new office in Amsterdam which lead to the first fully converged smart building in the world. ‘The Edge’ building made Erik one of the most recognisable names in the Smart Building industry.
Master Systems Integrators are emerging after some experts claimed it would never happen. We’ll have two sessions where AV system integrators have gone successfully into smart buildings and share their experiences.
More than one session will include cloud IoT connectivity and the role of edge computing.
We’ll also have discussions on game changing technology to improve indoor air quality. And we’ll bringing together data, people & buildings for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) compliance.
All together we’ll have more than 20 experts on stage. But one important thing to remember about SBC: we have a lot of experts also in the audience. Traditionally the SBC delegates join in the conversations with opinions, experiences and comments.

What would you say to industry members looking at attending SBC 2023?
I can’t imagine a better way to get an overview of the built environment which is changing rapidly and getting even smarter 
We all don’t have to become master systems integrators, that’s not the point. If you work in the built environment, the changes in the environment will sooner or later affect you.
Additionally, SBC gives an opportunity to see which parts of smart building might be interesting to add to your business – and gives you access to other integrators who have figured out their roles.
Smart Building Conference is the right place to meet thought leaders, vendors and integrators. Hope to see you there!