Are you feeling lucky? The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly- Clint’s take on Wireless

Remember, about 25 years ago, the DDC will bury pneumatic prediction! We now know that pneumatics is that big stubborn root in the backyard that you keep an eye out for when you’re cutting the grass. You give it its proper berth and press on with the rest of the lawn.

Well, the still waters of wireless technology that have run silent and deep for over 70 years and permeated every aspect of our domestic lives, are now bearing down on our industry as a structural changing force. The hardwired world is going the route of the horse and buggy, the typewriter, and the telephone booth and as Cisco recently stated, “There is a presumption of wireless connectivity in every building,” and to that end, the latest IPad version doesn’t have an RJ-45 plug!

In fact, the latest industry prediction is: “If you’re still holding onto copper wire in five years, you won’t have a job!”

THE GOOD: The mesh technology that splashed wireless benefits into our markets from the big DOD pool has drenched us with the ease of installation, lower installed costs, low maintenance, and now reliability — that will prevail in most of the building envelope markets that we service. Wireless is a growing arrow in the quiver of solutions to solve a multitude of issues: asbestos abatement, artsy no conduit areas, high ceiling lobbies, museums, arenas of every sort, and gymnasiums beg for wireless solutions.

Wireless has responded well to the Missouri Show Me Imperative with a host of survey tools and case studies. Viconics, and their OEMs: TAC Schneider (who recognized this gem and bought Viconics) Honeywell, Johnson Controls, and Vykon, using Tridium’s Niagara Framework have generations of systems installed. AIC’s extension of the communication networks across a campus or distributed environment is a game-changer.

Hybrid applications make the case for wireless even stronger. Operating rooms and intensive care units get hardwired, while the rest of the facility receives the benefits of wireless. Critical applications and patient monitoring in the Healthcare industry are expanding the boundaries of wireless daily.

THE BAD: What about the environment and all those batteries? Old argument! We don’t need no stinkin’ batteries! Battery technology and sleep mode, plus, motion, solar, and thermo energy harvesting technologies are already here, with more solutions to come.
Image issues: The nagging perception of wireless experimentalism. Network reliability is a matter of application discipline and choice! You, the user, installer, and seller hold the success in your hands. There have been several “mesh-messes,” setbacks like the CO garage application that now requires a pre-approval program to prevent anymore misapplications of their wireless systems. Do not blame the technology as and when you misapply it! Remember that thing about guns?

THE UGLY: Hey, this is positive plug for wireless! BUT, to keep things fair:
Wireless speeds can’t compare with fiber optics and wireless faces the same security issues as hardwire.

For those with a career and/or a vested interest in the wired world and view any advancement of wireless with doubt and remorse, realize that there is no better way to assure and control your future than becoming absolute masters of the wireless technology and to stay on the active strategic leadership side of this issue. Join the industry decision makers rather than the unsympathetic world. Create your own standards, certifications, and make the wireless world come through you, rather than let it take the easiest path around you.

Being a Hollywood outlaw type I have some narcissistic tendencies. I need a little attention, and since I am not getting paid to do this, I would appreciate some comments….Comprende Amigo?

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5 Responses

  1. Take a look at Texas Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas with its AHU/VAV retrofit done wirelessly for what the future holds

  2. Brain and Doz, thanks for reading and commenting. TRS Systems should have been included with the previous blog! They are also a great company with great products and the brains behind much of the wireless progress and many wireless solutions.

  3. Clint, enjoy reading your article. Try not to be age discriminating, but youngsters are always the first adopter in new technology and they can generate a momentum to transform the market. Our industry is overpopulated with stubbon late mid-age or even already pass their retirement age engineers. And they always have the most powerful say in rejecting anything they haven’t used before.

  4. Thanks Nadal. You’re right, professionals in our industry, particularly engineers, bureaucratically administer (specify) using their fundamental knowledge, which constanly needs updated. Unfortunately, they will remain at rest in their comfort zones until acted upon by other forces. With some technologies,like wireless, it will take relentless and alternating fits of applied knowledge and enthusiasm to break their orbital patterns around HVAC applications.

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