AHR Expo 2022: Insights, Trends and Perspectives — Industry Titans Weigh In on 2022 and Beyond

Howard Berger, Managing Partner, SVP Programs, Realcomm and Marc Petock, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Lynxspring

Key Architects, Engineers, Intelligent Building Consultants and Vendor Representatives collaborate on the State of the Smart Buildings and HVAC Industries.

For the past 92 years, the AHR Expo, sponsored by ASHRAE and AHRI, has been the nexus for HVAC and controls manufacturers, engineers, contractors, technicians, facility operators, integrators, architects, and industry educators to come together to network and see the industry’s latest tech and innovation.
 

Held three times a year, AHR Expo has become one of the major shows for both manufacturers, OEMs and service providers to introduce and showcase their newest products and services.

This year’s conference was held just last week at the Las Vegas Convention Center where 40,000 attendees scoured the North and Central Halls looking at the impressive array of products and massive exhibits, interacting with the approximately 1500 exhibitors representing over 10 major product categories.

In addition to the trade show aspect, where manufacturers and technology providers came together to showcase the latest in HVACR products and technology, the AHR Expo provided a series of educational sessions on a variety of subjects allied with the industry.

One such session in which these authors participated in was the annual Connection Community Collaboratory. This year’s session entitled Insights, Trends, Perspectives, An Open Conversation with Industry Influencersbrought together an all-star panel of leaders from various segments of the industry. Moderated by Marc Petock, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer of Lynxspring, the session panel included Paul Maximuk, Senior Consultant Intelligent Buildings, Newcomb & Boyd; Howard Berger, SVP and Managing Partner, IBcon; Gary Ament, IoT Solutions Architect, FSG Smart Buildings; Steve Dodd, President/Partner, HVAC Concepts; and Brad Kult, Associate Vice President, Building Technologies, and Intelligent Buildings Practices, HGA Architects and Engineers.

Part one of the conversation included a lively exchange in which there was consensus, as well as differences of opinions, on a variety of subjects that are part of today’s smarter building conversations. Subjects included: COVID – what lessons have we learned, EXPECTATIONS – what are the expectations of owners and operators today, CYBERSECURITY – who is responsible, is the industry taking it seriously yet, is it part of the daily discussions related to managing and operating facilities and buildings, CONVERGENCE – the convergence of traditional building operations with the new workplace, DIGITAL TWINS – Is it a technology, is it a practice, how does fit within the built environment, ESG – what factors are going to have the most significant long-term impact to ensure success, RESPONSIBILITY – who is responsible for delivering the changing office environment around health to owners or tenants, EV CHARGING STATIONS – should they be included as part of the building’s operating system, and should they be the responsibility of facility management and operations, and TECHNOLOGY OR BUSINESS – were we an industry driven by the technology side or the business side.

Part two included a “lighting round” in which the panelists were asked to answer yes, no or “I plead the fifth” to a series of questions. Some of these questions were:

    • While the pandemic was and remains a huge disruption, do you think it accelerated the adoption of technology and solutions within the built environment?
    • Data – Can you have a smart building without data?
    • Is IP catapulting buildings to become smarter?
    • Is 2022 going to be the golden era for smarter buildings?
    • Are state and local government building standards for performance, IAQ, and carbon reduction inevitable?
    • Do you agree – the way a building is operated and managed is part of a company’s/ organization’s brand?
    • Is all the talk about it a distraction from the real talk that is needed to continue about smarter buildings?
    • Will “Metaverse” make its way into the built environment?

 

Our panel members represented different areas of the HVAC and controls industries and there was an interesting diversity of opinions on some of these topics. Thanks to Marc’s insightful and energetic moderation, we were able to discuss and often debate these controversial questions with a minimum of bloodshed.

These events provide a great opportunity for folks in our industry to get together and have those in-person interactions and conversations that are critical to helping address the challenges of tech and innovation in our industry.

Many thanks to Scott Cochrane, President, Cochrane Supply and to Ken Sinclair, Founder, Automated Buildings.com who devoted their time and energy to work with AHR Expo and the moderators to come up with the ten AHR Expo Connection Community Collaboratory Sessions portion of the conference program.

Howard Berger, Managing Partner, SVP Programs, Realcomm
Howard Berger has over 30 years of experience in technology and commercial/investment real estate. As Realcomm’s SVP Programs, he manages its US and international conferences and CIO programs. Previously, he was with The Jamesan Group, which specialized in strategic technology consulting for the commercial real estate industry and prior to that, he was with TRW Real Estate Information Systems where he developed real estate information systems for the mortgage, appraisal and title insurance industries.

Marc Petock, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Lynxspring
Marc Petock is a pioneer in leading the Intelligent/Smart Buildings and M2M movements pushing the industry forward and has contributed to transforming and changing the Intelligent Buildings and M2M (now IoT) industries. As Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Lynxspring, Marc leads corporate and product marketing, strategy, brand management, public relations and communications that support the company’s strategic and growth initiatives.

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