Attendees were treated to insights from some 20 speakers, with separate tracks dedicated to the commercial and residential building markets book-ended by plenary sessions open and relevant to all. In the morning, the residential track focused on smart energy management while the commercial track examined technology trends. These roles were reversed in the afternoon, giving delegates another level of session choice.
Bob Snyder, Editor-in-Chief of Channel Media Europe and the Conference’s MC for the day, began proceedings by introducing the event’s two keynote speakers: energy-industry blogger and consultant Dr Steven Fawkes, and Jeremy Towler of the Building Services Research & Information Association (BSRIA).
The Conference then divided into its parallel residential and commercial tracks, hosted by CEDIA’s Matt Dodd and Allen Weidman of InfoComm respectively. To conclude, all delegates attended a presentation by Rick Holland of the Technology Strategy Board on how businesses can apply for a share of £4million in funding being made available by the UK government to collaborative R&D into the energy management of buildings.
While a handful of delegates attended only a small number of sessions, the vast majority stayed for the entire day – from the opening coffee at 9.15am to a networking reception that was still buzzing at 7.00pm.
During and after the day, delegates took to Twitter to express their appreciation. Adrian Lloyd-Owen of the Lucid Partnership commented: “Thanks for a great day! Well worth the time, lots of new connections.”
“The 12-hour day at the Smart Building Conference was fantastic – highly informative and a great networking day,” said Kris Gamble of Customised, while Stuart Burgess of Just Add Popcorn enthused: “Thanks for a great Conference – well worth the trip and the 4.00am start!”
The event was sponsored by Crestron, AMX, RGB Communications, AWE, Aldous Systems, HDL and Orion Engineering, with delegates being given plenty of time during networking breaks to see sponsor exhibits and discuss projects with exhibitor personnel.
“As a distributor of home-automation and lighting-control products, the Smart Building Conference 2013 was the perfect platform for us,” said Paul Mott, Sales Director, AWE. “Energy saving was a key topic, so being able to demonstrate the capabilities of URC Total Control and Philips Dynalite lighting to key people was invaluable.”
Mark Attard, Business Development Manager at Orion Engineering which is focused on commercial facilities management, said his company came away with “several key contacts which we are following up with visits in the coming days, plus a good number of enquiries for which we need to provide more information specific to particular applications or sites – the organisation of the event was impeccable and the venue was ideal.”
With the help of an interactive voting system supplied by technology partner IML, the Conference organisers were able to obtain an immediate indication of the programme’s value to delegates.
When asked to rate their overall knowledge of smart building before the sessions began, 32% of delegates indicated their knowledge was ‘Good’, 38% said it was ‘Fair’ and 12% admitted it was ‘Poor’. When the same vote was taken at the end of the day, the ‘Good’ figure had risen to 58%, while ‘Fair’ had dropped to 27% and the ‘Poor’ number was just 2%.
When asked if they knew the difference between a ‘smart building’ and a ‘green building’, an astonishing 94% of delegates responded that they did at the end of the day. Before the programme commenced, the figure was 64%.
Looking forward to Amsterdam
Summing up the day, Mike Blackman, Managing Director, Integrated Systems Events, commented: “We have had a fantastic day of discussion, networking and product demonstration here in London, and fulfilled our goal of creating a landmark event in the development of the smart-building industry in the UK.
“Our focus now shifts to the next Smart Building Conference in Amsterdam on Monday 3 February 2014 – the eve of the next ISE show. There we will take some of the same themes that were explored in London and give them a European dimension, with the objective of further developing the AV industry’s role in making buildings smarter.”