The Silicon Review
“KMC Controls’ powerful building automation platform, KMC Commander™, allows customers to execute their energy efficiency strategy incrementally.”
The internet of things (IoT) has been evolving for years, most recently it has evolved into “smart infrastructure.” Consider what comes to mind when asked the question, “What is a smart building?” For many it can be hard to identify, but the answer is quite simple – a smart building is not just a single system, it is a system of systems. Therefore, smart infrastructure is not a specific device or technology, it is an intangible framework created by embedding intelligence into physical devices, which can be connected to the internet, optimized and controlled.
Defining smart infrastructure is important. As the world becomes increasingly reliant on connected devices and as cities continue to become more complex and densely populated, taking control of the spaces we inhabit — and making them more intelligent — is critical. Doing so will facilitate conserving energy and resources, elevating living and working standards, and saving money.
A true smart infrastructure solution, therefore, is one that can provide a single pane of glass where a building and all of its sub systems can be viewed and controlled. All while sharing data and using analytics to assist building owners make informed decisions. This holistic approach to building management can help decision makers understand the impact of their choices across a broad range of devices. Located in New Paris, Indiana, KMC Controls® is an industry leader in innovative, intuitive smart infrastructure, energy management, IoT, and building automation solutions. By teaming up with leading technology providers such as Intel and Dell, KMC’s solutions help their customers increase operating efficiency, optimize energy usage, maximize comfort and improve safety.
In Conversation with Mr. Richard Newberry, KMC Controls’ CEO
Q. How has KMC Controls evolved as the IT (information technology) space and the OT (operational technology) space continue to converge?
Building systems have grown more unwieldy and disparate, while also growing smarter and more technically advanced. The KMC Commander™, our revolutionary smart infrastructure platform for connecting building automation systems to the IoT, meets a need to bring these systems together. Also, as CIOs and IT directors become more and more responsible for these systems, their expectations for the IT capabilities of these systems are often higher than what is possible. In that sense, the KMC Commander makes the IT integrations possible by making the IT departments at companies more comfortable with taking OT systems under their wing. Whether it’s the built-in security at the physical and cloud layers or the cellular-capable gateway, IT and OT professionals alike see the huge potential for their clients. For KMC Commander, that means working with IT and OT customers as they each have diverse needs.
Q. What are some of the challenges slowing down the adoption of the IoT and how does KMC Controls contribute to the global IoT platform?
Currently, the IoT is facing three main challenges which are adoption, interoperability, and open ecosystems. These challenges are precisely what KMC Controls intends to solve with KMC Commander. KMC Commander unites building systems across networks, protocols, and locations. KMC’s expert IoT developers have made KMC Commander an affordable option for simple installations that one can effortlessly scale to meet growing demands. Remember, the IoT will only be successful when vendors use and provide open solutions – and KMC Controls has always been committed to providing open solutions.
Q. What, according to you, makes KMC Controls’ IoT solution better than its competitors?
Designed specifically for owners and facilities managers, KMC Controls’ powerful building automation platform, KMC Commander, allows customers to execute their energy efficiency strategy incrementally. An end-to-end solution, KMC Commander addresses challenges in commercial real estate using sensors and the IoT. The solution connects sensors, building systems, and devices to the cloud, making it simple to transfer data. The easy-to-install KMC Commander manages the data through a database whereby a user can determine who has access to what data and allows technicians to monitor and control KPIs with a holistic view of the information.
Q. Can you reveal one of the secrets behind how KMC Controls has grown to be a market leader in building automation and the IoT?
I have learned if you’re not the disruptor then you’re going to be disrupted. In order to disrupt your competition, to creatively design new products and services, and solve customers’ problems you need to embrace innovation and make sure you train and empower those closest to the customer. At KMC, we develop products that are customer-minded, using state-of-the-art technologies. KMC looks and listens to the customer, working with them to fill their needs with solutions that are easy to purchase, install and use. Our customer commitment doesn’t end there, KMC products are backed by a knowledgeable team that supports the client and ensures successful implementation and use of the products.
Q. Analytics and AI have been buzzwords recently, and they continue to pick up steam. Do you think building automation companies should embrace analytics and/or AI to drive advanced business processes?
In short, yes. Analytics and AI will change our lives significantly over the coming years. Predictive and prescriptive analytics and machine learning will be major market disruptors; the power of data has been unleashed by the proliferation of open source software and the lower costs of sensors. Consider how the internet changed our lives. The internet was not always as pervasive, or essential to our daily lives, as it is today. However, today, the basic software infrastructure for the internet has been developed and shared. Many companies have invested thousands of years’ worth of developer time in standardizing basic services that cloud software vendors require and they continue to invest heavily in simplifying integration, deployment and the adoption of new innovation for their customers. Now when you build out your software you can focus on what is critical for your differentiation. It is because of this that I believe the impact of the IoT and smart infrastructure will be much bigger than the Industrial Revolution.
Q. What is KMC Controls currently focused on and what does it mean for your future?
Currently, KMC Controls is focused on partnering with various analytics software companies to open up the data from KMC Commander through an open API. These partnerships promise to increase the efficiency of buildings, reduce energy usage, make buildings more comfortable for occupants, and create more space to increase the value of real estate.
Richard Newberry, CEO of KMC Controls
Richard holds undergraduate degrees in Economics and Accounting from the University of Indianapolis and a Master’s degree in Business from DePaul University. With his dedicated team, Richard develops customer-minded products using state of-the-art technologies. Richard’s background includes more than 30 years of executive and general management experience in building automation, energy, oil and gas, and technology manufacturing segments. Richard applies a total solution view to guide innovation at KMC and forge strategic partnerships with industry-leading technology firms.