There was an expressively celebratory atmosphere to the Niagara Summit 2016. Buoyed perhaps by the tropical weather of Louisiana, or the colourful vibrancy of the city of New Orleans, the collective energy and passion amongst the attendees, organisers, and speakers was palpably infectious.
The Niagara Summit, which takes place every two years, is a wonderful tech-fest. It enables all channel partners within the Niagara community to congregate in the same space, not only to network and meet in the flesh, but to share their latest news, ideas and visions for the future direction of Niagara and the controls industry in general. It also provides the perfect platform for communal and personal reflection. This year was especially poignant as Control Networks Solutions (CNS) were named by President and General Manager of Tridium, Nino Di Cosmo, during his keynote speech, as one of the top four innovators within the Niagara network.
When I first visited the Niagara Summit in 2006, it was a very different event and experience. The fervent determination and belief in creating a centralised, global network, where innovation lives and boundaries are questioned and pushed, was still present. However, the festival itself was a much tighter affair and had the feel of an emerging technology.
A decade later, and our collective vision has not only emerged but also come of age. Niagara is the de facto standard in converged building and lighting controls. It is a recognised and respected standard of quality and innovation. For example, today Niagara is recognised as a world-class smart Internet of Things (IoT) lighting controls solution. Niagara and Smart IoT lighting controls has commissioned and is controlling more than 100,000 intelligent light fixtures, in more than 10,000,000 square feet of built environment, from state of the art medical facilities, offices, hotels to government buildings.
The main auditorium of the 2016 edition was buzzing as exhibitors showcased their latest products and engaged in lively conversation with stand visitors. The show itself provides a great opportunity to meet with long standing partners, forge future relationships and is the perfect setting to demonstrate to end clients the power and innovation of this unique ecosystem. The presentations, forums and breakout sessions were well attended and sparked lively debate on a host of sector issues.
The summit also provided those within the Niagara community with a glimpse into the near future. There was confirmation that the Niagara 4 platform has been released – with deployment already begun. Niagara 4 will bring more benefits to the end users in terms of visualisation of data, security and analytics. By streamlining data, Niagara 4 will remove the fog and help produce actionable real data. This data can then be harnessed to inform and guide future actions and increase efficiency, productivity and ultimately reduce the operating costs of buildings.
Much like the holistic aim of Niagara, the summit works in galvanising and engaging its community. It brings developers, programmers, building owners, engineers and executives together, creating conversations that bring intelligence and connectivity to the edge of the network and back. As a company, CNS is extremely proud to be a central figure within this innovative network and was delighted to contribute to the summit in such a meaningful manner.
During the Niagara Summit 2016, in my capacity as managing director of CNS, I was involved in a video interview with Eric Stromquist and Ken Smyers of Control Trends, who bring such tireless enthusiasm to covering the controls sector. I also gave a presentation on the specific requirements and needs of end clients for converged smart lighting controls, whilst reflecting on the progress of Niagara as a world-class smart IoT lighting control solution since 2008 and contributed to a session on the merits of the recently launched Niagara Marketplace, and its benefits for the Niagara community. However, the highlight of the whole summit from a personal and professional perspective was when Nino Di Cosmo, President and General Manager at Tridium, during his keynote address, named CNS as one of the top four innovators within the Niagara community.
This honour filled everyone involved with CNS with an immense sense of accomplishment and pride. To be recognised in this manner, in front of a packed auditorium, by a group so illustriously creative and dynamic as our Niagara peers, was an energising and eminently positive experience. CNS will continue to play as pivotal role as is required to further grow, nurture and mature the Niagara network, vision and ideology, and wholeheartedly look forward to the next Niagara Summit in 2018.