2018 Baltimore NFMT Show Report

Nancy and I attended NFM&T Baltimore March 26th – 28th https://www.nfmt.com/baltimore/. This has been an annual event for S4 for many years. I am happy to report that this year show management was serious about putting the “Technology” back into the event and the show was a tremendous success! There were many new or startup IoT offerings on the exhibit show floor that are bringing new and innovative approaches to instrumenting, monitoring, and assessing building performance. One can only hope that a real standard evolves that guarantees that all of these new players in the marketplace become interoperable before too many de facto standards appear. The good news is that these are deliverable products that add immediate value to building operations. We also saw a number of BACnet manufacturers and their dealers represented on the exhibit room floor as well as the presence of the BACnet International booth. The Quickfire Sessions were a nice addition to the exhibit hall offerings. I attended several excellent presentations that I found to be very informative.

Since I am a member of the BACnet International Marketing Committee, I was wearing a BACnet International badge and Nancy and I frequently checked in with David Nardone to see if we could be of any assistance in their booth. As usual, he had things well under control and we observed some very productive discussions that have the potential to bring new members and new products into the BACnet Community. I had several discussions with attendees who spied my BACnet International ID badge while I was walking the floor and asked me what this BACnet stuff was all about. They opened the door so they got an impromptu tutorial on BACnet, and, in at least one case, I was able to correct some bad information that one of the people had been given about BACnet, its characteristics, and its performance.

The unusual Nor’easter snow storm that hit the Northeast during the show kept a lot of regional attendees away. That’s unfortunate because they missed a quality show. On the other hand, that gave those of us who did attend more time to spend with vendors in the exhibit hall and with the speakers for the educational sessions. IoT was a major theme that also ran through the educational sessions, with the goal in most cases being to help building owners and operators understand the technology and how it could help them manage their buildings.

One of my favorite educational sessions was Automation Commissioning: Getting the HVAC Controls Software Right presented by Kevin Fuller of Interval Data Systems. His presentation focused on the importance of software in correctly implementing the prescribed sequence of operations and the value in validating that a building has been correctly commissioned.

Nancy attended the Women in Facilities Management 2018: Roundtable Discussion & Reception. She found that great strides have been made in that segment of the industry over the last few years. She added, “The Roundtable featured three knowledgeable women who had various levels of experience in the field. The common thread between them was their enthusiasm for the field and their willingness to share their knowledge with other women who are looking to join in. Audience members added additional experiences and offered job leads to others in the group.”

I attended the Solutions Exchange held on Wednesday afternoon. It followed the same tried and true format as in previous years. I believe this is one of the events that sets this show apart from others and it is one of the activities that I always attend. The table hosts are all experts in their field and their products. Combine this expertise with the interests and agendas of the attendees and the results are sometimes much more productive than the host companies had anticipated.