Remember when Steve Jobs, the legendary innovator and former chief executive officer of Apple, said, “The biggest innovations of the 21st century will be the intersection of humanity and technology”? Using innovative building-automation solutions to save energy for a sustainable world is a prime example of this combination.

Mobile devices such as smartphones, tablet computers, and notebooks are enabling building operators to manage multiple tasks while moving in or out of their facilities. Our fast-paced lifestyle has forced mobile devices to become a primary source of data consumption and task completion. With so many portable devices in use, the HVAC building-automation system (BAS) industry is in a great position to provide the benefits of mobile management and monitoring. Portability of devices has also created an addiction for more information.

Today, 95 percent of mobile employees are equipped with smart devices, and data traffic now exceeds voice traffic. This also implies that functionality of our mobile devices will continue to revolutionize the way we receive information.

Moreover, generational trends and influences are giving focus to the following: all these smart gadgets are Internet connected; smart devices have a “cool factor”; awareness of the world allows people to change their behavior, which allows them to save energy, log temperatures, report indoor air quality. Meanwhile, lower-cost options allow “feature rich” results.

Picture BAS visualization technology designed specifically for mobile devices. It would allow facility managers to become more flexible managing their building performance. It would allow building owners to take action and make temperature adjustments from anywhere in the world regardless of whether they are sitting in the office or on a park bench watching children at play.

Driving all this change is the economy and technology. Web development has made JAVA Script the language of the browsers. This market trend will also demand that our platforms and data sources are secure. Creating environments conducive to productivity, safety, and energy efficiency will be a paramount consideration while we continue to connect devices-to-devices. Mobile visualization will allow facility managers to be better informed, more intelligent, and faster reacting. Future facility managers will be able to see their system the way they want it without costly customization software.

Current technology is shattering the previous limitations of accessibility and real time visualization. Good mobile applications have intuitive functionality and brilliant design. The twenty-first century facility manager will be more efficient and successful than ever before.

Steve Jobs said it, “We’re at the intersection of humanity and technology”. And the Building Automation and Control world is about to be revolutionized.

Richard A. “Dick” Starr, LEED AP, is president and chief executive officer The Enterprise Corporation, a design/build/maintain contractor in the Cleveland, Ohio area. The company is an authorized Tridium Systems Integrator, NEBB Certified Air/Water Balance Agency, and the exclusive Linc Service contractor for N.E. Ohio. In 2011, the Company was selected as Contracting Business magazine’s 2011 Commercial Contractor of the Year. Starr also sits on the national boards of both MCAA and MSCA. He can be reached at rstarr@enterprisehvac.com.