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Tech Talks with John Brough, Delta Controls


Welcome to ‘Tech Talks’ with Ana Andrade, a Q&A focused on how Tech is making the Built Environment SMARTER.

This bulletin series features key industry players from the land technology and built environment space in conversation with consultant Ana Andrade, drawing insights around the topics of  AI, IoT, GDPR and ESG compliance, and much more!

This week we have been in touch with John Brough, Director of Operations, Northern Europe at Delta Controls.

Delta Controls is a global leader in Building Automation Systems (BAS), with over 300 distributors, and many thousand of installations in more than 80 countries. Delta Controls is recognized as a market leader in the manufacture of open-protocol BAS.

What does your role entail at Delta Controls?

We are a Canadian manufacturer of controllers and software for Building Automation Systems / Building Management Systems with a factory in Vancouver, BC. Our products are used to realise Smart Building projects globally by our network of over 350 independent Systems Integrators. I run that network in Europe, which is over 150 Delta Partners.


How did you find yourself working in the Built Environment sector? What unique opportunities and challenges have you faced so far?

Originally I was an Electronic engineer, with a specialism in embedded firmware. In the 1990s I was given the task of developing a controller for a Building Managaement System. The rest is history.


Could you tell us more about the hardware component of your services? What changes have you seen in IoT over the years?

IoT is a very fast moving market, it is still emerging and there are many standards and protocols that are still being defined, these are required to make projects more supportable and less bespoke. Every tech market involves in this way, early adopters have a chance to define the future of how things will be once the technology is matured. We are seeing this now, Smart Building / IoT projects are becoming less bespoke and more standardised now. This is important to prevent manufacturer lock in on projects and to encourage an open and competitive market. There are fewer additonal layers in IoT systems as the protocols and standards are being defined and built into the edge devices.


Given that you operate globally, what differences do you see between the North American / UK / EU & Other markets?

There is little difference between the UK and North American markets, the mechanical equipment might be different, but the specification / construction process is broadly similar and the challenges are the same. Continental Europe has some unique challenges that are driven by local regulations and more detailed specifications, which are very dependent on the individual countries. China is a price driven market and they are strongly inward looking so if it is not built in China it will be hard to get a product approved. Japan has a particular set of their own regulations, although there are signs that this is now beginning to open up. The rest of the world broadly follows the North American or UK models.


How do you see the industry evolving in the next few years, and what impact might it have on professionals (thinking of AI, automation, data protection, privacy, IoT)?

There will be increasing commoditisation of products and various software licensing strategies may begin to unravel as the true cost of these become apparent to end users so the days of cheap hardware that is propped up by expensive points licensing models are possibly numbered. Systems Integrators will be squeezed harder and harder as manufacturers of non-IoT ready controllers continue to add integrators in a doomed attempt to gather market share. Capable and forward thinking Systems Integrators will move up the food chain and become Master Systems Integrators enhancing their IT/OT/IoT skill sets in order to maintain a competitive advantage.


Are there any exciting product/ project launches coming out or in the making that you could share with us?

We have just launched two exciting new products O3 and Red5, these are IoT ready devices built on an open platform with no hidden costs. They are award winning, world class products from a manufacturer with almost 40 years of expertise in innovation. Delta Controls has consistently blazed a trail throughtout the Building Automation industry. Those that know us, know this and we are proud of our heritage.


What does the coming year hold for Delta Controls? What are your expansion plans?

We are watching the global economic indicators, there are good signs in some regions, but recoveries are fragile, we will continue to invest in people and technology but we will be cautious.


Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring players and entrepreneurs looking to enter this space?

Understand the technology, not just the buzz words. We can help, there is a lot of hype and a lot of acronyms but with training and mentoring we can assist companies as they move into the MSI space.

LMRE are specialist PropTech recruiters, if you need help growing your business or making any key hires please get in touch via the form below!

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