In 1980 there were 3 major control companies in the US that dominated the HVAC controls industry (Honeywell, Johnson Controls and Barber Coleman). During that time there was a dramatic shift from pneumatic & electric controls to electronic controls. From 1980 to 1985 there was a explosion of "independent Energy Management" companies that appeared, due to the availability and development of the microprocessor. (ex. Scientific Atlanta, Chillitrol, AET, Robertshaw Energy Management, Andover) to name just a few. Some grew and prospered, others fell by the wayside or were bought by larger companies.
The development of the desktop PC and "distributed processing" expanded the capabilities of basic energy management devices into what became early Building Automation Systems. The rapid growth of DDC controls and the beginnings of "open protocols" such as BACnet and LonWorks (developed in the early 90's) increased the capabilities of BAS systems and set the stage for future technology advances and the shift toward "interoperability" in the mid 90's.
Since the late 90's the growth and adaptation to Internet technologies and "a thin client approach" continues to create numerous paradigm shifts related to the Building Automation industry and the companies operating therein. This can best be described as a "convergence of technologies". With this convergence of technology the demand for "Web/browser based, Enterprise Systems" are again redefining not only the Building Automation industry but rapidly expanding and creating new synergies with other building technologies such as Security, Access, Network Video, Wireless and IT. The acceptance of these cross platform, thin client, enterprise systems is moving at the speed of "internet development" and we must continue to learn and adapt just as quickly.