When the vision for The S4 Group and our products was formalized, Authorized Building Control Specialists (ABCS) were one of the primary targets of our initial outreach efforts. JCI branches were another target. In fact, we were so serious about building these relationships around the JCI ecosystem that we signed up for what JCI then called the Metasys® Compatibility Program and these two groups were our exclusive initial marketing focus. Somehow, that didn't work out quite as we had planned. We made the classic mistake of focusing on the technological aspects of the products, fell into the "build it and they will come" trap, and missed the bigger picture that considered everyone's business goals. Collaboration to the rescue!
Through a collaborative effort we quickly confirmed the value proposition that BAS manufacturers, their dealers, independent integrators, and building owners and operators were looking for, changed our target market and, as a result, had a major impact on the entire industry. Building owners and operators with legacy Metasys® N2-based BAS systems now have a cost effective migration path to vendor independent open systems. Integration is now considered a mainstream and accepted approach to retrofits and upgrades of buildings.
The S4 Open Appliances did not change direction technically. But, the value proposition was re-examined and our marketing effort was broadened to reach out to all BAS manufacturers. In fact, it was about this time that we started using the “S4 Open” branding. Although this change in direction caused S4 a considerable amount of anxiety, it turned out to be a lucky turn of events. We, and our distributor partners, are now delivering solutions that enhance and extend Metasys® to our Integration Partners, and the building owners and operators they serve, worldwide.
Along the way the Cloud happened and we started receiving requests for integrations into legacy Metasys® N2 –based BAS systems so that analytics, continuous commissioning, demand response, energy management, and a host of other value added applications and services could be added to older buildings without impacting the day to day operation of Metasys®. Again, we did not have to change technical direction, but refined the value proposition and marketing message to re-cast the S4 Open Appliances as on-site agents supporting this new generation of value added services. More collaboration and a greatly expanded connection community!
Almost in parallel to the emergence and development of the Cloud were changes with ABCS relationships and similar franchisee relationships throughout the BAS Industry. Most independent dealers are no longer required to exclusively handle a particular BAS product line. They are free to establish as many product relationships as needed to serve their customer base with solutions that meet the building owner and operator’s needs.
The S4 Group now has ongoing relationships with almost every BAS manufacturer in the industry. Our original vision of playing a vital role in the solution set offered by the JCI ABCS community is still valid. It is probably even more powerful for those ABCS organizations that have either moved on to other technologies and still want to continue serving the customer base they have taken care of for many years, or just want to have multiple options to offer to building owners and operators. Our S4 Open Appliances provide the enabling technology to facilitate these ongoing relationships and keep the focus on the needs of the building owner and operator. I would like to invite all past and current ABCS organizations to contact us to collaborate about supporting your loyal customers and growing your business in new and exciting directions.