Siemens Building Technologies (SBT) International Trade Press Forum: June 12-13, Dallas

Security Sales & Integration was among more than 70 publications from 15 countries invited to Dallas’ Crescent Court Hotel June 12-13 to find out what one of the world’s largest technology companies was up to as Siemens Building Technologies (SBT) presented its third annual International Trade Press Forum. The event featured presentations from SBT’s top executives addressing the company’s future as well as overall market trends and technological innovations.

SBT President and CEO Oskar K. Ronner kicked off the affair by proclaiming security and safety as the firm’s chief focus and where he sees the biggest growth. The other two sectors served by SBT – an operating group of the Siemens Automation & Control Business Segment since 1998 – are fire protection and environmental controls. Ronner pointed out that North America is of particular interest since it accounts for 40 percent of the global electronic security systems market.

Ronner acknowledged that although the company’s profitability has taken a dip he expects the tide to turn. “The value of SBT today is three times what we paid for it,” he said. “We are working hard to bring up profitability and are confident we can be the best we can be for both our customers and our shareholders.”

Stan Kunka, president and CEO of SBT’s Buffalo Grove, Ill.-headquartered North American operations, said the company is concentrating on integrated solutions marketed through two channels – directly to end users (through more than 100 branch offices) and via a growing number of dealers, distributors and installation contractors. “The fact that we can provide a single source if playing out in the marketplace. Users want to deal with a single vendor,” said Kunka.

Other speakers talked about SBT’s core and emerging technologies, including wireless building automation; fire safety solutions; burner management; integrated access control; energy services; and micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS). The SiPass, a sophisticated access control system, and the FireFinder XLS emergency warning system were among the products demonstrated. The former is set to roll out in North America by the end of the year.

“In all areas, we provide the brains, neural system and muscle,” stated Edward G. Krubasik, member of Siemens AG’s executive committee, in discussing the company’s approach to innovation. “We employ more than 30,000 software developers – more than Microsoft! Half of our recent growth has come in the United States market, which amounts to about 20 percent overall, and growing.”

Following the presentations, attendees were bused to local facilities served by SBT as well as its recently opened Dallas branch and central monitoring station. The UL-Listed central station operates in conjunction with a redundant site in Washington, D.C., to provide remote security, fire and life-safety monitoring of more than 12,000 commercial premises from coast to coast. Jack O’Brien, director of SBT Security Systems services, noted that Siemens has no plans to move into the residential market.

The field tour included stops at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co.‘s massive headquarters, where SBT handles the facility’s climate, energy and fire detection systems, and The Academy, a revolutionary new high school with building automation, intrusion, access control and CCTV systems supplied and monitored by SBT. More than 30 percent of SBT’s revenue comes from the education market.

Overall, SBT generated approximately $5.6 billion in worldwide revenues during fiscal 2001-02. Its International Trade Press Forum alternates each year among Europe, Asia and North America. The 2002 conference was in Singapore.

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