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Analyst Angle: CABA Forum 2017

I had the opportunity to attend the Continental Automated Building Association’s annual event in Santa Clara April 26-28. Overall, the forum had a diverse set of topics and speakers organized under an interesting format: Tutorials and workshops on Day 1 followed by a series of keynote speakers and a startup pitch fest. Day 2 was a two-track event with one track focused on homes and the other on buildings, and Day 3 was designated for smart building tours, which included Google, Intel, Xerox’s PARC, CBRE 360 and Intel’s Tiny Home.

Some of the key highlights included a cluster of talks about printable and flexible electronics. This I consider a new form factor with intelligence that can be added. Applications may include memory, displays, batteries, lights and others. It is characterized by low power, low cost of manufacturing and is flexible enough to be added to any surface, like a wall.

The segment that was most refreshing and creative was having 10 start-ups participate in a pitch fest, giving each participant 5 minutes for a pitch: approximately 2-3 minutes of description followed by Q&A for the remaining time. The top two winners were Brainwave (which had just announced the product that day) and Retrolux.

A key attractive idea was the project called Haystack, which is a methodology being used to describe smart objects and relationships to derive actionable scenarios. Haystack can be used for pattern analysis and perspective analytics.

An interesting showcase is the smart tiny house that resides at Intel premises. This tiny house is filled with some 34 sensors including those for drapes, appliances, door access, projection screen, lighting, thermostat and many others. The interesting part is the developed scenarios which all are voice activated. Any scenario can activate a series of sensors in a certain sequence. For example the “WAKEUP” scenario will activate the curtain, music, and the kettle, and turn the TV on. The “GOOD NIGHT” scenario will close the drapes, shut off all the lights and turn off the TV and lock the door.

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