Case study

Enhancing the patient experience through building automation technology

May 25, 2017

Goal: Integrated building automation and control across multiple healthcare facilities that protects past investments, ensures reliable performance and improves the care and comfort of patients, visitors and staff.

Solution: EcoStruxure Building Operation, implemented by BMS EcoXpert, Future Controls.

Story: Keeping up with building automation technology, Watson Clinic has embarked on 15 years of continual automation upgrades, all through the same EcoXpert partnership.

Results: A state-of-the-art building automation solution, which through seamless integration, blends the old with the new and allows the clinic to focus on what’s most important … its patients.

Watson Clinic is a local network of general and specialized medical facilities in Central Florida that has been serving the population since 1941. 

They were one of the first clinics to receive accreditation from the American Association of Medical Centers. The clinic offers a team of experts across a diverse range of specialties that serve physical, emotional and behavioral care needs. 

In 2001, Watson called in Future Controls, Inc., a Florida-based HVAC specialist, to install Schneider Electric’s TAC I/NETTM system to manage their building automation systems in an integrated solution offering easy operation, reporting, monitoring, and ensured air quality and HVAC performance. 

Most importantly, the integrated solution helps them maintain a healthy indoor environment to ensure patient safety and satisfaction, a primary concern for the 250+ physicians who own Watson Clinic. 

For many building owners, that might have been the end of the story. For Watson Clinic, it was just the beginning of a long and successful relationship.

15 years of continuous improvement 

Instead of just installing a building management system (BMS), Watson made a commitment to keep working with BMS EcoXpert, Future Controls, to continually upgrade their system on a regular basis. 

Bryan Scarborough of Future Controls explains how it works, “We work closely with Watson Clinic to maintain a regular program of building automation upgrades and improvements for more than a dozen buildings. As new buildings or major renovations come along, we upgrade controls and software. In addition, we perform smaller upgrades based on a year-long plan that we work out together with Watson Clinic.”

As a result, Watson Clinic has stayed up-to-date with the latest software and technology. Over the years, upgrades have been performed on virtually every aspect of building controls, including Powerlink panels to control the lighting, power metering, chilled water controls, boiler systems, variable fan drives, surge protection, and monitoring of the clean room where Future Controls develops logs and archives data for the clinic. Schneider Electric’s building automation solution monitors the humidity sensors, air handling units, and temperature sensors to precise tolerances in critical areas. It also documents the data for regulatory compliance. 

Gary Picklesimer, Director of Facilities for Watson Clinic, said, “There are about 100 regulatory agencies that we have to comply with, and we have to document everything. Schneider Electric’s integrated solution lets us do that effectively.”

Ready for the next step

Future Controls is a certified partner in Schneider Electric’s EcoXpert Partner Program, which trains and certifies channel partners on EcoStruxure technology to help them grow their business. And, the Watson-Future Controls relationship is stronger than ever. 

That’s why, beginning in 2016, Watson Clinic embarked on a program of gradually transitioning from its legacy system, TAC I/NET, to Schneider Electric’s state-of-the-art EcoStruxure Building Operation solution. Built to take full advantage of the latest technologies such as wireless communications, the Cloud, and data analysis, Building Operation is an integrated solution that facilitates the exchange and analysis of data from energy, lighting, fire safety and HVAC, and can be installed in any size for another building or network of buildings. 

The first building with this upgraded technology is already in place, a new Watson Clinic facility that recently opened. More of the medical provider’s facilities will be upgraded one at a time, just as Watson Clinic has managed upgrades in the past. 

“The great thing is, Watson is able to keep their legacy TAC I/NET technology while adding the Building Operation solution gradually,” said Scarborough. “They have one seamless environment, one system, one screen to control everything. It’s a real advantage to be able to help our customers protect their investments this way.” 

What makes the relationship so successful? According to Scarborough, the relationship with Watson Clinic is based on unwavering trust with one another, “We can sit in the room and be honest with each other, and solve problems, like a real management team. Of course, it helps to work with a customer who is committed to maintaining high-quality building automation systems.” 

Being an EcoXpert certified partner has also helped Future Controls. Scarborough cited  Schneider Electric’s rollout of new products and ever-evolving technology, backed by training for Future Controls personnel, “The EcoXpert program has provided our organization with training credits which allows our technicians to hone their skills,” he said. “The EcoXpert professional development courses and the technical training roadmaps by job function are very informative and useful for our teams.” 

For Watson Clinic, the relationship has helped them focus on their mission of caring for patients. “The system is extremely reliable, even through electrical storms,” said Picklesimer of Watson Clinic. “The software is user friendly and very powerful. And Future Controls is able to keep the system running optimally and has been able to offer us innovative, expert solutions to fulfill our building automation and control needs. Their help has proven to be immeasurable.”

So what is in Watson’s future? Bryan Scarborough said Watson Clinic will continue upgrading their systems and keeping their capabilities current. “We currently have two service contracts and a contract for a new building,” says Scarborough. 

 

 

 

 

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