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Why do you need an MSI?

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There are a lot of articles out there telling you what an MSI is and what they do. But what can they do for you? Why do you need one?

You’re in the design phase of a new building. Contractors and vendors are all coming at you with demands. Everyone has an opinion on how the control systems, electrical systems, mechanical systems, IT, software, and security should be integrated and managed. You have to coordinate these perspectives, all coming at you a mile a minute, and make critical decisions.

Sound familiar? You might need a Master Systems Integrator (MSI) on your team.  

The MSI is a crucial part of the Building Internet of Things equation. They are a full-service technology consultant who can help guide your decisions. 

  • They ideally enter the equation at the design phase and consult every step of the way. 
  • They manage different parts of a building, across Operational Technology (OT) and IT. 
  • They should be knowledgeable on all different systems, manufacturers, and designs.

How is this different from a regular system integrator? As Business Development Analyst at Hepta Systems Mike Reed explains in our piece on MSIs, “In terms of defining an MSI, I think it’s about a technology partnership role with an owner. As an MSI, you should look to help develop an intelligent building plan with the owner, even if you’re not necessarily going to be the one that picks up every PO in every project. You’ve got to have the trust of the owner to have a true mutually beneficial relationship.” 

Learn more in our in-depth article on the Master Systems Integrator.

So, with this definition in mind, what can an MSI do for you?


MSIs have in-depth knowledge of integrated building systems. As buildings become increasingly complex, that expertise is really important. There are more and more IP-connected devices being installed in commercial buildings every single day. 


master systems integrator

The benefits to connectivity growth are massive. In the years to come, we can expect greater comfort, efficiency, and environmental friendliness out of our homes and offices.

IP connectivity isn’t always easy to manage, though. There are different vendors with competing interests; cybersecurity concerns; a technology landscape that is constantly evolving. 

A Master Systems Integrator can shoulder all these burdens to help design an advanced, robust smart building network. The right MSI will roll with whatever you throw at them, whether it’s IT or OT, mechanical or electrical, hardware or software. They can design a network that works best for your building.

Financial savings

If your building systems are designed, integrated, and managed properly, you can see tremendous financial savings through future readiness, reduced maintenance and repair costs, and energy savings. 

Right now, buildings consume a lot of energy. The building sector is responsible for more than one-third of final energy consumption, according to the International Energy Agency. 

Commercial buildings alone could save $60 Billion if energy efficiency efforts were increased by only 1–4%, based on reports from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (Buildings magazine). 

It’s not enough to plug your device in and be successful on day one. If those devices aren’t integrated and managed correctly, they won’t do much (if anything) to solve your energy woes. The right MSI partner can take a building owner’s goal of reducing energy and make it a reality. With analytics, management interfaces, and devices that are properly configured, you’ll end up with a healthy, energy-efficient system.


The real estate industry’s facing a big challenge right now: the rapid acceleration of technology. These new innovations are of course fantastic and come with many different benefits. 

Retrofitting old buildings that aren’t constructed for these new-fangled gadgets and gizmos can be a huge task, though. You need to have enough bandwidth, while still keeping the budget reasonable. We must make older buildings more adaptable, and construct new buildings that are ready for the unknown future. 

Your relationship with an MSI is not a one-time transaction. It’s an ongoing partnership. The Master Systems Integrator is invested in seeing your building succeed in the long term. They’ll help you plan for the future, with a building that’s designed to adopt new technology. 

Knowledge of the industry, financial savings, future-readiness — these are just a few of the challenges that a good MSI can address. The best advice I can give you is to identify what problems you need help with, then start contacting MSIs now. 

To help, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of Master Systems Integrators. Look through it to find an MSI that’s right for you, or read our ultimate guide to understanding the Master Systems Integrators.

Did we miss an MSI? Contact marketing@optigo.net to add to the list!

How do you navigate finding the best MSI for you? When you’re entering a long-term partnership like this, you’ll need to have some serious, in-depth conversations.

Download this checklist of questions to help you start on those discussions. Figure out what issues matter most to you and your building, and find the MSI that’s right for you.

Download it now

This post was originally published on Automated Buildings

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