Danielle Larrabee
Danielle Larrabee
February 21, 2020

Technology Solutions Leader Sal Bonetto Discusses Automation and 5G

Danielle Larrabee
Danielle Larrabee

As we continue featuring our engineering leaders during Engineers Week, we asked Technology Solutions leader, Sal Bonetto, RCDD, EIT, CDT, what was going on within his group and what is on the horizon for advanced building technology systems.

How many years have you been with CannonDesign?

It will be 20 years in April.

How many years have you been in this specialty service leadership position?

I have been managing the Technology team for over 10 years.

How many engineers do you have on your team and in how many offices?

The technology group has seven dedicated technology engineers in Buffalo and Chicago.

What is your favorite thing about your role/discipline?

I like working with clients and helping them improve the status quo. So many clients are frustrated with technology that doesn’t perform as promised, which impacts their productivity. Technology changes so fast and being able to bring new ideas in automation that can improve workflow to clients that have been struggling with reduced staff and skyrocketing costs brings satisfaction in making their job easier. As far as managing the team, it’s important to make sure that people have the opportunity to succeed in their position by having the best information possible.


What is a major challenge you are seeing with your clients and how is your team working to solve it?

Our major challenge is getting clients to understand they need technology solutions planning and not just telecom cabling. We cannot simply design technology based on the “What did we do last time?” mantra. We have standards and codes that need to be followed and expecting the client’s IT group to know and implement a design in conjunction with their other responsibilities is not practical. Especially when the number and diversity of the systems have exploded in our buildings. Until the industry focuses on defined system types, we will need to get out in front of the owner early on in projects to explain the requirements and options available. In my dealings with BICSI, I’ve begun an initiative to identify and compartmentalize our systems as we have at CannonDesign.

What has gotten you really excited to see recently?

I like the approach we are taking with Living-Centered Design.

If you weren’t an engineer, what other career might you be in?

Probably be involved in computer networking or teaching.

What is your favorite hobby?

I like anything that involves my family. I coached my son’s soccer team for seven years and I’m still coaching my daughter’s team. I have a love for the game that’s grown exponentially since I began coaching. I like watching the kids improve and succeed. I still enjoy playing soccer, too. I just returned from Las Vegas with my team over MLK weekend for the King’s Cup Tournament. We did pretty well; made it to the semi-finals…


As we head into 2020, how do you see your service evolving in the next decade?

Digitization of processes and improved connectivity from 5G + Artificial Intelligence of devices will push hyper-automation into the forefront of our building designs in the coming decade. We are already seeing the advent of the Smart Building, but the integration of systems’ designs to enable output sharing will automate repetitive processes and eliminate manual operation and human error. This will improve staff efficiency and satisfaction, while reducing labor costs, allowing staff to focus on more important issues. Our team will continue to increase our awareness of these opportunities to develop cost-effective solutions promoting the ROI. We will be subject to the software-defined resolutions that implement the AI and the cybersecurity concerns involved. Additional benefits will include energy savings, improved safety and wellness.