37 min read

🎧 #063: Ryan Morris and Marti Ogram on Turntide's Technology for Sustainable Operations

“The issue with energy efficiency is that while it may be civilization's largest collective problem, for any individual business it's like their 12th biggest problem."


—Ryan Morris

Welcome to Nexus, a newsletter and podcast for smart people applying smart building technology—hosted by James Dice. If you’re new to Nexus, you might want to start here.

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Episode 63 is a conversation with Ryan Morris, Chairman and CEO of Turntide Technologies and another special guest, Marti Ogram, Director of Sales Automation at Turntide and former Co-Founder of Riptide.

Summary

We talked about Turntide's efficient software-defined motor technology.

Then we took a bit of a deep dive into Turntide's recent acquisition of Riptide, why they did it, how it complements the motor offering, and where the combined company is headed with their new software platform.

  1. Turntide Technologies (0:36)
  2. Riptide Technologies (0:45)
  3. Belichka (3:23)
  4. SkySpark (5:36)

You can find Ryan Morris and Marti Ogram on LinkedIn.

Enjoy!

Highlights

  • How Turntide was founded as Software Motor Company (7:25)
  • How the Turntide motor tech differs from what's in buildings today (11:09)
  • Ryan's concept of engineering cul-de-sacs (16:55)
  • The story of Riptide's founding out of Cisco in the early 2010s and why it improved upon the legacy BMS (18:01)
  • Where Turntide is headed with recent acquisitions and funding rounds (27:47)

Music credit: Dream Big by Audiobinger—licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.

Full transcript

Note: transcript was created using an imperfect machine learning tool and lightly edited by a human (so you can get the gist). Please forgive errors!

[00:00:03] James Dice: hello friends, welcome to the nexus podcast. I'm your host James dice each week. I fire questions that the leaders of the smart buildings industry to try to figure out where we're headed and how we can get there faster without all the marketing fluff. I'm pushing my learning to the limit. And I'm so glad to have you here following along.

[00:00:31] James Dice: Episode 63 is a conversation with Ryan Morris, Chairman and CEO of Turntide Technologies and another special guest, Marti Ogram, Director of Sales Automation at Turntide and former Co-Founder of Riptide. We talked about Turntide's, efficient software to fine motor technology. Then we took a bit of a deep dive into Turntide's recent acquisition of Riptide, why they did it, how it compliments the motor offering, and where the combined company is headed with our new software platform.

And did I continue my streak of two . Truths and a lie success? Listen to the end if you want to find out. Without further ado, please enjoy Nexus Podcast, Episode 63. Okay. Hello, Ryan. Hello, Marty. Welcome to the nexus podcasts. Can you introduce yourselves please? Starting with Ryan.

[00:01:17] Ryan Morris: Yeah. Hey, I'm Ryan Morris. I'm the CEO at turn tide technologies.

[00:01:21] Marti Ogram: All right. Now I'm Mario Graham. I am prenup up sales at turn tide now and their automation group. And I was one of the co-founders of Riptide that was acquired by turn tide. Just about four months. Awesome.

[00:01:34] Ryan Morris: Yes.

[00:01:35] James Dice: Fear happiness. So what I typically do is start with background before you're at your current company.

And so let's start with you, Ryan, before you were CEO of Turntide, what'd you do? And what, what brought you into the smart buildings industry?

[00:01:50] Ryan Morris: So I, I got into it. Well, the original spark that motivated me that now is turn tide is I actually learned about nuclear fusion when I was 11. And so there was this seed of like, we can save the world with technology.

It goes to, it goes way back. And so that got me really into software and physics and energy and all that kind of stuff. So it goes, goes pretty early. But career-wise, I'm a software engineer by background operations research and information engineering. But I started a software company after college and then actually I.

Was running a company that did a really high power conversion for electric vehicles. Going back for 50 years, I got involved in a company and then work to really transform it. And that's what kind of got me really deep into the world of electric, electric motors and drive trains and kind of high power conversion, power electronics which my co-founder of my first software company, just PhD.

And that's why I had always deep respect for how challenging things are when you have a shoe box size thing that puts as much power as an entire apartment building through it controlled 20,000 times a second. This is. Not to be trifled with. So that's what I was doing before it turned out. And that got me into, you know, electric motor technology and switch Watkins motors, and eventually led me to, to really build turn tide, starting a bit over four years ago now.

[00:03:02] James Dice: Cool. Very exciting. So I saw on your LinkedIn that you have a. Some sort of Quito nutrition bar company on the side, what's that, that's

[00:03:14] Ryan Morris: my side hustle that with my wife actually. So it's means cute little squirrel in Russian from Belarus, but I try to eat really healthy, low carb. So it's kind of like kind bars though with no sugar and it's a lot better.

So if you eat that, like during the day at work, Guaranteed two X productivity,

[00:03:33] James Dice: two X. All right. That sounds quantifiable. That's awesome. All right, Marty, how about you before, I guess, before Riptide, what were you doing? And how'd you get into the industry?

[00:03:43] Marti Ogram: Sure. So I've spent my whole career and sort of the intersection of real estate and technology, and it was, I know.

Can count how long ago I got involved with sort of when building equipment met the internet and it was really about two or three years after Tridium started. So, that really dates me in terms of the, the beginning days of smart buildings. And along that way, I got involved with it startup group that was based in Santa Barbara that got me hooked into Santa Barbara.

And we ended up with a technology that. Well, in a very similar approach was out to integrate in building systems. And instead of making ourselves look like a building automation system, which is what Tridium did, of course, and sell the Honeywell, we decided to make ourselves look like more of a building network appliance and sold the Cisco systems in 2009.

So at Cisco, I stayed around in that group, the smart, connected real estate group. And I ran global business development uh, getting us going with, you know, some of Cisco's top customers across the globe. And then that journey led us to deciding, to solve more on the application layer problems that we saw out in the market.

And many of us that were on that journey jumped off the Cisco bus and started Riptide and really focused on the cloud-based building management side. Not so much as the edge, although we of course did some edge stuff and then it required by turn tide just this year.

[00:05:13] James Dice: Awesome. So were you at Cisco when, when John petsy was there?

[00:05:16] Marti Ogram: Yeah. Yeah, actually it was I was part of that committee to say, Hmm, who could we get in the industry that would really make, make noise? And we said, John, petsy, let's go get him. So I actually reported to John developed a great relationship with him and when he decided to leave I and start sky spark, I was like, Well, okay, something's happening here?

Maybe we need to think. So he was a bit of a catalyst for us on the Riptide side to also think sort of beyond the Cisco wall.

[00:05:48] James Dice: Got it. Got it. I know, I know John will listen to this episode, so he'll be happy to happy to hear that if he doesn't already know.

[00:05:54] Marti Ogram: Yes. Well, a big fan, you know, it was interesting because we had in a lot of ways follow tritium.

And so then to sit at the same side of the table and learn all the insight of how things were, it was a great time. So yeah, I enjoy watching John's career.

[00:06:11] James Dice: Awesome. Yeah. We're going to dig into the Riptide on the software side of things. And a little bit let's, let's talk about software motor company though, and motors real quick though, Ryan.

So can you talk about the founding of the company and sort of get into why these motors are better than your, your traditional HVAC motors that we get off the

[00:06:30] Ryan Morris: shelf? Sure. Yeah. So, I'll, I'll tell it from a bit from my history. So I I first learned about switch fructans motors in the context of working on electric vehicle drive trains, where in particular, you really need permanent magnets for earth magnets from China.

If you want to get a really good performance and that's what, basically everybody has converged around. I mean, Tesla originally was named Tesla because they use AC induction motors. But they like everybody else have gone to the rare earth magnet for the better performance. And so when I first started out switched reluctance motor is about seven and half years ago.

You know, I, I sort of look at the world through this lens of compute or Moore's law. Like how do you abstract things to their information essence? And it just seemed, you know, very quickly like, wow, here's this kind of limit function of the simplest mechanical motor that can be made. And okay. So why hasn't that become the dominant form of technology?

Like You've had AC induction motors basically be the standard since 1888 when Nikola Tesla created them. And they're still the vast, vast majority of motors today. Like there's, there's not enough rare earth magnets in the world to replace them all with really high-performance magnet motors. And so, the problem was though they hadn't been able to be controlled really efficiently in the past.

It required too much computing power to kind of design the motor and to shape the current going into it, it's like trying to ride a bicycle backwards. And so this just sort of smelled like a compute problem to me. And, you know, my general trend that I always follow is like, you know, how is Moore's law going to open up more capabilities over time and different areas?

It's, it's fairly, very predictable if not the most predictable trend in human development. And so I started looking around at the whole world of who's working on this technology, it was mostly academia. So my spark was okay, switched reluctance is clearly going to have own important role to play in the future for the world of motors and motors consume like half the electricity in the entire world.

And that's only going to increase with electric vehicles to probably two thirds over time. And I literally scoured the entire planet of who's working on this, who has the IP in this, and there was, it's mostly people in academia. So there weren't really companies who had really cracked this at scale or in any practical commercializable way.

There there've been some attempts in like nuclear reactor cooling pumps, because they're super reliable. Because they're so simple, they're very fault-tolerant. So there've been kind of very niche, you know, mining nuclear reactor pumps and stuff like that. But then there was this technology, this IP that originally spun out of the university in 2007.

So Piyush Desai who's still with us as a, you know, a head motor designer, he had this idea of basically taking the original idea around switch reluctance, which is a very old concept and kind of inverting and doing the geometry kind of backwards from what would normally make sense. And it turns out this was actually the physical optimal geometry for it.

And so patented that and spun out into a startup that was kind of the predecessor to, to SMC. And then in 2013, SMC had a kind of a reboot as IOT became feasible. And the idea was basically to, to pair the smart motor, which inherently has to be controlled digitally. It's like a sort of digital, programmable native design with the IOT . Capabilities of making.

So it was actually around the same time as the Riptide got started with a different angle. And so I got introduced to the .team at SMC while I was working on electric vehicle drive train technology, and I guess beginning of 2017. And it was basically a research project, but I'd made some really big breakthroughs over the, you know, literally a decade they had been working on this and they've cracked a lot of the key problems, especially on the software control.

Which is kind of the hardest part around it. So after 10 years of working, they were like, oh my God, it works, finally! And I was like, let's go, I want to go build into a really huge company and they're like, great, you do it and pay for it. And so I that's sort of how I joined. So it was like nine people, I think, at the time.

And so I, I basically joined to grow it, to be a big company. And we rebranded as Turntide a bit over a year ago to reflect that it's really about more than just the motor. The motor is the core of all these systems that consume energy. That's the thing at the sort of atomic electron level.

That's actually using the energy for something useful, but but it's really about the bigger system to turn the tide on climate changes. You know, the name.

[00:10:44] James Dice: Got it. That's fascinating story about you doing all your own research and then going to find, find the, you know, the researchers out there that are holding the right patents and solving the right problems already.

[00:10:54] Ryan Morris: That's really cool. Yeah. Yeah. I have a thing for really hard problems. So if somebody tells me a problem is really hard, you know, normally that like scares people away from me. It's like, ah, it's hard for everybody. So like, let's be the only one that does it.

[00:11:07] James Dice: Nice. I love that. So if I'm like the, the average listener to this podcast, they're used to sort of probably walking into a building, right,

go into the mechanical room, see the motor sitting on the floor, find the VFD on the wall. One of those connects to the control system, right. Or the VFD typically connects to the control system. Usually some other relay that turns the, you know, the pump or whatever the fan on and off. How, how has that setup change in how you guys, you know, go to market with the new motors?

[00:11:39] Ryan Morris: Well in the abstract, you still have the same basic pieces. So you have a box with electronics and then you have a piece of metal that is the motor. So that part is the same, it's down inside there's well, you know, in the abstract, when you have electronics and piece of metal that turned into electricity and emotion you know, we're inventing things and we have over a hundred patents that are, you know, really within, inside the systems they're abstracted away from, from the user.

And it's all about how the coverage control the current and like the motor. Like if you took apart the motor, it looks totally different than a conventional motor inside. It's actually much simpler. And the complexity is really in the firmware and the subtlety of design, but there's kind of fewer failure modes.

There's, there's just, you know, the coils are much, much simpler. The rotor is just a simple piece of steel, so like there's nothing that can really fail. So the motor itself is that simple, but there's a lot of complexity in the firmware, which is shaping the current. 20,000 times a second, going into the motor of making it output the right torque speed or power at the best efficiency and over a pretty wide range.

So, so from a, you know, actual use case perspective, you're going to have the BMS or whatever, instructing the electric machine. So the electronics in the motor, hey, what speed do you want me to run out? What power up you want me to run at? What torque? There's a bunch of upstream benefits that we can then take out of the motor because we need to control it so precisely, we also get a bunch of data feed feeding back to the kind of control system, which is, you know, where we're Riptide kind of comes in for, for the broader building. So you can do things like, you know, sensing torque, like, you know, there there's some, a bunch of areas that we're just getting into, but because we are effectively software defined hardware, you're not like trying to slap on a bunch of sensors that you know, each have their own failure modes on an existing mechanical system. It's really reinvented from the ground up, you know, to be a digital first, a software first DNA of the motor system itself. So it's, it's a very different architecture. But in terms of installing it, like there's, you know, same boxes sort of hookup the wires and poles and stuff for a fan or pump.

[00:13:49] James Dice: Cool. So if I'm, if I'm designing a new building right now, why as a designer, might I spec out this motor versus a

different one?

[00:13:58] Ryan Morris: Biggest reason is efficiency. So you I mean, we can get into the stats, but you know, against the constant speed motor that you see still very commonly, I mean, California, for new building, you have to have variable speed

Title 24, but against constant speed, you know, we're saving like 65% on average, you know, the it's probably 60% of that is from the variable speed. And then the other 40% is if you had like a top of the line, AC induction motor and VFD, you'd get an additional you know, big, big savings

because it's more efficient at every operating point in particularly switch lock downs, it's very flat efficiency curves. So because it's digitally controlled, you're basically just pulsing in current when it makes useful torque. It's you know, even if you're a partial load, it'll maintain very high efficiency versus induction order, it'll fall off quite a lot.

[00:14:44] James Dice: So at lower, lower speeds here, you're not very efficient versus constant efficiency down it, no matter what speed

you're you're flying.

[00:14:52] Ryan Morris: Yeah. So we haven't really focused on a new construction so much yet. We've been doing more and more retrofit. Yeah, the idea is you can go replace the existing motor and then add intelligent control.

So conceptually it's very similar to a VFD upgrade, but you know, just better, better efficiency. And then it's going to be a lot more reliable, you know, the motor lasts a lot longer than a conventional motor.

[00:15:12] James Dice: Very cool.

Very cool. And then, like you said, it seems like there are more analytics that can be done even though, like you said, less failure points, right? Less ways for this motor to fail, but there's still more data coming off of that than your typical, you know,

speed. Get off of another VFD or whatever. Okay, cool. Good. So help me then understand. So you guys, as a company, focusing on motors, you had your own software as well.

Why why bring in the Riptide team next? What was, what, what was behind that?

[00:15:47] Ryan Morris: Yeah, so we from, from the beginning, well, 2013 since SMC was kind of the reboot of the predecessor. The idea was okay, how do we make. The thing that the motor is in really efficient and also intelligent, you know, is that IOT kind of capability sets started making that feasible.

And then really in earnest that kind of late 2017, we started started thinking like, Hey, what is like a next generation of building management look like, you know, there's 90% of smaller buildings really don't have anything today. Like existing BMS is, are, I mean, you you've talked about smell your podcasts.

You've done a great job. You know, bringing this content forward, but, you know, they're kind of analogous to like mainframe type systems. Like they work great for big systems, but you need like a full time control technician. And so it was, it was pretty clear that all these sort of cell phone stack IOT type things are eventually going to enable all these next generation BMS systems.

So we were really, you know, on our way building that. And then came across Riptide. We looked at a lot of other players in the space actually, as you know, was there a way that we could sort of team up and accelerate the whole offering and then Riptide in particular stood out because they had really thought about the problem philosophically really similar to us and had a lot of similarities in their sort of core technical stack.

And like, you know, it was all really modern and everything. A lot of the, yeah. you know, smaller companies, and there were a lot of them, you know, come back 10, 10 years that started and maybe found little, little niches, but you know, hadn't built something that would really scale. I call those engineering

cul-de-sacs where it's like, you know, a great little neighborhood, but doesn't really go anywhere. So Riptide had really built it in a very scalable kind of platform way. And so, you know, it just, it was clear that having the capabilities together was kind of where. We were definitely going. And you know, we were able to meet the team and really liked each other.

We have a really unique culture at the company, which I'm happy to hear Marty talk about it since she's been exposed now. But, you know, I think you know, we were really aligned sort of philosophically on the architecture and how we thought about the market and then, and then culturally with the people.

So it just worked out pretty well.

[00:17:57] James Dice: Cool. I want to hear from Marty too, but I want to first ask Marty the, can you, can you take us back? It sounds like you, when you were at Cisco, you were familiar with, Tridium kind of educated you on, on Tritium and how the Niagara platform worked, right? It seems like you guys took that to the next level when you started Riptide.

Can you, can you talk about founding the company and kind of what problems you guys solved early on and where, where the progression went from

there?

[00:18:24] Marti Ogram: So, I always think of Cisco as our silent investor, because we really started the company bootstrapping off of the customers that we won as Cisco, who, of course Cisco has reach into

some of the biggest companies on the planet that have sizeable portfolios. And we would be very successful at getting their buildings wired up, but then it would all go back to gee, it's a Black Friday, I want to change my schedules. How am I doing this, cisco? I have to hit a hit one of your mediator boxes one by one?

That's not going to help me. And so we saw that there was this application layer that was sort of outside of Cisco's traditionals    tech stack. And about that time, Dave Leimbrock, who's our CTO, who's really the, you know, I'll give him all the credit for being the true technologist. He's unique in that he is a technologist at heart, computer science background, but he funded his computer science education by working as a . HVC tech in the building control. So he had one leg in that business as real know-how. Anyway, about this time that we, we got this exposure to what are we going to do about when you have a customer that has 3,000 sites or 5,000 sites, I mean, that was the real state, that wasn't a hypothetical, how do you manage them?

Dave, at that time was working with Cisco with some of their distinguished engineers, looking at cloud computing, looking at big data and it was clear to him that the client server stack that almost all BMS systems, including Tridium were built on, you know, were after a new wave here. And so he said, well, if we're going to solve the problem for the large enterprises that have lots of buildings, let's not put some server stack that handles region wide let's really do it

right. And you know, kind of rally. this because of, we felt very comfortable that we had a known problem set with a customer group that had appetite and investment. So we jumped off and started and with the blueprint that Dave had in mind, we went to Cisco's top customers and said, we heard you,

we're here to help you, how do you like this? And by the way, will you help fund it by almost by professional services? And so we look like a professional services company for the first couple of years, building a tech stack and delivering for those customers. And we, we really had a hit ratio of every single one that we went to.

We went to the top three and they all said, yes, we're in. And so it was, it's how we got the company started. So we're a little different than some of the other sort of startups that we're tackling the small and medium building product, because we started our day one requirement was a customer who had 3,000 sites.

So everything that Dave Leimbrock, and by the way, we were also very fortunate. We grabbed some of the prime Cisco engineers that we had that like to solve new problems and they jumped on board with us and that team starting the tech stack they built really started that middle layer at the IOT cloud, almost looking at the, those days it's an application enablement platform.

And then we struggled. We said, okay, what are we going to do with the edge? Like we've solved this with a Cisco mediator. Tridium has solved this. This is really a solved problem. Do we want to be solving, solved problems or we want to do new? And we debated that quite a bit, but we came to the conclusion that we really needed to solve the edge for the cloud and optimize for the cloud.

And of course, if you've done something a couple of times, and hopefully it's a lot, you do it a lot faster. So we dual-tracked sort of our own edge with everything that we had learned from our mediator days with optimizing for the cloud and we built on our own IOT cloud platform. And in those days we didn't have, there was no IOT as your stack, you know, so there was a lot of stuff that we were doing that now maybe show up and maybe if you're with Google cloud or Microsoft. After those iterations

and we started breaking down more on the application layer and building both a web app and a mobile app. And again, we designed it day one for what do you do when you have thousands of sites across the region with all kinds of stakeholders? So, that was the genesis of how we got started. And it was really much off of leveraging all that learnings and valuable customer that from Cisco.

[00:22:50] James Dice: Absolutely.

You're hinting at the answer to this question, but I just wanted to let you like, answer it directly for people that don't understand how is what you built different than the legacy style architecture.

[00:23:04] Marti Ogram: Yeah, it's, it is definitely a computing story in the sense of as all competing wage, you know, Ryan mentioned mainframe and then moving to the client server.

And we, we are obviously in not only a cloud, but a mobile era and the traditional, you know, our big five BMS that are built around the client server for the obvious reasons of the era that they were designed. I would say it's a bit surprising to me that they haven't moved faster onto the cloud, that it does seem, you know, and I always say that us in the BMS industry, we, we seem to cycle 10 years behind the, the true it tech space.

And it does feel like that. But  our originating differentiation was truly all the cloud advantages. So long-term storage of data. Solving the security problem and making easy access. And then of course, enabling a mobile environment. That's really where I would say, you know, in frankness, our differentiation was really leaning on the advantages of cloud.

[00:24:03] James Dice: Yeah, anyone

that's ever logged onto a BMS remotely and they like get a phone call two minutes later, you kicked me off. Like they, they understand that have multitenancy with, with legacy systems. You don't have long-term data storage. When you change the schedule, you have to go to that controller locally there, log into it remotely, or go there physically to change the schedule. That schedule doesn't apply globally because it doesn't know what the other sites are doing.

So it it's definitely resonating with me as I'm hearing it from you, for sure.

[00:24:37] Marti Ogram: And when we were at Cisco, you know, our, our core routers and switch team, if they had a router and switch, and one of the customers that more than five years, I mean, the sales teams fired, right, is you have a very short attack cycle

of swapping out. And in the BAS industry, you know, we'll we'll, I was with a customer in LA that had a cam C system that was put in 15 years ago. And, you know, it's still running, so maybe with some band-aids but it that's part of the reality, which is why as you well know across the market, even companies that have invested in building automation, are not at an optimal state.

And that is, you know, a sad state of it, of the industry. So I really liked the buildings without BMS, but there's a lot of pain in the buildings that have BMS. So you're right there. But the bottom line, it is, it is first and foremost, sort of that the general tech innovation wave that we followed on.

[00:25:42] James Dice: Hey guys, just another quick note from our sponsor nexus labs. And then we'll get back to the show. This episode is brought to you by nexus foundations, our introductory course on the smart buildings industry. If you're new to the industry, this course is for you. If you're an industry vet, but want to understand how technology is changing things.

This course is also for you. The alumni are raving about the content, which they say pulls it all together, and they also love getting to meet the other students on the weekly zoom calls and in the private chat room, you can find out more about the course@courses.nexus lab. Start online. All right, back to the interview.

Okay. So ryan, how does this, then when you acquired Riptide, how does coupling that I'm picturing like a energy efficiency upgrade where you go in, you do all the motors, right? Swap flop out on the motors, you have energy savings that are produced. It seems like a really beneficial thing to then also come in on the same project and say, well, let's do the BMS at the same time.

Is that kind of, part of the thinking?

[00:26:43] Ryan Morris: Yeah, basically. I mean, you get a S there's a certain. Threshold of materiality, you know, energy savings. One of the issues with energy savings, energy efficiency is that while it may be civilization's largest collective problem for any individual business, it's like their 12th biggest problem.

Yeah. Cause you've all got your, you know, your revenue and cost of goods sold are probably the biggest line item or your head count or something. Yeah. So it's something that I think everybody wants to do better, but they only have a certain amount of, you know, management executive bandwidth to focus on.

And so you really need to. I, I think being able to bundle a material enough value together as an offering. And so the nice thing we have with motors is that, you know, motors typically consume even two or three times more than all the lighting. And so, you know, led lighting paved the way for all those sort of hardware, energy efficiency, upgrades.

It's just like physically useless energy to do the same thing. So basically the same principle with the motors, I still moves as much air as before, but it's using all this input electronics to do that. And so the idea is, okay, these buildings. Either have really poor BMS or usually just don't have any VMs.

And so clearly there's an opportunity to go incrementally, add even more value if you can go make the whole, the whole building intelligent versus just the individual HVAC units. So, so that was, that was kind of the thesis of building out this whole offering that we continue to develop. Like we're not all the way finished with that yet, but you know, this is a big step for, for that for people.

[00:28:16] James Dice: Totally. Well, I'm not sure which, which one of you to ask about this, but You guys are now going to come out with the Turntide software platform, right? And I'm assuming it's, you know, Riptide advanced, building on Riptide, right. And so can you talk about like what that's gonna look like and where that's, you know, where you guys are headed on the software application side of things?

[00:28:39] Marti Ogram: So certainly you, you hit the first right out the gate, the key is make our smart motor system wrapped with an application better and stronger as a combined offering. And that much, we pretty much have checked the box of completing that. And you'll now see a fully branded Turntide application, which is super exciting.

One of the things that, of course, with the cloud advantage, we've been amassing data assets across rooftop units for a long time. But with our, I'll say sort of bootstrap Riptide style, we've been unable to really execute on optimizing our building insights on that data assets. And since the acquisition, the talent that turned tide is brought in

on the product team around insights and automation and has an entire product group called insights and automation and firing up data scientist now to leverage the data assets. And then of course, you know, bringing the motor into the story, I think is the part that I'm most excited about on what you're going to see coming out of Turntide.

So there will be a strong focus towards going to that next layer. I think we are doing a great job on the monitoring management and control side. So what can we do now on bringing insights that really drive improved serviceability, all the wishlist that we have, and we talk about I'm sure on many of your podcasts as well.

I think that's probably the best. We're doing some, we're doing some nice, incremental improvements on adding in more systems, adding better alerts in at will adding in alerts around the motor system. But it's really the insight and automation I think, is going to be the most

[00:30:18] James Dice: exciting part. Cool. So things like FDD and analytics.

Yeah.

[00:30:24] Marti Ogram: Yep. That's right. And we've, we've done some partnerships with godfathers that are writing, have been writing papers on FDD for about 12 years lending with our data and lending with some of the talent that it turns out is brought on. So it's, it's not us by ourself. It's a combination of having that data and I'll tell you, that's where I feel

rather confident that we can get ahead. Because unfortunately when the big players have sort of missed the cloud boat, it means they're missing the data, the, the data asset boat, and you know, cross, even though Riptide, we still maintain being a small company. We've had you know, thousands of RTU assets under management now for many years.

And there aren't a lot of the larger OEM BMS makers that have really been accumulating data assets. So you can't do a lot of insights if you don't have a lot of data and of course organized data and all those things that you know, so yes, it's, that's, that's the part I would say I'm most excited about.

[00:31:23] James Dice: I mean, what what's getting me excited hearing you talk about it is the ability to tightly couple the analytical insights with the control sequences, schedules, set points all that

[00:31:33] Marti Ogram: as well.

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And what Turntide gives us an opportunity that was not really economically feasible is access up to the roof. And, you know, we focus mostly on sort of below the roof and yes, we would put smart thermostats in that we're using the preexisting wiring. But getting on the roof, having installers go up, put on sensors in the machine, directly connected machine,

I mean, these get to be a little more expensive for your first cost. So, you know, enter Turntide, they're driving forward with a smart motor, bringing all the value of that efficiency. They're already up there to add a few more additive sensors in that ECM is way different than us with our ECM and now, you know, getting a whole new team up on the roof.

So I think what we'll see is that the insight and analytics that we can bring is really going to power up these, almost stranded assets. I mean, they're not fully stranded assets with rooftop units, but they're largely unconnected and not tied back to whoever is responsible for the proper care and feeding of them.

Mostly the HVC service teams you know, who aren't connected to the BMS either. So it's that angle for the service that we can now unlock there for the rooftop that I think it's going to be a game changer.

[00:32:54] James Dice: Cool.

Anything to add to that, Ryan?

[00:32:57] Ryan Morris: Yeah. I mean, one thing, you know, and your podcast has been great at highlighting, you know, a lot of other players and other, there's been a lot of great work in the analytics field.

But that's well, there's two issues with that is you're presuming you know, I have a machine learning background, so like you're presuming you have good data to do good analytics, first of all. And then you're presuming, okay, I can do something with that you know, assumed correct analytical insight.

And the problem is unless you're, maybe if you're in like a big building where you have a complex well-maintained billing management system like that, that would be the case that you can go take the data out of it and it's reliable. Then you can send a signal back to change the set points or something. But to actually get this kind of closed loop where you can

reliably get good data out of the natively intelligent machines, which, you know, the smart motors are from the ground up. And then getting that into an analytical framework that then you can do something about and actually change the controls. So that kind of bi-directional, you know, cloud native control

a loop. I thought that was a problem that over and over again, I saw, you know, either the pure analytics guys would have all these great data scientists, but then they're like, oh, we don't want to touch the controls. We don't want to take responsibility for that part. Or then the controls guys were, you know, just a different field.

So, you know, I don't see a lot of other great examples where you get that closed loop. You can, you can really solve the problem and translate into action. And so that was a big, you know, thing that we saw coming together with, with Riptide, we could really be in a position to, to solve that all the way.

Because at the end of the day, like if you do analytics and requires a human to go out and like go change the thing every week, I mean, nobody's gonna do that. It's gonna, it's gotta be easy, it ought to be.

[00:34:36] James Dice: Totally. So I think there's an announcement coming. Maybe it already has come or maybe it'll come by the time we publish this.

But does this new platform have a name? And, and would you guys like to talk about what the new name is?

[00:34:50] Marti Ogram: Really, I think of it as a positioning around Turntide Technologies for Sustainable Operations as an umbrella position for where really Turntide is. I mean, as you've heard the story from Ryan, the motor was sort of the original centerpiece, but the focus is that ongoing, sustainable operating environment for, you know, efficiency, not just of the motor, but anywhere that we can touch and add more value.

So that idea of sustainability and sustainable operations, we definitely see as the place for Turntide. And if we think about sustainability, I think the first time I went to a conference that there was somebody with a sustainability title was probably about 15, 17 years ago. And there was an early wave of what sustainability and it's kind of like a, a C-level title and they had a sort of a lane and now it is about it is company-wide. And

it is about the viability of, of the company in every single direction. So I think what you see Ryan doing a great job in all the acquisitions that continues is more of a sustainable operating theme and bringing in technologies that brings the sustainable operations into the reach of companies everywhere.

That's really becomes a company mission. So what we are doing from an application layer is just you know that that wrapper for any kind of high efficiency, whether it is on the transport side, on the ag side and making sure that it's always intelligent and always enabling better operations. So that is the theme that you're going to be seeing coming out from Turnside very soon.

[00:36:31] James Dice: Very cool. Well, I've seen a bunch of announcements recently. You mentioned Ryan, Ryan's been busy, it seems like. Ryan do you want to share all these recent announcements? I've seen a project funding, Turntide transport, and a couple of acquisitions over in the UK. Can you talk about kind of where the company is expanding beyond, beyond buildings?

[00:36:51] Ryan Morris: Uh, Sure. Yeah, we've, we've really you know, had an opportunity to pull a lot of pieces of the vision forward. I mean, these are all things that we've kind of had on our roadmap to address things that move basically. So we have transport and built environment are kind of the two, you know, two halves of our world.

And like I mentioned, my previous company was, was in this space doing you know, really high performance, what I call long tail electrification. So there's Tesla and everybody trying to scramble to catch up to Tesla doing the high volume passenger vehicle stuff, but literally everything that moves is going to electrify over time.

And there's actually incredibly challenging engineering in making those high power drive trains. You know, it's not like making a software app or something. I mean, these are hard, hard texts over driven the hardware high power. And so there's very scarce talent for this. And frankly, most of that talent has been hoovered up by the big guys to try to catch up to Tesla.

And so it's not this really big void for basically everything else that moves. So whether that's like automated warehouse robots or commercial vehicles, or, you know, Marine, like we're in a Hitachi rail Ocado as, as customers being accelerated by part of this. So, you know, we really see you know, we're not, we're not focused on like the residential kind of consumer space.

Like we're trying to help companies make their whole operations sustainable. And there's definitely, you know, commercial vehicles and aspects to that things that move where we have really unique IP, unique technology advantages and unique skill sets. There's a lot of overlap and a lot of the core technologies, I mean, this, this switch reluctance motor to the core architecture that we have is really the promise to ending the need for rare earth metals, which is not so much an issue for buildings because you're, you're not as like weight sensitive in a building, but when you're in a vehicle and you need like, you know, really light high power density motors the only way to get that today is with rare earth magnets or with, you know, a switch reluctance motor that still has a ways to go until it's sort of universally applicable for vehicles.

I think that's probably a few years more development to be sort of ubiquitous and applications, but yeah, I mean, it's, it's all about being able to achieve whatever the goal is with fewer resources and sort of substituting all the material mechanical costs with the software complexity that kind of doesn't rust, you know, you make it once and you can tweak it.

[00:39:04] James Dice: Totally. So essentially if I felt like stated back to each industry needs obviously better motors software to monitor whatever the, the assets are and the insights might change across the industries. You know, if you're talking about. Like a dairy farm compared to an office building. Those are different insights, different stakeholders, different users,

[00:39:27] Ryan Morris: probably different animals.

Yeah.

[00:39:29] James Dice: Different animals. Absolutely. But you guys were looking at like the layer underneath all of that, that can sort of go across all like for a corporation, whatever type of building, whatever type of asset they have being the infrastructure to make

[00:39:44] Ryan Morris: it more simple. Yeah, we have a lot of work to do to make it ubiquitous.

So we've got spots that we are just focused on in the, or in the initial phases, of course, but yeah, it's really, you know, the way I described it as to be the full stack for the long tail. So, you know, we're not going to go compete with Honeywell or something or BorgWarner. You know, there are core turf.

Those are gigantic companies that have to go after big markets in the initial phases to, to make it to work. But, you know, the reason we chose dairy was because it's a fairly niche market that we could really demonstrate the power of this complete digital, sustainable transformation. was like, don't call it sustainable and dairy because there's political things there, but we were learning.

But you know, efficient operations across the board. It's, it's just about eliminating waste ultimately. The way you do that is sort of surprisingly with common components across what appear to be very wide range of things. But at the end of the day, Mammals in conditioned air, you know, like in the abstract, like there's a lot of commonality in the problem.

[00:40:46] Marti Ogram: Yeah. That's yes, it's, it's happy cows, high yield plants, happy shoppers. Right? Healthy patients, successful students all with a underlying core of a more efficient. More efficient equipment being more managed to better outcomes. And yes, the driver was the uniform driver on the build side is that environmental piece, but it is kind of fun to learn the difference about what a cow can makes what makes a cow happy versus successful students.

But it's the same thing. Same stack.

[00:41:22] James Dice: Absolutely. Really cool. All right. Anything else to add before we move on to our, a fun round of teachers and a lot.

[00:41:32] Ryan Morris: Well, I don't know. I'm curious. I mean, you're, you're like immersed in this space, like who who else. It's really interesting. We're looking to partner with you by the way.

Like we're not trying to like own the spacers and that like, we're really trying to be a platform that helps other really amazing technologies get target faster. I mean, that's in a way, like what happened with Riptide is we had sort of a platform to help bring material benefit to a bunch of customers.

And we're massively accelerating the development with, with Riptide, both on a go-to-market market and also on a technology development perspective. Yeah. You know, so I just think my view personally, This whole space has to change over the next 10, 20 years. I mean, it has to become modernized. It has to become automated.

Like you just don't have the, you know, there's not enough people going through complex control technician schools or something to make every building intelligent. Like you got to solve this technology in some way. I don't know. I'm curious, like, what else do you think of who you've talked to? I'm sure. In your podcast by now, but who else is out there that you think is sort of aligned with this philosophy mission?

I

[00:42:37] James Dice: don't want to make anyone mad by not mentioning them or

[00:42:42] Ryan Morris: all my bus. 200 episodes,

[00:42:45] James Dice: I think from a philosophical standpoint, when you have like, and you guys are hitting on these points that I'm about to make already. And you have a dairy farm, there are certain problems that they need solve. Like you said, to make the happy cow.

I think of that, like a whole product needs to be provided to them that that'd be their needs. Right. And like you said, a full stack for the long tail. I love that a full stack has to be provided. But my perspective on the industry after talking to all of these people is that there are portions of that full stack where some people have like really solved and they're really far ahead.

And so I think I put my weight behind the people that are saying, oh, X, Y, and Z has solved that piece. Let's go partner with them. Kind of like you just said, I think those philosophies are the ones that I'm sort of promoting out there. I don't want to talk about anyone specifically, cause I'll definitely get too many emails and LinkedIn messages requesting the wrong thing.

But I do like the philosophy that you're, that you're, that you're talking about. Cool. Let's do it then. Ryan, you're the one that's going to gonna go on the hot seat for two truths

[00:43:53] Ryan Morris: and a lie, right? So it's I say three things and two are true. One's life to guests. That's alright, Marty, come on.

You've got to step up. You're good. Okay. Let's okay. I'll give you three things. So, I worked as a roughneck in the Northern Alberta oil patch. I went to the original burning man and I led a New York stock exchange company at age 27.

[00:44:17] Marti Ogram: What

[00:44:17] James Dice: is a rough

[00:44:18] Ryan Morris: neck? Now? It's like working in the oil fields. And

[00:44:22] James Dice: I don't know if I'm allowed to ask, follow up questions in teachers and all that.

Oh, this is tough.

[00:44:30] Ryan Morris: I'm going to break your streak.

[00:44:32] James Dice: So your normal background, when you jump on a zoom call with you is burning. Man. I rack my brain on when the one that would have been, I'm going to say that one's the lot.

[00:44:46] Ryan Morris: The burning man. Yeah, the original burning man. I was like two years old or something.

So

okay,

[00:44:54] Marti Ogram: James, you're good at this. Very good at this. Cause I was fooled.

That's fun. No. Yeah. That's good. So

[00:45:06] James Dice: cool. Well, I was gonna make you guys first though. I didn't want to tarnish my hunter.

[00:45:12] Ryan Morris: Yeah.

[00:45:12] James Dice: This is a challenge to all the future guests out there. You got to bring, bring the heat for me. So I'm a hundred percent so far. Well, cool. This has been so much fun. I'm glad to have the two perspectives after the acquisition. That's kinda cool. Any, any parting words before we, before we hang up,

[00:45:27] Marti Ogram: I would just say, I love what you're doing and you're you're I'm now I have binged you since.

That's a thing I'm good at Ben. So I got off of Netflix. I binge watched, and we have really appreciate that you are, have such an open forum with these great perspectives. So I'm learning, I'm learning a

[00:45:49] James Dice: lot too.

[00:45:52] Ryan Morris: Yeah, I know. It's great that you've put the effort into this stuff. And the industry is the industry has got to change.

You know, there's, there's obviously a place for the big guys, but you know, it's a space that's just kind of transformed so much over the next decade and yeah, there's a lot of room for a lot of players to to advance the cause.

[00:46:10] Marti Ogram: Yeah. And I'll just say, I'm really impressed that in with your. That you're doing this because there's many of these kinds of podcasts.

That's kind of like, you know, the older generation looking down and going, how are we going to get? But I love that you bring a fresh perspective that you haven't, you know, aren't from the crew that's been added 20, 30 years. So, that's fantastic to see.

[00:46:31] James Dice: I just had a birthday and I'm feeling very sensitive about it.

And you just made me feel. Younger, so.

Awesome. Well, thank you too again, and I'm sure we'll talk again soon.

[00:46:48] James Dice: All right friends, thanks for listening to this episode of the Nexus Podcast. For more episodes like this and to get the weekly Nexus Newsletter, which by the way, readers have said is the best way to stay up to date on the future of the smart building industry, please subscribe at nexuslabs.online. You can find the show notes for this conversation there as well. Have a great day.