49 min read

🎧 #076: The evolving role of the Master Systems Integrator (MSI)

“Those that adapt and recognize what's coming will continue to live on and those who want to keep their Blockbuster stores open with videos on the shelves, they're not going to be here in a few years' time."

—Rob Huntington

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Episode 76 is a mashup of all the times I've talked to podcast guests about the Master Systems Integrator role.


The concept of the MSI is an ongoing, evolving conversation and I just wanted to review for myself what I've learned so I can figure out what questions to ask next.

It's also partly a response to a 4-hour session for MSIs at Realcomm IBcon Conference that I just returned from. I felt like a lot of the discussion you're about to hear here was missing from that entire 4-hour session and a lot of the non-MSI, non-controls contractor folks that needed to be there weren't there. So this is my attempt to elevate some of the voices that have told this story the right way in hope that more people hear this message.

  1. Nexus Podcast 🎧 #024: Mike Brooman
  2. Nexus Podcast 🎧 #034: Brian Turner
  3. Nexus Podcast 🎧 #052: Rob Huntington
  4. Nexus Podcast 🎧 #055: Ruairí Barnwell
  5. Nexus Podcast 🎧 #056: Sabine Lam
  6. Realcomm IBcon (0:55)
  7. Vanti (1:30)
  8. Buildings IOT (8:02)
  9. Airmaster (16:40)
  10. DLR Group (36:23)

You can find Mike, Brian, Rob, Ruairi, and Sabine on LinkedIn.



  • Mike Brooman on defining the MSI and the types of stuff they do: it's about mastery of technology and people skills to be the glue that brings all the systems together (1:24)
  • Brian Turner on what an MSI is and when they should get brought in (7:58)
  • Rob Huntington on the MSI role, whether the BMS contractor should play it, when they should get involved, and whether the MSA is a different role (16:38)
  • Mike Brooman on whether silos should continue to exist or whether there should be one person responsible for all tech (22:19)
  • Mike Brooman on whether MSIs are consultants - they're not (26:52)
  • Rob Huntington on the challenges and requirements for the design engineers (32:25)
  • Ruairi Barnwell on defining roles in the construction process (36:23)
  • Brian Turner on the ongoing service aspect of the MSI's role (43:21)
  • Rob Huntington on the BOS software and whether that company should be separate from the MSI (50:25)
  • Rob Huntington on the business case for the MSI role - it's just cheaper (54:51)
  • Sabine Lam from Google on what progressive building owners need out of MSIs (57:53)

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!

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.

James Dice: This episode is a mashup of all the times. I've talked to podcast guests about the master systems integrator role.

The concept of the MSI is an ongoing, evolving conversation. And I just wanted to review for myself what I've learned so far, so I can figure out what questions to ask next.

It's also partly a response to a recent four-hour session for MSIs at the Realcomm IBcon Conference that I just returned from. I felt like a lot of [00:01:00] the discussion you're about to hear here was missing from that entire four hour session. And a lot of the non MSI, non controls contractor folks that needed to be there to hear the message. Weren't there. In fact, all the real estate CIO is we're in a different room in the parallel session from them. So, this is my attempt to elevate some of the voices that have told the story the right way, in hopes that more people hear this message.

Let's start this off by defining the MSI with my friend, Mike broom and CEO of Vanti out of the UK.

So you guys at fancy are

Mike Brooman: a master

James Dice: systems integrator. I think this is a very. perhaps misunderstood term in our marketplace. it's used worldwide. It's used in the U S I want to talk about like, what is the actual definition of a master systems integrator to you guys?

Mike Brooman: Okay. So, A couple of bits on this. and I have sat on stages things like integrated systems, Europe and the smart learning conference. I think it's, it's really important to [00:02:00] get out. This is a self proclaimed. Master systems integrator, right? So there's no we've been accredited.

There's a course that we've been on. the prefect pudding, right? So we can take you to a bunch of sites. We can show you the integration work. We can introduce you to our software developers and the rest of the team that bring all this together. And I think it's really important. We acknowledge that.

I also think master part gets misunderstood as well in terms of, in fact, the best example I have of this. Is a big four controls company that shall remain nameless, that we ended up in a bit of a competitive situation with. And, the conversation turned to them becoming the master systems integrator and the conversation then also went along the lines of them.

We need to work out who the slaves are now. That isn't the way that we look at master in Masa systems integration at all. So for us, it is very much around kind of master craftspeople in terms of people [00:03:00] who have got really good at their trade and really good at their craft. And actually it's an acknowledgement that they have a breadth and depth of experience.

It is applicable to a certain situation. Okay. I have to clear

James Dice: up that misconception Right.

Mike Brooman: Well, with the, amount we're trying to kind of work out master from things like, you know, code repositories and all that kind of stuff. Cause of all of, recent events. yeah, I think important that we do get away from that as quickly as we possibly can.

And also very open to any of the labels that we could use to label ourselves. But I did find a definition, cause. I saw this came up on, LinkedIn and Navigant put this out, two years ago. And I think it is still fully applicable. Say they define it as a service provider that demonstrates the main experience in it systems and networking, building automation and controls, application, software analytics, and support services.

And then they go onsite say MSM, I can create a program [00:04:00] across system integration with complete interoperability. And that is what we do. So we are frequently described in our projects as the glue that binds everything together. the recent, large fits out that we did for a client in London. we have some absolutely amazing feedback from them to the extent that they were just like, we don't think we could have done this project without you.

You literally went around and worked with every single one of our subcontractors to help them understand what you needed to get from the technology. And then you pulled out of the bag and made it all work together. And so. I think that for me all stems, it makes an awful lot of sense, but I think it's not just the technical element of MSI.

That's important. It is also the people element. And I think we spend a good amount of our time, certainly early on in projects, really trying to work out where people are at on the technical understanding side of things, and then really supporting them if we need, [00:05:00] in terms of, you know, whether it's getting devices onto the network, helping them understand the sub-net mosques, helping them understand what a reader is, understanding why they should change their default passwords, you know, all of those kinds of things.

And then. If they've got all of that stuff in the bag, it's then potentially into, you know, why we need naming schemers within those systems, because actually it allows us to report the data better. And I think a lot of our, building user experience work, we also use with other subcontractors to really um, bring the experience to life.

So, you know, sometimes if you're a system provider light and access control, You might not be thinking you are this integral part of the overall building experience and what that journey is from sidewalk up to, up to your desk. But actually you are the first touch point that most people will experience Right? Yeah. First impressions too. Yeah, exactly. And if that doesn't work properly or it's unreliable or whatever, then actually, you're almost on a bit of a downer before you've even [00:06:00] reached the lift. So I think there's a lot around, being really integral with people. There's a lot around difficult conversations for sure.

there's also a huge amount around learning and I think that's, it's one of the things that we always look for in, our hires is. Anyone who turns up to vanity and says, they've got some kind of home lab that basically through the door straight away, because we know that they're playing with technology in their own time and they do have that kind of learning attitude.

We tend to shy away from heavily kind of certified people. Hmm. so yeah, we're, we're looking for people with kind of. Grit and determination that, you know, if they get a big, hairy problem, they're going to go at it and keep going at it until they either resolve it or they can come up with some way of, of working around it.

And because of the breadth of technology that we experience, that's also super important. Like we often talk about people needing to learn in minutes and hours, not days and weeks. Because it can be [00:07:00] that we're in the middle of a job and suddenly the client will announce that they've bought some IOT solution that suddenly we need to welcome magic to bring into the overall journey or experience.

And then it's about, you know, into data sheet, contacting vendors, trying to understand how we can integrate with them, that kind of stuff. And you can't do that if you're not willing to Almost roll with kind of what's going on a little bit. And I think that's why there are large systems integrators out there.

but they tend to be quite specialized. And I think that's the, the kind of tipping point really is it's that agility and ability to, to move with things and bring in what's new, not rely on. Having process, strict ways of working and only doing stuff in a way that we've done it before. because that, that just, well, if you know, construction, if you're in a construction program, the deadline never moves.

So it's about how do we make it work within the time we have left.

James Dice: Okay, James here again. Next we have another [00:08:00] friend of mine, Brian Turner, CEO of buildings, IOT on what an MSI is and when they should get brought in to the process.

how do you guys define and describe what an MSL it is?

Brian Turner: So an MSI is a little bit.

Consultant a little bit, project management, quite a bit of project management, a trainer and educator, and then ultimately an integrator and then a service provider. So, the thing about an MSI and what they're delivering is, is really a cloud enabled. building operations platform at the end of the day.

And that means that they're going to be with you as a partner for a long time, you know, think about when you buy enterprise software, like an Oracle or a net suite or something. You're not buying that for one year and then bidding it out again next year. Right. You're selecting a technology as something that you're going to use as part of your business, as a partner in your business for.

You know, five years minimum. I mean, [00:09:00] realistically it might be 10 or 15 and that's really how people need to be looking at MSIs. This isn't something that you're bidding out year after year, although that's, what's been happening. And you can imagine the amount of, inconsistency and deliverable that building owners get or building operators get when they take that approach and that natural for that approach to happen.

Because so many of my size. Came up from a controls contracting world. Right. And those people were bid out every single time. Right. All I have to do is say, you have to be Niagara. All I have to do is say you have to be Allerton or ALC or Honeywell, or fill in the blank. I'll get competitive bidding.

Everybody will be great. And we'll be good. And then you get inconsistent delivery, you know, kind of the, you think logically that model didn't work in controls. For a good inconsistency, right? Certainly isn't going to work and master system integration. and so now here's the, here's the problem, the fundamental problem.

So many MSIs [00:10:00] came up through controls, contracting or lighting integration or somewhere, right. And with one of the building systems and they struggled to give up that revenue because. An MSI scope for an 800,000 square foot building might be 700,000, might be a hundred thousand, but the scope for the controls contractor might be two and a half million.

Right, right. And the scope for the controls contractor has a lot of labor subcontractors. a lot of material, a lot of commissioning, a lot of programming, and they've built their whole environment to support that kind of revenue model. Then an MSI comes in and it's a lot of just intelligent labor. A lot of smart people, a little bit of material, maybe on the networking side, you know, maybe you've got some, some firewalls, maybe you're part of the, depending on the building layout, you might be the technology vendor also, but at the end of the day, you shouldn't be [00:11:00] responsible for the controls or lighting controls or the elevators or any of that, because those all are systems in and of themselves that need focus and the MSI, you have to be aware and knowledgeable.

At least a little bit of all of those systems that you're integrating in order to really understand the use cases and the outcomes. And that should be your whole focus on the project. Um, so often, you know, if you think about a controls contractor, that is an MSI also they, they come in and they've got, you know, five chillers, you know, five towers, 57 pumps, and.

That plant has huge amounts of complexity and that they're sitting here trying to interact with, you know, the elevator system. That's got a little bit of problem, and now that best technician has to go run over because the chiller plant just shut down and they don't know why. And now they've got to, unscrambled tons of code to figure it out.

And so many MSIs, their best integrators, also their best controls technician. And, then that best controls technician might also get called to another project. [00:12:00] And so you just end up with these real conflicts of interest and so much of the MSI. So really a real MSI is somebody who is hired specifically to be an MSI and not hired specifically do any of those other things.

And it, it doesn't mean they couldn't have that expertise in house. I have several clients that we don't do any controls for, even though I have controls expertise in house. But I just am there MSI and I work with what used to be my competitor. I mean, you brought this up a little earlier, right? That, that we're an industry that culturally has hated our competitors for years.

Right. You don't ever want to talk to him. You don't want to share ideas. You don't want to do anything. You'll avoid them at conferences. If they walk into the, to the bar that you're sitting at, you know, you make sure that they're not sitting at the table next to you because they might overhear some competitive advantage you have.

And that's all really BS. you know, if, anything, the tech [00:13:00] industry has shown us that you can be very, good friends and, and in fact, you might be working for that one. Yeah. In two months or three months. Right. and so the sharing of knowledge, and I'm not saying that everything should be shared, there's certainly some competitive things that we try to keep in house, but for the most part, what we're talking about today, there's nothing new, right?

As you said, that you've had 29 episodes covering many of these things, many of the ideas that I've talked about, I'm just supporting what other people have already said on the show. So it's, it's. Once we can get past that and that we're not the smartest people in the room. I think we'll really be able to understand what MSI is and emphasize work with other partners.

So I'm teaching, for example, Johnson controls, branch, how to be a good citizen on a system. That's part of an MSI smart building platform, right? I'm teaching them how to write your programs, how to model your data, how to prepare. Your system to be part of [00:14:00] something bigger. Right? Right. That's something new for them.

Every other job they've done before they've been the master of their domain. They didn't have to worry about anybody else. They didn't have to worry about designing their architecture to support passing data and moving data upstream. They just didn't care. So that's why I say it's part of educator when you're an MSI, you're spending time with people that used to be your competitors and you're teaching them.

How to be A good contractor on that, job. How to make the most money on that job, how to limit the callbacks and the rework effort that they might have to do. So, you know, so now it begs the question. When's an MSI, come on as soon as possible. So we, you know, we work a lot with the smart building consultants out there.

Um, and some of those consultants are becoming MSIs, which is kind of weird. And so it's forcing some MSIs to start consulting, even though I have no idea how to make money as a consultant. so the, thing is if, if a consultant works for a year or two with an owner and [00:15:00] developing concepts, use cases, et cetera, the MSI needs to be brought in.

Basically on groundbreaking so that they can start putting a reality check to those use cases and technologies and help them understand what they actually need to install in the building to get these outcomes. Got it. Cause a lot of times the consultant will we'll work with them and they'll come up with theoretical outcomes that should be available.

They don't necessarily know exactly how to make that happen, where the MSI does have that. So, so there needs to be a good handoff. From that. And then other consultants I've seen in some parts of the world, actually stay with the job till the end, which I think is also smart because if the consultant came up with a theoretical idea that they thought would be available in three years, when the building comes to life, But as they're working with the MSI that find out that, Hey, the technology that's available as either a too expensive B too experimental or C just not available, they can reframe that for the owner, right?

Because they're the [00:16:00] ones who worked with the owner to create that. And too often, the MSI is left holding the bag while XYZ consulting said, this could be done and we're going, but it really can. If you look at. The way, what we'd have to do to make that happen. It's just too expensive and way too expensive to maintain.

Like, why, do I want to build Frankenstein? If I wait two more years, I can put it in an elegantly and add it to your platform versus bolting something in right now that you won't want to support over time and ultimately you'll consider a failure. So, so the consultants and the MSIs have to be hand in hand, throughout that process.

James Dice: Alright back to James again. Next we have Rob Huntington from down under echoing. Some of those same points on one of the BMS contractors should be transitioning into this new role and when they should get involved in the project.

it's the strategy of getting someone that knows about all of the technologies involved way or there than they're currently getting involved.

And a lot of [00:17:00] projects, and that's been recently called the role of the MSI, right? The master systems integrator. So let's, before we move on from the doom, the code accusation or the blockbuster ization of the VMs contractor, I think what you're probably not about to say is that the BMS contractors should be playing that role.

That we're about to talk about.

That was a leading question. I should have asked that in a more open,

Rob Huntington: this is like going to be clickbait

So much controversy in one podcast. Look, they can be. They've got the skill set, right? Like, yeah. They previously were the smartest guy in the building and it's not a big leap for them to just forget the way in which things have been done in the past and adapt.

So, those that adapt and recognize what's coming will continue to live on and those who want to keep their blockbuster stores open with videos on the shelves they're not going to be here [00:18:00] in a few years' time. So they've got the ability to pivot, I guess, and moving to this space. And again, the IT is a classic example, like with the digital transformation, everything moving to the cloud, like what did IT providers used to do that these businesses were built on putting little data centers in closets customers officer's and closets, yeah. So they had to move away from selling hardware and servers to managed services or adapt to the change basically. So, can they be? Yes. Should MSI be part of the BMS specification, let's say or it be contracted in that way or in that siloed approach? That's the part I don't agree with, I guess. It really has to be an overarching set of principles for the whole project, but that flow across all joined together, all the different silos instead of it being a silo in itself.

You see, it [00:19:00] happened with the BSMs and you see it happen with integration. It sometimes just falls in the bucket of the BMS contractor, because that's sort of where it fits best. But I mean, that goes back to this whole challenge of the design of the building still being in silos. So how do you break that cycle and have the master system integrator actually across the top influencing everybody, or bringing the silos together instead of creating another new silo use, creating another silo basically by contracting the integration on the network as a vertical.

Yeah. Yeah.

And this is going to build on some of the themes that we talked about.

I talked about with Brian Turner and Mike Berman different episodes where we talked about the MSI role, but I think what you're describing, like we can improve upon the design phase, but I think what, what I'm hearing also is that you're talking about the MSI sort of being involved, or an MSI like role, being involved even before the design phase, [00:20:00] which correct me if I'm wrong, but this is where the systems start to get like architected out before you get into the nitty-gritty design. Is that what I'm hearing?

Yeah, totally. I mean, that's where personally, I've seen the most success. So there's one model where your entry point is at the bottom. You're the bottom of the food chain. You are subcontracting to like an electrical contractor who's contracting to the builder and it's really difficult to influence or guide all the parties on the site when you're that bottom feeder. Basically, you're just a subcontractor, don't tell me how to design my IP scheme or deploy my server, whatever. When you come in at the top where you're talking to the building owner and you have mapped out those journeys and like there's a clear outcome in mind when we're talking about these technology choices, a lot easier to influence when you've got the building owner in complete alignment. The message is clear. Everybody [00:21:00] knows why. And that's probably the bit that's missing, I guess when we talk about some of these converge networks or integration platforms, like, why are we doing it? It's like, why do I have to connect to this converged network?

And sometimes that is probably not easy to answer. If that is clearly understood from the outset, I think it makes it a little bit easier for everybody to swallow, to know why are we doing this? Why are we changing the way that things are done.

James Dice: So is this almost like a different role, master systems architect versus master systems integrator? Or is it the same role?

Rob Huntington: I think it's similar. I think it's the timing that's different. The architecture piece would sort of indicate that it happens, like you said, early on in the piece and you are putting together an architecture, I guess, that will flow down into the consultants, down into the trades.

Integration, I guess by name would indicate you're having to pull different things together after the fact. So for me, it's just a matter of timing. The role is similar. But doing it smart from the start [00:22:00] and having a building operating system specified in what almost, you think the integration piece isn't actually required?

It's already together from the beginning, so you're not having to communicate to different systems, different protocols. They're all natively being able to talk to one another, without the need for integration.

James Dice: Okay, James here again next week. Bring back in Mike and Rob and add in DLR group's Rory Barnwell on how to sort out the roles between consulting engineer. Commissioning agent other contractors and MSIs.

Mike Brooman: So the example I always use around this is lighting. Okay. So as an MSI, we are not going to design you, amazing looking lighting scenes. We are not going to get into, you know, what color temperatures should go in which spaces and all this kind of thing, because I think.

We have to acknowledge that whilst it would be wonderful, we'll know everything and be able to do absolutely everything. I think the thing that we acknowledge is, [00:23:00] kind of what's the, boundary and the boundary for us is around that integration that they try and control it. Isn't about replacing the specialism.

Hmm. And, and that specialism is also critical, right. Because there's. Yeah, access control cards. There's a hundred different varieties and getting the compatibility right. And all that kind of stuff. We can research that and doing that within a project, like yeah, sure. But does that make us an access control, especially it's like, absolutely not.

Totally. And so I think it's about appreciating. As well as all those different lenses that we talk about kind of on that building, it's also, moving to a position of actually collaborating between all of these different people. And think we're going to succeed lots more a kind of coopertition if that makes sense, like, you know, there are some jobs where we may compete against people that actually want another job we'll be working alongside or, or delivering something.

And I think that's [00:24:00] where, again, from a philosophical perspective, We don't believe that one vendor should do it all. And I think we see single vendors try and do absolutely everything and claim they do everything. But also I think from my and experience, yeah. Even back in Oracle days, Oracle went on a mad spending spree to buy all these different companies like PeopleSoft and all that kind of stuff.

And it took them years to properly integrate that into the rest of their solution so that it actually became Oracle HR. And I'm still not sure they've even achieved it honest, but, um, I think that's where. In buildings and because of construction and the way that that works and the size and scale of things, you know, yeah.

You could get to a stage and we've talked about it. You know, we've talked about the potential that in years to come, you will get something called like a main technology contractor. And [00:25:00] actually it would be someone going like technology. Absolutely paying, just take the whole lot away from me, but. Kind of having looked at that we were then like, well, you know, it's almost like how far down the rabbit hole do you go?

Because, you know, once you start getting into color temperatures and whether it's, you know, there's five version two or my fair, or, you know, whether you want to have people visible at 10 feet or a hundred feet on CCTV, that is a specialism, those skills are required. It's just those people don't need to bring.

Networks, which is S servers and you know how do we kind of address those? Those boundaries, which will be gray, which will be blurry, you know, even between projects, it might be, or we integrate all the way down because of a particular use case in, one project. But actually it's pretty light touch in another.

Hmm. And so I think there is a, um, there's always a drive towards simplicity [00:26:00] and, you know, One back to Pat one throat to choke, like, however you want to describe it. And the reason we'll say that, kind of real desire within construction, that everything is delineated into like these box contracts that, you know, you can point at someone and be like, it's their fault.

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

so I think what I'm hearing is that like the MSI it's not a. Tell me what to do. Tell him what my scope of work is.

Tell me where to go, what to be. It's more of [00:27:00] a, a leader. Like you're pulling people together, pulling people along. It's a leadership role. You're in a consultation, basically. You're, you're a consultant in a way. and so w is that how you describe it? It's like a consultancy. And are you a contractor or are you just a con like talk to me about like business models?

Mike Brooman: Yeah. So people get really upset when we call ourselves consultants. Um, which, uh, I think, you know, it's fair. I think the other thing is we've been really open to working with consultants and we do. And in fact, actually, even today, um, huge global consultancy has approached us, for a 1.8 million square foot building that is putting out a master systems integrator back.

And they've approached us because they've gone. Actually we can fulfill all of the project management stuff, all of the really detailed stuff they want doing around them. All of the lead well and Brianne certification stuff. We've got specialists on staff to do that. [00:28:00] What we don't have is the ability to technically architect it and to do all that system validation and make stuff work together.

And that is like the perfect engagement for us, because it allows us to bring our technical scale, which is what we're social to have in the industry. But it means we're not trying to be, you know, consultants in. How buildings go together and all the standards and how they work and everything else. And I mean, we've had some pretty direct exchanges with consultants who have come to us and said, you know, if we ever find out you're doing consultancy, you'll never appear on our tender lists again for, being an integrator on our projects.

And you know, We're also not the people to be, sat around writing. Yeah. I mean, sometimes facts that come out like, you know, reams of paper of just like pages and pages of, these are the things that are gonna happen. And it's not that we're not interested in that detail. It's important.

it's just, it's not where we folk [00:29:00] CoStar our kind of business. So We love performance specifications when they're written as performance specs. I think we genuinely really struggle when we get a very technically detailed spec through, because the reaction is to then go, Oh, okay. But, you know, What about if we did this?

And so it can become quite confrontational. Whereas, we've always said kind of thing. One of the building user experience design, the user story, mapping the user journeys, all that kind of stuff. Like they were probably there digitally yeah. Agencies out there that are infinitely better than us at that we could work with consultants and help them understand.

Why do we take that approach? Mostly because it really age is stakeholders, particularly, developers and then whoever else, if they can really graphically say. What they're going to get at the end, they really engage in it. Right. And then I, Oh, well, you know, could it do this or could we make this happen?

And then, I mean, just like you're going through on the [00:30:00] course, it's all about building that set of requirements and then fitting the technology to it. Not that we need to start with, you know, Page is about, each lb MQTT and it shall be Jason and all this kind of stuff, because why, if that doesn't fit the use cases where it doesn't fit, how the space is going to be used, like why are we being that prescriptive about it?

So, yeah, we, we tread really carefully around consultancy and I think the other thing is we're seeing this kind of emergence of, master systems architect and master systems designer. I mean, in my opinion, they're just terms that aren't required, like consultants need to skill up on this stuff and then they just need to keep doing what they're great at.

I think there are some more tools they can put in their toolkit. I think we're open to helping people do that because as far as we're concerned, the more people that can, develop experiences and describe them to clients. Well, actually that engaging them. And we've been on [00:31:00] projects where you turn around to the client, you like, so, um, have you read the specification?

And then I'm like, no, why would I read a 200 page technical document? And then you like, so do you know what you're getting? And they were like, Oh no, you, but you know, we just trust the consultants are going to give us what we need. And then you can get to the end of some projects and clients will stand there and be like, what on earth is this this isn't what we talked about or what we asked for.

And then you're in this really awkward position of, but it's what they told us to build. And so I think, again, this comes back to that kind of, coopertition the collaboration, like the lines are blurry and I think particularly around. Where we pick up and consultant, this would stop. I mean, typically consultants are not interested being in a construction site, making tech work together.

I think they would, all of them would sit there and go, you know, not for us. Yeah. but I think The more overlap there is the [00:32:00] more the end result can be, because I mean, there's, there's so much context in, design meetings and decisions that get taken and, understanding that you just can't transfer even in a 200 page document.

Like you'll never get that kind of stuff across to people. So, yeah, it's, it's blurry, but we are 100% not being traditional consultants. No, you're a consultative contractor

James Dice: and you come in after the design firm. Well, you come in, you would love to overlap with the design firm. before they're done producing this fact, maybe you have some influence on it, but you're not trying to get into that role as what I'm, what I'm

Mike Brooman: hearing.

Yeah, I think that's it. That's a great description. And probably one I might start with. Um, thanks. but so yeah, I think we don't want to, we certainly don't want to eat their lunch, but it is about providing that technical [00:33:00] specialism. And also because this market is moving so quickly and we are really doing things that are different on the ground.

We want to feed that back into that cycle as quickly as possible because well, If we take it to a super macro level, well, there's literally on fire and there are not enough people trying to make buildings more efficient right now. So either we all start working together or basically we're screwed.

James Dice: I'm picturing like the, the traditional construction process and we've, we've inserted someone upfront.

We've inserted someone that, you know, at the end, like you said, is not one silo. They're kind of connecting all the silos. Right. The part that I'm still fuzzy about those, the design phase, like right, right in the middle here, you know, design firms and we're going to have Rory from, DLR, in a, in a couple episodes, but Design firms don't typically do very well at this stage.

So do you see, I guess the first question is, are consultants going to start taking on some of this role? [00:34:00] And what do you think about that? And then how do consultants play when they don't take on the role and someone else does,

Rob Huntington: ah, man, another, another controversial one. Don't mindful of not pointing the finger to, and if they fall, but you're right.

Like they designing silos. So the classic example for me is hotel rooms. So you can have one consulting firm doing the design for all the services and you have their electrical consultant or engineer. He designs this control solution for the lighting in the room. It's going to always funky things with sayings and you walk in and lights come on and this sort of happens.

Yeah. Same thing happens with the air conditioning, but it's its own control system, occupancy sensor. You walk in and the air-con comes onto a, so you end up with like three or four different controllers in the room that are doing blinds, air conditioning lighting. When one hotel room controller could do everything, but even, and we've had some [00:35:00] candid chats with consultants when we bought all their teams together and said, why do you guys all sit next to one another and do the designs for the building and not talk to each other about what you're doing.

And they all laughed and go, yeah, that actually is what happens. And, uh, I dunno, it was, I was joking, but it is what happens. Like they're literally not consulting each other on how to actually find efficiencies. And Hey, what if we just put one room controller in? So it goes back to not having that overarching guideline of.

Or whether it's the consultants that do it or not. Yeah. There has to be these, these blueprint that refi's referred back to saying my, yeah, the map, the mapping of that hotel guest is we want them to enter the room and we want the blinds to open TV comes on and says, welcome Mr. Dice to your executive suite.

And like, all those things happen, that's in the blueprint. So then how do the consultants make that happen? So again, how do we get it? [00:36:00] So it's someone, I don't really care who it is, but there has to be that overarching guideline that everybody else, if we're going to continue to design these buildings in silos like we do, there has to be this blueprint or guideline in place.

People can refer back to, to make sure we can achieve. Yeah, achieve outcomes.

James Dice: What are the challenges in the traditional design process?

And how can we kind of overcome those with how technology is changing today?

Ruairi Barnwell: I mean, that's probably most of the issues that we have today and in that side of the industry is we just copy and paste the last points list, then sequence and border plates back into the next one.

You know, as an industry collectively, that's been a, been a criticism for the last couple of years. I would say there definitely are firms who you know, all the ones I mentioned earlier and many more who get it and are kind of evolving more into [00:37:00] that kind of smart building consulting world.

When I say smart building consultant, that's maybe to differentiate between, because I feel like Brian Turner did a nice job differentiating between that smart building consultant and what an MSI does because at the end of the day could kind of see both roles fairly similarly. But again, like I said earlier, I see the smart building consultant role kind of growing out with a commissioning practice and being that kind of owner's advocate and getting those outcomes embedded into the process early on, and less focused on that prescriptive design path, more focused on the outcome and what's the agile way we're going to get there, you know, it's stressful.

But yeah, maybe, I mean, I think honestly from a design firms perspective, I think just doing the simple things right. And getting to controls installed par how they're supposed to be. And then after that, getting the controls and saw how they're supposed to be getting data flowing, where it should be and letting the third-party vendors and, you know everything else kind of.

Fall detection, diagnostics, everything else, you know, that [00:38:00] can come after once you got well-organized foundations. I think that if, as an industry, we just focused on getting that foundation right and leaving it open for technologies that we haven't even considered yet are still being built as we speak.

So that's, I feel like is the most important thing.

James Dice: Yeah. I mean, I feel like that owner's advocate owner's rep commissioning role really suits itself really well for just kind of expanding beyond just HVAC performance and controls into the broader technology.

Ruairi Barnwell: I think so and again, you know, been brought up before, but just it's a fragmented industry and how it's funded, how it can still very linear.

You know, it hasn't changed that much since I got into it back in 2000. I mean, the tools are a little bit different, but it's still we're producing construction documents to bid competitively, low bid wins and low bid gets in and gets out as quick as they can. And at the end of the project, everyone's mad and everyone's trying to, you know, that's just across the board, that part hasn't changed too much, you know, clearly there's lots of exceptions to that.

That's a generalization, but in general, the margins are pretty tight. [00:39:00] So you don't have a whole lot of time at the end of the project, which is the most important part to, you know, that bridging that gap between construction and operations is still open. And we'll see, you know, and that there's lots of conversations.

Again, throwing in the digital twin into that, which I feel like is different again. But and I, I personally feel that the success for the whole digital twin concept moving forward, will be doing those simple things right. You know, what it really is the digital twin at the end of the day, it's the dream that we were sold 15 years ago by rabbit when we were transitioning, I'm old enough where we transitioned from 2D CAD to Rev It. And I was a much bigger transition because back then we had to put a new server ax and upsize the pipe to, you know, to literally increase the bandwidth, to deal with this new software.

But we were sold, you know, it's going to be able to design better. You're going to have, you know, clash detection, scheduled time savings, et cetera. And also by the way, it's going to be this facilities management operations tool. So it's great for the owner too. And we were like, okay, sounds good, in theory.

And in 2004, you're like, I guess, [00:40:00] you know, but 2021 you're still like, you still didn't do that. You know? So I feel like if we just focused on delivering an asset model that was properly populated with the right bits. And again, we've tried to do that for years as commissioning agents with a systems manual.

So that, that just needs to be standardized. Deliverable of a spatially accurate proper agile asset registry into a model. And I feel like that hopefully going back to the car and the stick, that's probably a stick that's needed and then the car can be the live data and the analytics and everything else to build on top of that foundation.

James Dice: Totally. Two questions here. I'm going to try not to forget the second one. The first one is if, if like the smart building consultant kind of morphs out of this commissioning role. How do you see the MSI as being different?

Ruairi Barnwell: Well, again, I think the MSI's role kind of grown out of controls contractors generally here in the States.

We're doing a lot of work in Europe now. And in Ireland specifically, [00:41:00] coincidentally kind of see it over there in Ireland and the UK is kind of growing out more of the IT side of things and maybe low-voltage IT kind of site. So yeah, I mean, I'd say the MSI role is traditionally contractors and smart building consultants are traditionally, you know, engineering consultants and traditional consultants.

So that's roughly how I see it. It's not always that way. There's good unicorn hybrids in between there.

James Dice: Yeah. Second question. I've been talking about the independent data layer a lot. Where do you see that coming in in the context of this digital twin and that kind of where does that show up?

Ruairi Barnwell: Well, I think probably the, the issue now is just, there's so many point solutions and so many siloed, you know, this, someone's got a sensor for XYZ, whether it's air quality or people counting or acoustics or, or whatever. And just that I feel like clients are, our clients at least are kind of overwhelmed with how many different pilot projects of point [00:42:00] solutions that they have.

And there's no real, even air quality sensors, right, well, we're going to try brand X and they've got a dashboard. What about brand Y? They've got dashboard. They don't talk to each other. I got one sensor that needs to go on in and outdoor air duct, and one sensor that used to go on a wall and they're completely different.

And so just get grabbing that data and pushing it to a database that the owner owns or controls. And then, you know, the whole concept of a single pane of glass, but now the whole concept of what if we want to change out that single pane of glass? Yeah. What do you do then and where, where does that leave your data infrastructure?

So I think our more sophisticated clients right now are asking those questions and super focused on how we're acquiring that data, organizing it, pushing it up to their cloud and and not so much super focused on the MSI itself for the single bed is still clearly need to bring that to one place to, to help the operations team.

But then how, how does that back into an enterprise solution? How does that back into outset? How do you take it from a [00:43:00] single bespoke customized solution for building A and back it into 70 other buildings or 90 other buildings that we, that we have across the portfolio. So everyone's got a superstar gem and, you know, jewel in the crown building, but then how do you, how do you get back that into the rest of the buildings?

So that's where most of the conversations are today, I'd say.

James Dice: Rob and Brian on the ongoing service role of the MSI and how it's heavily tied to a software platform, but there are actually two separate roles there.

so talk to me about the. Service aspect of this. So I think one of the issues I see in MSIs is that our industry has a construction mindset. So we view buildings and smart buildings as a one-time event.

Right. Whereas really a smart building is an ongoing event. it's a way of life, essentially. And so when people say MSI, You go from there to [00:44:00] MSI, to like a contractor and for your, at a contract, you need to do a construction project. Right. But, so how do you guys approach the ongoing aspect of the MSI role?

Brian Turner: Yeah. So I'll pay on back to my dad. I always say we were born from distribution, so we didn't have any concept of one time. Right. So for a distributor to be successful, I needed people to keep coming back to me. Right. I couldn't just sell one project to a contractor, never see them again, or else I was dead.

Right. So I had deliver that service over and over and over again. The other thing, and we've talked about this a little bit already. It's it's this concept of, um, I want to charge. For something over and over and over again. So I want to build that use case for you. And then I want to sell it for the same price to the next guy and to the next guy, the next guy.

And when you look at what cloud services and as a service model has done, it's completely extrapolate that away. You know, you pay me a monthly fee or an annual fee and you get whatever I develop. Whether I [00:45:00] developed it for this client or that client, it now becomes available to you because you're paying a recurring fee.

And now, because I'm getting that recurring fee from a lot of people, I don't have to charge everybody the full price to create that solution. so creating a use case for one person might be too expensive for that one person to buy. But if you're creating a use case for 20 people, then everybody buys it.

Right. And, the mentality of get in and get out. This is a construction process. Everybody's motivated and incentivized to make as much money on that one instance as possible. So that means will do as little to get signed off as possible, you know, and whether people like that reality, or want me to say it, you know, that's what keeps me popular in the media, I guess.

But that's the reality, right? I get a job for a million dollars. I have a cost of. $800,000. I want to try to make my cost seven 50. I want to make my call seven 25 because the chances that I'm going to get to increase my top line [00:46:00] are lower than the control I have of the bottom line. And so then we start seeing people under delivering an making you catch them.

So, this is why we have commissioning agents. So I don't want to deliver everything, make your commissioning agent catch me. And then because of the nature of construction, especially in the controls industry controls, typically isn't done till after the occupancy anyway. And so everybody's under the gun to just get done and rarely do we have a hundred percent project.

And then now, then they get into service. And if you're a big organization had service contract, you love it. Turn it over to service and spend the next five years. Hopefully. Maybe bringing that building to a hundred percent, but the industry is broken. It's been broken in that way for a long, long time. and data is going to fix it because data doesn't lie when the sensor is not moving.

You know, it doesn't matter that it's physically there. It doesn't matter if it's physically wired. What matters is, is the data changing? Is it moving back? Is it getting [00:47:00] there consistently? Is the refresh rate. Good? You know, all of those things are going to now drive those underlying systems to be better.

It's going to drive those underlying contractors to be better. It's going to drive the manufacturers of these controllers and these systems to be better. And so now we talk about service. It's no longer it's about servicing the mechanical electrical equipment. It's now about servicing those integrated systems and making sure that if I need a refresh rate of 60 seconds in order to make my enterprise a strict control strategy work, then.

That refresh rates key to now an integral piece of the system. So if that refresh rate starts to degrade, I need somebody who actually knows how to come fix that or knows how to find it, and then work with a third party to actually go do the steps to fix it. Cause the other thing is an MSI is not all things, right, but this is one mistake.

I think a lot of owners make. Is the MSI is like the all, knowing everything. That's not the case. A good MSI is really [00:48:00] good at that domain of data. Really good at the domain of integration, really good at the modeling, really good at presenting and platform and understanding the security model and how to, secure all of that aspect.

But they're not necessarily experts in why the controller on the elevator is not operating, right? Yeah. You got to inform the elevator company like, Hey, these are the things we're seeing. These are the symptoms we're finding. Can you figure out how to resolve it based on what I can give you right now, the more, the longer I interact with elevators.

The more intelligent information, we'll be able to give the elevator company to be more proactive or, precise with their, with their troubleshooting. Um, like in mechanical, I feel we can be fairly precise with the amount of knowledge we have, about mechanical systems and what's going on from the data we get.

But on an elevator, I I'm less precise. Right. But over time, As a good MSI, we'll get more and more precise and helping these service providers [00:49:00] really impact the buildings. Um, and I think that's where if you look at what's an MSI and NSI has all of those things, but a key part is that service provider, if you're delivering a platform, that's going to be there for a long time.

You should also be expecting that you're going to be delivering a service to help them maintain that platform, understand the data that's coming out. Add additional. Use cases kind of cultivate that dataset. Um, you've been in the industry for 10 plus years. The first data set that you came in and the amount of actionable information you rolled to create from that.

Is greater today than it was 10 years ago. And so if you can imagine that we're kind of at the infancy of really bringing all these data sets together and aligning them strategically within the building and the spaces they serve, the amount of information that we're going to be able to create from that over the next 10 years is, is unknown.

Right. And so if you think that you're going to do a construction project and just. [00:50:00] Buy a smart building and set it and forget it. Get through the warranty period and disappear as an operator that you won't need that MSI anymore. And as an MSI, you have the culture of no, I'm moving on to what's next.

I'm not going to take care of what I've done. It's going to fail and it will just, the industry itself won't fail, but the sooner we can rationalize that the faster it will grow.

James Dice: So part of this is like what we talked about that building operating system layer here. That software market is extremely diverse in the number of companies that are saying that they're doing that.

Right. That layer is really, really confusing.

At the same time, the MSI needs to be able to understand that software well enough to where they could make it work. Right. Because they're the ones that are integrating all the silos into it. So that makes me question how independent can and MSI be when they spend their time learning this layer of the marketplace and learning different [00:51:00] tools that provide that building operating system layer.

and I guess where I'm going with that is is there a way for the MSI to be independent from that player?

Rob Huntington: no. What you're saying. Cause it's like, I guess there's two pieces to that MSI Model one, the end goal is a single pane of glass.

And like you said, that piece is probably going to be difficult to have independence, because you're going to go in with a preconceived idea of what you are going to deploy as your integration layer or boarding operating system.

Especially if you're coming from the contractor world, right. Where you're probably a

distributor in something.

Oh, totally. And like, you see it already, like, you've got like, even just this wake of saying carrier a bound, like they've got this new cloud cloud-based platform that they're, that they've announced. So everybody is going to have their version of a cloud-based integration platform. And they're probably going to go in like, that's essentially what they're trying to sell, but for me, it's all of the other work like that [00:52:00] consulting work that you have to do to like sure, everybody that sits underneath that platform can seamlessly integrate and communicate with the platforms.

So that knowledge and expertise is I believe more important than the platform itself. But again, it's yeah. Having independence as far as what that platform is, what product or software is, that's probably. Yeah,

James Dice: I guess if I were to, like, we have a lot of building owners that listen to this, like you can, you can have a selection process for your software layer.

That's independent of the MSIs role. In my opinion, MSI can help educate you on that, but it doesn't need to be part of their contract and compensation. It can be. You, you can create independence from that software layer and basically come out with a process that picks the best software for you. Right. We don't have to have that sort of so integrated in with the construction players.

And I think a lot of the bigger portfolios obviously understand that and they're [00:53:00] standardizing on different, different software platforms that they will spec. So, and look, and maybe that's the difference between the master system architect and integrator. So like naturally we're talking about the MSI as doing the work.

Like they are going to do the integration platform, whereas yeah, the architects, like you said, they can perhaps be independent. If they're not the ones actually deploying the integration platform, then all of a sudden you've got complete independence because you can select the right solution for that particular job guided by the outcomes you're trying to achieve.

So that's a slight difference, but I guess it's going to come back to that question of, yeah. He's, uh, he's in a consulting role. Or is the intent that an MSA MSI does stuff as well. I'm going to, I'm

going to make it even more confusing for us because I know for a fact, and I've talked to the talk to specific emphasize that have a great software layer that they've developed.

Right. And I know it's good. [00:54:00] And so at the same time, I'm like also talking to those owners, like if you have a great MSI and they're going to be installing their own product, that's probably a good fit too. Right. You know, specific, uh, vendors in mind, but like, Like, I, I know that that's probably going to work out well as well.

So it's like, yeah, there's always these nuances that make it so hard to wrap your wrap your head around. There's no one

way, right?

Rob Huntington: No. Oh no. It's so it's really challenging. But again, I call, I think because like there's no clean definition, whether it's everything we've talked about today, none of it's clearly defined whether it's the operating system integration platform, MSI, MSI, like they're all these fluffy times that I don't think anyone's really nailed as far as really defining what.

By all means

James Dice: part of what I try to do in the course is like call stuff by different acronyms that might look like I made up, but I'm really trying to dislike. Right. Like draw buckets around stuff. But the number one thing I get when I, when I [00:55:00] sort of lay out the current construction process for, for my students is the number one question I get is like, okay, how do we change it?

Right. So do you have, how do we integrate what we're calling real? It's like a mindset of the MSI. We're not saying there's one answer here, but how do we get these concepts integrated into the construction process?

Rob Huntington: Unfortunately it almost always comes down to cost.

James Dice: Okay.

Rob Huntington: And that's what I'm seeing so far. So this, this job I'm just about to kick off in Adelaide, whilst it is a really cool technical solution to a problem, it is a completely converged network. There is not another cable or piece of equipment going in other than the one that we're putting in. So it's doing wireless internet. It's a hotel.

So we're doing wireless access points, internet, hotel, guest internet, front of house internet. Like everything [00:56:00] that can connect via IP is on one network. It's really, it's a really exciting job.

James Dice: You're saying it comes down to cost, meaning that is cheaper than the alternative?

Rob Huntington: Exactly. So, despite all the cool things we're doing in this building and all the experiences we're going to create, it was all cost.

James Dice: We should have lead with that.

Rob Huntington: In a way it sucks. Like, that's what the driver is. But on the other hand, the reason why we could realize the cost savings for this client is because we drove it from the very, very, very beginning. And we didn't allow anybody in the value chain to price or design their element without taking in consideration, this single network that was going in.

So all the duplications in hardware or network hardware have been avoided. The cabling was the biggest one. Like they want it to run five or six cables to every single hotel room. We're running one. So we run one and pick up the WAP, the [00:57:00] WAP has ports on board and you plug stuff into the WAP so, and that was the bit that these owners really got a hold of.

So they're saying. So it's a hundred room hotel, six cables per room, does 600 cat. 6 cables running. And he's like, that's like this many cables, yeah? And I'm like, yes. I said, but it's going to run one fiber backbone and then one cable out each room. And he's like, so that's just like this. And I'm like, yeah. Done Sold No, no, none of the smart cybersecurity, like none of that ever came into work. It just so happens that doing it in this way and being smart from the start, you get cost savings. So I think being able to drive those savings, unfortunately in the short term, that's how I've had success is it's essentially come down to being a cost saving discussion.

James Dice: And finally last but not least, we have a Sabine Lam of Google on the perspective of progressive building owner and what they need out of the MSI as we move [00:58:00] forward.

So given the context of what you guys need in your building, what are you asking of service providers and contractors to help you get there?

Sabine Lam: Right. Right. So, you know, the MSI, and again, I won't pretend to know what MSI I've been doing, I will just tell you what we want them to do. And so you know, as I use the word evolving, but it is kind of definitely focused on the security and data driven focus where we're trying to move away from OT protocols and replace it all with, you know, communicating with MQTT UDMI.

And so forget BacNET, forget BacNET SE we need the MSIs to understand MQTT. We need them to understand how to register devices in cloud. How to verify that the data is communicating into cloud and you know, that the data is available on the cloud. And so I kind of break it into three categories.

There's the security aspect of it. They are, in our world, they are responsible for reviewing the drawings and ensuring that [00:59:00] the technology selected is qualified or at least qualifiable and potentially even they are the one qualifying those devices. So they work very closely with our digital billing consultant. The digital billing consultant understands what we're trying to accomplish with these buildings in the use cases.

And they kind of propose some solution. The MSI is the one who understand our standards really well and ensure that the solution that has been selected can at least be qualified or they can qualify, or we send it to a lab and we qualify it ourselves. But the result has to be that the solution is qualified.

And then that solution is capable of sending data to cloud. On the data modeling side of it they are the one that are creating our billing model config file. And so they are the one that take the information from either the BMS or others and creating a billing config file.

And it just happened to be in a Yammer format in our world. So how you map this information to our [01:00:00] digital being ontology, putting the proper format so we can ingest it into our data lake. And that's a role that is a 100% MSI role, very, very manual today. And it has to change. Like, this is not possible you know, it's a one-time, potentially it works, very error prone. So I think that's the biggest gap and I think the industry realized that that, these data mapping and modeling is the biggest gap. And and the hardest thing to maintain during the whole life cycle of the building right now, we're throwing MSIs at it and then I realized they have to stay. Once the building opens, the MSI always needs to stay around, right, to update the information as we go. So you know, model the building validate that the information is valid and match the as-is, right. So the functional description is just aligned with the as-built and trying to come up with a methodology to ensure the quality of the solution and lasting set of information is accurate.[01:01:00]

And then the onboarding that's the concept of this. So yeah, security, and then onboarding is going to registering the device to cloud, but being familiar with cloud, understanding of how you provision those systems on our network, how you onboard those devices onto the cloud platform, things like that is also kind of their wall.

And so you didn't hear me talk about the application itself. It's all about provide the data in a format that I can do something cool with it. Don't worry about the cool part, just do the first part.

James Dice: Got it. You've mentioned all the labor that goes into mapping points, so is that something that you guys are able to drive with these sort of manufacturer standards where we can start to have self identifying, self modeling type, sort of interoperability, sort of machine to machine interoperability? Is that kind of where you're headed as far as forcing standards?

Sabine Lam: So the model itself, we're not discussing muddling with the manufacturer themselves. It's more once the device is in place...

James Dice: This [01:02:00] is like a pet peeve of mine. The industry, I feel like it's something, when we're talking about interoperability, we're not putting enough onus on the manufacturers themselves to basically say you guys need to adopt the modeling standards and then basically self-describe your stuff. Right?

Sabine Lam: Right. So we are doing it in a way where we say, if your device is, what we call smart ready, you know, you take the data and you send it to us in this unique format. Universal Device Management Interface, right? Which is not BacNET. But there's very few company or devices that are capable of doing that.

Right. And so, the honest right now is definitely on the MSI to do a lot of the work and it's manual work of data mapping, you know. Here's what you get and here's how we want to call it, and how we want to describe the type of device, and that function of the device, and how it's connected, and what data points are for it, it's not the manufacturer doing that for us.

James Dice: Yeah. And I think a lot of my frustration it's like industry level, [01:03:00] obviously, but I've also done a lot of that mapping myself. And so the frustration is like, I just don't want anyone else to do it anymore.Shouldn't have to do this. And that's what I was telling you.

Sabine Lam: You know, I think my background, in digital signal processing, do you think when you have millions of transistors, do you think people manually do things? Like, no, you have an abstract level, things are automated, you don't have people typing hundreds of lines of codes, right? You just have a library, it fits in, it knows what it needs to do and it's fully automated. And so, I'm appalled when I see what's going on, like what? And is that expectable? This is not acceptable and very quickly, it's just not scalable for Google. So it's not possible. Not only, it's not acceptable on top of that, I can't use it because our portfolio is global and it's 700 buildings and absolutely I cannot put enough people, you know, there's not enough people in the world to do it. But, you know, I don't think everybody in the world wants to [01:04:00] focus on manually creating this config line.

James Dice: Yeah. Yeah. I get emails daily about people hiring integration engineers. You know, I love the emails because I love to see that the companies admire you know, the Nexus Network are growing and that's amazing.

It's just like, it's tough to know that, that's the work that we're hiring for. And I know there are very few people out there that are looking for a job and able to do that work as well. It's just such a huge bottleneck.

Sabine Lam: And I think they're doing that because they're solving for one problem for one building and it's not reproducible.


James Dice: All right, James, here again. That's a great spot to close things out. I'd love to hear from you now. Where should we take this MSI conversation? Next? What questions do you still have? About this ongoing conversation.

James Dice: All right friends, thanks for listening to this episode of the Nexus Podcast. For more episodes like [01:05:00] 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.