4 min read

#42: RXR Realty's Smart Office Reopening

Plus: What open means, integrating people and systems, parallels with the smart home industry
Wow.  This was excellent.  What a well spoken and engaging communicator you are, Andrew!  And beautiful interview facilitation, James.  As an access control technician at a university who also interacts with the internal HVAC controls tech, I can absolutely echo a number of these points.  Stay the course, gentlemen!  I'm thankful for individuals like you out there fighting the fight for "Open."

—Jonah Williams on Nexus podcast episode 20

Good morning!

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

Here’s an outline of this week’s newsletter:

  1. 🤔 On my mind this week

  2. 📚 What I’m reading

  3. 💡 New from Nexus

  4. 🧐 New to me


1. 🤔 On my mind this week

I’m humbled, grateful, and beyond excited about the upcoming first cohort of our Nexus Foundations course, which starts next week. Cohort 1 is SOLD OUT!

We’ll have 25 cohort members from all over the world and all types of smart building roles: energy engineer, facility manager, product manager, salesperson, recruiter, BAS technician, MSI, utility incentive program manager, consulting engineer, procurement specialist, and many more. I’ll be going into heavy facilitation mode over the next 6 weeks and can’t wait to see where this goes.

If you missed the chance to enroll in this cohort, sign up for the Nexus Labs school to get updates on future cohorts. I’ll also keep you updated in this newsletter of course.

👉 If you enjoy reading NEXUS, please share it with your colleagues!

2. 📚 What I’m reading / watching / hearing


#90 Energy Management Hierarchy of Needs—Jon Lester's mesmerizing voice is one legitimate reason to listen to Siemens' Buildings of Tomorrow podcast. Frequent guest Tyson Soutter is another. In case you need a third reason, Jon and I talked about my essay on the "energy management hierarchy of needs" (Pro members only) on last week's episode.


Healthier Buildings: The Future of Building Intelligence—As I mentioned last week, 75F CEO Deepinder Singh and I had a fun conversation for their webcast series. Getting interviewed is still a little uncomfortable for me (see: Imposter Syndrome), but I actually enjoyed some of the things that tumbled out of my mouth on this one.

☝️By the way: This Thursday, I’ll be back on the other side of the mic and asking the questions. Join me as I interview Alec Manfre, CEO of Bractlet, and Jack Gregoire, Vice President and Senior Property Manager at Transamerica, for the CREtech Sustainability Summit. 


Smart Office Reopening with RXR Realty—Fascinating video on RXR Realty’s full technology stack for reopening their office buildings, including occupant- and property manager-facing applications that they’re offering to other landlords through the Microsoft Azure marketplace.

Interesting tidbit if you caught it: the only legacy system they mentioned connecting to was Access Control. No BAS integration—even though new CO2 sensors were installed in HVAC systems! This, to me, is a symptom of the BAS industry being broken. It’s also a preview of what’s to come, where moving quickly in response to a changing world means those who hold things back are left in the dust.


Smart building consulting: integrating people and systems—New friend Owen Dalton’s recent piece in CSE magazine on the role of the smart building consultant. Well done, Owen.

In order to integrate building systems, which have historically been siloed and separate, the smart building consultant first needs to integrate people, who are also historically siloed and separate.

It is often more challenging to integrate people by effectively communicating than it is to detail and integrate a system using technical means and methods. The true feat is securing alignment with these separate groups of people, who are used to doing separate things in separate ways, to deliver something new together.


Other pertinent reads from just (a bit) outside the smart buildings industry:

The smart home isn’t very—A good update on the progression of the smart home tech market, with Amazon and Google seemingly leading a charge toward interoperability.

Google, meanwhile, is talking up Connected Home over IP (CHIP), a Zigbee-led effort launched in late 2019 to develop a smart home standard, a “unified solution” for the industry. Now at 145 members, the group plans to deliver a draft specification by year-end 2020. Grant Erickson, a Google principal engineer, called CHIP a “critical movement to break through the fragmentation that’s holding the market back” with interoperable standards “people can rely on” and that will instill “builder confidence.”

In Google’s vision of the future IoT, based on ambient computing, “We won’t talk about connected,” said Erickson. At home, “we’re not going to talk any more about smart devices or connected devices,” he said. “It is just going to be the de facto ways things are,” and devices will “orchestrate themselves.”

This installment of NEXUS is free for everyone. If you would like to get full access to all content, join the NEXUS Pro community. Members get exclusive access to the Nexus Vendor Landscape, monthly events, weekly deep dives, and all past deep dives.

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3. 💡 New from NEXUS

PODCAST—🎧 #020: Andrew Rodgers on what "open" really means for smart buildings

Open is a very controversial and murky topic. I think Andrew clears some of that up in this conversation… it’s about choice. It’s about self-actualization.

Andrew and I talked about myths, definitions, and walked through each layer of the smart building stack to unpack it in depth, including how we can learn from slime molds, which have it all figured out.
  • PODCAST REACTION—Episode #20 reaction: the three parts of an open API (Pro members only)

4. 🧐 New to me

Even though the Nexus Vendor Landscape has over 100 vendors on it, I still learn about new companies/products to track every week.

Here is this week’s discovery:

Metrikus—UK-based overlay platform startup focused on the commercial office market. We could really use a few more of these.

OK, that’s all for this week—thanks for reading Nexus!


P.S. if you missed last week’s request about our call for podcast sponsors, please fill out this quick form to tell us what you have in mind. We’ll be putting together sponsorship packages soon.