4 min read

#54: AWS is here to stay, too

It's not just Azure and Google. Plus: healthy buildings, SkySpark's new app, and more.
“Show that designing a building that is healthy and safe doesn't have to be a counter to your sustainability plan and can actually be more sustainable.”

—Tyson Soutter

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: your holiday playlist?
  2. 📚  What I’m reading: getting shit done with SkySpark, AWS tiptoeing, and healthy buildings
  3. 💡  New from Nexus: a fun podcast and this month’s members digest
  4. 🧐  New to me: bGrid and Verkada
  5. 🧱  Foundations: why buildings are dumb


1. 🤔 On my mind this week

We’re hitting the road this week to see my mom and pops for some good cooking, card games, and other Christmastime fun. For the road, we’ve got several not-work-related podcasts and audiobooks cued up for the drive, including Tim Ferriss interviewing Jerry Seinfeld.

What’s on your holiday playlist?

Leave a comment

2. 📚 What I’m reading


SkyFoundry Insider No. 37—I’m a big fan of the new application SkyFoundry announced in their most recent newsletter. It’s a work order / task management system that’s fully integrated with the analytics.

Anyone that has used FDD software can see the value in this, and it’s right in line with my “action, not just analytics” mantra from a few newsletters ago. It also goes hand in hand with my early-2020 essay Analytics: a human-in-the-loop technology.


AWS Announces Five Industrial Machine Learning Services—On the podcast, we’ve been exploring the inroads Google and Microsoft having been making in the buildings space. Here’s new of a third cloud provider taking some steps into our world.

They’ve announced:

  • A new service to detect abnormal equipment conditions that may require maintenance
  • A way to send sensor data to AWS to build models for them and return predictions to detect abnormal equipment behavior
  • Another service that allows you to add computer vision to existing on-premises cameras that customers may already have deployed

While this announcement is focused on industrial facilities, I think buildings are a natural progression from that. Meaning they’re here to stay too.


What Makes A Building Truly Healthy?—It was fun seeing Nexus Pro member Tyson Soutter write this and then other Pro members weigh in and give him great feedback and a better acronym. Great community we’ve got! Tyson does a lot of work condensing a bunch of information on healthy buildings into this post.

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.

Join NEXUS Pro

3. 💡 New from NEXUS

***We’re taking two weeks off of the podcast… Happy Holidays!***

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 are this week’s discoveries:

bGrid—Dutch startup with some high profile traction. I honestly can’t dissect what they’ve built by looking at their website, which isn’t great. I think it’s a multisensor with optional cloud software… perhaps our Dutch friends can fill us in.

Verkada—Four-year-old access control and security startup with security cameras, access controls, and a cloud management software. They recently announced environmental/occupancy sensors, meaning they’re blurring the lines between the traditional silos.

5. 🧱 Foundations

To go along with last week’s podcast on why technology is decades behind, I thought I’d share a bit from the section of the Foundations course that relates to this. We’ll dive into this in a lecture called “Why are buildings so dumb?” and it’s all about finding the landmines hidden in your existing building’s infrastructure.

So first, we need to acknowledge that our jobs-to-be-done depend on multiple siloed building systems.

And second, all the ways those silos don’t work intelligently together: they aren’t connected, don’t communicate, lack context, lack intelligence on their own, or are simply not digitized.

Once we understand the landmines by assessing each silo, we can have a strategy for navigating around or removing them…

Early bird pricing for Cohort #2 (which kicks off in late February 2021) is available now and will run until midnight on 12/31/2020. If you’re interested in taking the course, I recommend enrolling sometime before then to reserve your spot and capture the discount.

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