5 min read

#62: Quantum ontology, empty offices are energy hogs, and the TeamViewer problem

Plus: how analytics can scale, a new digital twin product, and an overview of GPT-3
“Crossing the first chasm is great, but if analytics are not integrated into the day-to-day operations of internal teams, it’ll remain a niche tool operating on the fringes of organizations. That second chasm is the key to scale.”

How can analytics go mainstream?

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: excitement about our future leaders
  2. 💡 Insights: A new ontology, why empty offices use energy, and the TeamViewer problem
  3. Brand new stuff: a new podcast and a new essay on today’s building analytics marketplace
  4. 🧱  Foundations: registration closes tomorrow!
  5. 🌎  Diversions: an overview of AI darling GPT-3


1. 🤔 On my mind this week

I’ve had several calls this week with people that are thinking about joining Nexus Foundations Cohort 2. Some of them it’s a great fit for, some of them it’s not. Regardless, these calls have me so excited about the future of our industry. We can do this together.

In the same vein of hope, check out this amazing presentation by an amazing group of young women that deserves more eyeballs from the Nexus community. Stacks+Joules is a 501c3 nonprofit workforce development program that trains NYC high school students in advanced lighting controls, heat pumps, building integration, and professional soft skills all towards family-sustaining careers in the burgeoning building automation industry.

2. 💡 Insights

Only the best smart building resources we consumed this week…


Quantum: The Digital Twin Standard for Buildings—Troy Harvey, CEO of PassiveLogic, announcing a new ontology for buildings and PassiveLogic’s software called Autonomy Studio.

Ontology-based digital twins are a requirement for autonomous building systems, self-assembling data, unified building APIs, and smart city energy networks — filling a huge gap in the market that has until now been largely focused on the retrospective effort of tagging and topology semantics, or creating BIM-like digital twin middleware.

We’ll definitely be digging into this more soon.


Turns out that Florida water treatment facility left the doors wide open for hackers—OT cybersecurity can be super complicated. In the case of this now famous hack of a water plant, it can also be super simple.

How many buildings out there have that same TeamViewer setup on their BMS front end? A lot.


Empty office buildings are still devouring energy. Why?

We’ve covered this issue before, but I like this update from Hatch Data because they fully explained why it’s happening and what people can do about it. Step one is human communication and step two is automating the resulting adjustments.

“Robin says that the only way that contractually set electricity practices can adapt to an unusual circumstance such as this pandemic is for tenants and owner-operators to be in contact and agree to make adjustments. This, he says, is already happening, especially in bigger buildings and among larger tenants.”

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-ish deep dives, and all past deep dives.

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3. Brand new stuff

Everything Nexus created this week…


DEEP DIVE—How can analytics go mainstream? (Pro members only)

  • I asked this question on LinkedIn and 80+ comments came flooding in.
  • This essay is my answer (for now!). It looks at the question through the lens of the Crossing the Chasm framework.


PODCAST—🎧 #037: Shannon Smith on making analytics a painkiller, not a vitamin

  • Shannon, CEO of analytics software firm PointGuard, and I talked about all things analytics in 2021, including where the actual market is today, compared to where we in the Nexus community wish it was.
  • There were several subtopics within that, that I like to call analytics for X; so we talked about analytics for capital planning, analytics for COVID, analytics for risk mitigation, and more.


VENDOR UPDATE—Even though the Nexus Vendor Landscape has 150+ vendors on it, I still learn about new companies/products to track every week. Here is this week’s discovery:

Twinview—A digital twin software offering out of the UK that I hadn’t heard of before. Here’s to hoping it does more than let you view things.

4. 🧱 Foundations

Bite-sized learnings for newcomers to the smart buildings industry courtesy of the Nexus Foundations course


This week, I’ve been playing with a new concept that will debut in the upcoming cohort of the Foundations course.

We’ve heard from students that with all this change happening in the industry, they want to know how to ensure they will continue to have opportunities for advancement in their careers. So we’re adding a new module that will cover just that.

The module is based on the types of foundations that hold our buildings up: shallow vs. deep. While each building only needs one type of foundation, smart building programs need leaders with both shallow and deep foundations.

For more on this, check out the deep dive we did here.

Registration for this cohort closes tomorrow! Enroll here to join 35+ like-minded learners.

5. 🌎  Diversions

Technology resources from outside of the built environment. What might we apply in our industry?


Meet GPT-3. It Has Learned to Code (and Blog and Argue)—Great overview of the accomplishments and limitations of the darling of the AI world over the last year or so.

“It exhibits a capability that no one thought possible,” said Ilya Sutskever, OpenAI’s chief scientist and a key figure in the rise of artificial intelligence technologies over the past decade. “Any layperson can take this model and provide these examples in about five minutes and get useful behavior out of it.”

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