Podcast
58
min read
James Dice

🎧 #163: Higher Ed Roundup: Smart Buildings at Stanford, Boston, and Kansas State

June 4, 2024

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Episode 163 is a conversation with Gerry Hamilton from Stanford University, Dan Quigley from Boston University, and Durga Sarilla from Kansas State University.

Summary

Welcome to our latest podcast series, Buyer Roundup! Each month, we’ll chat with Buyers from different verticals to check in on what’s new and what has them excited these days. Episode 163 features Gerry Hamilton from Stanford University, Dan Quigley from Boston University, and Durga Sarilla from Kansas State University. This conversation explores the smart buildings of three higher education institutions. Enjoy!

Mentions and Links

  1. Stanford University(1:40)
  2. Nexus Podcast Ep. 79 (2:09)
  3. Boston University (2:21)
  4. Kansas State University (2:48)

You can find Gerry, Dan, and Durga on LinkedIn.

Highlights

Introduction (0:50)

Intro to Gerry (1:37)

Intro to Dan (2:14)

Why smart buildings matter (3:41)

Types of technology (10:50)

Perfection (22:15)

Front of the house (27:20)

Recent success stories (36:35)

Biggest challenges (50:20)

Upcoming technologies (56:56)




Music credits: There Is A Reality by Common Tiger—licensed under an Music Vine Limited Pro Standard License ID: S579463-16073.

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: [00:00:00] Hey friends, if you like the Nexus podcast, the best way to continue the learning is to join our community. There are three ways to do that. First, you can join the Nexus Pro Membership. It's our global community of smart building professionals. We have monthly events, paywall, deep dive content, and a private chat room, and it's just 35 a month.

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The links are below in the show notes. And now let's go on to the podcast.

Hello and welcome to the Nexus podcast. I'm your host, James Dice. We are kicking off a new series leading up to NexusCon in the fall, [00:01:00] focusing on different vertical industries, um, and how their smart buildings programs are similar, different, and really just great. Uh, digging into the different trends in each industry.

So in this episode, we have higher education. So we have three higher education institutions, um, in the United States here. They all have different varying degrees of, of smart buildings, program maturity and, um, deployments and lots of different projects going on. So we're going to dig into those and talk about the trends in, in higher ed and talk about, um, You know, sort of what these, what these three are thinking about.

So, um, let's do some self introductions here. Let's start with you, Jerry. 

Gerry Hamilton: Hi, I'm Gerry Hamilton. I am the director of facilities energy management at Stanford university. Uh, in addition to running our, our building side energy programs, I also oversee our facilities automation center, our building controls group.

Uh, as well as a small team called business systems that administers our, uh, utility data historians. And so combination [00:02:00] of energy and automation. And a little bit of data management, uh, kind of in a front row seat here at Stanford for our, our smart, smart buildings work. Happy to be here, James. 

James Dice: And Gerry's been on the show before.

Uh, we have two newcomers here. Dan, why don't you go next? 

Dan Quigley: Uh, hi, James. Thanks for the invite. My name is Dan Quigley. I am the director of engineering and building systems at Boston University. Uh, which basically means I, I oversee the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, automation team, engineering, and energy groups.

Uh, we focus on, from a building automation or smart buildings perspective, uh, migrations of building automation as well as standardization through our construction and retro commissioning teams. And I'm happy to be here as well. 

James Dice: Awesome. So we went West Coast to East Coast, now we'll go Midwest. Durga, go ahead.

Durga Sarilla: I'm Durga Sarilla. I take care of the control suite for the Kansas State University. So I take care of the most controls, operations for our whole campus. It's really the building automation system. [00:03:00] And for HVAC, fire and security, and we work along with a lot of stakeholders, like with the planning team and everything to provide good control systems in the campus.

And we work with the energy management team to integrate with that system, so we have separate division work we work with. Which work with us and part of building automation side, energy management. 

James Dice: All right. And you guys have hinted at it here. I've heard a lot of energy management. I've heard a lot about building automation so far, but can you guys talk about sort of what smart buildings mean to your institutions?

Like what are the main goals? Um, if you were talking to the chancellor or the president of the university, what would they say about why smart buildings matter? 

Dan Quigley: I could jump in. So I certainly see, um, smart buildings as like a collaborative effect. It's a, it's a group, not just like one individual trying to, um, [00:04:00] bring smart buildings to a campus, there's a lot of stakeholders involved.

We have to consider the construction team, the engineers, obviously the building automation, uh, electricians, HVAC technicians, the operators of the buildings, uh, as well as the end users, senior leadership and finance, right? So there's a, a gambit of stakeholders when you talk about. The buildings at universities and pretty much any institution, uh, and how you would sort of implement a smart buildings program.

Uh, when we think about our goals, we think about how do we maintain our existing infrastructure as well as build new construction. Uh, so that the BU community, the Boston University community, or anybody in our buildings really are comfortable. They can work, they can live, they can play, do research, uh, and not have to worry about buildings.

All while we're trying to optimize our buildings Uh, energy use, uh, through different smart technologies, uh, to reduce our carbon emissions. [00:05:00] So when you kind of ask the question, when you're talking to the president or chancellor or senior leadership, the goals are going to be, how do we reduce our energy use?

For energy savings and, you know, cost savings, but maybe more importantly how to reduce our carbon use while maintaining our, one of our main goals, which is having a community on and a physical presence on a campus. So, don't, uh, take one side with a, and, and, uh, And compromise the other. So it's really a collaborative effect.

James Dice: And in higher ed, yeah, it's great. And in higher ed, there's obviously there's the students, but then there's also the, the faculty, right? So, and there's almost two different populations that you need to keep happy. Um, Gerry, what about you at Stanford? Is it different? Similar? 

Gerry Hamilton: Well, Dan, that was very well said.

I think kind of to add to that is, um, we've tried to be as pragmatic as possible, uh, because it's so easy to. You know, waste money, uh, on some [00:06:00] kind of technological dead ends. Uh, but I found even more importantly, wasting staff's, you know, enthusiasm or wasting their effort if, if they're so busy trying to, uh, engage with new tech or do things that appear to be pet projects, it actually sets us back.

We get less done. Um, we spend more internal resources. Um, so, you know, for us, just to throw some specifics out there, by 2016, we launched a program we called the Integrated Controls and Analytics Program. And very, very, very dry name, but it was focused specifically on, um, we're concerned about the, the, the automation systems in our buildings.

So let's focus on that. We're concerned about how to overlay kind of a first generation of analytics on top of that data. So let's focus on that. Let's not boil the ocean. Um, We have all these other stakeholders that you've referenced to. We can't, you know, meet everybody's needs. And so we're several years now into a program, which, you know, initially really [00:07:00] prioritized coming up with good, simple, scalable, affordable, maintainable standards for automation system, ensuring that those can actually be successfully brought online, both for new construction and in, um, Retrofit projects.

So we've got a long pipeline of upgrades we want to do. And our objective is number one, you know, realize the energy savings and the carbon savings that we know we can get from modern automation systems. And that's still our best energy efficiency measure. Um, you know, very practical benefits like that.

Um, we are now kind of moving into. More tangible benefits related to operation and maintenance. That's a little bit more challenging than objectively saving energy. But I guess the point is, you know, keep it simple so that we can continue to scale and build upon it and try to avoid dead ends, which ultimately just leave people frustrated.

James Dice: Yeah, so I'm hearing themes around Energy and [00:08:00] carbon, so in furthering sustainability goals, um, I'm hearing a little bit around Jerry, you're hitting at, um, sort of the maintenance and technicians. Um, job satisfaction and productivity, um, hitting, hitting technology for, for those reasons. And then this other broad theme around, um, experience that Dan, you said, comfort, um, the, the people that are experiencing the buildings, um, Durga, is this similar to kind of what you guys are trying to accomplish with technology?

Durga Sarilla: It's almost a similar thing, like Jerry and Dan have already written points and talked about things, you know, mostly there's universities, uh, we see the, uh, the revenue is mostly generated from their research and enrollment kind of thing. To get that kind of, uh, revenue, we need to provide the facilities to generate that revenue, right?

So, the Smart Billings Program, everything will be trying to focus on those kind of things, how, how they can utilize those facilities, much better way to generate revenue. to do their [00:09:00] research. And so we need to provide that kind of air conditioning, safety levels, comfort, and, and again, looking at the point of energy efficiency kind of things too.

So all these three parameters, I mean, focusing will be mostly the part of this. Uh, smart building automation too, like, but we can't say, as you say, because James, I have followed your audio episodes before, like, when you're discussing about different parts, about different silos, like, currently, uh, I know the universities, as far as For example, for our university itself, there we have a control system which are like 45 years old, we're on pneumatics, and still a couple of the things are on pneumatics, where we can't integrate with each other with the current DTC systems.

So that's a smart building, uh, automation comes into place where we can do that. We can replace it or use a smart billing program to integrate or communicate with these, uh, all together to provide [00:10:00] kind of the safety and the comfort levels and what our goals to other sustainability or the carbon and zero, what are those jargons we are trying to use here?

Yeah, that, that's a point I've been trying to look at. 

James Dice: Yeah, 

totally. 

So yeah, and Jerry mentioned lots of upgrades as well, so that it's, all of this is sort of integrated in with O& M, but, but also capital improvement projects that you guys are, whether it be, whether it's a new building or renovation or actually just upgrading your infrastructure, like you're saying, Durga.

Um, Let's do a little bit of, like a little bit of survey. So those are sort of the outcomes, like why you would use technology in higher ed. Let's do a little bit of a survey around what types of technologies we're talking about. So we've been talking a lot about HVAC control, right? Um, what are the other, let's just sort of run through the things that, the technology categories that are on your guys minds right now.

What, what else are we talking about? 

Durga Sarilla: HVAC, fire, security, elevator controls, uh, [00:11:00] and, uh, waste water management, uh, and kind of all the utility side. And if you say most of the, I feel most of the university have their own chill water plant and the hot water plant. So that would be the major chunk which is going to use a lot of energy over there.

So those are a couple of areas I would see, uh, and, uh, kind of, uh, demand ventilation That's one thing, uh, after Covid, which is really been really important here, providing required fair share for all classrooms and labs. 

James Dice: Those are, those are a lot of what, what we call, yeah. You said silos earlier. Durga, the different silos, different, um, devices or different control systems in the buildings.

Um, what, what are we missing here, Dan and, and Jerry? 

Dan Quigley: So, I mean, we, we're using building automation systems throughout our campus, uh, lighting control systems are kind of getting in our buildings through energy code and Boston, we're in Boston, uh, stretch code. So [00:12:00] that strip drives a lot of the lighting control system, uh, installations.

Monitoring based commissioning has been, um, you know, sort of matured a little bit over the past couple of years. Uh, we're starting to use it more and more with our capital projects, our retro commissioning and major, uh, ground up construction projects, or even complex projects like lab renovations or, um, chilled water plant optimization, where we see value in sort of capturing obviously issues with spaces, but also, um, from an owner perspective.

Monitoring Base Commissioning with Fault Detection Diagnostics. If implemented early enough in the process, we can capture issues during a warranty period. Where it's like one year after construction is complete and you know, seasonally, we can see how things function. And if it's captured and identified in monitoring based commissioning sort of audit system, so to speak, then contractors will come back and sort of fix those issues, uh, with no cost to the owner.

[00:13:00] So I've been using that as sort of a huge sales point for monitoring based commissioning internally versus the sort of traditional energy savings and cost savings through drifting of buildings. Thanks. Uh, so that technology is sort of getting implemented at, at the university. And something else we were interested in is automatic functional testing.

Sort of using the cloud and functional testing to sort of communicate with our automation systems, drive them, um, to, you know, valves open, valves close, see if sensors are operating or valves are operating correctly, and report back. So to help our team, I know we talked a lot about automation and HVAC, but really help our HVAC team focus their time.

To kind of touch upon what Jerry mentioned earlier, our workforce is challenged, uh, with time. So we need to help them sort of prioritize their, their work list every day and say, well, this is what's failed in that building. Don't just look around all the building for hours and hours. Go directly [00:14:00] to this valve and this piece of equipment.

Um, anything we can do to optimize, uh, their time will help them, uh, be successful and help us, uh, produce a better product for our customers. Which are the occupants and end users of these buildings. Uh, and that's all they really want is a space that they can be in, um, that's, you know, successful. And so we can, uh, make everything good for them.

James Dice: Yeah. Such a great point. I think what you're highlighting too is the importance of FDD being used for all these different things on campus. That's something that I've, I've noticed as we've, you know, interviewed Jerry, interviewed other higher ed leaders, FDD seems to be, um, applied in a bunch of different ways in higher ed.

Which, if you look at other industries, is a little, is more advanced. In the way that it's being applied versus others, um, and it seems to be more accepted as a normal piece of the pie, um, a normal piece of the infrastructure. Jerry, what are we missing from, from your program? 

Gerry Hamilton: The one area that we're [00:15:00] dabbling with now is really trying to make strategic sense out of, you know, wireless distributed sensors.

The big topic now is indoor air quality. Um, but I'm also seeing, you know, innovation and technology that can provide smarter occupancy monitoring. Um, so we're not just, you know, it's not, it's not so much binary anymore. Is somebody there or not? It's kind of, well, where are they or how many or what's happening in the space?

And challenges we run into is, you know, that there's privacy concerns. Um, there's also. Um, you know, there, there, there's legal ramifications of the data. If we suddenly start collecting a lot of space data, maybe those numbers don't look good. You know, what are the obligations to fix? And it's just a, it's a whole new area.

And we're stumbling into again, you know, management level challenges that I never envisioned. I mean, what would be wrong with putting a new smart sensor out there? Um, so these are kind of change management things we have to go through. Um, but [00:16:00] also we've got to learn, well, you know, what are we actually going to do With the data, are we just going to be cluttering?

Are we just going to be making more work for folks? So, uh, you know, you've heard the wildfire stories as you're in California. And so in the past few years we've had to deal with, you know, particulate and things. And so. Um, that's good information to have, but, you know, how do you respond to that information?

Are there thresholds? Are there criteria? So, it's opening up all new avenues of discussion, plus you've got to manage the data itself. Where does it go? I'm really concerned about the future in our industry of, you know, wireless IoT devices. Uh, Wi Fi doesn't appear to be, you know, the right long term way to, to manage this, but, you know, what is the, the perfect operations network, and I, I don't know if that's even Defined yet.

So I wish I had the answers for you all, but that's an area we're giving a lot of attention because I think this can help augment our existing HVAC systems and processes, but we can bring in a lot more people to the smart table. [00:17:00] People involved with space management, safety, health and safety, um, all these things.

I do want to put a plug in here early because one thing that we are spending a lot of time, it's not a device, it's not a specific piece of technology, but rather it's software related. It's, it's, it's data management. And what is our plan for ingesting all the data from current and future systems? What are our standards?

How do we manage those standards? Uh, because one thing we've learned, accessing data, Isn't the challenge. The challenge is consuming the data. And one thing that we've burned a lot of staff time on is once people have access to HVAC data, if that data is confusing, if there's gaps in the data, if they lose connectivity, if they don't know how to interpret the data, then suddenly the subject matter experts Whether they're energy engineers or whether they're controls engineers are having to spend a disproportionate amount of time supporting individual consumers, supporting individual applications that consume the data.

And so we've been trying to get [00:18:00] ahead of that and invest in, you know, in software and practices so that we can ensure that the data is easily consumable because I see that as an area for big opportunities for overall labor savings going forward. 

James Dice: Yeah, that could be what you're saying is it could be a student that's not doing research or it could be a commissioning agent on the new renovation.

There's a bunch of people that could use this. Um, Dan, did you, Dan, go ahead. 

Dan Quigley: I just wanted to echo Jerry's point with data is we are literally in the same position. I, again, meeting last week about how we're going to store all of our utility data and how we're going to allow people to access it and sort of what platform are we're using.

And, um, how it's being consumed. And it's just a huge conversation because our buildings have all this information. We have all the sensors and building automation, lighting controls, uh, utility meters and things of that nature. And it needs to go back to, uh, not, not necessarily a single [00:19:00] interface, but a trusted interface and put it into a consumable format for people to understand.

And that's kind of our challenge right now. So I just wanted to. 

James Dice: Yeah. So we've talked about device layer, we've talked about data, like what we're talking about right now is, is, is in our parlance, uh, Nexus, the data layer, uh, Durga, do you have, um, data layer, um, interests and concerns as well? 

Durga Sarilla: Actually, like when Dan and Jerry, they're talking about data layer.

What are the challenges part? Because we being a small institution and we have a limited amount on that. So while we are focusing on this kind of data thing, like bringing all data together or going with third party people who are going to provide us, it's being a challenge with them. But for me, like when I talk about, I talk as a controls guy because from the controls background, I see for me.

I like to fix the foundation level issues because we have different types of controllers here, different from 40 years [00:20:00] old where we can't, uh, integrate the systems or something like that. So when coming to point of a data layer, okay, there is no integration between devices, how we can get the right data to give the right issues for the system.

So if you take, for example, if you take a long backnet and there are some proprietary protocols, so these proprietary protocols cannot integrate with the backnet or something, though we have some device. What if there's a communication loss? At least if you lost the communication for one hour. On the data layer, how can we get the right data to give those decisions on the enterprise layer on the level?

So there's a couple of challenges like i'm looking for so that's one reason we haven't started anything on bringing on the FDD part or anything that FDDs or any new technologies into our systems. What we started doing is like trying to Clear the issues on the foundation levels because the controllers controllers itself have a capability of clearing all these Field level issues [00:21:00] with the programming or something on top of that if you provide the data layer Then we're gonna give Then it's going to give it the right value for the data.

I mean, 10 years back, there's, though we had the systems, but we still, we had this phantom, which got all these alarms and everything. And with those alarms, we can work out a safety. We have this exit issue, but, uh, I know this technology is, uh, reducing that, uh, kind of a one hour time into 15 minutes time for the person to work on it, to know where the exit issue is.

Is if the foundation layer is not really good, I feel like we won't get any right data. About the data layer or something like that. So that, that's one challenge I just want to put on. 

James Dice: Yeah. It's almost like a hierarchy of needs thing, right? You can, you can't move up the stack until you feel like you have the foundational.

Layers of the stack. Correct. Jerry and Dan, I bet you have something to respond to Durga here around I I I doubt that your device layers are [00:22:00] perfect before you're, you know, putting a data layer or thinking about putting a data layer on top. What would you say to, I think there's something around not letting perfect be the enemy of good here.

What, what would you say? I, I, I would 

Gerry Hamilton: agree. I've been at Stanford 14 years and. You never get caught up with, with anything, right? As soon as you start thinking you're making progress, suddenly the projects you did five years ago are old. And so, um, I do try to break things into components. My, my staff hear me use the word modularity a lot.

And in fact, as we learn more about technology, I try to break things into different components. Different components. And so, for example, data management, it's its own thing. And in fact, we're even separating it from our, uh, our fault detection diagnostic system. And as the more we learn, we realize, well, there's a whole art to extracting data.

There's a whole [00:23:00] art to transforming the data for our needs to make it consumable. And there's a whole art to loading that data to the various applications and consumers. Who need it? And I, I believe that progress can be made in each of these areas, uh, even if maybe you have some problems in one area so that the clever part is, is kind of breaking it down into components so that you can be pursuing, you know, best of class in each of those.

Uh, without being hamstrung. So I guess my advice is resist the temptation to go turnkey macro level solutions on everything, uh, because you're guaranteed that, you know, a couple of the modules in there are going to hold you back and it's going to be frustrating. Um, otherwise you do get, you know, tied up on this concept of.

If everything's not perfect, then nothing's perfect, sort of thing. 

Dan Quigley: Uh, so I, I agree. I think it's, when we're talking about data and, you know, how do we not get caught up in fixing everything in the past, and you kind of have to sort of stop the [00:24:00] problems going forward first, is the way we've always approached it through standards and documentation, uh, working with our construction team so that new construction And renovation projects and retro commissioning projects that might be led from like a bigger perspective on the campus.

They're going forward with the right standards, right? They're moving forward with correct point naming. And then all you have to do from your team is sort of look back. And say, okay, how are we going to attack, uh, our aging 30 year old proprietary control system? How are we going to attack our, uh, early version of BACnet that maybe doesn't function so great?

And how are we going to, uh, approach our pneumatic system? And. Dirty, you're not alone. Our campuses are very old too. And, you know, we have, I have pneumatics, I have a Honeywell controller running an air handler that's the size of my door back here, uh, down in one of our old buildings. And it's got like the whole, uh, [00:25:00] schematic display and, uh, pneumatic gauges and everything, and it still works.

It's on our roadmap, but the way that we approached it first and foremost was, uh, standards and guidelines and documentation so that everybody involved from the construction perspective, uh, new construction renovations to our system integrators that we use to our internal team, everybody's using the same language and the same standards going forward.

And I will say that. The, uh, controls companies today versus the controls companies even five, ten years ago have really, uh, transformed what their standards look like. So, uh, the standard point naming is really not an issue anymore as long as you're working on the same thing. Uh, standard packages from these control systems.

So, uh, it's getting everybody sort of on board with the right, uh, practices and standards, and then, uh, sort of letting the groups kind of do their own thing so you can approach things in parallel. [00:26:00] 

James Dice: I think I'd, I'd echo that based on all the conversations I've had around like, okay, if everybody Durga in higher ed is, is wanting to get to FDD, it seems like to me, everybody I talked to has got that on their roadmap at some point.

Um, You can't wait till you have every controller. Uh, the latest version of whatever DDC standard you have before getting in that direction, right? Just use the data you have, um, eventually you'll be able to upgrade that controller the size of a door, Dan. And when you do, it can get brought in, but it doesn't need to get brought in.

Right now, um, let's shift gears a little bit. I think this is a really fun conversation. I didn't predict us being able to offer each other advice, which was, um, uh, uh, emergent quality of this conversation, which is fun. Um, uh, Jared, I want to circle back a little bit towards the space utilization point that you brought up here.

I feel like when we talk to, when I talk to people that are thinking about smart buildings in [00:27:00] higher ed, it's mostly around energy and HVAC control, metering, FDD. You're talking more about front of the house in a way, um, at least what I understood to you, what you were saying. It's not necessarily about counting people or figuring where they're at so that you can control HVAC better, which could be a use case that you could use with those sensors.

But you're also talking about, um, Working with other people on campus that are thinking about space planning and where students are and where they should be and maybe safety. Like, there's a bunch of other use cases that you're thinking about here. Can you expand on that a little bit 

Gerry Hamilton: more? One of my objectives is to increase the number of people around the table that I get to sit at when we're talking smart campus.

So, it's not my table. We've talked before, there's a lot of folks here, but, um, and it's a lot of work and it's stressful, but I know I got to think beyond HVAC control, lighting control, energy management, and, um, Stanford's a big place. We've got silos. The folks who manage door [00:28:00] access are different than the people who manage the fire systems.

And, um, there's a lot of us, but even then, how do we get outside of the traditional building? You know, operational technology space to talk to people who are involved with space planning, that are involved with environmental health and safety and public safety. And I don't exactly know where that conversation is going to go.

But I do know when we are stuck thinking, what do I do next? There's so much that's wrong. Where do I start working first? It actually is a lot easier if you can narrow that down to one or two things that have big benefit to it, to a large audience. And I think You know, managing the spaces is it.

Certainly in higher ed, we all refer to buildings and we all refer to the spaces. And conversations I've had with some data governance folks who, um, they're concerned about student records. They're concerned about, you know, privacy issues. So what do we have in common? And I go, well, you refer to who's in a space, right?

And I refer to the VAV box in a space. We should probably have a [00:29:00] standard to refer to that space, right? Because if we're ever going to share data, we've got to have some sort of. Ontology. That makes sense. Like, Oh, maybe, maybe you're onto something here. I've had conversations with environmental health and safety about these wireless controllers and what can you do with it?

And they say, well, do you have something that can, you know, measure, measure hotspots? I want to know if, you know, there's a temperature on a bench that ever gets above a certain point. And I go, well, I think that technology exists. It's made by folks who use that technology to see if a human being is there, right?

Because they measure the temperature. And so suddenly they're, you know, they're, they're, there's co benefits of technology that nobody. You know, nobody had envisioned, um, talking with some of my facilities operations partners, they're interested in monitoring indoor air quality so they can assess the thoroughness of cleanliness of their spaces.

They want to be able to measure the chemicals in the air. They want to know that this place was clean. Not that there's a toxic level of cleaning chemicals, but they just want to know, was it clean, did somebody come through here, right? So. If you don't have these [00:30:00] conversations, you don't find these overlaps.

And so, uh, the final driver for Stanford might not be a better occupancy center sensor for lighting control. It may be finding life, you know, human life safety issues or near misses or Supporting custodial practices. Oh, and by the way, we'll just pull some of that data into the HVAC system and the lighting control system.

So kind of, instead of me trying to push something, I could pull, or I don't know what the analogy is, but, uh, there is a lot of overlap out there and you just got to start these conversations because everybody's trying to do something I also like to go. Out there in point folks, you know, we're not trying to make our occupants suffer.

There is so much benefit that we can still achieve from an energy perspective just by, you know, better operation. Um, and maybe something I'll cue up for a little bit later where we're looking at dynamically managing room level schedules. And, uh, again, not that we want people to suffer, [00:31:00] we just want to operate our assets smarter.

And we think occupant comfort is also an area where a large audience can, can rally around. And, uh, even, even I'm the energy manager here and I say, no, people shouldn't have to wear sweaters in the middle of summer, right? Or, you know, they shouldn't have to. Dress uncomfortably. We should be able to get the utility out of these buildings.

And we should be able to do things like, uh, manage our, our rogue zones or our dominant zones a little bit smarter. And that's where the smart comes in. 

James Dice: And this is awesome to hear you talk about because this is really the crux of the smart buildings problem. So in the past we had all these different silos on campus, all these different systems.

And if you were going to put an occupancy sensor in for lighting, it would be the lighting control systems occupancy sensor. In that sort of siloed paradigm, but what we're talking about is like Let's think about all of the technologies that are available to us and what are all of the different outcomes and use cases we could [00:32:00] use with that piece of technology.

Um, and Jerry, it's also silos within our organizations, right? Where you're saying like, who do I need to go talk to? Let's bring more people to the table. Dan, how does this work with, with, with you guys? I see you kind of nodding, nodding your head a little bit, maybe the same themes are popping up over there on the other side of the country.

Dan Quigley: It's, it's very similar, right? We have, uh, different parts of our organization, but we've been working at it, uh, at least in the last 10 years, I've been at Boston University, been working at sort of breaking down those silos and being more cross functional, uh, and making sure that everybody's needs are heard.

So Jerry, you were talking about how, you know, that, how does this piece of technology fit at the university? Well, you might not see that at an HVAC or lighting controls, but maybe there's a safety need for something like that. And is this the right technology for that safety need, or is it? You know, using some sort of, uh, camera and maybe the, [00:33:00] uh, security team knows more about that, but sort of building those bridges, uh, internally has been a big goal of ours over many years.

And, you know, it's, it's working really well now, uh, we have those conversations, Jerry, that you're talking about, and if you don't, then you're missing opportunities to, uh, uh, make your process a little bit more efficient and productive. Uh, and also. Being able to present the senior leadership, a multifunctional solution, right?

You're not talking about just energy savings, but Hey, if we installed new building automation controllers, it'll reduce our energy and it'll have a more comfortable outcome because we're using. ASHRAE guideline 36. 1 programming schema that backs down on that, uh, VAB box. So we don't overcool the space.

So they don't have to wear sweaters in the, in the summertime sort of thing. Right? So there are. More than one solution. We just have to kind of like pull it out from the different parts of the organization. And, uh, we've been pretty successful with [00:34:00] that for the years, but similar themes for sure. Um, 

James Dice: I want to switch 

Durga Sarilla: gears here.

Durga, do you have anything to add before I do? It's, I feel like when I'm listening to that, yeah, it's, everything is similar on the higher end. You know, it's like always, uh, when we do any projects or something, it's like we are trying to, uh, bring all stakeholders together. Because it's a multi organization like it's different departments.

They have their own requirements. So it's like we are bringing all together and Feel like oh, we're trying to integrate those at one part To provide what they need, actually. Oh, the one thing I just want to say, like, I think recently we had, uh, our customer custodial team working on our indoor air quality monitoring.

Uh, so they have got their own separate technology for them. Like they're, uh, they bought their own products that they're testing it now. But what I'm trying to think is like integrate with the. Building automation. So they have their own product, but how we can integrate with the building automation, [00:35:00] uh, so that they all communicate with each other.

So those kinds of things we are trying to see here. 

James Dice: And, and are you, um, involved in that project as like one of the controls leaders or automation leaders? So you're getting pulled into the custodial teams project. Yeah. 

Durga Sarilla: So most of the things, like if you say like all different organizations we hire here, uh, I'll be trying to pull in because they all bring a different technologies, different products inside.

But, uh, I'm trying to push here to get it to one place so that everyone has, uh, information and they can work together. Uh, so that, that's kind of one kind of a mindset I'm trying to build with the people here, with the organization, so that, uh, everyone can. Everyone can work together and have right data for their decisions.

James Dice: Totally. It's like a, it's not just stakeholder engagement, how we kind of view stakeholder engagement as one step in the overall creation of a [00:36:00] holistic strategy for the campus, right? And it's like, okay, what are all these different perspectives and people that are getting pulled in to sort of create and update and maintain that, that strategy and vision for how technology is getting used on campus?

Um, let's, let's shift, uh, I want to let you guys tell some stories of recent successes. And, um, I'd love to just hear if there's like one project that comes to mind immediately on like, this was a huge win recently. Um, I'm going to ask you those, but then what we're going to do it after that is move straight into the biggest challenges as well.

So, um, maybe Jerry, you want to kick us off? Um, so, you know, sort of think about what is the project that just got done or recently got finished that you would say is a success story and maybe also talk about the impact that it has on students and faculty as well. 

Gerry Hamilton: Well, I think I have a good example. It touches on several aspects there.

So, we're a few years now into a [00:37:00] joint research project with an academic team. And, uh, we initially were looking at, um, smarter control of chilled water consumption in our buildings. And, uh, Doing some smart load management at the room level. So since we've got modern HVAC systems, we've got some analytics and some point naming and tagging standards, um, how do, how do we do that?

And, uh, we have district heating and cooling here. So, you know, we are concerned about the distribution and consumption of children's water as, as a utility resource. And I've never had a successful project with, with researchers before. Usually, you know, either. I'm being selfish. They're being selfish. One party gets all the benefit and the other just gets a bunch of work.

Uh, but in this case, and maybe it has to do with the smart buildings aspect because we're using this new infrastructure we have, we're applying new data management techniques, um, and both [00:38:00] parties weren't afraid to bring their strengths to the table. You know, we know how buildings work. We know how the control systems work.

We know how the Market works and the market limitations. The researchers are bringing, you know, smarter, better ways to manipulate data. They have the time and resources to test algorithms. But what was nice is, you know, operations, we weren't afraid to say, listen, this is the limit of our knowledge of technology.

This is the limit of what the tech can do. What do you think? They were Brave enough to come to us and say, listen, we really don't know how your market works. We admit that, you know, you operation folks aren't dinosaurs. You know, there are real modern issues that need to be dealt with. How, how, how can we help?

And it started a very constructive relationship. And I think it was the fact that, hey, you know, this is a real world scenario. You know, I mean, a third or more of the energy is used in commercial buildings. Um, We've got to address these market challenges, and it's not just we're lazy, not willing to do the right thing.

And so we have, we're [00:39:00] three years into a program. It started as the COOLER research program, and we're really springboarding upon this because we are able to do some room level management. And at Stanford we talk about we have six, seven hundred buildings on campus. Usually we're looking at the top ten.

200, but you know, you could have 100 plus rooms per building. So tens of thousands of spaces that we want to dynamically, uh, modulate and control, you know, on a fairly fine timescale. That is a big data problem. There's quality control issues. You can't be disrupting occupants or, or research. Uh, but we're working with some real researchers now to, to address the, these challenges.

And mostly it's coming down to data management or how to get information from one area. Yeah. Over to another area and ultimately pushed into our control system. So we've still got years of work to do here, but, uh, we found that by just tweaking set points here and there and non critical spaces, we can save 14 percent or more.

[00:40:00] Load. And basically to the point nobody even notices. And so if we're trying to manage, manage emergencies, or if we're trying to do some peak shaving so that we can enable, you know, um, you know, electrification conversions, uh, there's a lot of benefit from being able to do this, this smartly. Um, next thing we want to do is dynamically manage, uh, room level occupancy mode.

You know, can we toggle spaces more aggressively from occupied to unoccupied to standby? Um, but there's some change management there because it takes a village. We're going to have to manage data from potentially tens of thousands of occupants. That's not something, you know, HVAC operation folks have typically felt comfortable with.

You know, allowing to happen, right? But in a modern realm, especially in higher ed, we get questions like, as occupants, what can we do to help? And, um, you know, there's a lot of opportunity here. So that's, that's, that's, that's been a big win. And hopefully we can continue it. Maybe it's just magical. Maybe we're just lucky, but I do think it has something to [00:41:00] do with the fact this is applied.

Cutting edge technology, addressing real market challenges, you know, in the, in the commercial building slash higher ed space. Um, and, uh, we're gonna, we're 

James Dice: gonna keep going. It's fascinating. So if I, if I understand what you guys you're setting out to dynamically control. Every room's set points based off of some outcome.

And the outcome could be just simply minimizing load, like you said, but it also could be, um, like demand flexibility of the campus as, as, as well. It sounds like if we wanted to, um, start controlling spaces based off of Uh, renewable energy on the grid or your demand, um, you know, strategy. Um, and it sounds like what you did was initially just test it out.

Can we do this in a couple of spaces or a couple of buildings or one building? And it sounds like it was a success. And what I'm hearing also is that it doesn't sound like this would have been possible. [00:42:00] If you guys wouldn't have gone down the road, you went that we were talking about earlier, which is like, let's create our own data layer.

Let's start to normalize all the data. Let's let's tag all the data, getting it all in one place so that someone like a smart researcher could come in and start to manipulate it for the purposes of that project. 

Gerry Hamilton: They were, they were able to plug into our automation system. They were able to plug it into our FDD platform and use those as a, as a starting point.

And we've already come up with ways to improve those. Um, but the main thing that they weren't, they weren't afraid to look under the hood. They were motivated, right? Because of this technology. Um, and so, and the other thing is, again, we are looking way beyond just efficiency now, right, and resilience. And there, there are a number of reasons why we may want to manipulate load on campus.

And one benefit is, if we can manipulate load at the entire campus level, that may avoid us having to actually shut off one or two or three buildings completely. 

James Dice: Alright, that's what's [00:43:00] on Jerry's mind. Dan, what about, what's going on with you? Any, any recent success stories? 

Dan Quigley: Well, I don't want to breeze past Jerry's, uh, awesome name for his, uh, program, which was cooler.

I think that's a cool little pun that got thrown in there. And I appreciate that. Um, that sounds very, uh, impressive, Jerry, what you're doing there. It's difficult to look at. An entire campus and sort of, uh, respond to like the demands and space to really back everything off and be dynamic about it. Like you're talking about at scale and that, you know, that takes a lot of effort, so, you know, kudos to you and your team, um, first and foremost.

Uh, I have a couple of projects. I know you said just one, but the way I kind of looked at sort of case studies or success stories, I broke it into my mind as two different, um, Groups like new construction, ground up capital project, and then sort of like an existing building, because I think there are two different challenges, really, uh, new construction.

We just finished last year, a, uh, high [00:44:00] rise in the city of Boston that people call when they are going out store or drive the Jenga building. Cause it's got a lot of cantilevers and we, we, we don't call it Jenga cause Jenga towers fall over. We like to call it the stack of books building. Uh, but you know, to each their own.

Uh, but it is the largest, um, carbon free or fossil fuel free building in the, in city of Boston, I think in the Northeast. And it is, uh, uses 31, 1500 foot geothermal wells, uh, going back to a VME2, uh, heat recovery chiller and, uh, providing the heating and cooling for the building, uh, all electric. There's not a gas pipe in the building.

So fossil fuel free. Uh, and so that's a huge success for us at Boston University and our climate action plan. Uh, and I think from a look at, uh, sort of a smart building perspective to make that work and make everything work in concert with each other from. The over 700 active chill beams to the four, five air handling units, [00:45:00] uh, to the heat recovery chiller and then the expandable peaking sort of electric, uh, boilers and electric, uh, centrif chillers and cooling towers.

All of that to work together was very impressive to me and sort of like that was a great success. Uh, and our energy use is very little because we're using that geothermal, um, as our primary heating and cooling sinker source. And one of the, you kind of touched upon the different organizational, uh, components of a building.

You've got like the electrician installing lighting controls and HVAC and BAS installing the automation controls. One thing we sat people down early on in the process and we said, Hey, lighting control company, part of your scope is to work with this building automation company and zone out the HVAC zones and gives very specific data points.

On which aux sensors are going to initiate or activate the HVAC. Because often what happens is they get to the [00:46:00] end of the project. These are two companies that are very latent to the construction project and they want to get off the site. And we're like, no, no, no, sit down, grab a highlighter, work it out.

And, and that, that was a, like a sort of a small, but good success within that project as well. So new construction, I think from a sustainability perspective, it's a great building. You know, smart building, it's, it's all functional BAS and, and lighting controls. Um, from a existing building more recently, we took out an older sort of legacy 30 year old, uh, building automation system and our track antenna center, which is about a hundred thousand square foot.

Building beautiful track, uh, tennis is played there as well, obviously. And, um, big old dome open ended duct work, no VABs, very simple control, heating coils, uh, never really had many problems with it, but we didn't think it, it functioned correctly. Um, so when we started to look at [00:47:00] to the original sequences, the programming and the old BAS, and we're converting to the migrating to the new BAS, we thought of things a little bit differently and how we can, you know, Operate the building.

And we said, well, maybe we'll turn heating and cooling systems on based on demand from the building, right? It's a small enough building. We know when there's demand, we'll look at just that and sort of versus just a standard outside air trigger. Uh, and we'll shut things off when they're not being used.

And those small changes, plus maybe some modern, um, air and other code, uh, is saved over 20 percent energy, uh, electricity and 40 percent natural gas usage in the last six months. So this is huge savings just by a small migration from a old legacy control system to a new one that's modern that we're going to have to do anyway from a maintenance perspective.

So it gives us the opportunity to think, uh, more intelligently about our buildings. So those are kind of my two, uh, categories [00:48:00] of success stories. 

Durga Sarilla: Yep, uh, I would, I like to measure my success story with the number of people we have, and the amount of, uh, limited funding we are getting to get our, uh, do our daily operations.

Because for us, if you say we are just only like four people on the control stream, we're going to take it up 6. 4 million square feet. It's just the four people, if you think on it. So, uh, I'm very little funding to upgrades most of the things. So if it comes to that, we are trying to do the best we can do to get our systems up and running most of the time, probably.

So me being on the side of the control stream, uh, Uh, I mostly work on the control side of the programming. So trying to, uh, reprogram most of the stuff where we can, uh, save some energy savings, like, uh, integrating, uh, all the valve controls and everything with the hot water system and the chilled water system kind of things.

[00:49:00] And, uh, utilizing, um, campus scheduling program, integrating with HVAC systems. Which probably has given like 20 percent savings on the energy when we're trying to use the room, especially for the classroom scheduling, integrating with HVAC. We haven't been running all those HVAC systems 24 by 7 when there are no classes.

So, which really provided great savings on those. I would say that is kind of correct. Kind of a little bit of success story on our side, uh, but I would like progress a bit for people and trying to do These operation maintenance for all these buildings actually like it's success for everyone in our campus.

James Dice: Yeah. Yeah, totally Um, I think i'd love to talk to you later about the room scheduling integrating with controls I think that's an area where i'd love to Dig in more. Um, and the, and the interest of time here, um, what I'd love for you to do each of you to go back around and say what your [00:50:00] number one challenge is with your smart buildings program.

So it could be workforce and people retiring and the time that they have could be not having enough people and funding. Durga, you said, it sounds like that might be yours. Um, Could be making the business case. It could be integration. Um, it could be change management. So just, I'd love to, for you guys to go back around, Jerry, if you could start and, um, what's your, what's your biggest challenge?

Gerry Hamilton: So many, right? Um, the challenge we're working on now, and I would call this an opportunity. And again, this is at the, at the leadership strategic level, is Better collaboration between our OT platform owners, lighting controls, HVAC controls, uh, door access, you name it. And our IT application professionals.

And I call that out differently because, You know, around 2015, we had a big breakthrough with our IT infrastructure [00:51:00] support team. We realized it's much easier for them to manage the networks that our controls run on. Let's work with them to do that. It's much easier for them to manage virtual servers than us having physical machines in our buildings.

And of course, we need this for resilience and security as well. But, huge labor savings, huge breakthrough. You know, almost 10 years ago now. With this OT and IT collaboration. Uh, but now as we talk more about managing data and trying to simplify these, these software tools that we've gotta manage, what's gonna be that next breakthrough from a, from a, from a staff efficiency, economies of scale sort of thing, and, um.

You know, basically, how do we get these OT folks working closer with people who manage things like, um, you know, asset management systems, GIS systems, CMMS systems, um, you know, managing users. That's a pain. Managing patching, upgrades, managing software contracts. That's a lot of work. Um, [00:52:00] and if you step back, it's kind of silly that we're all doing these in silos.

And so, um, building on the success of Kind of the breakthroughs we had on the infrastructure side. What can we do on the application side to, you know, collectively make life easier for us? Um, where we're going to go with that? How are we going to get project progress? I don't know yet. But, uh, it's a challenge that I'm optimistic will be a good opportunity.

James Dice: Yeah, and it's, it's It's interesting for someone so sophisticated and whether the way that you're thinking about your program to have the ITOT gap is what we call it in our foundations course, our smart building strategist course, um, that's still going to be a problem, no matter how far you are down the smart buildings path, it seems like, uh, for, for anyone listening to this, it's just always something to, to manage.

It seems like. Just, just when I thought, just when I thought we had it down. That we stumbled across this. I go, there's more we can be doing. Still more. There's still more. Totally. Uh, Dan, what's [00:53:00] your number one challenge? 

Dan Quigley: Well, I, I go, Jerry's thought that there's so many challenges and there are so many opportunities out there.

That's, um, very true. Um, and funding I think is always a challenge. I think you, you're, you mentioned that earlier, that how do you compete against other. Interests within the organization. If you've got a leaky roof and, you know, leaking into your new construction or even your existing building, how can you justify replacing, uh, an existing controller or, or let some new IOT device if your roof's leaking there?

Facades, leaves, repairs. That's, that's always going to be a challenge. But my, I think my biggest challenge, I think a lot of the industry's biggest challenge is the workforce that you mentioned. And it's, uh, sometimes we're building these new, complex buildings or new sequences, and they're, it's getting ahead of what the workforce has been used to for 20, 30 years.

So we, we have to keep them within the organization and make it a goal of ours. [00:54:00] Um, and you know, to Jerry's point, our opportunity is to improve our, continuously improve our training programs and making sure that our staff that are operating and working in the buildings can maintain these new complex sequences and to support the buildings.

Because if they're successful, the people operating. The buildings are successful, then the building will operate successfully, I guess. So, um, that's kind of our, our goal and our biggest challenge right now, which is to retain good workers, good workforce, and make sure they're trained and have the tools they need to succeed.

James Dice: Durga, what would you add? 

Durga Sarilla: You know, I mean, I totally relate with Dan when he's talking about the roof situations. Like when the funds goes to the, Roof, uh, repairs and we need to do some bandwidth on the control system side. So, yeah, so that, that, what happens like, uh, I think and Jerry and Dan has really, uh, a lot of really good points on [00:55:00] the challenges.

It's the same error. I would say it's like, uh, for our case with the small institutions like this, funding is really hard to get under focus, mostly on the primary things rather than focusing on. The backend, like the smart building of control systems, because they're working, but we have, when the university says, okay, this is where we need to keep because, uh, this provides more revenue than what we tried to invest on the controls or something like that.

So there's a more weightage on there. Uh, the second thing is about the, uh, Workforce like when there's really less workforce and then trying to bring a different uh technologies Into the system, like if you don't have people to work on that, uh, there's uh, and On the top of when there's no funds, they would be just like sitting there, even though trying to provide.

So that's one being the biggest challenge, uh, oh, you know, seeing their, uh, yeah, those are, those are the major [00:56:00] ones. Actually, if you balance between them and if you create any training, we, if they have resources, funds and resources, we can do anything, I would say. 

James Dice: Absolutely. Yeah. People and money. Uh, people and money.

All right. Um, let's, let's close this out with one, one last round here. So all three of you have something in common in that you're going to be in Denver at the end of September at NexusCon. Um, I'm so excited for you three to meet, um, for those listening, they hadn't met before they show up on this podcast and we're just having this conversation.

It's awesome, but we're all going to be meeting in person. Um, And I'd love for you guys to each talk about sort of why you're excited about coming, but also, um, we have one session that's going to be focused on merging and cutting edge tech. And so I'm wondering what's one or two or one or two, like five years, 10 years out technologies that you'd like to see in that sessions.

Anybody want to go first? 

Gerry Hamilton: I'll jump in. Um, you know, when [00:57:00] I get out and about and get to talk to folks in the wild about, uh, smart building stuff, everybody wants to talk about AI, which I'm fascinated in. But what I'm looking for is, what's that initial layer of AI that we can apply to our data, so that when I'm getting my data out of my HVAC system, my lighting system, or any other system, It comes in with all its defects and faults and imperfections and also with all of its value.

Um, what's the AI that can kind of clean that up so that I can publish a clean set of data to students, to researchers, to a third party in the cloud killer application, to somebody else's AI application. But as, as somebody responsible for, you know, some pretty fundamental things. OT platforms. My biggest challenge right now is just, I lack confidence in sharing this data.

And as I said before, I want to make it easy for folks to consume that data. Uh, I don't want to frustrate them. I don't want to be seen as a bottleneck. Um, [00:58:00] but I do feel like I'm missing a tool as part of that, uh, or that process. So kind of the. The pre AI, AI layer. 

James Dice: Yeah. We're thinking about having a session and it's either going to be part of our buyer symposium, which is a closed door session for only building owners, either that or a different session, but a session around, um, What I would like to buy, but I haven't seen it available.

And so that might be a good, uh, one for that, for that session. Dan, what about you? 

Dan Quigley: Well, I think, I think AI is the buzzword, right? Of, and it's probably going to be talked about quite a bit. And you know, how does, how did, what kind of data do we feed it? Do we feed it our utility data so we can sort of forecast better?

Do we feed it our HVAC data? And it kind of tells us what we should be tweaking, you know, our HVAC equipment or lighting controls, uh, in this certain way. And. Really, you know, expand outside of just, you know, energy reduction or, um, carbon reduction locally, but maybe paying attention to the grid to [00:59:00] understand, all right, is it clean, is it dirty?

How do we react to that as an organization? Sort of responsive, uh, software systems like that. Um, I'm also interested into something Jerry's already talked about quite a bit, which is space utilization to understand what's out there, how do we better, um, Utilize our buildings, uh, with a lot of. Work from home, a lot of remote work, even if it's a few days a week, people are, you know, having empty spaces.

And can we utilize that or convert that to sort of hotel? And does that help everybody in the organization or change big decisions on maybe we don't build that new building, maybe we utilize or renovate some. Uh, existing infrastructure, um, and how can that data help, um, um, to, uh, guide that decision sort of make it a more intelligent decision.

Yeah. And sort of anything really that can move the climate, our climate action plan forward is really what I'm trying to get out of it and talk to other universities and how they're approaching their carbon reduction goals [01:00:00] and smart buildings, uh, programs. So that we can together sort of collaborate on what's worked well, what hasn't worked well.

And, uh, you know, cause we're not alone in this world and we should be collaborating and. It's an interesting industry to be in because we, we compete, but we don't really compete, right? It's like, we're all, we're all doing fine. And people want to go to higher ed and they want to learn. And that's fantastic.

Our problems are very similar. We're age buildings of various types, a lot of like post war booms, 2000 booms. So we have different technology, but very similar. So, uh, like minded, like it, like proba Uh, like type problems and how are, uh, different universities approaching it. So that's what I tried to get out of it.

James Dice: Awesome. We, I think we're, we're, I'm in mentally checking boxes right now. I've, uh, we're putting together the agenda in the background. Like, are we, are we covering these things that people want to see? I think we are so far. Durga, what, what, what do you think? 

Durga Sarilla: Jerry and Dan has already covered [01:01:00] most of the stuff.

I don't want to reiterate them. But I think the one thing is I'm trying to look, it's like a snowflake on the systems, you know, where all the systems converge together at one point, bringing the data on the data layer. Uh, so that's the one, like, because I think still we are struggling where, how we can connect these systems together, kind of a thing.

Uh, I think down the line, maybe the technology can help us doing that. Integrating all this, uh, where the university can work together on this thing. Uh, when, when you're talking about the university point of view, so. 

James Dice: Yeah. Um, cool. This is, this is all good, good fodder for me. Also, for those of you that are listening, um, we're going to have.

These topics and more, plus just a lot of time for people to have one on one meetings, like Dan was saying, with people that are doing the same stuff as them. That's kind of the, that's the idea. That was always the idea with Nexus, but now we're just going to do it in person. So [01:02:00] I want to thank you all for, for coming on to talk about this and sharing what you're working on.

Like you said, Dan, there's competition, uh, between universities, between different departments. Office buildings. But I think one thing that, um, we, we like to see is, you know, sharing what we've learned, sharing best practices. Um, and that's, that's what kind of accelerates the industry together. So that's what we're here for.

So thanks for coming on the show. This will, um, Yeah, we'll, we'll publish this audio video and, um, those of you that would like a summary, we'll do a written summary as well on the website of what, what these guys have said here today. And, uh, we'll continue this in September in Denver. Thank you all.

Speaker 10: Okay, friends. Thank you for listening to this episode. As we continue to grow our global community of change makers, we need your help for the next couple of months. We're challenging our listeners to share a link to their favorite Nexus episode on LinkedIn with a short post about why you listen. It would really, really [01:03:00] help us out.

Make sure to tag us in the post so we can see it. Have a good one.

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Episode 163 is a conversation with Gerry Hamilton from Stanford University, Dan Quigley from Boston University, and Durga Sarilla from Kansas State University.

Summary

Welcome to our latest podcast series, Buyer Roundup! Each month, we’ll chat with Buyers from different verticals to check in on what’s new and what has them excited these days. Episode 163 features Gerry Hamilton from Stanford University, Dan Quigley from Boston University, and Durga Sarilla from Kansas State University. This conversation explores the smart buildings of three higher education institutions. Enjoy!

Mentions and Links

  1. Stanford University(1:40)
  2. Nexus Podcast Ep. 79 (2:09)
  3. Boston University (2:21)
  4. Kansas State University (2:48)

You can find Gerry, Dan, and Durga on LinkedIn.

Highlights

Introduction (0:50)

Intro to Gerry (1:37)

Intro to Dan (2:14)

Why smart buildings matter (3:41)

Types of technology (10:50)

Perfection (22:15)

Front of the house (27:20)

Recent success stories (36:35)

Biggest challenges (50:20)

Upcoming technologies (56:56)




Music credits: There Is A Reality by Common Tiger—licensed under an Music Vine Limited Pro Standard License ID: S579463-16073.

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: [00:00:00] Hey friends, if you like the Nexus podcast, the best way to continue the learning is to join our community. There are three ways to do that. First, you can join the Nexus Pro Membership. It's our global community of smart building professionals. We have monthly events, paywall, deep dive content, and a private chat room, and it's just 35 a month.

Second, you can upgrade from the Pro Membership to our courses offering. It's headlined by our flagship course, the Smart Building Strategist, And we're building a catalog of courses taught by world leading experts on each topic under the smart buildings umbrella. Third and finally, our marketplace is how we connect leading vendors with buyers looking for their solutions.

The links are below in the show notes. And now let's go on to the podcast.

Hello and welcome to the Nexus podcast. I'm your host, James Dice. We are kicking off a new series leading up to NexusCon in the fall, [00:01:00] focusing on different vertical industries, um, and how their smart buildings programs are similar, different, and really just great. Uh, digging into the different trends in each industry.

So in this episode, we have higher education. So we have three higher education institutions, um, in the United States here. They all have different varying degrees of, of smart buildings, program maturity and, um, deployments and lots of different projects going on. So we're going to dig into those and talk about the trends in, in higher ed and talk about, um, You know, sort of what these, what these three are thinking about.

So, um, let's do some self introductions here. Let's start with you, Jerry. 

Gerry Hamilton: Hi, I'm Gerry Hamilton. I am the director of facilities energy management at Stanford university. Uh, in addition to running our, our building side energy programs, I also oversee our facilities automation center, our building controls group.

Uh, as well as a small team called business systems that administers our, uh, utility data historians. And so combination [00:02:00] of energy and automation. And a little bit of data management, uh, kind of in a front row seat here at Stanford for our, our smart, smart buildings work. Happy to be here, James. 

James Dice: And Gerry's been on the show before.

Uh, we have two newcomers here. Dan, why don't you go next? 

Dan Quigley: Uh, hi, James. Thanks for the invite. My name is Dan Quigley. I am the director of engineering and building systems at Boston University. Uh, which basically means I, I oversee the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, automation team, engineering, and energy groups.

Uh, we focus on, from a building automation or smart buildings perspective, uh, migrations of building automation as well as standardization through our construction and retro commissioning teams. And I'm happy to be here as well. 

James Dice: Awesome. So we went West Coast to East Coast, now we'll go Midwest. Durga, go ahead.

Durga Sarilla: I'm Durga Sarilla. I take care of the control suite for the Kansas State University. So I take care of the most controls, operations for our whole campus. It's really the building automation system. [00:03:00] And for HVAC, fire and security, and we work along with a lot of stakeholders, like with the planning team and everything to provide good control systems in the campus.

And we work with the energy management team to integrate with that system, so we have separate division work we work with. Which work with us and part of building automation side, energy management. 

James Dice: All right. And you guys have hinted at it here. I've heard a lot of energy management. I've heard a lot about building automation so far, but can you guys talk about sort of what smart buildings mean to your institutions?

Like what are the main goals? Um, if you were talking to the chancellor or the president of the university, what would they say about why smart buildings matter? 

Dan Quigley: I could jump in. So I certainly see, um, smart buildings as like a collaborative effect. It's a, it's a group, not just like one individual trying to, um, [00:04:00] bring smart buildings to a campus, there's a lot of stakeholders involved.

We have to consider the construction team, the engineers, obviously the building automation, uh, electricians, HVAC technicians, the operators of the buildings, uh, as well as the end users, senior leadership and finance, right? So there's a, a gambit of stakeholders when you talk about. The buildings at universities and pretty much any institution, uh, and how you would sort of implement a smart buildings program.

Uh, when we think about our goals, we think about how do we maintain our existing infrastructure as well as build new construction. Uh, so that the BU community, the Boston University community, or anybody in our buildings really are comfortable. They can work, they can live, they can play, do research, uh, and not have to worry about buildings.

All while we're trying to optimize our buildings Uh, energy use, uh, through different smart technologies, uh, to reduce our carbon emissions. [00:05:00] So when you kind of ask the question, when you're talking to the president or chancellor or senior leadership, the goals are going to be, how do we reduce our energy use?

For energy savings and, you know, cost savings, but maybe more importantly how to reduce our carbon use while maintaining our, one of our main goals, which is having a community on and a physical presence on a campus. So, don't, uh, take one side with a, and, and, uh, And compromise the other. So it's really a collaborative effect.

James Dice: And in higher ed, yeah, it's great. And in higher ed, there's obviously there's the students, but then there's also the, the faculty, right? So, and there's almost two different populations that you need to keep happy. Um, Gerry, what about you at Stanford? Is it different? Similar? 

Gerry Hamilton: Well, Dan, that was very well said.

I think kind of to add to that is, um, we've tried to be as pragmatic as possible, uh, because it's so easy to. You know, waste money, uh, on some [00:06:00] kind of technological dead ends. Uh, but I found even more importantly, wasting staff's, you know, enthusiasm or wasting their effort if, if they're so busy trying to, uh, engage with new tech or do things that appear to be pet projects, it actually sets us back.

We get less done. Um, we spend more internal resources. Um, so, you know, for us, just to throw some specifics out there, by 2016, we launched a program we called the Integrated Controls and Analytics Program. And very, very, very dry name, but it was focused specifically on, um, we're concerned about the, the, the automation systems in our buildings.

So let's focus on that. We're concerned about how to overlay kind of a first generation of analytics on top of that data. So let's focus on that. Let's not boil the ocean. Um, We have all these other stakeholders that you've referenced to. We can't, you know, meet everybody's needs. And so we're several years now into a program, which, you know, initially really [00:07:00] prioritized coming up with good, simple, scalable, affordable, maintainable standards for automation system, ensuring that those can actually be successfully brought online, both for new construction and in, um, Retrofit projects.

So we've got a long pipeline of upgrades we want to do. And our objective is number one, you know, realize the energy savings and the carbon savings that we know we can get from modern automation systems. And that's still our best energy efficiency measure. Um, you know, very practical benefits like that.

Um, we are now kind of moving into. More tangible benefits related to operation and maintenance. That's a little bit more challenging than objectively saving energy. But I guess the point is, you know, keep it simple so that we can continue to scale and build upon it and try to avoid dead ends, which ultimately just leave people frustrated.

James Dice: Yeah, so I'm hearing themes around Energy and [00:08:00] carbon, so in furthering sustainability goals, um, I'm hearing a little bit around Jerry, you're hitting at, um, sort of the maintenance and technicians. Um, job satisfaction and productivity, um, hitting, hitting technology for, for those reasons. And then this other broad theme around, um, experience that Dan, you said, comfort, um, the, the people that are experiencing the buildings, um, Durga, is this similar to kind of what you guys are trying to accomplish with technology?

Durga Sarilla: It's almost a similar thing, like Jerry and Dan have already written points and talked about things, you know, mostly there's universities, uh, we see the, uh, the revenue is mostly generated from their research and enrollment kind of thing. To get that kind of, uh, revenue, we need to provide the facilities to generate that revenue, right?

So, the Smart Billings Program, everything will be trying to focus on those kind of things, how, how they can utilize those facilities, much better way to generate revenue. to do their [00:09:00] research. And so we need to provide that kind of air conditioning, safety levels, comfort, and, and again, looking at the point of energy efficiency kind of things too.

So all these three parameters, I mean, focusing will be mostly the part of this. Uh, smart building automation too, like, but we can't say, as you say, because James, I have followed your audio episodes before, like, when you're discussing about different parts, about different silos, like, currently, uh, I know the universities, as far as For example, for our university itself, there we have a control system which are like 45 years old, we're on pneumatics, and still a couple of the things are on pneumatics, where we can't integrate with each other with the current DTC systems.

So that's a smart building, uh, automation comes into place where we can do that. We can replace it or use a smart billing program to integrate or communicate with these, uh, all together to provide [00:10:00] kind of the safety and the comfort levels and what our goals to other sustainability or the carbon and zero, what are those jargons we are trying to use here?

Yeah, that, that's a point I've been trying to look at. 

James Dice: Yeah, 

totally. 

So yeah, and Jerry mentioned lots of upgrades as well, so that it's, all of this is sort of integrated in with O& M, but, but also capital improvement projects that you guys are, whether it be, whether it's a new building or renovation or actually just upgrading your infrastructure, like you're saying, Durga.

Um, Let's do a little bit of, like a little bit of survey. So those are sort of the outcomes, like why you would use technology in higher ed. Let's do a little bit of a survey around what types of technologies we're talking about. So we've been talking a lot about HVAC control, right? Um, what are the other, let's just sort of run through the things that, the technology categories that are on your guys minds right now.

What, what else are we talking about? 

Durga Sarilla: HVAC, fire, security, elevator controls, uh, [00:11:00] and, uh, waste water management, uh, and kind of all the utility side. And if you say most of the, I feel most of the university have their own chill water plant and the hot water plant. So that would be the major chunk which is going to use a lot of energy over there.

So those are a couple of areas I would see, uh, and, uh, kind of, uh, demand ventilation That's one thing, uh, after Covid, which is really been really important here, providing required fair share for all classrooms and labs. 

James Dice: Those are, those are a lot of what, what we call, yeah. You said silos earlier. Durga, the different silos, different, um, devices or different control systems in the buildings.

Um, what, what are we missing here, Dan and, and Jerry? 

Dan Quigley: So, I mean, we, we're using building automation systems throughout our campus, uh, lighting control systems are kind of getting in our buildings through energy code and Boston, we're in Boston, uh, stretch code. So [00:12:00] that strip drives a lot of the lighting control system, uh, installations.

Monitoring based commissioning has been, um, you know, sort of matured a little bit over the past couple of years. Uh, we're starting to use it more and more with our capital projects, our retro commissioning and major, uh, ground up construction projects, or even complex projects like lab renovations or, um, chilled water plant optimization, where we see value in sort of capturing obviously issues with spaces, but also, um, from an owner perspective.

Monitoring Base Commissioning with Fault Detection Diagnostics. If implemented early enough in the process, we can capture issues during a warranty period. Where it's like one year after construction is complete and you know, seasonally, we can see how things function. And if it's captured and identified in monitoring based commissioning sort of audit system, so to speak, then contractors will come back and sort of fix those issues, uh, with no cost to the owner.

[00:13:00] So I've been using that as sort of a huge sales point for monitoring based commissioning internally versus the sort of traditional energy savings and cost savings through drifting of buildings. Thanks. Uh, so that technology is sort of getting implemented at, at the university. And something else we were interested in is automatic functional testing.

Sort of using the cloud and functional testing to sort of communicate with our automation systems, drive them, um, to, you know, valves open, valves close, see if sensors are operating or valves are operating correctly, and report back. So to help our team, I know we talked a lot about automation and HVAC, but really help our HVAC team focus their time.

To kind of touch upon what Jerry mentioned earlier, our workforce is challenged, uh, with time. So we need to help them sort of prioritize their, their work list every day and say, well, this is what's failed in that building. Don't just look around all the building for hours and hours. Go directly [00:14:00] to this valve and this piece of equipment.

Um, anything we can do to optimize, uh, their time will help them, uh, be successful and help us, uh, produce a better product for our customers. Which are the occupants and end users of these buildings. Uh, and that's all they really want is a space that they can be in, um, that's, you know, successful. And so we can, uh, make everything good for them.

James Dice: Yeah. Such a great point. I think what you're highlighting too is the importance of FDD being used for all these different things on campus. That's something that I've, I've noticed as we've, you know, interviewed Jerry, interviewed other higher ed leaders, FDD seems to be, um, applied in a bunch of different ways in higher ed.

Which, if you look at other industries, is a little, is more advanced. In the way that it's being applied versus others, um, and it seems to be more accepted as a normal piece of the pie, um, a normal piece of the infrastructure. Jerry, what are we missing from, from your program? 

Gerry Hamilton: The one area that we're [00:15:00] dabbling with now is really trying to make strategic sense out of, you know, wireless distributed sensors.

The big topic now is indoor air quality. Um, but I'm also seeing, you know, innovation and technology that can provide smarter occupancy monitoring. Um, so we're not just, you know, it's not, it's not so much binary anymore. Is somebody there or not? It's kind of, well, where are they or how many or what's happening in the space?

And challenges we run into is, you know, that there's privacy concerns. Um, there's also. Um, you know, there, there, there's legal ramifications of the data. If we suddenly start collecting a lot of space data, maybe those numbers don't look good. You know, what are the obligations to fix? And it's just a, it's a whole new area.

And we're stumbling into again, you know, management level challenges that I never envisioned. I mean, what would be wrong with putting a new smart sensor out there? Um, so these are kind of change management things we have to go through. Um, but [00:16:00] also we've got to learn, well, you know, what are we actually going to do With the data, are we just going to be cluttering?

Are we just going to be making more work for folks? So, uh, you know, you've heard the wildfire stories as you're in California. And so in the past few years we've had to deal with, you know, particulate and things. And so. Um, that's good information to have, but, you know, how do you respond to that information?

Are there thresholds? Are there criteria? So, it's opening up all new avenues of discussion, plus you've got to manage the data itself. Where does it go? I'm really concerned about the future in our industry of, you know, wireless IoT devices. Uh, Wi Fi doesn't appear to be, you know, the right long term way to, to manage this, but, you know, what is the, the perfect operations network, and I, I don't know if that's even Defined yet.

So I wish I had the answers for you all, but that's an area we're giving a lot of attention because I think this can help augment our existing HVAC systems and processes, but we can bring in a lot more people to the smart table. [00:17:00] People involved with space management, safety, health and safety, um, all these things.

I do want to put a plug in here early because one thing that we are spending a lot of time, it's not a device, it's not a specific piece of technology, but rather it's software related. It's, it's, it's data management. And what is our plan for ingesting all the data from current and future systems? What are our standards?

How do we manage those standards? Uh, because one thing we've learned, accessing data, Isn't the challenge. The challenge is consuming the data. And one thing that we've burned a lot of staff time on is once people have access to HVAC data, if that data is confusing, if there's gaps in the data, if they lose connectivity, if they don't know how to interpret the data, then suddenly the subject matter experts Whether they're energy engineers or whether they're controls engineers are having to spend a disproportionate amount of time supporting individual consumers, supporting individual applications that consume the data.

And so we've been trying to get [00:18:00] ahead of that and invest in, you know, in software and practices so that we can ensure that the data is easily consumable because I see that as an area for big opportunities for overall labor savings going forward. 

James Dice: Yeah, that could be what you're saying is it could be a student that's not doing research or it could be a commissioning agent on the new renovation.

There's a bunch of people that could use this. Um, Dan, did you, Dan, go ahead. 

Dan Quigley: I just wanted to echo Jerry's point with data is we are literally in the same position. I, again, meeting last week about how we're going to store all of our utility data and how we're going to allow people to access it and sort of what platform are we're using.

And, um, how it's being consumed. And it's just a huge conversation because our buildings have all this information. We have all the sensors and building automation, lighting controls, uh, utility meters and things of that nature. And it needs to go back to, uh, not, not necessarily a single [00:19:00] interface, but a trusted interface and put it into a consumable format for people to understand.

And that's kind of our challenge right now. So I just wanted to. 

James Dice: Yeah. So we've talked about device layer, we've talked about data, like what we're talking about right now is, is, is in our parlance, uh, Nexus, the data layer, uh, Durga, do you have, um, data layer, um, interests and concerns as well? 

Durga Sarilla: Actually, like when Dan and Jerry, they're talking about data layer.

What are the challenges part? Because we being a small institution and we have a limited amount on that. So while we are focusing on this kind of data thing, like bringing all data together or going with third party people who are going to provide us, it's being a challenge with them. But for me, like when I talk about, I talk as a controls guy because from the controls background, I see for me.

I like to fix the foundation level issues because we have different types of controllers here, different from 40 years [00:20:00] old where we can't, uh, integrate the systems or something like that. So when coming to point of a data layer, okay, there is no integration between devices, how we can get the right data to give the right issues for the system.

So if you take, for example, if you take a long backnet and there are some proprietary protocols, so these proprietary protocols cannot integrate with the backnet or something, though we have some device. What if there's a communication loss? At least if you lost the communication for one hour. On the data layer, how can we get the right data to give those decisions on the enterprise layer on the level?

So there's a couple of challenges like i'm looking for so that's one reason we haven't started anything on bringing on the FDD part or anything that FDDs or any new technologies into our systems. What we started doing is like trying to Clear the issues on the foundation levels because the controllers controllers itself have a capability of clearing all these Field level issues [00:21:00] with the programming or something on top of that if you provide the data layer Then we're gonna give Then it's going to give it the right value for the data.

I mean, 10 years back, there's, though we had the systems, but we still, we had this phantom, which got all these alarms and everything. And with those alarms, we can work out a safety. We have this exit issue, but, uh, I know this technology is, uh, reducing that, uh, kind of a one hour time into 15 minutes time for the person to work on it, to know where the exit issue is.

Is if the foundation layer is not really good, I feel like we won't get any right data. About the data layer or something like that. So that, that's one challenge I just want to put on. 

James Dice: Yeah. It's almost like a hierarchy of needs thing, right? You can, you can't move up the stack until you feel like you have the foundational.

Layers of the stack. Correct. Jerry and Dan, I bet you have something to respond to Durga here around I I I doubt that your device layers are [00:22:00] perfect before you're, you know, putting a data layer or thinking about putting a data layer on top. What would you say to, I think there's something around not letting perfect be the enemy of good here.

What, what would you say? I, I, I would 

Gerry Hamilton: agree. I've been at Stanford 14 years and. You never get caught up with, with anything, right? As soon as you start thinking you're making progress, suddenly the projects you did five years ago are old. And so, um, I do try to break things into components. My, my staff hear me use the word modularity a lot.

And in fact, as we learn more about technology, I try to break things into different components. Different components. And so, for example, data management, it's its own thing. And in fact, we're even separating it from our, uh, our fault detection diagnostic system. And as the more we learn, we realize, well, there's a whole art to extracting data.

There's a whole [00:23:00] art to transforming the data for our needs to make it consumable. And there's a whole art to loading that data to the various applications and consumers. Who need it? And I, I believe that progress can be made in each of these areas, uh, even if maybe you have some problems in one area so that the clever part is, is kind of breaking it down into components so that you can be pursuing, you know, best of class in each of those.

Uh, without being hamstrung. So I guess my advice is resist the temptation to go turnkey macro level solutions on everything, uh, because you're guaranteed that, you know, a couple of the modules in there are going to hold you back and it's going to be frustrating. Um, otherwise you do get, you know, tied up on this concept of.

If everything's not perfect, then nothing's perfect, sort of thing. 

Dan Quigley: Uh, so I, I agree. I think it's, when we're talking about data and, you know, how do we not get caught up in fixing everything in the past, and you kind of have to sort of stop the [00:24:00] problems going forward first, is the way we've always approached it through standards and documentation, uh, working with our construction team so that new construction And renovation projects and retro commissioning projects that might be led from like a bigger perspective on the campus.

They're going forward with the right standards, right? They're moving forward with correct point naming. And then all you have to do from your team is sort of look back. And say, okay, how are we going to attack, uh, our aging 30 year old proprietary control system? How are we going to attack our, uh, early version of BACnet that maybe doesn't function so great?

And how are we going to, uh, approach our pneumatic system? And. Dirty, you're not alone. Our campuses are very old too. And, you know, we have, I have pneumatics, I have a Honeywell controller running an air handler that's the size of my door back here, uh, down in one of our old buildings. And it's got like the whole, uh, [00:25:00] schematic display and, uh, pneumatic gauges and everything, and it still works.

It's on our roadmap, but the way that we approached it first and foremost was, uh, standards and guidelines and documentation so that everybody involved from the construction perspective, uh, new construction renovations to our system integrators that we use to our internal team, everybody's using the same language and the same standards going forward.

And I will say that. The, uh, controls companies today versus the controls companies even five, ten years ago have really, uh, transformed what their standards look like. So, uh, the standard point naming is really not an issue anymore as long as you're working on the same thing. Uh, standard packages from these control systems.

So, uh, it's getting everybody sort of on board with the right, uh, practices and standards, and then, uh, sort of letting the groups kind of do their own thing so you can approach things in parallel. [00:26:00] 

James Dice: I think I'd, I'd echo that based on all the conversations I've had around like, okay, if everybody Durga in higher ed is, is wanting to get to FDD, it seems like to me, everybody I talked to has got that on their roadmap at some point.

Um, You can't wait till you have every controller. Uh, the latest version of whatever DDC standard you have before getting in that direction, right? Just use the data you have, um, eventually you'll be able to upgrade that controller the size of a door, Dan. And when you do, it can get brought in, but it doesn't need to get brought in.

Right now, um, let's shift gears a little bit. I think this is a really fun conversation. I didn't predict us being able to offer each other advice, which was, um, uh, uh, emergent quality of this conversation, which is fun. Um, uh, Jared, I want to circle back a little bit towards the space utilization point that you brought up here.

I feel like when we talk to, when I talk to people that are thinking about smart buildings in [00:27:00] higher ed, it's mostly around energy and HVAC control, metering, FDD. You're talking more about front of the house in a way, um, at least what I understood to you, what you were saying. It's not necessarily about counting people or figuring where they're at so that you can control HVAC better, which could be a use case that you could use with those sensors.

But you're also talking about, um, Working with other people on campus that are thinking about space planning and where students are and where they should be and maybe safety. Like, there's a bunch of other use cases that you're thinking about here. Can you expand on that a little bit 

Gerry Hamilton: more? One of my objectives is to increase the number of people around the table that I get to sit at when we're talking smart campus.

So, it's not my table. We've talked before, there's a lot of folks here, but, um, and it's a lot of work and it's stressful, but I know I got to think beyond HVAC control, lighting control, energy management, and, um, Stanford's a big place. We've got silos. The folks who manage door [00:28:00] access are different than the people who manage the fire systems.

And, um, there's a lot of us, but even then, how do we get outside of the traditional building? You know, operational technology space to talk to people who are involved with space planning, that are involved with environmental health and safety and public safety. And I don't exactly know where that conversation is going to go.

But I do know when we are stuck thinking, what do I do next? There's so much that's wrong. Where do I start working first? It actually is a lot easier if you can narrow that down to one or two things that have big benefit to it, to a large audience. And I think You know, managing the spaces is it.

Certainly in higher ed, we all refer to buildings and we all refer to the spaces. And conversations I've had with some data governance folks who, um, they're concerned about student records. They're concerned about, you know, privacy issues. So what do we have in common? And I go, well, you refer to who's in a space, right?

And I refer to the VAV box in a space. We should probably have a [00:29:00] standard to refer to that space, right? Because if we're ever going to share data, we've got to have some sort of. Ontology. That makes sense. Like, Oh, maybe, maybe you're onto something here. I've had conversations with environmental health and safety about these wireless controllers and what can you do with it?

And they say, well, do you have something that can, you know, measure, measure hotspots? I want to know if, you know, there's a temperature on a bench that ever gets above a certain point. And I go, well, I think that technology exists. It's made by folks who use that technology to see if a human being is there, right?

Because they measure the temperature. And so suddenly they're, you know, they're, they're, there's co benefits of technology that nobody. You know, nobody had envisioned, um, talking with some of my facilities operations partners, they're interested in monitoring indoor air quality so they can assess the thoroughness of cleanliness of their spaces.

They want to be able to measure the chemicals in the air. They want to know that this place was clean. Not that there's a toxic level of cleaning chemicals, but they just want to know, was it clean, did somebody come through here, right? So. If you don't have these [00:30:00] conversations, you don't find these overlaps.

And so, uh, the final driver for Stanford might not be a better occupancy center sensor for lighting control. It may be finding life, you know, human life safety issues or near misses or Supporting custodial practices. Oh, and by the way, we'll just pull some of that data into the HVAC system and the lighting control system.

So kind of, instead of me trying to push something, I could pull, or I don't know what the analogy is, but, uh, there is a lot of overlap out there and you just got to start these conversations because everybody's trying to do something I also like to go. Out there in point folks, you know, we're not trying to make our occupants suffer.

There is so much benefit that we can still achieve from an energy perspective just by, you know, better operation. Um, and maybe something I'll cue up for a little bit later where we're looking at dynamically managing room level schedules. And, uh, again, not that we want people to suffer, [00:31:00] we just want to operate our assets smarter.

And we think occupant comfort is also an area where a large audience can, can rally around. And, uh, even, even I'm the energy manager here and I say, no, people shouldn't have to wear sweaters in the middle of summer, right? Or, you know, they shouldn't have to. Dress uncomfortably. We should be able to get the utility out of these buildings.

And we should be able to do things like, uh, manage our, our rogue zones or our dominant zones a little bit smarter. And that's where the smart comes in. 

James Dice: And this is awesome to hear you talk about because this is really the crux of the smart buildings problem. So in the past we had all these different silos on campus, all these different systems.

And if you were going to put an occupancy sensor in for lighting, it would be the lighting control systems occupancy sensor. In that sort of siloed paradigm, but what we're talking about is like Let's think about all of the technologies that are available to us and what are all of the different outcomes and use cases we could [00:32:00] use with that piece of technology.

Um, and Jerry, it's also silos within our organizations, right? Where you're saying like, who do I need to go talk to? Let's bring more people to the table. Dan, how does this work with, with, with you guys? I see you kind of nodding, nodding your head a little bit, maybe the same themes are popping up over there on the other side of the country.

Dan Quigley: It's, it's very similar, right? We have, uh, different parts of our organization, but we've been working at it, uh, at least in the last 10 years, I've been at Boston University, been working at sort of breaking down those silos and being more cross functional, uh, and making sure that everybody's needs are heard.

So Jerry, you were talking about how, you know, that, how does this piece of technology fit at the university? Well, you might not see that at an HVAC or lighting controls, but maybe there's a safety need for something like that. And is this the right technology for that safety need, or is it? You know, using some sort of, uh, camera and maybe the, [00:33:00] uh, security team knows more about that, but sort of building those bridges, uh, internally has been a big goal of ours over many years.

And, you know, it's, it's working really well now, uh, we have those conversations, Jerry, that you're talking about, and if you don't, then you're missing opportunities to, uh, uh, make your process a little bit more efficient and productive. Uh, and also. Being able to present the senior leadership, a multifunctional solution, right?

You're not talking about just energy savings, but Hey, if we installed new building automation controllers, it'll reduce our energy and it'll have a more comfortable outcome because we're using. ASHRAE guideline 36. 1 programming schema that backs down on that, uh, VAB box. So we don't overcool the space.

So they don't have to wear sweaters in the, in the summertime sort of thing. Right? So there are. More than one solution. We just have to kind of like pull it out from the different parts of the organization. And, uh, we've been pretty successful with [00:34:00] that for the years, but similar themes for sure. Um, 

James Dice: I want to switch 

Durga Sarilla: gears here.

Durga, do you have anything to add before I do? It's, I feel like when I'm listening to that, yeah, it's, everything is similar on the higher end. You know, it's like always, uh, when we do any projects or something, it's like we are trying to, uh, bring all stakeholders together. Because it's a multi organization like it's different departments.

They have their own requirements. So it's like we are bringing all together and Feel like oh, we're trying to integrate those at one part To provide what they need, actually. Oh, the one thing I just want to say, like, I think recently we had, uh, our customer custodial team working on our indoor air quality monitoring.

Uh, so they have got their own separate technology for them. Like they're, uh, they bought their own products that they're testing it now. But what I'm trying to think is like integrate with the. Building automation. So they have their own product, but how we can integrate with the building automation, [00:35:00] uh, so that they all communicate with each other.

So those kinds of things we are trying to see here. 

James Dice: And, and are you, um, involved in that project as like one of the controls leaders or automation leaders? So you're getting pulled into the custodial teams project. Yeah. 

Durga Sarilla: So most of the things, like if you say like all different organizations we hire here, uh, I'll be trying to pull in because they all bring a different technologies, different products inside.

But, uh, I'm trying to push here to get it to one place so that everyone has, uh, information and they can work together. Uh, so that, that's kind of one kind of a mindset I'm trying to build with the people here, with the organization, so that, uh, everyone can. Everyone can work together and have right data for their decisions.

James Dice: Totally. It's like a, it's not just stakeholder engagement, how we kind of view stakeholder engagement as one step in the overall creation of a [00:36:00] holistic strategy for the campus, right? And it's like, okay, what are all these different perspectives and people that are getting pulled in to sort of create and update and maintain that, that strategy and vision for how technology is getting used on campus?

Um, let's, let's shift, uh, I want to let you guys tell some stories of recent successes. And, um, I'd love to just hear if there's like one project that comes to mind immediately on like, this was a huge win recently. Um, I'm going to ask you those, but then what we're going to do it after that is move straight into the biggest challenges as well.

So, um, maybe Jerry, you want to kick us off? Um, so, you know, sort of think about what is the project that just got done or recently got finished that you would say is a success story and maybe also talk about the impact that it has on students and faculty as well. 

Gerry Hamilton: Well, I think I have a good example. It touches on several aspects there.

So, we're a few years now into a [00:37:00] joint research project with an academic team. And, uh, we initially were looking at, um, smarter control of chilled water consumption in our buildings. And, uh, Doing some smart load management at the room level. So since we've got modern HVAC systems, we've got some analytics and some point naming and tagging standards, um, how do, how do we do that?

And, uh, we have district heating and cooling here. So, you know, we are concerned about the distribution and consumption of children's water as, as a utility resource. And I've never had a successful project with, with researchers before. Usually, you know, either. I'm being selfish. They're being selfish. One party gets all the benefit and the other just gets a bunch of work.

Uh, but in this case, and maybe it has to do with the smart buildings aspect because we're using this new infrastructure we have, we're applying new data management techniques, um, and both [00:38:00] parties weren't afraid to bring their strengths to the table. You know, we know how buildings work. We know how the control systems work.

We know how the Market works and the market limitations. The researchers are bringing, you know, smarter, better ways to manipulate data. They have the time and resources to test algorithms. But what was nice is, you know, operations, we weren't afraid to say, listen, this is the limit of our knowledge of technology.

This is the limit of what the tech can do. What do you think? They were Brave enough to come to us and say, listen, we really don't know how your market works. We admit that, you know, you operation folks aren't dinosaurs. You know, there are real modern issues that need to be dealt with. How, how, how can we help?

And it started a very constructive relationship. And I think it was the fact that, hey, you know, this is a real world scenario. You know, I mean, a third or more of the energy is used in commercial buildings. Um, We've got to address these market challenges, and it's not just we're lazy, not willing to do the right thing.

And so we have, we're [00:39:00] three years into a program. It started as the COOLER research program, and we're really springboarding upon this because we are able to do some room level management. And at Stanford we talk about we have six, seven hundred buildings on campus. Usually we're looking at the top ten.

200, but you know, you could have 100 plus rooms per building. So tens of thousands of spaces that we want to dynamically, uh, modulate and control, you know, on a fairly fine timescale. That is a big data problem. There's quality control issues. You can't be disrupting occupants or, or research. Uh, but we're working with some real researchers now to, to address the, these challenges.

And mostly it's coming down to data management or how to get information from one area. Yeah. Over to another area and ultimately pushed into our control system. So we've still got years of work to do here, but, uh, we found that by just tweaking set points here and there and non critical spaces, we can save 14 percent or more.

[00:40:00] Load. And basically to the point nobody even notices. And so if we're trying to manage, manage emergencies, or if we're trying to do some peak shaving so that we can enable, you know, um, you know, electrification conversions, uh, there's a lot of benefit from being able to do this, this smartly. Um, next thing we want to do is dynamically manage, uh, room level occupancy mode.

You know, can we toggle spaces more aggressively from occupied to unoccupied to standby? Um, but there's some change management there because it takes a village. We're going to have to manage data from potentially tens of thousands of occupants. That's not something, you know, HVAC operation folks have typically felt comfortable with.

You know, allowing to happen, right? But in a modern realm, especially in higher ed, we get questions like, as occupants, what can we do to help? And, um, you know, there's a lot of opportunity here. So that's, that's, that's, that's been a big win. And hopefully we can continue it. Maybe it's just magical. Maybe we're just lucky, but I do think it has something to [00:41:00] do with the fact this is applied.

Cutting edge technology, addressing real market challenges, you know, in the, in the commercial building slash higher ed space. Um, and, uh, we're gonna, we're 

James Dice: gonna keep going. It's fascinating. So if I, if I understand what you guys you're setting out to dynamically control. Every room's set points based off of some outcome.

And the outcome could be just simply minimizing load, like you said, but it also could be, um, like demand flexibility of the campus as, as, as well. It sounds like if we wanted to, um, start controlling spaces based off of Uh, renewable energy on the grid or your demand, um, you know, strategy. Um, and it sounds like what you did was initially just test it out.

Can we do this in a couple of spaces or a couple of buildings or one building? And it sounds like it was a success. And what I'm hearing also is that it doesn't sound like this would have been possible. [00:42:00] If you guys wouldn't have gone down the road, you went that we were talking about earlier, which is like, let's create our own data layer.

Let's start to normalize all the data. Let's let's tag all the data, getting it all in one place so that someone like a smart researcher could come in and start to manipulate it for the purposes of that project. 

Gerry Hamilton: They were, they were able to plug into our automation system. They were able to plug it into our FDD platform and use those as a, as a starting point.

And we've already come up with ways to improve those. Um, but the main thing that they weren't, they weren't afraid to look under the hood. They were motivated, right? Because of this technology. Um, and so, and the other thing is, again, we are looking way beyond just efficiency now, right, and resilience. And there, there are a number of reasons why we may want to manipulate load on campus.

And one benefit is, if we can manipulate load at the entire campus level, that may avoid us having to actually shut off one or two or three buildings completely. 

James Dice: Alright, that's what's [00:43:00] on Jerry's mind. Dan, what about, what's going on with you? Any, any recent success stories? 

Dan Quigley: Well, I don't want to breeze past Jerry's, uh, awesome name for his, uh, program, which was cooler.

I think that's a cool little pun that got thrown in there. And I appreciate that. Um, that sounds very, uh, impressive, Jerry, what you're doing there. It's difficult to look at. An entire campus and sort of, uh, respond to like the demands and space to really back everything off and be dynamic about it. Like you're talking about at scale and that, you know, that takes a lot of effort, so, you know, kudos to you and your team, um, first and foremost.

Uh, I have a couple of projects. I know you said just one, but the way I kind of looked at sort of case studies or success stories, I broke it into my mind as two different, um, Groups like new construction, ground up capital project, and then sort of like an existing building, because I think there are two different challenges, really, uh, new construction.

We just finished last year, a, uh, high [00:44:00] rise in the city of Boston that people call when they are going out store or drive the Jenga building. Cause it's got a lot of cantilevers and we, we, we don't call it Jenga cause Jenga towers fall over. We like to call it the stack of books building. Uh, but you know, to each their own.

Uh, but it is the largest, um, carbon free or fossil fuel free building in the, in city of Boston, I think in the Northeast. And it is, uh, uses 31, 1500 foot geothermal wells, uh, going back to a VME2, uh, heat recovery chiller and, uh, providing the heating and cooling for the building, uh, all electric. There's not a gas pipe in the building.

So fossil fuel free. Uh, and so that's a huge success for us at Boston University and our climate action plan. Uh, and I think from a look at, uh, sort of a smart building perspective to make that work and make everything work in concert with each other from. The over 700 active chill beams to the four, five air handling units, [00:45:00] uh, to the heat recovery chiller and then the expandable peaking sort of electric, uh, boilers and electric, uh, centrif chillers and cooling towers.

All of that to work together was very impressive to me and sort of like that was a great success. Uh, and our energy use is very little because we're using that geothermal, um, as our primary heating and cooling sinker source. And one of the, you kind of touched upon the different organizational, uh, components of a building.

You've got like the electrician installing lighting controls and HVAC and BAS installing the automation controls. One thing we sat people down early on in the process and we said, Hey, lighting control company, part of your scope is to work with this building automation company and zone out the HVAC zones and gives very specific data points.

On which aux sensors are going to initiate or activate the HVAC. Because often what happens is they get to the [00:46:00] end of the project. These are two companies that are very latent to the construction project and they want to get off the site. And we're like, no, no, no, sit down, grab a highlighter, work it out.

And, and that, that was a, like a sort of a small, but good success within that project as well. So new construction, I think from a sustainability perspective, it's a great building. You know, smart building, it's, it's all functional BAS and, and lighting controls. Um, from a existing building more recently, we took out an older sort of legacy 30 year old, uh, building automation system and our track antenna center, which is about a hundred thousand square foot.

Building beautiful track, uh, tennis is played there as well, obviously. And, um, big old dome open ended duct work, no VABs, very simple control, heating coils, uh, never really had many problems with it, but we didn't think it, it functioned correctly. Um, so when we started to look at [00:47:00] to the original sequences, the programming and the old BAS, and we're converting to the migrating to the new BAS, we thought of things a little bit differently and how we can, you know, Operate the building.

And we said, well, maybe we'll turn heating and cooling systems on based on demand from the building, right? It's a small enough building. We know when there's demand, we'll look at just that and sort of versus just a standard outside air trigger. Uh, and we'll shut things off when they're not being used.

And those small changes, plus maybe some modern, um, air and other code, uh, is saved over 20 percent energy, uh, electricity and 40 percent natural gas usage in the last six months. So this is huge savings just by a small migration from a old legacy control system to a new one that's modern that we're going to have to do anyway from a maintenance perspective.

So it gives us the opportunity to think, uh, more intelligently about our buildings. So those are kind of my two, uh, categories [00:48:00] of success stories. 

Durga Sarilla: Yep, uh, I would, I like to measure my success story with the number of people we have, and the amount of, uh, limited funding we are getting to get our, uh, do our daily operations.

Because for us, if you say we are just only like four people on the control stream, we're going to take it up 6. 4 million square feet. It's just the four people, if you think on it. So, uh, I'm very little funding to upgrades most of the things. So if it comes to that, we are trying to do the best we can do to get our systems up and running most of the time, probably.

So me being on the side of the control stream, uh, Uh, I mostly work on the control side of the programming. So trying to, uh, reprogram most of the stuff where we can, uh, save some energy savings, like, uh, integrating, uh, all the valve controls and everything with the hot water system and the chilled water system kind of things.

[00:49:00] And, uh, utilizing, um, campus scheduling program, integrating with HVAC systems. Which probably has given like 20 percent savings on the energy when we're trying to use the room, especially for the classroom scheduling, integrating with HVAC. We haven't been running all those HVAC systems 24 by 7 when there are no classes.

So, which really provided great savings on those. I would say that is kind of correct. Kind of a little bit of success story on our side, uh, but I would like progress a bit for people and trying to do These operation maintenance for all these buildings actually like it's success for everyone in our campus.

James Dice: Yeah. Yeah, totally Um, I think i'd love to talk to you later about the room scheduling integrating with controls I think that's an area where i'd love to Dig in more. Um, and the, and the interest of time here, um, what I'd love for you to do each of you to go back around and say what your [00:50:00] number one challenge is with your smart buildings program.

So it could be workforce and people retiring and the time that they have could be not having enough people and funding. Durga, you said, it sounds like that might be yours. Um, Could be making the business case. It could be integration. Um, it could be change management. So just, I'd love to, for you guys to go back around, Jerry, if you could start and, um, what's your, what's your biggest challenge?

Gerry Hamilton: So many, right? Um, the challenge we're working on now, and I would call this an opportunity. And again, this is at the, at the leadership strategic level, is Better collaboration between our OT platform owners, lighting controls, HVAC controls, uh, door access, you name it. And our IT application professionals.

And I call that out differently because, You know, around 2015, we had a big breakthrough with our IT infrastructure [00:51:00] support team. We realized it's much easier for them to manage the networks that our controls run on. Let's work with them to do that. It's much easier for them to manage virtual servers than us having physical machines in our buildings.

And of course, we need this for resilience and security as well. But, huge labor savings, huge breakthrough. You know, almost 10 years ago now. With this OT and IT collaboration. Uh, but now as we talk more about managing data and trying to simplify these, these software tools that we've gotta manage, what's gonna be that next breakthrough from a, from a, from a staff efficiency, economies of scale sort of thing, and, um.

You know, basically, how do we get these OT folks working closer with people who manage things like, um, you know, asset management systems, GIS systems, CMMS systems, um, you know, managing users. That's a pain. Managing patching, upgrades, managing software contracts. That's a lot of work. Um, [00:52:00] and if you step back, it's kind of silly that we're all doing these in silos.

And so, um, building on the success of Kind of the breakthroughs we had on the infrastructure side. What can we do on the application side to, you know, collectively make life easier for us? Um, where we're going to go with that? How are we going to get project progress? I don't know yet. But, uh, it's a challenge that I'm optimistic will be a good opportunity.

James Dice: Yeah, and it's, it's It's interesting for someone so sophisticated and whether the way that you're thinking about your program to have the ITOT gap is what we call it in our foundations course, our smart building strategist course, um, that's still going to be a problem, no matter how far you are down the smart buildings path, it seems like, uh, for, for anyone listening to this, it's just always something to, to manage.

It seems like. Just, just when I thought, just when I thought we had it down. That we stumbled across this. I go, there's more we can be doing. Still more. There's still more. Totally. Uh, Dan, what's [00:53:00] your number one challenge? 

Dan Quigley: Well, I, I go, Jerry's thought that there's so many challenges and there are so many opportunities out there.

That's, um, very true. Um, and funding I think is always a challenge. I think you, you're, you mentioned that earlier, that how do you compete against other. Interests within the organization. If you've got a leaky roof and, you know, leaking into your new construction or even your existing building, how can you justify replacing, uh, an existing controller or, or let some new IOT device if your roof's leaking there?

Facades, leaves, repairs. That's, that's always going to be a challenge. But my, I think my biggest challenge, I think a lot of the industry's biggest challenge is the workforce that you mentioned. And it's, uh, sometimes we're building these new, complex buildings or new sequences, and they're, it's getting ahead of what the workforce has been used to for 20, 30 years.

So we, we have to keep them within the organization and make it a goal of ours. [00:54:00] Um, and you know, to Jerry's point, our opportunity is to improve our, continuously improve our training programs and making sure that our staff that are operating and working in the buildings can maintain these new complex sequences and to support the buildings.

Because if they're successful, the people operating. The buildings are successful, then the building will operate successfully, I guess. So, um, that's kind of our, our goal and our biggest challenge right now, which is to retain good workers, good workforce, and make sure they're trained and have the tools they need to succeed.

James Dice: Durga, what would you add? 

Durga Sarilla: You know, I mean, I totally relate with Dan when he's talking about the roof situations. Like when the funds goes to the, Roof, uh, repairs and we need to do some bandwidth on the control system side. So, yeah, so that, that, what happens like, uh, I think and Jerry and Dan has really, uh, a lot of really good points on [00:55:00] the challenges.

It's the same error. I would say it's like, uh, for our case with the small institutions like this, funding is really hard to get under focus, mostly on the primary things rather than focusing on. The backend, like the smart building of control systems, because they're working, but we have, when the university says, okay, this is where we need to keep because, uh, this provides more revenue than what we tried to invest on the controls or something like that.

So there's a more weightage on there. Uh, the second thing is about the, uh, Workforce like when there's really less workforce and then trying to bring a different uh technologies Into the system, like if you don't have people to work on that, uh, there's uh, and On the top of when there's no funds, they would be just like sitting there, even though trying to provide.

So that's one being the biggest challenge, uh, oh, you know, seeing their, uh, yeah, those are, those are the major [00:56:00] ones. Actually, if you balance between them and if you create any training, we, if they have resources, funds and resources, we can do anything, I would say. 

James Dice: Absolutely. Yeah. People and money. Uh, people and money.

All right. Um, let's, let's close this out with one, one last round here. So all three of you have something in common in that you're going to be in Denver at the end of September at NexusCon. Um, I'm so excited for you three to meet, um, for those listening, they hadn't met before they show up on this podcast and we're just having this conversation.

It's awesome, but we're all going to be meeting in person. Um, And I'd love for you guys to each talk about sort of why you're excited about coming, but also, um, we have one session that's going to be focused on merging and cutting edge tech. And so I'm wondering what's one or two or one or two, like five years, 10 years out technologies that you'd like to see in that sessions.

Anybody want to go first? 

Gerry Hamilton: I'll jump in. Um, you know, when [00:57:00] I get out and about and get to talk to folks in the wild about, uh, smart building stuff, everybody wants to talk about AI, which I'm fascinated in. But what I'm looking for is, what's that initial layer of AI that we can apply to our data, so that when I'm getting my data out of my HVAC system, my lighting system, or any other system, It comes in with all its defects and faults and imperfections and also with all of its value.

Um, what's the AI that can kind of clean that up so that I can publish a clean set of data to students, to researchers, to a third party in the cloud killer application, to somebody else's AI application. But as, as somebody responsible for, you know, some pretty fundamental things. OT platforms. My biggest challenge right now is just, I lack confidence in sharing this data.

And as I said before, I want to make it easy for folks to consume that data. Uh, I don't want to frustrate them. I don't want to be seen as a bottleneck. Um, [00:58:00] but I do feel like I'm missing a tool as part of that, uh, or that process. So kind of the. The pre AI, AI layer. 

James Dice: Yeah. We're thinking about having a session and it's either going to be part of our buyer symposium, which is a closed door session for only building owners, either that or a different session, but a session around, um, What I would like to buy, but I haven't seen it available.

And so that might be a good, uh, one for that, for that session. Dan, what about you? 

Dan Quigley: Well, I think, I think AI is the buzzword, right? Of, and it's probably going to be talked about quite a bit. And you know, how does, how did, what kind of data do we feed it? Do we feed it our utility data so we can sort of forecast better?

Do we feed it our HVAC data? And it kind of tells us what we should be tweaking, you know, our HVAC equipment or lighting controls, uh, in this certain way. And. Really, you know, expand outside of just, you know, energy reduction or, um, carbon reduction locally, but maybe paying attention to the grid to [00:59:00] understand, all right, is it clean, is it dirty?

How do we react to that as an organization? Sort of responsive, uh, software systems like that. Um, I'm also interested into something Jerry's already talked about quite a bit, which is space utilization to understand what's out there, how do we better, um, Utilize our buildings, uh, with a lot of. Work from home, a lot of remote work, even if it's a few days a week, people are, you know, having empty spaces.

And can we utilize that or convert that to sort of hotel? And does that help everybody in the organization or change big decisions on maybe we don't build that new building, maybe we utilize or renovate some. Uh, existing infrastructure, um, and how can that data help, um, um, to, uh, guide that decision sort of make it a more intelligent decision.

Yeah. And sort of anything really that can move the climate, our climate action plan forward is really what I'm trying to get out of it and talk to other universities and how they're approaching their carbon reduction goals [01:00:00] and smart buildings, uh, programs. So that we can together sort of collaborate on what's worked well, what hasn't worked well.

And, uh, you know, cause we're not alone in this world and we should be collaborating and. It's an interesting industry to be in because we, we compete, but we don't really compete, right? It's like, we're all, we're all doing fine. And people want to go to higher ed and they want to learn. And that's fantastic.

Our problems are very similar. We're age buildings of various types, a lot of like post war booms, 2000 booms. So we have different technology, but very similar. So, uh, like minded, like it, like proba Uh, like type problems and how are, uh, different universities approaching it. So that's what I tried to get out of it.

James Dice: Awesome. We, I think we're, we're, I'm in mentally checking boxes right now. I've, uh, we're putting together the agenda in the background. Like, are we, are we covering these things that people want to see? I think we are so far. Durga, what, what, what do you think? 

Durga Sarilla: Jerry and Dan has already covered [01:01:00] most of the stuff.

I don't want to reiterate them. But I think the one thing is I'm trying to look, it's like a snowflake on the systems, you know, where all the systems converge together at one point, bringing the data on the data layer. Uh, so that's the one, like, because I think still we are struggling where, how we can connect these systems together, kind of a thing.

Uh, I think down the line, maybe the technology can help us doing that. Integrating all this, uh, where the university can work together on this thing. Uh, when, when you're talking about the university point of view, so. 

James Dice: Yeah. Um, cool. This is, this is all good, good fodder for me. Also, for those of you that are listening, um, we're going to have.

These topics and more, plus just a lot of time for people to have one on one meetings, like Dan was saying, with people that are doing the same stuff as them. That's kind of the, that's the idea. That was always the idea with Nexus, but now we're just going to do it in person. So [01:02:00] I want to thank you all for, for coming on to talk about this and sharing what you're working on.

Like you said, Dan, there's competition, uh, between universities, between different departments. Office buildings. But I think one thing that, um, we, we like to see is, you know, sharing what we've learned, sharing best practices. Um, and that's, that's what kind of accelerates the industry together. So that's what we're here for.

So thanks for coming on the show. This will, um, Yeah, we'll, we'll publish this audio video and, um, those of you that would like a summary, we'll do a written summary as well on the website of what, what these guys have said here today. And, uh, we'll continue this in September in Denver. Thank you all.

Speaker 10: Okay, friends. Thank you for listening to this episode. As we continue to grow our global community of change makers, we need your help for the next couple of months. We're challenging our listeners to share a link to their favorite Nexus episode on LinkedIn with a short post about why you listen. It would really, really [01:03:00] help us out.

Make sure to tag us in the post so we can see it. Have a good one.

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