Article
63
min read

Episode #22 reaction: quantifying the impact the digital twin has on OpEx

October 8, 2020

Happy Thursday!

Welcome to this week’s deep dive exclusively for Nexus Pro members. It’s an honor to have you here. This deep dive is a follow up to my recent podcast conversation with Kyle Tooke, National Director of Sales at ThoughtWire. I learned a lot from this conversation and want to share my takeaways and the full transcript with you below.

In case you missed it in your inbox, you can find the audio or video here:

Nexus site | Apple Podcasts | Spotify | YouTube | Add to other podcast apps

Enjoy!

—James


Outline

  • My reaction, including highlights
  • Full transcript

My reaction

I’m excited about ThoughtWire’s approach to the digital twin, so this was a fun conversation. As I’ve written about previously, the twin is a data model at its core. The key to the model is contextual integration between all the data, which is brought together from previously siloed sources. Once you have contextual integration, the twin can provide applications that take advantage of it and, quite frankly, replace the siloed applications O&M teams are using today.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get all the questions from LinkedIn asked, but I thought Kyle knocked the answer to Tyson’s question out of the park.

Kyle described a scenario where the digital twin is bringing all of these previously siloed systems together and it allows you to then prioritize issues much easier, but then also if you need to investigate them, you can investigate them with much richer context and get to a root cause easier. Then he quantified it: an NYC real estate organization has 27,000 hot/cold calls per year at 15 mins of labor each. So what if the twin cuts that to 7 or 8 minutes? That’s some coin.

Kyle opened my mind a bit with a slide he showed me before the interview. He’s thinking about including ALL organizational data in the twin. Not just OT data. And all data streams from the ecosystem around the building—like integrations with Uber and Lyft as an example. This video has a teaser of all the data they’re talking about:

WorkApp - Smart Building Solution Demo Video

I’ll end this with an interesting dichotomy I’m picking up on with these digital twin companies. On one hand, they say you can see value from a digital twin no matter how much data you pull in. On the other hand, I’m noticing there’s skepticism about digital twin pilot projects. They’re worried that the pilot won’t pull in enough data streams to provide full context and therefore the owner won’t see the full value.

To me, the sweet spot comes back to the humans and the jobs-to-be-done and how technology fits into those jobs. I think a pilot could still show success with a limited scope, but it needs to at least bring full context to 1-2 workflows. Then the pilot can be expanded to many more workflows upon success. The full value, as Kyle says, is at an “organizational” scale, but the concept can still be validated at a small scale. Just my two cents—we’re very early in these sorts of conversations.

My highlights:

  • Kyle answers James’s favorite question in three parts: change management, risk aversion, and personnel skillsets (7:58)
  • The impacts of COVID and emissions mandates on proptech adoption, flipping the script on risk aversion (10:05)
  • Different types of digital twins, based on purpose and use case, from discrete to composite, process, and organizational, which perhaps form a hierarchy of complexity (14:29)
  • How a digital twin can be used to reduce OpEx by breaking down silos to offer issue prioritization and context (22:17)
  • Why the Digital Twin doesn’t need to include visualization and the value of the visual tool for operational teams (31:17)
  • Distinguishing between BIM and digital twin (34:10)
  • Kyle’s answer to “No one is going to build this for an existing building” (36:32)
  • The murkiness of specifying and buying an organizational digital twin (45:37)
  • Open vs. closed digital twins (48:16)

What did you think?


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] Hello, friends. Welcome to Nexus, a smart buildings technology podcast for smart humans. I'm your host, James Dice. If we haven't met before, I write a weekly newsletter on the same topic. It's also called Nexus. Each week I share what I've learned, my opinions, and what I'm excited about in the quickly evolving world of intelligent buildings. Readers have called Nexus the best way to stay up to date on the future of this industry without all the marketing fluff. You can check it out and subscribe at nexus.substack.com or click the link in the show notes.

Since starting the Nexus newsletter, many of you have reached out to me wanting to talk shop, and we have. After a few weeks of those wonderful conversations, I realized I needed to record and share them with our growing community. So here we are. The Nexus podcast is born. This is our chance to explore and learn with the brightest in our industry together.

All right. Let's get started. Episode 22 is a conversation with Kyle took thought wire.  Kyle does a great job of defining what a digital twin is, including the components needs to have the hierarchy. Of types of twins and he even dispelled some key myths around twinning itself.

He also gives some concrete examples of how digital twins can decrease operational expenses, engage occupants, and even he hospital patients safe. This episode of the podcast is directly funded by listeners like you who have joined the nexus pro membership community. You can find info on how to join and support the podcast at nexus dot  dot com.

You also find the show notes there including links to Kyle's LinkedIn page. Oh, and by the way, if you take a look at your feed and you're missing some episodes, that's because those episodes are exclusive to members of nexus pro sign up for a pro membership to get your personal podcast feed with access to all the episodes without further ado, please enjoy nexus podcast.

All right. Hello, Kyle, welcome to the show. thanks for coming on. Can you introduce yourself for us?

Kyle Tooke: [00:02:01] Yeah. Sure. James, thank you so much for having me. It's absolute pleasure to be able to have this conversation with you today. for those of you who have never met me before, my name is Kyle Tuk.

I'm the national director of sales for thought wire. I cover all of our us business for corporate and commercial real estate. Uh, I've been with thought wire going on two years now. I've got about. Seven years, experience working in the real estate industry. everything from working with enterprise.

corporate or enterprise companies, the owner operators, third party managers, real estate investment trust, helping them both on the backend financials, investment management, property management and accounting world all the way to today where I'm working with similar types of organizations, focused on their smart building strategies, in helping them with their  journey down digital transformation.

Awesome.

James Dice: [00:02:51] Yeah. And one of the reasons I wanted to have you on is because of the conversations we've had so far, it seems like you're so focused on educating the market. So you might represent thought wire, but like your main goal and from what I've seen from you so far is just education. So thank you for that perspective.

There's a lot of people out there that are just like, Super focused on sales stuff. but I can tell that you're just like, well, let's move this industry forward. And then hopefully that will drive sales at some point, but  let's move this industry forward as the, as the first goal for you.

Kyle Tooke: [00:03:21] I absolutely believe in that.

And it's something that I'm passionate about and I feel that if I can, if I can be a voice in and the prop tech world and in a real estate world that can help getting. You know, executives getting people who are involved in the smart building industry, just thinking a different way, looking towards new types of technology, that's going to help accomplish use cases and visions that some of these forward thinking organizations have.

They're all trying to figure out one, you know, how do I, how do I get to that vision? You know, what are the things that I need and where do I start? And what technologies am I going to be able to bring to the table and help us achieve those goals? But the challenge is, I think, as an industry, we've been stuck in.

Doing the same thing for so long and relying upon what's comfortable, there's a lot of aversion, to wanting to be a Guinea pig or wanting to look at some of these new technologies until someone else has already done it for them and proven it out.

James Dice: [00:04:27] Totally. Yeah. So before we, kind of get into. My favorite question or she just started to answer, can you just first introduce thought wire?

What is thought wire, and what sort of solutions to ourselves?

Kyle Tooke: [00:04:40] Yeah, sure. It has been around since 2009 and, our founders built thought wire, for the purposes of solving some very key, real time challenges. That were happening in the smart hospital space. Okay. So if you think about thing, things that are being faced by clinicians and critical care wards and ERs, or just in hospital floors in general, you know, there's a lot of moving parts.

There's a lot of technologies in those spaces and, making sure that patients are happy, patients move to the hospital a quick and using way. Uh, there's a little, a lot of different things that go on and these are. As complex of an environment as you can, possibly imagine. And so our founders were really looking and working, working with, yeah, types of healthcare organizations in the Canadian markets, to solve for those challenges and really look at things and looking at a foundational focus of the data.

What can we do to aggregate the data from all of these systems, all of these workflows, all of these complex processes that happen. And the healthcare environment. And then. Identify define inner value. Anyway, the challenge is it bottlenecks the friction points in these workflows that clinicians face solve for those and provide immediate short term value.

And, and, as we we've found great success in doing that in the company's history, over the last 11 years, we've found that taken the success that we were able to achieve from a clinician facing perspective. Translated very well in the infrastructure of the technology that we built out to the corporate commercial real estate market.

So we started with, uh, a, real estate partner, out of Toronto proper and started and went into our first smart building, where they were looking to solve challenges around integrating disparate, smart. Subsystems within that property. And they wanted to build the smartest building in the region.

And so we helped them accomplish those goals. by integrating approximately I think eight subsystems over 5,000 IOT devices and bringing together this, semantically tag, normalized data model that they can then enable with decision points and things that they were trying to accomplish the different use cases that they were trying to move towards.

James Dice: [00:06:55] Interesting So, basically those are the two verticals you're in right now is as you're. Solving the healthcare problem still, but then you've extended product to then go into office buildings and solve that,

Kyle Tooke: [00:07:06] that market as well. That has been our bread and butter up until this point. Um, there's certainly appetite and conversations that are going on right now where our digital twin is looking to be applied in multifamily space and the industrial logistics and warehousing space.

and as well as higher education. So there's a number of verticals that thought wire is getting involved in. and then, if you think, even globally, more globally is in the smart city space. So,  thought wire is a founding member of the innovative cities consortium, in Ontario, that is strictly focused on smart city use cases.

James Dice: [00:07:43] Got it. Yeah, And or about to talk about and unpack. There's no reason why digital twin concept can't be used in all verticals, essentially the way that you guys are set up. So before we talk about digital twins that are going to go deep into that topic, but first I want to ask you my favorite question, which is why buildings, decades behind, other technology, like the technology in our pockets, for instance, No, that's

Kyle Tooke: [00:08:06] a great question and know it can get extremely frustrating.

Right. Uh, so I, I really look at, opportunities or projects that I've been hands on with. And I look at challenges that I see just. Talking to other people in the PropTech space and what their perspective there's on this. And they, it really comes down. Yeah. So three key areas.

One is change management, right? That is always something that if you go all the way up to the C level suite of executives is at the top of their mind, is what are the risks? What are they. Challenges I want to run into, when I look at implementing a new technology that is going to change the way that we do business, uh, you look at risk aversion, right?

if I'm looking at a new technology versus something that I know works, whether it's the best thing available. Um, but if, if I can operate in, if I'm an building owner in my, you know, why it's still looking good for my buildings, do I really necessarily need to look at this new technology? and then you also, and look at personnel skillsets.

So speaking specifically around digital twins, digital twin is causing organizations that are adopting this type of technology to look at hybrid skill sets that have experienced both in the it world. And looking at technology ecosystem, but also needing a strong engineering background as well. So you need this, it OT hybrid skillset that really a lot of organizations don't have today.

And, you know, we don't have a hopper of those types of skillsets being brought into the industry. I'm hoping that changes here very soon and we start providing more of a cross education on young professionals. You know, understanding both the engineering side and the it side so that we have this new type of professional coming into the real estate organizations that can really drive, understand and help an organization adopt leverage, and move forward with digital twin technology.

James Dice: [00:10:02] Yeah. Yeah, totally. I love those three answers. I think on the risk aversion side. Tell me, if you agree with this, I feel like it's now becoming more risky to ignore technology. I mean, if you look at all  the ways in which our society is changing right now. To be able to ignore technology.

you're basically saying that I don't want to be able to change with society as it's changing. And so do you feel like that is actually that script on that is actually flipping where it's actually more risky to not adopt some of these newer technologies?

Kyle Tooke: [00:10:35] Well, just look at what's going on right now, right?

So you have the dynamics of, Kobe, right? just looking at COVID right now, and you look at, tenants of these buildings that are having to evaluate their, work strategy. Right? So not only if you just think about Kobe in of itself, you have companies that are in a very strange paradox where.

as an owner of the asset, you don't have revenue coming in from your tenants through the lease arrangements. And so you're, in a situation where you're forced to invest in touchless hands-free technology so that you can encourage employees to start coming back to your buildings in a time where your revenue has had its legs cut out from under it.

Right. so there's, challenges around that. then you look at their return to work strategy. As I'm talking to different companies, they want to understand, well now, how is my space being utilized? Do I have employees that are actually collaborating with other employees or are they often their own cubicle or often their own office, in which case they could just as well do their job for home as they could in my building.

You know, so do I need to offer them a different type of thing, option of working from home versus being on site? Right. So when you think about making those types of decisions and having the data that you would need to be able to effectively make intelligent decisions around aspects like that, that's just a couple of examples.

You have to invest in technology to enable those things. Then you look at the, you know, even like the emissions mandates, right. For New York, for example, How do I retrofit my building and I get building scientists, come in, evaluate my building, get to this state, this Delta that has been dictated to the, building owners in New York, that they have to reduce their emissions by X percent by 2030.

Alright now, how do I get there? You have to invest in technology to get there. So you've got a number of different drivers that are pushing owners, pushing third party managers, pushing, you know, enterprise organizations who own and operate around campuses and properties. Like all of these types of entities are having to think about these things and move in that direction.

And prior to COVID. A lot of the conversations that I was having with companies was all focused about employee experience and everyone was actually looking at it, densifying their space. Right? Well, now we have different dynamics. That's going to totally opposite direction. The use cases are different now.

They're more focused around wealth strategy use and healthy building strategies. Not necessarily Employee experience or the more fluffy aspects of employee experience, it's much more around safety, health, air quality, those types of aspects. And then, you know, competent trying to understand, do I continue the densification or now because of social distancing, I actually need to either maintain the same amount of space or I need to actually buy more space.

I mean, you look at, Facebook. I think Facebook just bought another new headquarters up in Seattle. Right. Yeah. And Facebook was one of these companies that's out there saying, well, we're going to have all of our employees work from home, but then the next month you turn it around and you'd buy a new headquarters.

Right. So, makes you think for sure, on, what the real strategy is going to be for companies like that.

James Dice: [00:13:50] Totally. Yeah. It seems like. things are definitely changing and technology is helper rather than

Kyle Tooke: [00:13:55] a herder,

James Dice: [00:13:57] okay. So let's dive into digital twins. So, you talk about digital twins a lot.

Uh, I would say it'd be your, your main job. So, when you talk about to someone who's brand new, they've never heard the concept before. They don't even really know much about technology and buildings. So how do you define it for those types of people?

Kyle Tooke: [00:14:17] this even goes from people who either claim to know what a digital twin is or think they know what a digital twin is.

I think I can move them all into a group together, actually. Okay. Uh, you know, because you have to think about, there's not one type of digital twin, right? there are digital twins that have specific purposes, specific use cases in mind. you look at, you know, there's companies out there, uh, very large ones that have infrastructure, digital twins.

You look at thought wire, we're an organizational digital twin. You have other ones that are focused on just physical assets that are, what I consider composite digital twins. So, you have very specific use cases. that's one way of looking at it, but even within a specific. Vertical you have different levels and complexity and digital twins.

So if I was to share with someone, what thought wire's perspective of digital twin is,  I would let them know that, you know, a digital twin really for thought wire for a built environment, which is a space that we really play in. Is a dynamic real time data model that is aggregating data points from, physical assets, from dynamic data points, including people in workflows and processes that are all brought into a centralized data store.

Which is semantically tagged and associated, which can then be ingested by other third party applications, whether it be thought wires applications for use cases, tied to workplace experience for facilities and building operations or perspectives of analytics and prescriptive and predictive analytics for.

A persona, whatever that made big, but also for other third party applications that could also find value in having this rich source of context and data on what is happening in a building in real time. But that's looking at an organizational digital twin, which I feel is the highest hierarchy of digital twins.

If I take a step back. And if you think about the old school perspective of a digital twin, you have, what's called a discrete digital twin, which is a very simplistic replication. It is a data model of a single physical asset. Right. So a transmission and engine oil Derrick, right? The old school industrial version of a digital twin, then you have Composite digital twins. Composite is when you're looking at multiple data sources that are typically around a physical asset that is more complex. So you look at, these companies that say they bring together everything, it OT IOT and bring it into a single pane of glass. This is when you get into.

A composite digital twin. And a lot of times those are those companies are very BIM focused. They're very 3d visualization focused. We'll, we'll get into some more of those nuances here in just a minute. then you have another type of digital twin that's focused around processes and workflows. And I'll give you an example of that in a healthcare percent.

Right? So if Kyle's an orderly and James is an orderly. And Susie is an orderly and there's a patient that needs to go from a, to B within a hospital, but Kyle's tied up with a patient. James is tied up with a patient and Susie is available, How do we orchestrate and provide transparency of knowledge on which one of us is actually going to move patient from a to B?

So if you have. A nonlinear rules engine that can then take different scenarios in real time to say Kyle's busy, right? Let's defer to James. Well, James is busy. Let's defer to Susie. Susie accepts it. And simultaneously James and Kyle knows that Susie is going to take care of that patient. All right.

So we have multiple different ways that this process can go, And then at the same time, you have another layer of data on top of that, of where are the assets that Susie needs. To be able to transport patient from a to B, right? Where's the wheelchair, where's the cart. Where's the stretcher. Where's the IVs stand.

Right? All of that contextually has to be brought into a digital twin and a healthcare and, and apply a nonlinear rules engine and it's sourcing all of the data from the underlying technologies. People, you know, RTLS, RFID, location, tracking, all of that stuff. It gets brought into a digital twin that then provides knowledge, transparency, context, and enables as efficiently as possible.

Somebody an orderly to get that patient from here. So that's an example of a process digital tool.

James Dice: [00:18:50] Okay. And then the next level, then you're saying is organizations

Kyle Tooke: [00:18:55] when you bring it all together. Right? So that's when you get into organizational digital twin, An organizational digital twin. If you think about a real estate organization, let's just say an, an owner Of a building it's bringing in data from the fiscal asset. So all the it OT IOT that's in one building. Across an entire portfolio. it's bringing in all the data around people, all the data around third party data feeds like weather, for metrics such as humidity, temperature, um, traffic, is another example of that.

and then you look at, other potential data sources like the financials, the accounting, the asset management data, the lease administration data, the property management data, That they would be using in one of those ERP type of solutions. This is all organizational data that can brought into a digital twin to enable a real estate organization, to have persona by persona throughout their company, all using the same data set.

But that data set is exposed to whatever apps they need based on the metrics or the type of information that is pertinent to that individual. Who's using that data.

James Dice: [00:20:01] I see. Okay. So that was a long definition, but a brilliant one. So let me try to stay back to you and see if I'm on the same page.

So if we think

Kyle Tooke: [00:20:08] about.

James Dice: [00:20:09] All of these different

Kyle Tooke: [00:20:10] types of tools out there,

James Dice: [00:20:11] components or pieces of them are say digital twin. So you have discreet, which has maybe just like one asset

Kyle Tooke: [00:20:18] and you have

James Dice: [00:20:18] composite, maybe a bunch of assets, a bunch of data points,

Kyle Tooke: [00:20:21] and then you have processes or workflows.

And then on top of that,

James Dice: [00:20:25] you have the organizational digital switch, which is kind of bringing it all together in the building, but then it could be even portfolio level data you're bringing in ERP systems. even data from outside the building, like, what Uber and Lyft statuses are you

Kyle Tooke: [00:20:39] know,

James Dice: [00:20:39] in the city, outside of the buildings.

So you're bringing all that

Kyle Tooke: [00:20:42] together and bring it into

James Dice: [00:20:44] one common,

data model. you have your static data from all of that. So like, this air handlers and

Kyle Tooke: [00:20:50] the, this room and that patient is in that room,

James Dice: [00:20:52] right? Those types of things, you have your dynamic data flowing off of all those things.

Kyle Tooke: [00:20:57] And then you have some sort of platform for applications, or like you said, tooling

James Dice: [00:21:02] that allows you to provide applications to users and. You know, that's where you get into the personas and the workflows that you're enabling them to do something cool with

Kyle Tooke: [00:21:11] right at its simplest core. James, when we look at a digital twin as a data model, right?

The 3d visualizations, the nonlinear rules engine, the reasoning engines, that's all part of the services layer, right. That allows you to take the foundation, which is the, normalized semantically tag data. And then the services is what allows you through applications and tooling to achieve the outcomes and use cases that are hopefully well-defined with a client and with their vision of what experiences they want to curate for a building or a portfolio, or for an example, an entire employee

James Dice: [00:21:51] base.

All right. And this I'm going to start sprinkling and questions from LinkedIn. So this is the second week I've done this or I've, put questions out there for anyone to ask. Yeah, that was right. So there's a been some good ones, but this one's from Tyson. so Tyson says What are some of those examples

Kyle Tooke: [00:22:07] of during the operational

James Dice: [00:22:09] phase of a building, let's just kind of bring this down to earth for, all of the O and M teams out there that may or may not be right listening to this.

What are some examples of like using the twin? And using the application that comes off the twin for reducing their operational expenses.

Kyle Tooke: [00:22:25] Yes. Sure. So a great question, Tyson,  I'll give you a, a good example. So, because. a technology, like thoughtware, you know, we're we're software that, goes into a building.

And we're integrating with everything from the facility management platform. So the CNNs, the BAS lightings and you name it, right. We're integrating with everything that's IP enabled in that space. But we also have context around people through the use of an application. Through engaging with the building through a CMS or through digital signage or through kiosks, right?

This is all data that we have a strategy for. So an example of this is let's just say all of a sudden facilities is getting an influx of hot coal requests from the 13th floor on the West side of the building. now, because we may, perhaps we have a system like Meridian or Cisco DNA in place, and we're using wifi triangulation, or we have beacons that are implemented, or we have IOT sensors that are tracking occupancy or we've, you know, Flag Apple to come in and map the space.

And we can ping off of individuals, smart devices who are using an employee facing application, a number of different ways that we can get geospatial intelligence around who is where and when. Okay. So if I all of a sudden see a spike in hot code requests that are coming in from the 13th floor on the West side of that floorplate And then I have a visualization tool. That then allows me to actually see where people were when they created this ticket through whatever underlying FM system that's in place, whether it be a Karega or service insight, or Angus, anywhere for us, it does not matter where agnostic but I know.

For every single notification, every single ticket that comes in, where did they originate from? How many people is that individual notification or that ticket impacting? Is it impacting two people or is it impacting 30 people? Is it impacting the C suite of the executives? For my premier tenant? Let's just say it's a Google, right?

Is it impacting their C-suite in my building or is it impacting a couple events,    any interns, right? Yeah. if I have that context, And I know I have this spike, right. And I can also see population in real time. So, you know, are there normally 20 people in a space and all of a sudden there's a hundred people in that space that may be causing the system to work harder. and that may be an outlier, on the rules that I have in place.

Or is it legitimately just something's going on with the VAV box in that space? And because I look at the CMMS tickets, I can see, you know, there's a VAV box and already have a notification coming in about that VAV box. And I can associate it with these tickets or these notifications that are coming in through people pinging on the app and submitting a hot cold, Uh, because I have all of that context. I can then leverage a reasoning engine. Through the digital twin and the services layer that then is able to say, okay, well, this notification is only impacting two people. It's a lower priority, but this notification is impacting 30 people. Well, that needs to take priority.

The system will triage on behalf of the facilities team, the thousands of notifications that are coming into them on a regular basis and get the ones that are most high-impact most mission critical and put that to the top of the totem pole. And allow them to tackle the things that are most mission critical.

So that's taking in context, that's taking in a multitude of integration points across CMMS, HVAC, lighting, BMS, IOT sensors, you know, wifi triangulation, a lot of different systems that are being orchestrated to understand what's actually going on in that space and then helping make decision points on behalf of that facility's team.

James Dice: [00:26:01] Totally. Yeah. You just named like so many different what I would call siloed technology. So like you could have the VAs alarm that could uncover that comfort issue. You could have the workload that's in the CMS. You could have even a fault detection package that provides some sort of alert.

And think what I'm hearing. It'll be the light bulb that just came on for me. when you just described that scenario is the digital twin is bringing all of these previously siloed systems together and it allows you to then prioritize issues much easier, but then also if you need to investigate them, also investigate them with much richer context, and get to a root cause.

Kyle Tooke: [00:26:40] Yeah. The context is the critical piece. when companies are trying to understand, well, why do I need a digital twin? What's the value, right? It's about context and it's about reasoning. which enables you to make better decisions more timely, and that's going to improve experiences for everybody, right.

Operations, as well as, uh, the employees or the tenants that are in your buildings. Right? So if I know that there's something that's high impact and it's impacting a large number of people. If I know that I can address that sooner and focus on that, prioritize it versus other things that are much lower impact, you know, I'll give you another great example.

Uh, you know, it's such a great question that Tyson had is, you know, there is a particular company in Manhattan that I was talking to and there were three properties, uh, and I was talking to their facility state right across these three properties. They average about 27,000 hot code requests. Every single year, it takes up facilities, team and engineer 15 minutes.

Per instance to address and close out each of those hot code requests right now, if you have a digital twin in those buildings and you have an AI algorithm for comfort controls, like what thought wire offers, right? Not only could I, I avoid or mitigate. That hope that hot coal requests coming at all. Uh, another layer of this is if they, the clients in this situation, if they had the appetite to enable an employee to be able to manage or manipulates lighting and thermostats, um, through an employee facing application, we can virtually eliminate these hot code requests altogether in these properties.

Right? So if you take 27,000. Instances at 15 minutes a piece, right? When you do the math, it's about 840 operational days, 848 hour days of work, right. Uh, of engineering time, which is not inexpensive. Right. Addressing hot cold requests. What other things could those engineers be doing is of higher value than addressing hot code requests.

If I eliminate that entire use case altogether,

James Dice: [00:28:51] so you eliminate them through better controls. So you're doing supervisory control. That's controlling the systems better to. It's

Kyle Tooke: [00:29:00] providing contextually, providing dynamic set points, James. So if I'm looking at historical data on, within the building, I'm looking at real time data, I'm looking at external data from like weather humidity, things like that.

And then I also have schedules and I'm looking at who's going to be occupying what spaces there. Because as a, as a software layer that has bi-directional communication and control to the BAS lighting, HVAC, so on and so forth, I can dynamically dictate to those systems and change the, uh, the comfort levels of that space.

Everything from lighting all the way to thermostat, you know, I can, I can power all of that dictate to those systems in real time, create those dynamic access points so that they're optimized for comfort. In real

James Dice: [00:29:46] time. Totally. Yeah. And I guess the other piece of that eliminating hog cool calls was

Kyle Tooke: [00:29:52] allowing the yeah.

Occupant to

James Dice: [00:29:53] change their set points themselves. It sounds like too.

Kyle Tooke: [00:29:58] Yeah. And I mean, there's a lot of different ways that you can, you can approach that. Right? A lot of, a lot of operational teams when we want to avoid releasing yeah. Control. But if you, if you enable an employee to manipulate them temperature by two degrees plus or minus, right.

And you let the AC or the heating run for. Five 10 minutes. So they feel the air flow and then just revert back almost like a placebo effect. They feel like they've accomplished something and they're no longer thinking they need to submit a hot coat request because they feel like they can do it themselves.

Right. It's just to avoid that entire scenario of creating a hot code request, which is hands down. The number one requests, a facilities team gets an a in a, in a skyscraper. Yeah. Got it. All

James Dice: [00:30:42] right. Cool. So let's continue on. So one of the things that I've, I see out there when people talk about digital twins is as we get hung up, we never get to really deep conversations.

Like we've been having so far on actual use cases because people are stuck on these. What I would call myths or just. Misconceptions around what it even is. So let's try to just maybe quickly hit like three or four of these mess without getting too deep into them. Um, so that we can move on to like the more in depth stuff.

But I feel like a lot of the questions on LinkedIn were kind of related to these myths. So the first one I would say is like people think a digital twin and we've already kind of dispelled this so far, but a digital twin is a three D visualization. So what would you say to that one?

Kyle Tooke: [00:31:29] I look at so far from Thor's perspective.

Again, a digital twin is a data model, right? The visualization of that data. So a 3d or a two D uh, elevation view of a building, right? That's a tool that is an outcome, right? That's the data, the underlying data and putting it into a visual form. So that's part of the services or tooling layer, but the three D visualization in of itself.

I don't think that you can really say that that is a digital twin, but if you do want to call it a digital twin, I would say at it's at its most sophisticated, it's a composite digital twin, right? So you can show it OT IOT. You know, systems that are in that floor plate through this three D visualization, you can see the HVAC that duct work, the VAV boxes.

You can see all of that. Right. A lot of it is stuff that you can get from a BIM model, right? Yeah. But unless that three-day visualization offers, you know, real time, it offers context, it offers command and control. I struggle to call it anything more than a composite digital twin. Okay.

James Dice: [00:32:34] And then, so similarly, um, Well, let me pause real quick.

So there's another question, LinkedIn, on what does that visual tool add for? Operational teams.

Kyle Tooke: [00:32:45] Well, I think it provides, um, from a visual perspective and less than no work particular assets are, you know, so as things are being built, there's assets that are behind the wall. If I have a three D visualization that shows me everything, that's on the floor plate, both in front of the wall and behind a wall and allows me to see where those assets are.

And then depending upon the company providing this three D visualization. You know, if they have wayfinding tooling, you can even add that, that use case of that workflow of, if I am a facility manager and I'm not very familiar with the building, uh, because I'm usually at another building or I'm responsible for multiple buildings, right.

Uh, it allows me to way find to where an asset is. Uh, I mean, so I think for the most part, it gives you a different way of looking at the property. You're looking at the building and hopefully that three D visualization has been updated. Uh, so that you have current information in that three D visualization.

James Dice: [00:33:42] Totally. Yeah. So another one, like a use case of the visualization layer that I heard the other day is like, say a technician is going out to, you know, change out a pump or something someone's able to exactly zoom in on the

Kyle Tooke: [00:33:56] shutoff valve for instance,

James Dice: [00:33:57] and say, the shutoff valve is right here and you

Kyle Tooke: [00:33:59] turn it counter clockwise

James Dice: [00:34:00] or whatever, and just.

Before you go onsite, be able to kind of explore the site and get into that level of detail. Okay. So similarly though, so another myth is digital twin is the same thing or digital twin is BIM. So what would you say to that sort of misconception?

Kyle Tooke: [00:34:19] So there's a lot of companies out there that are trying to take the BIM model and move it into the operation and maintenance phase of it right now.

I think, as we all know, I mean, BIM is, an as built data model is part of the construction build out. And whether a company has actually convected, enough into that BIM model, uh, it's levels of sophistication and data richness, varies. I mean, I think, most of us in the industry know that most of the, the buildings in New York, for example, right, are older buildings that don't even have been modeled.

And if it is those haven't been modeled, it's in a tattered piece of paper, that's turning yellow in the basement. That's starting to, you know, completely just dissolve. Right. I've seen a few of those, but. You know, very rarely do you see a BIM model that has the data richness to even really be considered a digital twin and from thought perspective?

very few projects that we've worked on is even having them on start from, I think, a BIM model. depending on its level of sophistication, how much data is there's a nice to have. It can be a starting point. It can be something where we can grandfather in that information and have that as a starting point.

But, you know, we have partners that are part of our technology stack that allows a company to replicate a four plates. We can bring in a cat or rabbit drawing and replicates a floor plate, map all of the assets and build out the actual digital twin. You don't have to have a BIM at all to accomplish that.

So, you know, my perspective, um, you know, BIM, as an as built data model, digital twin is a living, breathing, ever evolving, ever changing, dynamic data model that constantly has new information coming into it. And it is automatically updating as that new information comes available. I

James Dice: [00:36:04] like that. Okay. So the third myth, third and final meth is if a building is not new, like you said, most buildings are not, and it doesn't have the as-built data model, which is your BIM.

I think people kind of write off the whole digital twin concept because they say it's going to be way too expensive to build that out without the existing. BIM model already available. I think someone said in our nexus probe member gathering in June, I quote, no one is going to build this for an existing building.

and yeah, companies that are proposing just that like thought wire. So what would you guys say to. To someone like that.

Kyle Tooke: [00:36:43] uh, there's a number of retrofit projects that we've been part of where there is no BIM model in place. you know, and as far as how expensive it is, thought wire offers a software as a service model.

Right? So the, services part of the engagement that we do. It encompasses, all of this build out. and it's extremely cost effective. and you know, I, certainly wouldn't say that it's, it's more expensive for existing buildings versus new builds. Uh, just half the time of digital twin gets slapped on after the fact, after the infrastructure design phase anyway, right now, which we are.

you know, as diligently as possible, trying to educate the market, that if you're building a new building, digital twin needs to be part of the conversation during the infrastructure design phase. Uh, we need to be absolutely part of that at the very beginning. Not only can a digital twin help with the commissioning process and recommissioning process, but it immediately translates over into the operational mode of the bill.

so. the cost for thought wire, whether it is a preexisting building or it's a new build is no different, right? Our pricing model is, is relative. They were coming into a building who already has a been in place or were coming in one who has one that is completely nonexistent.

Totally.

James Dice: [00:38:02] And that makes total sense. I feel like that just throws that argument

Kyle Tooke: [00:38:06] out the

James Dice: [00:38:06] window. Uh, okay. So, let's kind of dive into thoughtware specifically. So, I mean, ideally you would be able to show everyone a really cool demo, but you can't do that. So I think what I'm,

Kyle Tooke: [00:38:17] they just need to call me if they want one of

James Dice: [00:38:19] those.

There you go. Superman on like the. So we talked about data models, static data, live data, but then the platform

Kyle Tooke: [00:38:26] for applications.

James Dice: [00:38:27] So let's zoom in on the

Kyle Tooke: [00:38:28] platform for applications. So like

James Dice: [00:38:30] what, capabilities do these applications provide

Kyle Tooke: [00:38:34] these users,

James Dice: [00:38:35] of the digital twin? Yeah,

Kyle Tooke: [00:38:37] so, If you're, we're talking specifically our corporate and commercial real estate, we'll just, we'll start.

Yeah. With that, that verb. So the thought wire at this foundation, for all verticals Starts with the data. So it starts with a digital twin. Again, this normalized, Repository of data that is semantically tagged to be able to be utilized and ingested by, other applications, whether it's thought worse applications or a third party, the applications that we're putting on top of this, which gets into the services layer.

So when we talk about commercial and corporate real estate, there's really. Three interfaces today. Uh, and it's about to be consolidated into two, but, we provide an employee facing for a digital workplace platform called at work. So with that work, this is going to be HTML five kiosk, as well as native, Android and, an iOS application that.

Encompasses everything from copper controls, from an employee perspective to community, in information about the building information around calendars and scheduling, what's going on room booking and hot desking, as well as integrating with other third party applications, but the root of. Well, really what we're doing on the employee facing side of the tenant facing side is curating a common experience for an employee or a tenant base across a global portfolio where infrastructure is different in each and every building.

There's no ability for these companies to standardize, but from thought wires first effective, we don't care or who they're using for room booking. We don't care who they're using for facility maintenance or the ticketing system for CMMS. We don't care who they're using for calendars and scheduling. We you're doing the hard work and we are putting together a common experience for the employee base.

So the user interface in our application that we're providing that is branded for the client, enables them to have a skin or a, user interface that is going to be relative to an employee in New York, as well as a different employee in Singapore. Even though the underlying systems are different in this very unique environments.

So. When I talked to an enterprise company, like a large financial institution or a large technology company, you know, one of their key folks is how do I curate this common experience for my entire life? Well, you guys, and, you know, you need something that is able to provide ecosystem enablement in plug and play.

Interoperability, in a organizational digital twin, let thought wire is able to accomplish that. So as we go into these different buildings, the subsystems, the HVAC lighting, the third party, SAS technologies that are in those buildings. They're going to vary, but as we go into these environments and we do these massive integration projects, we are ingesting all of this disparate data and translating it into a common language that's thought wire systems and understand.

And we're able to expose that, to allow third parties, applications, to make use of that, to accomplish whatever use cases or experiences they're wanting to achieve. So the app is just one way and, thought wires difference between on just on the app side. Then maybe some of the other employee experience apps out there as thought were very much has a, strategy around the data.

The use of the application is a key data point that gives me some dynamic insight into James. For example, if you were in You know, one of the major marquee buildings in New York, as you're navigating that building, as you're using that app, that is all key data that is flowing into our digital twin to provide context that help augment and make better decisions on the operational and facility side.

You know, I gave you a great example of just a little bit on the context that we were able to derive by people creating CMMS tick is for hot call requests. And we see this spike of hot call requests at 3:00 PM on the 13th floor.  All of that is context and a large chunk of that information is from the use of an application or the use of understanding where people are when they're creating those tickets.

James Dice: [00:42:41] Right. So, okay. So you kind of talked about the. occupant facing app. And then you started to talk a little bit there about the sort of like O and M team facing app. Is that how I understand it? Yeah.

Kyle Tooke: [00:42:52] So the operational side is called precision hub and there's really two components. One is a percent of a dashboard called digital twin insights.

And this is what allows us to have prescriptive and predictive analytics. Around historically disparate data points, So this is where we're able to bring everything into a centralized analysis tool. That's going to enable a facility manager to gain additional context, root cause insights, and also push predictive insights to that end user of what's going on in that building.

So. I can proactively notify the facilities team that there's a spike in hot coal requests, or there's all of a sudden a spike in energy consumption, right. That may be caused by a fan cooling unit malfunctioning or, the fact that, Hey, there's going to be a space on the third floor from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM on Friday.

That is not going to have a single soul in that space. Would you like to create a micro load shed event for that specific space to optimize it for efficiency? Or would you like thought wire to proactively do it for you without having any human intervention and do it dynamically? And then being able to track that throughout a year and report back to say, Hey, by utilizing the insights through thought wire, I have been able to achieve XYZ ROI and energy consumption savings.

Through these micro load shed events. And that's just one example.

James Dice: [00:44:21] Right, right, right. And you're able to do that because you have. The occupancy schedule data that came from sort of the other side of the other app. And it's all, you know, one data model, one sort

Kyle Tooke: [00:44:32] of data platform.

James Dice: [00:44:34] That's fascinating.

Kyle Tooke: [00:44:35] Okay. Then other things that you're able to do with that, James, uh, you know, you have complex workflow orchestration. So because we're integrated with all of the systems in the building, being able to schedule things like, It load shed events is one of them. extended hours is a very common way that can be programmed at the digital twin level, scheduling things like hard lockdowns, soft lock downs, emergency situations like fire protocols, and active shooter protocols.

You know, those can be very complex events that touch a lot of different systems And require a lot of notifications to go out to things like first responders, the entire employee base that's in that building, to security. There's a lot of different steps in there, But if we can create that, metaphorical easy button and allow the authorized user be able to execute that protocol now, instead of taking 15, 20, 30 minutes to execute this protocol, we can do it instantly.

James Dice: [00:45:33] Okay. Cool. All

Kyle Tooke: [00:45:35] right,

James Dice: [00:45:35] so we've got about 15 minutes left. let's dive into

Kyle Tooke: [00:45:39] the kind

James Dice: [00:45:40] of removing the confusion, I guess, around.

Kyle Tooke: [00:45:43] How people can

James Dice: [00:45:44] buy platforms like this, how people can buy technology, how people can specify, you know, different capabilities they want and, and get to the outcome is that we're describing here.

and one of the ones that I've seen and you and I have talked about this in the past, is that.

Kyle Tooke: [00:45:59] People aren't out there saying,

James Dice: [00:46:01] give me an organizational digital twin with these capabilities. People are saying, I don't want an IOT platform. I want an integrated workplace management, the system, I want a building operating system.

I want an energy management system and they all kind of have overlapping definitions, overlap and capabilities. So how do you. Wade through that murkiness,

Kyle Tooke: [00:46:23] uh, when you're, when you're talking to your customer, you know, thought wire has been awarded a number of, relationships or contracts. you know, we've been called an IOT platform.

We've been called a building operating system. We've been called a master services integration platform. whatever semantic goal acronym they will want to use. Right? You got to speak to clients, you know, where I'm constantly trying to provide education and market. And when you look at the use cases, the KPI, I said a part of these RFPs that come out They're all asking for an organizational digital twin, but that's just not the term that is global yet. There is no standardization around that. So, I see the BLS, the building operating system, I see the IBM as intelligent building management system. It's all the same stuff. Right. And you know, it's working with large, For thinking companies on providing that education.

It's, it's working with the AEC firms, it's working with the MSIs. It's working with the MEP firms who are helping build out these RFPs and providing guidance for these enterprise companies. Are these owners of real estate that are looking to go down this path of a, of a digital twin or just their digital transformation journey.

Right. It's it's been spending a lot of time working with these consultants and providing them the education, helping them understand what are the use cases for a digital twin? What are the things that you can accomplish that way we can start expanding the vision of what a lot of these companies are looking to achieve and get them to think about things that.

Maybe they didn't even know as possible because they've been so used to being stuck with this enterprise BAS platform. They've been trying to feed everything into that, which has its own challenges in of its own. It's creating vendor loft more and more. They, put everything at the BAS level versus looking at a higher hierarchy next gen tribe, a platform like a.

digital twin.

James Dice: [00:48:16] Yeah. So you hit on the lock-in there. So

Kyle Tooke: [00:48:19] how do you

James Dice: [00:48:19] help these consultants sort of specify digital twin or one of these other acronyms that is, open versus closed and locked down? How do you, how do you think

Kyle Tooke: [00:48:29] about that? Well, it really comes down to, if you think about starting with the client, right?

You start with, you know, who is the client for talking about an enterprise company, Their client is the employee. If you think about an owner operator, their clients are the tenants and the leadership of those tenants. And you look at who's the customer. And work out. What use cases are you trying to accomplish to improve the experiences of, the day in the life of that customer, whether it's an employee attendant and operations professional, and once you start working back into what integrations have to occur, And what raw data points need to be exposed and aggregated to bring into something like a digital twin.

It naturally creates a need for you to have an open ecosystem. otherwise a lot of these use cases that get defined in these RFPs. You can't even accomplish them. And they ended up just getting cut out of the, entire vision altogether, because if you're going to stick with one of the, companies out there that has market share that are trying to control everything and trying to have everything in their system, You may not even have that system over in the UK or in Greece or in Singapore, you may have a totally different building automation system. And those buildings, if you don't have an interoperability, I mean, the data portability and the ability to curate a common experience for an operator for an employee or a facility manager, I'm sorry, not operated facility manager in those two assets.

Are you really accomplishing the goal that you set out from? In day one,

James Dice: [00:49:57] I think this is one of the biggest drivers for opening things up in our industry is that requirements like we talked about at the beginning, you know, building city energy ordinances, COVID requirements of a building are increasing.

And if the closed systems are the walled gardens, as Andrew called it last week on the podcast, if those can't keep up, then. People are going to have to open their systems up to the platform was a can. And the ones that can, are the ones that bring in like the all star game approach to bringing in everyone, you know, to the table and to the solution.

So that's cool. okay. So you've mentioned, Consultants. And I've talked about the past. I just want to like, hit this at the end here of this sort of section of the conversation, but

Kyle Tooke: [00:50:42] yeah.

James Dice: [00:50:43] How are you thinking about the people that get it, as we've kind of laid out this vision versus the people that don't get it?

Cause w what I've seen is like their RFPs space, and I would say this space, but also. Building analytics as well. I've seen a lot of RFPs on the building analytics side and you can tell the person writing their RFP, just like, yeah, didn't really understand what

Kyle Tooke: [00:51:06] their responses here.

James Dice: [00:51:07] And that happens on the building automation system side as well.

Kyle Tooke: [00:51:10] Everyone talks about how the

James Dice: [00:51:12] copy and paste problem with these

Kyle Tooke: [00:51:13] specs.

James Dice: [00:51:14] How do you think about helping the consultants kind of move them along on their understanding of this

Kyle Tooke: [00:51:20] technology

James Dice: [00:51:21] and sort of, what would you say? I do all of them out there listening to this.

Kyle Tooke: [00:51:25] Well, so thought wire, I mean, Personally right myself and my head of product and data.

the two of us that have invested an enormous amount of time with lot of the consulting firms who want to be thought leaders in this space who wanted to start driving the industry in that direction instead of. Relying upon the more traditional methods of smart building technology leaning on enterprise BAS platforms, right?

So I've had some specific, consulting firms who have proactively reached out to us, have different the relationship with me. And we have helped him tremendously to understanding what are the use cases, what are the requirements and helping them build out their, you know, their specs. to help them build out those RFPs, right?

And we want to help them be successful. anyone that we are engaged with, we want, to make them heroes. And if we can provide them insight and guidance to help them make their client happy, we want to do that. And so I would say for any of the consulting firms who have not engaged with thought wire and has not had a.

Personal conversation with me or any of my colleagues within our organization. welcome that discussion. You know, let us help you, let us provide some education around, you know, organizational digital twin. So the next time that you have one of these large financial companies or technology companies or whomever.

Approach you to say, Hey, I want to create this ecosystem. I have all these cool next generation use cases tied to COVID it and return to work and and they want to enable all of those use cases. You got to partner with someone like us to achieve those goals. The enterprise guys, they're not going to get you there.

Right.

James Dice: [00:53:00] And from the building owners perspective. So how did they think about number one buying this? And what I just heard from you was you can't just engage your traditional engineering consultants on this. You're probably gonna

Kyle Tooke: [00:53:13] want some sort of technology

James Dice: [00:53:14] partner that can educate the entire,

team basically.

But also I think a lot of the building owners need to also be thinking about. how to keep this twin updated and maintained throughout the life of the building. So how do you educate them as well?

Kyle Tooke: [00:53:28] so for the building owners, conversations around digital twin up until this time, have not quite gone as well as it has with some of the enterprise corporates that have some of these hybrid it OT professionals on their staff who understand digital twin.

I see, uh, and again, this goes back to confusing digital twin with a BIM. So, you know, you always want to, if you haven't been model, you want to keep it up to date, you gotta go back, you gotta reinvest in it. You have to continuously have it updated. Well, it's no different for a digital twin and, You know, when I see RFPs, there's a lot of asks around integration back to the BIM, which is all well and good. And there's companies that are moving towards that direction and getting there. Uh, one of our partners that we utilize for mapping and wayfinding, has that on their roadmap to have that accomplished as well.

but you know, our partner, we provide our own content management platform that allows a end user and administrator of the platform to be able to dynamically update and keep the floor plates updated, keep the assets that are mapped onto that floor plate updated within our system. so again, it goes back, you don't have to have a BIM, you can do everything within thought wires, you know, technology stack.

that she would need to around that, but today, you know, it has to be updated somewhere, So whether that's being updated in a bam and then that's being updated into the digital twin, whoever the provider of that digital twin is, or. In thought worst case it's being updated in that content management platform that is in the backend tooling of our solution.

James Dice: [00:54:57] I see. Okay. So it was one or the other

Kyle Tooke: [00:55:00] it's gotta be updated somewhere, right?

James Dice: [00:55:02] Yeah. Totally. All right. Cool. So as we kind of close things out, I want to combine.  two questions into one, which is what are you seeing in terms of the impact COVID is having on our end right now?

And then in the same way, vain, I guess like kind of what are you excited about, with our industry and moving forward?

Kyle Tooke: [00:55:20] Oh, Covitz created a lot of challenges. And when I look at challenges, challenges, usually breed opportunity. so I look at the silver lining of it now, has it impacted a lot of the conversations I was having prior to Kobe?

Oh, absolutely. but I would say I am busier now and thought wire as a whole is busier now than we ever were pre COVID, because what it has created is a sense of urgency, a whole new set of use cases. That's our top priority. Now, whether you're an owner or a third party manager or an enterprise company, who's trying to get your employees back in the office.

So the, the need for data has become even more paramount. And I think it's really shined a light on that. Regardless of who you are in the industry, the need for data and having context and really understanding how the buildings are being utilized, who is in those buildings, who are they collaborating with and who actually needs to be there versus who can work from home.

Then also as people back into these offices, how do I make sure that they know that they're safe? How do I ensure that the air quality is where it needs to be? How do I ensure people are respecting the social distancing parameters to prevent spread? How do I make sure that the air is, within a certain temperature range within a certain humidity range, to make sure that the transmission of COVID is kept, under control based on guidelines from the who and CDC, There's so many new use cases, so many new conversations that were secondary prior to COBIT better now. At the top of their list and the fortunate thing for thought wire being a digital twin provider is that data richness. And that context is our bread and butter. That is what we do, So enabling those use cases and enabling those technologies and providing that context and that's transparency for an organization, trying to make those very difficult decisions.

A digital twin is an ideal solution to answer for that.

James Dice: [00:57:10] Totally. Well, thanks so much for coming on the show. There's so much more, I think I want to talk to you about, so I'll have to do it again sometime, and thanks for fitness into your, your busy schedule and thanks for doing what you do.

Kyle Tooke: [00:57:24] Yeah, I appreciate it, James.

Thank you for doing what you do and your platform on educating the markets. So I really relish the opportunity to speak with you and share my thoughts. So I look forward to doing this again with you next time. Cool.

James Dice: [00:57:36] Talk soon.

Kyle Tooke: [00:57:37] Alright. Thank you.

James Dice: [00:57:38] Alright, friends. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Nexus podcast. For more episodes like this and to get the weekly Nexus newsletter, please subscribe at nexus.substack.com. You can find the show notes for this conversation there as well. As always, please reach out on LinkedIn with any thoughts on this episode.

I'd love to hear from you. Have a great day.

Upgrade to Nexus Pro to continue reading

Upgrade

Happy Thursday!

Welcome to this week’s deep dive exclusively for Nexus Pro members. It’s an honor to have you here. This deep dive is a follow up to my recent podcast conversation with Kyle Tooke, National Director of Sales at ThoughtWire. I learned a lot from this conversation and want to share my takeaways and the full transcript with you below.

In case you missed it in your inbox, you can find the audio or video here:

Nexus site | Apple Podcasts | Spotify | YouTube | Add to other podcast apps

Enjoy!

—James


Outline

  • My reaction, including highlights
  • Full transcript

My reaction

I’m excited about ThoughtWire’s approach to the digital twin, so this was a fun conversation. As I’ve written about previously, the twin is a data model at its core. The key to the model is contextual integration between all the data, which is brought together from previously siloed sources. Once you have contextual integration, the twin can provide applications that take advantage of it and, quite frankly, replace the siloed applications O&M teams are using today.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get all the questions from LinkedIn asked, but I thought Kyle knocked the answer to Tyson’s question out of the park.

Kyle described a scenario where the digital twin is bringing all of these previously siloed systems together and it allows you to then prioritize issues much easier, but then also if you need to investigate them, you can investigate them with much richer context and get to a root cause easier. Then he quantified it: an NYC real estate organization has 27,000 hot/cold calls per year at 15 mins of labor each. So what if the twin cuts that to 7 or 8 minutes? That’s some coin.

Kyle opened my mind a bit with a slide he showed me before the interview. He’s thinking about including ALL organizational data in the twin. Not just OT data. And all data streams from the ecosystem around the building—like integrations with Uber and Lyft as an example. This video has a teaser of all the data they’re talking about:

WorkApp - Smart Building Solution Demo Video

I’ll end this with an interesting dichotomy I’m picking up on with these digital twin companies. On one hand, they say you can see value from a digital twin no matter how much data you pull in. On the other hand, I’m noticing there’s skepticism about digital twin pilot projects. They’re worried that the pilot won’t pull in enough data streams to provide full context and therefore the owner won’t see the full value.

To me, the sweet spot comes back to the humans and the jobs-to-be-done and how technology fits into those jobs. I think a pilot could still show success with a limited scope, but it needs to at least bring full context to 1-2 workflows. Then the pilot can be expanded to many more workflows upon success. The full value, as Kyle says, is at an “organizational” scale, but the concept can still be validated at a small scale. Just my two cents—we’re very early in these sorts of conversations.

My highlights:

  • Kyle answers James’s favorite question in three parts: change management, risk aversion, and personnel skillsets (7:58)
  • The impacts of COVID and emissions mandates on proptech adoption, flipping the script on risk aversion (10:05)
  • Different types of digital twins, based on purpose and use case, from discrete to composite, process, and organizational, which perhaps form a hierarchy of complexity (14:29)
  • How a digital twin can be used to reduce OpEx by breaking down silos to offer issue prioritization and context (22:17)
  • Why the Digital Twin doesn’t need to include visualization and the value of the visual tool for operational teams (31:17)
  • Distinguishing between BIM and digital twin (34:10)
  • Kyle’s answer to “No one is going to build this for an existing building” (36:32)
  • The murkiness of specifying and buying an organizational digital twin (45:37)
  • Open vs. closed digital twins (48:16)

What did you think?


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] Hello, friends. Welcome to Nexus, a smart buildings technology podcast for smart humans. I'm your host, James Dice. If we haven't met before, I write a weekly newsletter on the same topic. It's also called Nexus. Each week I share what I've learned, my opinions, and what I'm excited about in the quickly evolving world of intelligent buildings. Readers have called Nexus the best way to stay up to date on the future of this industry without all the marketing fluff. You can check it out and subscribe at nexus.substack.com or click the link in the show notes.

Since starting the Nexus newsletter, many of you have reached out to me wanting to talk shop, and we have. After a few weeks of those wonderful conversations, I realized I needed to record and share them with our growing community. So here we are. The Nexus podcast is born. This is our chance to explore and learn with the brightest in our industry together.

All right. Let's get started. Episode 22 is a conversation with Kyle took thought wire.  Kyle does a great job of defining what a digital twin is, including the components needs to have the hierarchy. Of types of twins and he even dispelled some key myths around twinning itself.

He also gives some concrete examples of how digital twins can decrease operational expenses, engage occupants, and even he hospital patients safe. This episode of the podcast is directly funded by listeners like you who have joined the nexus pro membership community. You can find info on how to join and support the podcast at nexus dot  dot com.

You also find the show notes there including links to Kyle's LinkedIn page. Oh, and by the way, if you take a look at your feed and you're missing some episodes, that's because those episodes are exclusive to members of nexus pro sign up for a pro membership to get your personal podcast feed with access to all the episodes without further ado, please enjoy nexus podcast.

All right. Hello, Kyle, welcome to the show. thanks for coming on. Can you introduce yourself for us?

Kyle Tooke: [00:02:01] Yeah. Sure. James, thank you so much for having me. It's absolute pleasure to be able to have this conversation with you today. for those of you who have never met me before, my name is Kyle Tuk.

I'm the national director of sales for thought wire. I cover all of our us business for corporate and commercial real estate. Uh, I've been with thought wire going on two years now. I've got about. Seven years, experience working in the real estate industry. everything from working with enterprise.

corporate or enterprise companies, the owner operators, third party managers, real estate investment trust, helping them both on the backend financials, investment management, property management and accounting world all the way to today where I'm working with similar types of organizations, focused on their smart building strategies, in helping them with their  journey down digital transformation.

Awesome.

James Dice: [00:02:51] Yeah. And one of the reasons I wanted to have you on is because of the conversations we've had so far, it seems like you're so focused on educating the market. So you might represent thought wire, but like your main goal and from what I've seen from you so far is just education. So thank you for that perspective.

There's a lot of people out there that are just like, Super focused on sales stuff. but I can tell that you're just like, well, let's move this industry forward. And then hopefully that will drive sales at some point, but  let's move this industry forward as the, as the first goal for you.

Kyle Tooke: [00:03:21] I absolutely believe in that.

And it's something that I'm passionate about and I feel that if I can, if I can be a voice in and the prop tech world and in a real estate world that can help getting. You know, executives getting people who are involved in the smart building industry, just thinking a different way, looking towards new types of technology, that's going to help accomplish use cases and visions that some of these forward thinking organizations have.

They're all trying to figure out one, you know, how do I, how do I get to that vision? You know, what are the things that I need and where do I start? And what technologies am I going to be able to bring to the table and help us achieve those goals? But the challenge is, I think, as an industry, we've been stuck in.

Doing the same thing for so long and relying upon what's comfortable, there's a lot of aversion, to wanting to be a Guinea pig or wanting to look at some of these new technologies until someone else has already done it for them and proven it out.

James Dice: [00:04:27] Totally. Yeah. So before we, kind of get into. My favorite question or she just started to answer, can you just first introduce thought wire?

What is thought wire, and what sort of solutions to ourselves?

Kyle Tooke: [00:04:40] Yeah, sure. It has been around since 2009 and, our founders built thought wire, for the purposes of solving some very key, real time challenges. That were happening in the smart hospital space. Okay. So if you think about thing, things that are being faced by clinicians and critical care wards and ERs, or just in hospital floors in general, you know, there's a lot of moving parts.

There's a lot of technologies in those spaces and, making sure that patients are happy, patients move to the hospital a quick and using way. Uh, there's a little, a lot of different things that go on and these are. As complex of an environment as you can, possibly imagine. And so our founders were really looking and working, working with, yeah, types of healthcare organizations in the Canadian markets, to solve for those challenges and really look at things and looking at a foundational focus of the data.

What can we do to aggregate the data from all of these systems, all of these workflows, all of these complex processes that happen. And the healthcare environment. And then. Identify define inner value. Anyway, the challenge is it bottlenecks the friction points in these workflows that clinicians face solve for those and provide immediate short term value.

And, and, as we we've found great success in doing that in the company's history, over the last 11 years, we've found that taken the success that we were able to achieve from a clinician facing perspective. Translated very well in the infrastructure of the technology that we built out to the corporate commercial real estate market.

So we started with, uh, a, real estate partner, out of Toronto proper and started and went into our first smart building, where they were looking to solve challenges around integrating disparate, smart. Subsystems within that property. And they wanted to build the smartest building in the region.

And so we helped them accomplish those goals. by integrating approximately I think eight subsystems over 5,000 IOT devices and bringing together this, semantically tag, normalized data model that they can then enable with decision points and things that they were trying to accomplish the different use cases that they were trying to move towards.

James Dice: [00:06:55] Interesting So, basically those are the two verticals you're in right now is as you're. Solving the healthcare problem still, but then you've extended product to then go into office buildings and solve that,

Kyle Tooke: [00:07:06] that market as well. That has been our bread and butter up until this point. Um, there's certainly appetite and conversations that are going on right now where our digital twin is looking to be applied in multifamily space and the industrial logistics and warehousing space.

and as well as higher education. So there's a number of verticals that thought wire is getting involved in. and then, if you think, even globally, more globally is in the smart city space. So,  thought wire is a founding member of the innovative cities consortium, in Ontario, that is strictly focused on smart city use cases.

James Dice: [00:07:43] Got it. Yeah, And or about to talk about and unpack. There's no reason why digital twin concept can't be used in all verticals, essentially the way that you guys are set up. So before we talk about digital twins that are going to go deep into that topic, but first I want to ask you my favorite question, which is why buildings, decades behind, other technology, like the technology in our pockets, for instance, No, that's

Kyle Tooke: [00:08:06] a great question and know it can get extremely frustrating.

Right. Uh, so I, I really look at, opportunities or projects that I've been hands on with. And I look at challenges that I see just. Talking to other people in the PropTech space and what their perspective there's on this. And they, it really comes down. Yeah. So three key areas.

One is change management, right? That is always something that if you go all the way up to the C level suite of executives is at the top of their mind, is what are the risks? What are they. Challenges I want to run into, when I look at implementing a new technology that is going to change the way that we do business, uh, you look at risk aversion, right?

if I'm looking at a new technology versus something that I know works, whether it's the best thing available. Um, but if, if I can operate in, if I'm an building owner in my, you know, why it's still looking good for my buildings, do I really necessarily need to look at this new technology? and then you also, and look at personnel skillsets.

So speaking specifically around digital twins, digital twin is causing organizations that are adopting this type of technology to look at hybrid skill sets that have experienced both in the it world. And looking at technology ecosystem, but also needing a strong engineering background as well. So you need this, it OT hybrid skillset that really a lot of organizations don't have today.

And, you know, we don't have a hopper of those types of skillsets being brought into the industry. I'm hoping that changes here very soon and we start providing more of a cross education on young professionals. You know, understanding both the engineering side and the it side so that we have this new type of professional coming into the real estate organizations that can really drive, understand and help an organization adopt leverage, and move forward with digital twin technology.

James Dice: [00:10:02] Yeah. Yeah, totally. I love those three answers. I think on the risk aversion side. Tell me, if you agree with this, I feel like it's now becoming more risky to ignore technology. I mean, if you look at all  the ways in which our society is changing right now. To be able to ignore technology.

you're basically saying that I don't want to be able to change with society as it's changing. And so do you feel like that is actually that script on that is actually flipping where it's actually more risky to not adopt some of these newer technologies?

Kyle Tooke: [00:10:35] Well, just look at what's going on right now, right?

So you have the dynamics of, Kobe, right? just looking at COVID right now, and you look at, tenants of these buildings that are having to evaluate their, work strategy. Right? So not only if you just think about Kobe in of itself, you have companies that are in a very strange paradox where.

as an owner of the asset, you don't have revenue coming in from your tenants through the lease arrangements. And so you're, in a situation where you're forced to invest in touchless hands-free technology so that you can encourage employees to start coming back to your buildings in a time where your revenue has had its legs cut out from under it.

Right. so there's, challenges around that. then you look at their return to work strategy. As I'm talking to different companies, they want to understand, well now, how is my space being utilized? Do I have employees that are actually collaborating with other employees or are they often their own cubicle or often their own office, in which case they could just as well do their job for home as they could in my building.

You know, so do I need to offer them a different type of thing, option of working from home versus being on site? Right. So when you think about making those types of decisions and having the data that you would need to be able to effectively make intelligent decisions around aspects like that, that's just a couple of examples.

You have to invest in technology to enable those things. Then you look at the, you know, even like the emissions mandates, right. For New York, for example, How do I retrofit my building and I get building scientists, come in, evaluate my building, get to this state, this Delta that has been dictated to the, building owners in New York, that they have to reduce their emissions by X percent by 2030.

Alright now, how do I get there? You have to invest in technology to get there. So you've got a number of different drivers that are pushing owners, pushing third party managers, pushing, you know, enterprise organizations who own and operate around campuses and properties. Like all of these types of entities are having to think about these things and move in that direction.

And prior to COVID. A lot of the conversations that I was having with companies was all focused about employee experience and everyone was actually looking at it, densifying their space. Right? Well, now we have different dynamics. That's going to totally opposite direction. The use cases are different now.

They're more focused around wealth strategy use and healthy building strategies. Not necessarily Employee experience or the more fluffy aspects of employee experience, it's much more around safety, health, air quality, those types of aspects. And then, you know, competent trying to understand, do I continue the densification or now because of social distancing, I actually need to either maintain the same amount of space or I need to actually buy more space.

I mean, you look at, Facebook. I think Facebook just bought another new headquarters up in Seattle. Right. Yeah. And Facebook was one of these companies that's out there saying, well, we're going to have all of our employees work from home, but then the next month you turn it around and you'd buy a new headquarters.

Right. So, makes you think for sure, on, what the real strategy is going to be for companies like that.

James Dice: [00:13:50] Totally. Yeah. It seems like. things are definitely changing and technology is helper rather than

Kyle Tooke: [00:13:55] a herder,

James Dice: [00:13:57] okay. So let's dive into digital twins. So, you talk about digital twins a lot.

Uh, I would say it'd be your, your main job. So, when you talk about to someone who's brand new, they've never heard the concept before. They don't even really know much about technology and buildings. So how do you define it for those types of people?

Kyle Tooke: [00:14:17] this even goes from people who either claim to know what a digital twin is or think they know what a digital twin is.

I think I can move them all into a group together, actually. Okay. Uh, you know, because you have to think about, there's not one type of digital twin, right? there are digital twins that have specific purposes, specific use cases in mind. you look at, you know, there's companies out there, uh, very large ones that have infrastructure, digital twins.

You look at thought wire, we're an organizational digital twin. You have other ones that are focused on just physical assets that are, what I consider composite digital twins. So, you have very specific use cases. that's one way of looking at it, but even within a specific. Vertical you have different levels and complexity and digital twins.

So if I was to share with someone, what thought wire's perspective of digital twin is,  I would let them know that, you know, a digital twin really for thought wire for a built environment, which is a space that we really play in. Is a dynamic real time data model that is aggregating data points from, physical assets, from dynamic data points, including people in workflows and processes that are all brought into a centralized data store.

Which is semantically tagged and associated, which can then be ingested by other third party applications, whether it be thought wires applications for use cases, tied to workplace experience for facilities and building operations or perspectives of analytics and prescriptive and predictive analytics for.

A persona, whatever that made big, but also for other third party applications that could also find value in having this rich source of context and data on what is happening in a building in real time. But that's looking at an organizational digital twin, which I feel is the highest hierarchy of digital twins.

If I take a step back. And if you think about the old school perspective of a digital twin, you have, what's called a discrete digital twin, which is a very simplistic replication. It is a data model of a single physical asset. Right. So a transmission and engine oil Derrick, right? The old school industrial version of a digital twin, then you have Composite digital twins. Composite is when you're looking at multiple data sources that are typically around a physical asset that is more complex. So you look at, these companies that say they bring together everything, it OT IOT and bring it into a single pane of glass. This is when you get into.

A composite digital twin. And a lot of times those are those companies are very BIM focused. They're very 3d visualization focused. We'll, we'll get into some more of those nuances here in just a minute. then you have another type of digital twin that's focused around processes and workflows. And I'll give you an example of that in a healthcare percent.

Right? So if Kyle's an orderly and James is an orderly. And Susie is an orderly and there's a patient that needs to go from a, to B within a hospital, but Kyle's tied up with a patient. James is tied up with a patient and Susie is available, How do we orchestrate and provide transparency of knowledge on which one of us is actually going to move patient from a to B?

So if you have. A nonlinear rules engine that can then take different scenarios in real time to say Kyle's busy, right? Let's defer to James. Well, James is busy. Let's defer to Susie. Susie accepts it. And simultaneously James and Kyle knows that Susie is going to take care of that patient. All right.

So we have multiple different ways that this process can go, And then at the same time, you have another layer of data on top of that, of where are the assets that Susie needs. To be able to transport patient from a to B, right? Where's the wheelchair, where's the cart. Where's the stretcher. Where's the IVs stand.

Right? All of that contextually has to be brought into a digital twin and a healthcare and, and apply a nonlinear rules engine and it's sourcing all of the data from the underlying technologies. People, you know, RTLS, RFID, location, tracking, all of that stuff. It gets brought into a digital twin that then provides knowledge, transparency, context, and enables as efficiently as possible.

Somebody an orderly to get that patient from here. So that's an example of a process digital tool.

James Dice: [00:18:50] Okay. And then the next level, then you're saying is organizations

Kyle Tooke: [00:18:55] when you bring it all together. Right? So that's when you get into organizational digital twin, An organizational digital twin. If you think about a real estate organization, let's just say an, an owner Of a building it's bringing in data from the fiscal asset. So all the it OT IOT that's in one building. Across an entire portfolio. it's bringing in all the data around people, all the data around third party data feeds like weather, for metrics such as humidity, temperature, um, traffic, is another example of that.

and then you look at, other potential data sources like the financials, the accounting, the asset management data, the lease administration data, the property management data, That they would be using in one of those ERP type of solutions. This is all organizational data that can brought into a digital twin to enable a real estate organization, to have persona by persona throughout their company, all using the same data set.

But that data set is exposed to whatever apps they need based on the metrics or the type of information that is pertinent to that individual. Who's using that data.

James Dice: [00:20:01] I see. Okay. So that was a long definition, but a brilliant one. So let me try to stay back to you and see if I'm on the same page.

So if we think

Kyle Tooke: [00:20:08] about.

James Dice: [00:20:09] All of these different

Kyle Tooke: [00:20:10] types of tools out there,

James Dice: [00:20:11] components or pieces of them are say digital twin. So you have discreet, which has maybe just like one asset

Kyle Tooke: [00:20:18] and you have

James Dice: [00:20:18] composite, maybe a bunch of assets, a bunch of data points,

Kyle Tooke: [00:20:21] and then you have processes or workflows.

And then on top of that,

James Dice: [00:20:25] you have the organizational digital switch, which is kind of bringing it all together in the building, but then it could be even portfolio level data you're bringing in ERP systems. even data from outside the building, like, what Uber and Lyft statuses are you

Kyle Tooke: [00:20:39] know,

James Dice: [00:20:39] in the city, outside of the buildings.

So you're bringing all that

Kyle Tooke: [00:20:42] together and bring it into

James Dice: [00:20:44] one common,

data model. you have your static data from all of that. So like, this air handlers and

Kyle Tooke: [00:20:50] the, this room and that patient is in that room,

James Dice: [00:20:52] right? Those types of things, you have your dynamic data flowing off of all those things.

Kyle Tooke: [00:20:57] And then you have some sort of platform for applications, or like you said, tooling

James Dice: [00:21:02] that allows you to provide applications to users and. You know, that's where you get into the personas and the workflows that you're enabling them to do something cool with

Kyle Tooke: [00:21:11] right at its simplest core. James, when we look at a digital twin as a data model, right?

The 3d visualizations, the nonlinear rules engine, the reasoning engines, that's all part of the services layer, right. That allows you to take the foundation, which is the, normalized semantically tag data. And then the services is what allows you through applications and tooling to achieve the outcomes and use cases that are hopefully well-defined with a client and with their vision of what experiences they want to curate for a building or a portfolio, or for an example, an entire employee

James Dice: [00:21:51] base.

All right. And this I'm going to start sprinkling and questions from LinkedIn. So this is the second week I've done this or I've, put questions out there for anyone to ask. Yeah, that was right. So there's a been some good ones, but this one's from Tyson. so Tyson says What are some of those examples

Kyle Tooke: [00:22:07] of during the operational

James Dice: [00:22:09] phase of a building, let's just kind of bring this down to earth for, all of the O and M teams out there that may or may not be right listening to this.

What are some examples of like using the twin? And using the application that comes off the twin for reducing their operational expenses.

Kyle Tooke: [00:22:25] Yes. Sure. So a great question, Tyson,  I'll give you a, a good example. So, because. a technology, like thoughtware, you know, we're we're software that, goes into a building.

And we're integrating with everything from the facility management platform. So the CNNs, the BAS lightings and you name it, right. We're integrating with everything that's IP enabled in that space. But we also have context around people through the use of an application. Through engaging with the building through a CMS or through digital signage or through kiosks, right?

This is all data that we have a strategy for. So an example of this is let's just say all of a sudden facilities is getting an influx of hot coal requests from the 13th floor on the West side of the building. now, because we may, perhaps we have a system like Meridian or Cisco DNA in place, and we're using wifi triangulation, or we have beacons that are implemented, or we have IOT sensors that are tracking occupancy or we've, you know, Flag Apple to come in and map the space.

And we can ping off of individuals, smart devices who are using an employee facing application, a number of different ways that we can get geospatial intelligence around who is where and when. Okay. So if I all of a sudden see a spike in hot code requests that are coming in from the 13th floor on the West side of that floorplate And then I have a visualization tool. That then allows me to actually see where people were when they created this ticket through whatever underlying FM system that's in place, whether it be a Karega or service insight, or Angus, anywhere for us, it does not matter where agnostic but I know.

For every single notification, every single ticket that comes in, where did they originate from? How many people is that individual notification or that ticket impacting? Is it impacting two people or is it impacting 30 people? Is it impacting the C suite of the executives? For my premier tenant? Let's just say it's a Google, right?

Is it impacting their C-suite in my building or is it impacting a couple events,    any interns, right? Yeah. if I have that context, And I know I have this spike, right. And I can also see population in real time. So, you know, are there normally 20 people in a space and all of a sudden there's a hundred people in that space that may be causing the system to work harder. and that may be an outlier, on the rules that I have in place.

Or is it legitimately just something's going on with the VAV box in that space? And because I look at the CMMS tickets, I can see, you know, there's a VAV box and already have a notification coming in about that VAV box. And I can associate it with these tickets or these notifications that are coming in through people pinging on the app and submitting a hot cold, Uh, because I have all of that context. I can then leverage a reasoning engine. Through the digital twin and the services layer that then is able to say, okay, well, this notification is only impacting two people. It's a lower priority, but this notification is impacting 30 people. Well, that needs to take priority.

The system will triage on behalf of the facilities team, the thousands of notifications that are coming into them on a regular basis and get the ones that are most high-impact most mission critical and put that to the top of the totem pole. And allow them to tackle the things that are most mission critical.

So that's taking in context, that's taking in a multitude of integration points across CMMS, HVAC, lighting, BMS, IOT sensors, you know, wifi triangulation, a lot of different systems that are being orchestrated to understand what's actually going on in that space and then helping make decision points on behalf of that facility's team.

James Dice: [00:26:01] Totally. Yeah. You just named like so many different what I would call siloed technology. So like you could have the VAs alarm that could uncover that comfort issue. You could have the workload that's in the CMS. You could have even a fault detection package that provides some sort of alert.

And think what I'm hearing. It'll be the light bulb that just came on for me. when you just described that scenario is the digital twin is bringing all of these previously siloed systems together and it allows you to then prioritize issues much easier, but then also if you need to investigate them, also investigate them with much richer context, and get to a root cause.

Kyle Tooke: [00:26:40] Yeah. The context is the critical piece. when companies are trying to understand, well, why do I need a digital twin? What's the value, right? It's about context and it's about reasoning. which enables you to make better decisions more timely, and that's going to improve experiences for everybody, right.

Operations, as well as, uh, the employees or the tenants that are in your buildings. Right? So if I know that there's something that's high impact and it's impacting a large number of people. If I know that I can address that sooner and focus on that, prioritize it versus other things that are much lower impact, you know, I'll give you another great example.

Uh, you know, it's such a great question that Tyson had is, you know, there is a particular company in Manhattan that I was talking to and there were three properties, uh, and I was talking to their facility state right across these three properties. They average about 27,000 hot code requests. Every single year, it takes up facilities, team and engineer 15 minutes.

Per instance to address and close out each of those hot code requests right now, if you have a digital twin in those buildings and you have an AI algorithm for comfort controls, like what thought wire offers, right? Not only could I, I avoid or mitigate. That hope that hot coal requests coming at all. Uh, another layer of this is if they, the clients in this situation, if they had the appetite to enable an employee to be able to manage or manipulates lighting and thermostats, um, through an employee facing application, we can virtually eliminate these hot code requests altogether in these properties.

Right? So if you take 27,000. Instances at 15 minutes a piece, right? When you do the math, it's about 840 operational days, 848 hour days of work, right. Uh, of engineering time, which is not inexpensive. Right. Addressing hot cold requests. What other things could those engineers be doing is of higher value than addressing hot code requests.

If I eliminate that entire use case altogether,

James Dice: [00:28:51] so you eliminate them through better controls. So you're doing supervisory control. That's controlling the systems better to. It's

Kyle Tooke: [00:29:00] providing contextually, providing dynamic set points, James. So if I'm looking at historical data on, within the building, I'm looking at real time data, I'm looking at external data from like weather humidity, things like that.

And then I also have schedules and I'm looking at who's going to be occupying what spaces there. Because as a, as a software layer that has bi-directional communication and control to the BAS lighting, HVAC, so on and so forth, I can dynamically dictate to those systems and change the, uh, the comfort levels of that space.

Everything from lighting all the way to thermostat, you know, I can, I can power all of that dictate to those systems in real time, create those dynamic access points so that they're optimized for comfort. In real

James Dice: [00:29:46] time. Totally. Yeah. And I guess the other piece of that eliminating hog cool calls was

Kyle Tooke: [00:29:52] allowing the yeah.

Occupant to

James Dice: [00:29:53] change their set points themselves. It sounds like too.

Kyle Tooke: [00:29:58] Yeah. And I mean, there's a lot of different ways that you can, you can approach that. Right? A lot of, a lot of operational teams when we want to avoid releasing yeah. Control. But if you, if you enable an employee to manipulate them temperature by two degrees plus or minus, right.

And you let the AC or the heating run for. Five 10 minutes. So they feel the air flow and then just revert back almost like a placebo effect. They feel like they've accomplished something and they're no longer thinking they need to submit a hot coat request because they feel like they can do it themselves.

Right. It's just to avoid that entire scenario of creating a hot code request, which is hands down. The number one requests, a facilities team gets an a in a, in a skyscraper. Yeah. Got it. All

James Dice: [00:30:42] right. Cool. So let's continue on. So one of the things that I've, I see out there when people talk about digital twins is as we get hung up, we never get to really deep conversations.

Like we've been having so far on actual use cases because people are stuck on these. What I would call myths or just. Misconceptions around what it even is. So let's try to just maybe quickly hit like three or four of these mess without getting too deep into them. Um, so that we can move on to like the more in depth stuff.

But I feel like a lot of the questions on LinkedIn were kind of related to these myths. So the first one I would say is like people think a digital twin and we've already kind of dispelled this so far, but a digital twin is a three D visualization. So what would you say to that one?

Kyle Tooke: [00:31:29] I look at so far from Thor's perspective.

Again, a digital twin is a data model, right? The visualization of that data. So a 3d or a two D uh, elevation view of a building, right? That's a tool that is an outcome, right? That's the data, the underlying data and putting it into a visual form. So that's part of the services or tooling layer, but the three D visualization in of itself.

I don't think that you can really say that that is a digital twin, but if you do want to call it a digital twin, I would say at it's at its most sophisticated, it's a composite digital twin, right? So you can show it OT IOT. You know, systems that are in that floor plate through this three D visualization, you can see the HVAC that duct work, the VAV boxes.

You can see all of that. Right. A lot of it is stuff that you can get from a BIM model, right? Yeah. But unless that three-day visualization offers, you know, real time, it offers context, it offers command and control. I struggle to call it anything more than a composite digital twin. Okay.

James Dice: [00:32:34] And then, so similarly, um, Well, let me pause real quick.

So there's another question, LinkedIn, on what does that visual tool add for? Operational teams.

Kyle Tooke: [00:32:45] Well, I think it provides, um, from a visual perspective and less than no work particular assets are, you know, so as things are being built, there's assets that are behind the wall. If I have a three D visualization that shows me everything, that's on the floor plate, both in front of the wall and behind a wall and allows me to see where those assets are.

And then depending upon the company providing this three D visualization. You know, if they have wayfinding tooling, you can even add that, that use case of that workflow of, if I am a facility manager and I'm not very familiar with the building, uh, because I'm usually at another building or I'm responsible for multiple buildings, right.

Uh, it allows me to way find to where an asset is. Uh, I mean, so I think for the most part, it gives you a different way of looking at the property. You're looking at the building and hopefully that three D visualization has been updated. Uh, so that you have current information in that three D visualization.

James Dice: [00:33:42] Totally. Yeah. So another one, like a use case of the visualization layer that I heard the other day is like, say a technician is going out to, you know, change out a pump or something someone's able to exactly zoom in on the

Kyle Tooke: [00:33:56] shutoff valve for instance,

James Dice: [00:33:57] and say, the shutoff valve is right here and you

Kyle Tooke: [00:33:59] turn it counter clockwise

James Dice: [00:34:00] or whatever, and just.

Before you go onsite, be able to kind of explore the site and get into that level of detail. Okay. So similarly though, so another myth is digital twin is the same thing or digital twin is BIM. So what would you say to that sort of misconception?

Kyle Tooke: [00:34:19] So there's a lot of companies out there that are trying to take the BIM model and move it into the operation and maintenance phase of it right now.

I think, as we all know, I mean, BIM is, an as built data model is part of the construction build out. And whether a company has actually convected, enough into that BIM model, uh, it's levels of sophistication and data richness, varies. I mean, I think, most of us in the industry know that most of the, the buildings in New York, for example, right, are older buildings that don't even have been modeled.

And if it is those haven't been modeled, it's in a tattered piece of paper, that's turning yellow in the basement. That's starting to, you know, completely just dissolve. Right. I've seen a few of those, but. You know, very rarely do you see a BIM model that has the data richness to even really be considered a digital twin and from thought perspective?

very few projects that we've worked on is even having them on start from, I think, a BIM model. depending on its level of sophistication, how much data is there's a nice to have. It can be a starting point. It can be something where we can grandfather in that information and have that as a starting point.

But, you know, we have partners that are part of our technology stack that allows a company to replicate a four plates. We can bring in a cat or rabbit drawing and replicates a floor plate, map all of the assets and build out the actual digital twin. You don't have to have a BIM at all to accomplish that.

So, you know, my perspective, um, you know, BIM, as an as built data model, digital twin is a living, breathing, ever evolving, ever changing, dynamic data model that constantly has new information coming into it. And it is automatically updating as that new information comes available. I

James Dice: [00:36:04] like that. Okay. So the third myth, third and final meth is if a building is not new, like you said, most buildings are not, and it doesn't have the as-built data model, which is your BIM.

I think people kind of write off the whole digital twin concept because they say it's going to be way too expensive to build that out without the existing. BIM model already available. I think someone said in our nexus probe member gathering in June, I quote, no one is going to build this for an existing building.

and yeah, companies that are proposing just that like thought wire. So what would you guys say to. To someone like that.

Kyle Tooke: [00:36:43] uh, there's a number of retrofit projects that we've been part of where there is no BIM model in place. you know, and as far as how expensive it is, thought wire offers a software as a service model.

Right? So the, services part of the engagement that we do. It encompasses, all of this build out. and it's extremely cost effective. and you know, I, certainly wouldn't say that it's, it's more expensive for existing buildings versus new builds. Uh, just half the time of digital twin gets slapped on after the fact, after the infrastructure design phase anyway, right now, which we are.

you know, as diligently as possible, trying to educate the market, that if you're building a new building, digital twin needs to be part of the conversation during the infrastructure design phase. Uh, we need to be absolutely part of that at the very beginning. Not only can a digital twin help with the commissioning process and recommissioning process, but it immediately translates over into the operational mode of the bill.

so. the cost for thought wire, whether it is a preexisting building or it's a new build is no different, right? Our pricing model is, is relative. They were coming into a building who already has a been in place or were coming in one who has one that is completely nonexistent.

Totally.

James Dice: [00:38:02] And that makes total sense. I feel like that just throws that argument

Kyle Tooke: [00:38:06] out the

James Dice: [00:38:06] window. Uh, okay. So, let's kind of dive into thoughtware specifically. So, I mean, ideally you would be able to show everyone a really cool demo, but you can't do that. So I think what I'm,

Kyle Tooke: [00:38:17] they just need to call me if they want one of

James Dice: [00:38:19] those.

There you go. Superman on like the. So we talked about data models, static data, live data, but then the platform

Kyle Tooke: [00:38:26] for applications.

James Dice: [00:38:27] So let's zoom in on the

Kyle Tooke: [00:38:28] platform for applications. So like

James Dice: [00:38:30] what, capabilities do these applications provide

Kyle Tooke: [00:38:34] these users,

James Dice: [00:38:35] of the digital twin? Yeah,

Kyle Tooke: [00:38:37] so, If you're, we're talking specifically our corporate and commercial real estate, we'll just, we'll start.

Yeah. With that, that verb. So the thought wire at this foundation, for all verticals Starts with the data. So it starts with a digital twin. Again, this normalized, Repository of data that is semantically tagged to be able to be utilized and ingested by, other applications, whether it's thought worse applications or a third party, the applications that we're putting on top of this, which gets into the services layer.

So when we talk about commercial and corporate real estate, there's really. Three interfaces today. Uh, and it's about to be consolidated into two, but, we provide an employee facing for a digital workplace platform called at work. So with that work, this is going to be HTML five kiosk, as well as native, Android and, an iOS application that.

Encompasses everything from copper controls, from an employee perspective to community, in information about the building information around calendars and scheduling, what's going on room booking and hot desking, as well as integrating with other third party applications, but the root of. Well, really what we're doing on the employee facing side of the tenant facing side is curating a common experience for an employee or a tenant base across a global portfolio where infrastructure is different in each and every building.

There's no ability for these companies to standardize, but from thought wires first effective, we don't care or who they're using for room booking. We don't care who they're using for facility maintenance or the ticketing system for CMMS. We don't care who they're using for calendars and scheduling. We you're doing the hard work and we are putting together a common experience for the employee base.

So the user interface in our application that we're providing that is branded for the client, enables them to have a skin or a, user interface that is going to be relative to an employee in New York, as well as a different employee in Singapore. Even though the underlying systems are different in this very unique environments.

So. When I talked to an enterprise company, like a large financial institution or a large technology company, you know, one of their key folks is how do I curate this common experience for my entire life? Well, you guys, and, you know, you need something that is able to provide ecosystem enablement in plug and play.

Interoperability, in a organizational digital twin, let thought wire is able to accomplish that. So as we go into these different buildings, the subsystems, the HVAC lighting, the third party, SAS technologies that are in those buildings. They're going to vary, but as we go into these environments and we do these massive integration projects, we are ingesting all of this disparate data and translating it into a common language that's thought wire systems and understand.

And we're able to expose that, to allow third parties, applications, to make use of that, to accomplish whatever use cases or experiences they're wanting to achieve. So the app is just one way and, thought wires difference between on just on the app side. Then maybe some of the other employee experience apps out there as thought were very much has a, strategy around the data.

The use of the application is a key data point that gives me some dynamic insight into James. For example, if you were in You know, one of the major marquee buildings in New York, as you're navigating that building, as you're using that app, that is all key data that is flowing into our digital twin to provide context that help augment and make better decisions on the operational and facility side.

You know, I gave you a great example of just a little bit on the context that we were able to derive by people creating CMMS tick is for hot call requests. And we see this spike of hot call requests at 3:00 PM on the 13th floor.  All of that is context and a large chunk of that information is from the use of an application or the use of understanding where people are when they're creating those tickets.

James Dice: [00:42:41] Right. So, okay. So you kind of talked about the. occupant facing app. And then you started to talk a little bit there about the sort of like O and M team facing app. Is that how I understand it? Yeah.

Kyle Tooke: [00:42:52] So the operational side is called precision hub and there's really two components. One is a percent of a dashboard called digital twin insights.

And this is what allows us to have prescriptive and predictive analytics. Around historically disparate data points, So this is where we're able to bring everything into a centralized analysis tool. That's going to enable a facility manager to gain additional context, root cause insights, and also push predictive insights to that end user of what's going on in that building.

So. I can proactively notify the facilities team that there's a spike in hot coal requests, or there's all of a sudden a spike in energy consumption, right. That may be caused by a fan cooling unit malfunctioning or, the fact that, Hey, there's going to be a space on the third floor from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM on Friday.

That is not going to have a single soul in that space. Would you like to create a micro load shed event for that specific space to optimize it for efficiency? Or would you like thought wire to proactively do it for you without having any human intervention and do it dynamically? And then being able to track that throughout a year and report back to say, Hey, by utilizing the insights through thought wire, I have been able to achieve XYZ ROI and energy consumption savings.

Through these micro load shed events. And that's just one example.

James Dice: [00:44:21] Right, right, right. And you're able to do that because you have. The occupancy schedule data that came from sort of the other side of the other app. And it's all, you know, one data model, one sort

Kyle Tooke: [00:44:32] of data platform.

James Dice: [00:44:34] That's fascinating.

Kyle Tooke: [00:44:35] Okay. Then other things that you're able to do with that, James, uh, you know, you have complex workflow orchestration. So because we're integrated with all of the systems in the building, being able to schedule things like, It load shed events is one of them. extended hours is a very common way that can be programmed at the digital twin level, scheduling things like hard lockdowns, soft lock downs, emergency situations like fire protocols, and active shooter protocols.

You know, those can be very complex events that touch a lot of different systems And require a lot of notifications to go out to things like first responders, the entire employee base that's in that building, to security. There's a lot of different steps in there, But if we can create that, metaphorical easy button and allow the authorized user be able to execute that protocol now, instead of taking 15, 20, 30 minutes to execute this protocol, we can do it instantly.

James Dice: [00:45:33] Okay. Cool. All

Kyle Tooke: [00:45:35] right,

James Dice: [00:45:35] so we've got about 15 minutes left. let's dive into

Kyle Tooke: [00:45:39] the kind

James Dice: [00:45:40] of removing the confusion, I guess, around.

Kyle Tooke: [00:45:43] How people can

James Dice: [00:45:44] buy platforms like this, how people can buy technology, how people can specify, you know, different capabilities they want and, and get to the outcome is that we're describing here.

and one of the ones that I've seen and you and I have talked about this in the past, is that.

Kyle Tooke: [00:45:59] People aren't out there saying,

James Dice: [00:46:01] give me an organizational digital twin with these capabilities. People are saying, I don't want an IOT platform. I want an integrated workplace management, the system, I want a building operating system.

I want an energy management system and they all kind of have overlapping definitions, overlap and capabilities. So how do you. Wade through that murkiness,

Kyle Tooke: [00:46:23] uh, when you're, when you're talking to your customer, you know, thought wire has been awarded a number of, relationships or contracts. you know, we've been called an IOT platform.

We've been called a building operating system. We've been called a master services integration platform. whatever semantic goal acronym they will want to use. Right? You got to speak to clients, you know, where I'm constantly trying to provide education and market. And when you look at the use cases, the KPI, I said a part of these RFPs that come out They're all asking for an organizational digital twin, but that's just not the term that is global yet. There is no standardization around that. So, I see the BLS, the building operating system, I see the IBM as intelligent building management system. It's all the same stuff. Right. And you know, it's working with large, For thinking companies on providing that education.

It's, it's working with the AEC firms, it's working with the MSIs. It's working with the MEP firms who are helping build out these RFPs and providing guidance for these enterprise companies. Are these owners of real estate that are looking to go down this path of a, of a digital twin or just their digital transformation journey.

Right. It's it's been spending a lot of time working with these consultants and providing them the education, helping them understand what are the use cases for a digital twin? What are the things that you can accomplish that way we can start expanding the vision of what a lot of these companies are looking to achieve and get them to think about things that.

Maybe they didn't even know as possible because they've been so used to being stuck with this enterprise BAS platform. They've been trying to feed everything into that, which has its own challenges in of its own. It's creating vendor loft more and more. They, put everything at the BAS level versus looking at a higher hierarchy next gen tribe, a platform like a.

digital twin.

James Dice: [00:48:16] Yeah. So you hit on the lock-in there. So

Kyle Tooke: [00:48:19] how do you

James Dice: [00:48:19] help these consultants sort of specify digital twin or one of these other acronyms that is, open versus closed and locked down? How do you, how do you think

Kyle Tooke: [00:48:29] about that? Well, it really comes down to, if you think about starting with the client, right?

You start with, you know, who is the client for talking about an enterprise company, Their client is the employee. If you think about an owner operator, their clients are the tenants and the leadership of those tenants. And you look at who's the customer. And work out. What use cases are you trying to accomplish to improve the experiences of, the day in the life of that customer, whether it's an employee attendant and operations professional, and once you start working back into what integrations have to occur, And what raw data points need to be exposed and aggregated to bring into something like a digital twin.

It naturally creates a need for you to have an open ecosystem. otherwise a lot of these use cases that get defined in these RFPs. You can't even accomplish them. And they ended up just getting cut out of the, entire vision altogether, because if you're going to stick with one of the, companies out there that has market share that are trying to control everything and trying to have everything in their system, You may not even have that system over in the UK or in Greece or in Singapore, you may have a totally different building automation system. And those buildings, if you don't have an interoperability, I mean, the data portability and the ability to curate a common experience for an operator for an employee or a facility manager, I'm sorry, not operated facility manager in those two assets.

Are you really accomplishing the goal that you set out from? In day one,

James Dice: [00:49:57] I think this is one of the biggest drivers for opening things up in our industry is that requirements like we talked about at the beginning, you know, building city energy ordinances, COVID requirements of a building are increasing.

And if the closed systems are the walled gardens, as Andrew called it last week on the podcast, if those can't keep up, then. People are going to have to open their systems up to the platform was a can. And the ones that can, are the ones that bring in like the all star game approach to bringing in everyone, you know, to the table and to the solution.

So that's cool. okay. So you've mentioned, Consultants. And I've talked about the past. I just want to like, hit this at the end here of this sort of section of the conversation, but

Kyle Tooke: [00:50:42] yeah.

James Dice: [00:50:43] How are you thinking about the people that get it, as we've kind of laid out this vision versus the people that don't get it?

Cause w what I've seen is like their RFPs space, and I would say this space, but also. Building analytics as well. I've seen a lot of RFPs on the building analytics side and you can tell the person writing their RFP, just like, yeah, didn't really understand what

Kyle Tooke: [00:51:06] their responses here.

James Dice: [00:51:07] And that happens on the building automation system side as well.

Kyle Tooke: [00:51:10] Everyone talks about how the

James Dice: [00:51:12] copy and paste problem with these

Kyle Tooke: [00:51:13] specs.

James Dice: [00:51:14] How do you think about helping the consultants kind of move them along on their understanding of this

Kyle Tooke: [00:51:20] technology

James Dice: [00:51:21] and sort of, what would you say? I do all of them out there listening to this.

Kyle Tooke: [00:51:25] Well, so thought wire, I mean, Personally right myself and my head of product and data.

the two of us that have invested an enormous amount of time with lot of the consulting firms who want to be thought leaders in this space who wanted to start driving the industry in that direction instead of. Relying upon the more traditional methods of smart building technology leaning on enterprise BAS platforms, right?

So I've had some specific, consulting firms who have proactively reached out to us, have different the relationship with me. And we have helped him tremendously to understanding what are the use cases, what are the requirements and helping them build out their, you know, their specs. to help them build out those RFPs, right?

And we want to help them be successful. anyone that we are engaged with, we want, to make them heroes. And if we can provide them insight and guidance to help them make their client happy, we want to do that. And so I would say for any of the consulting firms who have not engaged with thought wire and has not had a.

Personal conversation with me or any of my colleagues within our organization. welcome that discussion. You know, let us help you, let us provide some education around, you know, organizational digital twin. So the next time that you have one of these large financial companies or technology companies or whomever.

Approach you to say, Hey, I want to create this ecosystem. I have all these cool next generation use cases tied to COVID it and return to work and and they want to enable all of those use cases. You got to partner with someone like us to achieve those goals. The enterprise guys, they're not going to get you there.

Right.

James Dice: [00:53:00] And from the building owners perspective. So how did they think about number one buying this? And what I just heard from you was you can't just engage your traditional engineering consultants on this. You're probably gonna

Kyle Tooke: [00:53:13] want some sort of technology

James Dice: [00:53:14] partner that can educate the entire,

team basically.

But also I think a lot of the building owners need to also be thinking about. how to keep this twin updated and maintained throughout the life of the building. So how do you educate them as well?

Kyle Tooke: [00:53:28] so for the building owners, conversations around digital twin up until this time, have not quite gone as well as it has with some of the enterprise corporates that have some of these hybrid it OT professionals on their staff who understand digital twin.

I see, uh, and again, this goes back to confusing digital twin with a BIM. So, you know, you always want to, if you haven't been model, you want to keep it up to date, you gotta go back, you gotta reinvest in it. You have to continuously have it updated. Well, it's no different for a digital twin and, You know, when I see RFPs, there's a lot of asks around integration back to the BIM, which is all well and good. And there's companies that are moving towards that direction and getting there. Uh, one of our partners that we utilize for mapping and wayfinding, has that on their roadmap to have that accomplished as well.

but you know, our partner, we provide our own content management platform that allows a end user and administrator of the platform to be able to dynamically update and keep the floor plates updated, keep the assets that are mapped onto that floor plate updated within our system. so again, it goes back, you don't have to have a BIM, you can do everything within thought wires, you know, technology stack.

that she would need to around that, but today, you know, it has to be updated somewhere, So whether that's being updated in a bam and then that's being updated into the digital twin, whoever the provider of that digital twin is, or. In thought worst case it's being updated in that content management platform that is in the backend tooling of our solution.

James Dice: [00:54:57] I see. Okay. So it was one or the other

Kyle Tooke: [00:55:00] it's gotta be updated somewhere, right?

James Dice: [00:55:02] Yeah. Totally. All right. Cool. So as we kind of close things out, I want to combine.  two questions into one, which is what are you seeing in terms of the impact COVID is having on our end right now?

And then in the same way, vain, I guess like kind of what are you excited about, with our industry and moving forward?

Kyle Tooke: [00:55:20] Oh, Covitz created a lot of challenges. And when I look at challenges, challenges, usually breed opportunity. so I look at the silver lining of it now, has it impacted a lot of the conversations I was having prior to Kobe?

Oh, absolutely. but I would say I am busier now and thought wire as a whole is busier now than we ever were pre COVID, because what it has created is a sense of urgency, a whole new set of use cases. That's our top priority. Now, whether you're an owner or a third party manager or an enterprise company, who's trying to get your employees back in the office.

So the, the need for data has become even more paramount. And I think it's really shined a light on that. Regardless of who you are in the industry, the need for data and having context and really understanding how the buildings are being utilized, who is in those buildings, who are they collaborating with and who actually needs to be there versus who can work from home.

Then also as people back into these offices, how do I make sure that they know that they're safe? How do I ensure that the air quality is where it needs to be? How do I ensure people are respecting the social distancing parameters to prevent spread? How do I make sure that the air is, within a certain temperature range within a certain humidity range, to make sure that the transmission of COVID is kept, under control based on guidelines from the who and CDC, There's so many new use cases, so many new conversations that were secondary prior to COBIT better now. At the top of their list and the fortunate thing for thought wire being a digital twin provider is that data richness. And that context is our bread and butter. That is what we do, So enabling those use cases and enabling those technologies and providing that context and that's transparency for an organization, trying to make those very difficult decisions.

A digital twin is an ideal solution to answer for that.

James Dice: [00:57:10] Totally. Well, thanks so much for coming on the show. There's so much more, I think I want to talk to you about, so I'll have to do it again sometime, and thanks for fitness into your, your busy schedule and thanks for doing what you do.

Kyle Tooke: [00:57:24] Yeah, I appreciate it, James.

Thank you for doing what you do and your platform on educating the markets. So I really relish the opportunity to speak with you and share my thoughts. So I look forward to doing this again with you next time. Cool.

James Dice: [00:57:36] Talk soon.

Kyle Tooke: [00:57:37] Alright. Thank you.

James Dice: [00:57:38] Alright, friends. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Nexus podcast. For more episodes like this and to get the weekly Nexus newsletter, please subscribe at nexus.substack.com. You can find the show notes for this conversation there as well. As always, please reach out on LinkedIn with any thoughts on this episode.

I'd love to hear from you. Have a great day.

⭐️ Pro Article

This article is for Nexus Pro members only

Upgrade to Nexus Pro
⭐️ Pro Article

This article is for Nexus Pro members only

Upgrade to Nexus Pro

Get the renowned Nexus Newsletter

Access the Nexus Community

Head over to Nexus Connect and see what’s new in the community. Don’t forget to check out the latest member-only events.

Go to Nexus Connect

Upgrade to Nexus Pro

Join Nexus Pro and get full access including invite-only member gatherings, access to the community chatroom Nexus Connect, networking opportunities, and deep dive essays.

Sign Up