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Episode #26 reaction: the shift beyond efficiency to user experience

November 5, 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 Emmanuel Daniel, Director of Digital Transformation for Smart Buildings & Campuses at Microsoft. 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

This is the first episode in (hopefully) a long series of episodes where I bring in leading building owners that can show us where the market is headed. I think Emmanuel was a great guest to kick off that endeavor!

My overarching reaction was that Microsoft’s progression as a building operator, and the story Emmanuel tells here, reflects this broader shift from energy efficiency (back of the house) to user experience (front of the house). And I don’t know of a resource besides this podcast episode where we can hear someone like him explain that so deeply. I think it’s where the whole buildings market is headed, even beyond offices.

What we are trying to do is extend or evolve from highly optimized buildings to highly connected buildings that through data, through technology, we create these experiences where the space is adaptive to the needs of the user.

And that progression is driven by a strong business case.

What is the value of the data that I'm going to collect? And how is this data going to impact that individual or the group of individuals? Is it going to drive better collaboration? Is it going to drive better productivity? Is it going to attract more people to come and work in my buildings? Is that data going to make people working in my buildings feel a lot safer because the ambient environment within that building is much better than ambient environments anywhere else? And you are now talking about efficiency of not only the building, but also productivity and empowerment of people in that space, equating both of them. Them together is what is going to give you the business case and the positive ROI you'd like to get.

I loved hearing Emmanuel’s description of the platform they’re building that’s needed to enable these experiences. It sounds like there are three integration-related components of the “Digital Integration Platform (DIP): The integration engine, Device management, and the data model. I think the device management piece is highly, highly under-discussed at this point, as I said last week in my October digest.

Finally, there was a fascinating bit about the blurring lines between IT and OT and how that has led to their platform being used as a way to redefine operations processes and knock down some traditional silos by providing a cross-silo experience for all users.

The example I give is let's take lighting a conventional lighting system versus a POE lighting system. If there is an outage of the light? Okay. I'll have a look. I'll have the FM person comes in, takes the light off replaces and goes. If there is an outage of the experience, because data is not being captured, who's going to climb up? Who's going to do it, right? This is redefining the way operations of buildings is going to move ahead. So basically blurring the lines between FM and IT operations, right? IT vs. OT is starting to blur because the system that provides luminance is also the system that provides data that drives experiences.

My highlights:

  • Intro to the building world: “shock, admiration, and the opportunity to transform this industry” (2:53)
  • Emmanuel answers James’ favorite question - a camp may be forming around pain points / evolving user expectations? (4:29)
  • Microsoft campuses - evolution from a focus on optimizing efficiency to focus on user experience (8:59)
  • 5 key layers of Redmond campus modernization: master plan, environment and building layout, infrastructure, platform, experience (15:48)
  • What it means to build smart from the ground up (18:52)
  • The business case for smart buildings at Microsoft (22:48)
  • Emmanuel’s definition of ‘platform’ (26:29)
  • Simplifying the ideation process by focusing on behaviors instead of personas (34:44)
  • How Microsoft is bridging traditional silos on this new campus (38:57)
  • Sensor rationalization (45:25)
  • The platform layer, providing use cases (48:34)
  • Considerations from the cutting edge: cost, meaning of space, effectiveness, and the operations model (56:54)

What did you think?

Leave a comment


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.

Episode 26 of the nexus podcast is a conversation with a manual Daniel who was responsible for building and delivering the technology transformation strategy for Microsoft's campuses around the world. We talked about the history of smart building tech on Microsoft's campus, and then dove into the project going on right now at Microsoft HQ, the Redmond campus modernization project, When one of the world's leading technology companies builds a new campus. How smart is it? The answer is pretty damn smart. This episode of the podcast is brought to you by nexus pro nexus pro is an annual or monthly subscription where members get exclusive writing podcasts and an invite to a monthly members only event.

You can find info on how to join and support the podcast@nexusdotsubstack.com. This episode is also brought to you by nexus foundations, an introductory course on smart buildings. If you're new to the industry, this course is for you. If you're an industry vet, but want to understand how technology is changing things.

This course is also for you. Cohort two is set to kick off in winter 2021, and you can enroll@courses.nexus labs.online without further ado, please enjoy this episode of the nexus podcast.

And one final note before we jump in, I just want to add a quick warning and apology for the background noise in this episode. And we tried to edit out what we could, but weren't able to get everything. So sorry about that. And, uh, please enjoy.

Alright. Hello, Emmanuel. Thanks for coming on the show. Can you introduce yourself for

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:02:38] everyone? Absolutely James, thank you for having me. My name is ed manual. Daniel. I work at Microsoft. I'm a director in the industry innovation team, focusing on smart buildings and smart campuses. And I work with Microsoft real estate and security team on helping modernize Microsoft campuses globally.

James Dice: [00:02:56] Brilliant. Brilliant. Yeah. Thanks again for coming on the show. I'm so excited about digging into what Microsoft is doing. Can we start with your career history though? So how did you get, Through your career to Microsoft. Can you  take us through from the beginning and how you got here?

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:03:11] Yeah, sure.

my career is I come from a very strong technology background. I started in tech. I have an engineering degree in information technology. Uh, I did product development. Moved up to IQ consulting then did Aggie strategy. And along the way we got into the opportunity of figuring out, okay, what is the well headed to, in terms of things and sustainability.

And as we said, can we make building smart? Because buildings are essentially treasure troves of data. What do you do with this data? How do you use the data to be able to optimize building performance and building efficiency? So we said, okay, let's go ahead and try to do a project on smart buildings.

Maybe try to focus on operational efficiency of the buildings, improved asset uptime and. A lifetime of code infrastructure that goes into the buildings. And what does that mean in terms of better management of a larger, greater portfolio of buildings that evolved? And that project was extremely successful as an outcome of that.

We then said, okay, Hey, you know, we can really make building smart, efficient, connected, and sustainable. But that goes unnoticed by the tenants or  the end users that come into that. How will we able to take physical space or the built environment using data and transform the way the user engages with that space?

Thereby I'll bring the user to be more productive, allowing them to collaborate or work in a way that is. Best suited to their preferences. So we started with energy efficiency optimization, which is absolutely foundational for building and involved with, to say, let's now focus on the user of the space because if users don't use that space space, it's useless.

So what will it take for us to make that space connected? What will it take for us to make that space dynamically adapt to the needs of the user? Okay, is Bev you're headed to now. And that's where the concept of experience has started. So with that, I did a bunch of project I'm from Singapore, I think was home for me.

So we did a bunch of projects. I was Singapore that then grew and we started  driving projects. Yeah. Out of the middle East. And with all the traction, Microsoft was creating within the space. I then got an opportunity to move with Redmond and be part of the team that is. Driving the modernization of our East campus.

Got

James Dice: [00:05:24] it. Got it. That's really cool. So

want to kind of ask you about like, when you first came from sort of it, your tech into buildings, whenever that was in that progression, or what was your experience like coming into the buildings world?

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:05:40] So the. The question that I always heard. If someone wants to understand what buildings is all about, they need to go and check out the facilities room.

You can get that's what you get down reality, or what does it mean to be a building manager and to manage facilities within a building? Uh, then you hear all types of jokes. Hey, you know, this is not the world you guys come from. Our world is all about these devices, all about controllers. They all about code infrastructure like BMS is  and look how we work at it.

And the first thing that I get is just enamored by the complexity of the nuts and bolts that go into a building to ensure that the residents are comfortable. Are peaceful. The second part is I started leading percent man could the amount of connected devices and look at the amount of data that these buildings are capturing.

Then after that, you're gonna start to realize, but Hey, you know, all this data is discussed. All these systems are disconnected. You have so many systems, you know, it's like, I mean, it's like a kid in a candy shop type situation. You go on there, you see all these devices, you see all these components and all of this data.

You're like, can I do more by bringing all this together to create a unified experience? Not only for the facilities manager. But also for the owner developer and the final end user of the space and building. So for me, it was shock admiration and the opportunity to transform this industry

James Dice: [00:06:59] opportunity is a great word for it.

Yeah, absolutely. So I want to ask you my favorite question next. So why, in your opinion, this kind of builds on that. Why is the technology in the average building or in, like you said, in the average, operating room, why is it pretty much decades behind other. Technology industries.

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:07:19] It's very simple.

You change something when there is a need and the need arises because people complain about stuff. Not being good, or people are just unsatisfied with the way things are being done. When you walk into a building, you don't expect the lights not to work. Right? You don't expect that I'm coming from Singapore.

You don't expect the air conditioning not to. Right. You go in, you need to have, you know, managed it. Now, if those two components failed, what happened? People don't call and say, Hey, Get me an experience that allows me to set it to the right people and say, look, I'm feeling too hot, or I'm feeling too cold.

That's what you get taught in cold calls of the lights are down. One says, Hey, the wavelength of light is not suitable for my optimum level of productivity in the environment that will say, Hey, the light's not working. Just turn the lights on. People start looking at building services as essential services, right?

And we started providing them as core essential services. The lights work, the cooling works, the doors work. Now, if we have to get it involved thinking to say, the space can actually do much more for you. And for that, the realization it has to come from the end user. And I feel the users aren't aware of how much the space that they operate in, in can do for them and help drive their wellbeing.

Their productivity and their engagement now, because that was not known to the industry. As a whole, people spent a lot of time perfecting devices to keep the building running, to keep the building optimized. They never saw the need as how interactions such as an access management system has to work with.

The navigation system has to work with the parking system and a lighting system and a room booking system. How all of them can work together to create a unified experience optimizing productivity of the individual or group of industries. Was that you have, so this was absent because people didn't ask for it and people may not have understood the capability or the part of the built environment.

And this is why I think the industry has evolved and the way our MEP systems are designed today, much better than the way they were designed in the past. Our buildings are more sustainable, more connected, but the effect of the evolution of these systems and the benefit you get by.

Integrating them and allowing for the flow of data between these systems was not realized by the end user. What we are trying to do is saying, Hey, we can help you get more from that built environment. We can help you transform that space and allow for more space effectiveness. And that's something new.

Right. That's something that we're trying to put in and that's made possible by unifying the data from the system and creating experiences that these systems can offer to them. And that's why I believe that people continue to perfect building operations and building systems, but the users did not have those expectations of how the building can help them be more productive.

But today that view is shifting. And we're saying that for people to be in space, they should be more engaged. They should be more productive and the building should also take care of their wellbeing. So that evolution has started to occur. And that's where I see now the industry is transforming. Wow.

James Dice: [00:10:19] sort of in the course that I'm teaching right now, I showed this adoption curve. So the time it took for the telephone to get adopted and it's like this, you know, the slope is not very steep. And then you show like the iPhone for instance.

And it's  basically like a straight up line,

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:10:33] you

James Dice: [00:10:33] think The rapid progression of technology in our personal lives makes that sort of Delta of experiences grow and sort of is helping our industry move forward faster.

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:10:43] I definitely think so. I think what the evolution of personal technology has done is it has made building services more accessible to everybody.

I don't have to go around the room, searching for a thermostat to set the temperature to my liking. I want to pull out my phone. Okay. Let's adjust the temperature levels. Let's adjust the lighting levels. But I think where it is really starting to hit is the expectations of the user to be able to interact with their environments in a much more simpler, easier and seamless way.

So that is really going to accelerate how technology gets deployed in buildings to make them smarter, connected, and more sustainable.

James Dice: [00:11:20] Awesome. Yeah, I've been talking a lot lately about this stuff. industry-wide leveling up or expectations are growing from a bunch of different angles. Uh, and it's, it's really fascinating to watch.

So let's talk about the Microsoft campus. Let's kind of zero in on, your baby right now. Um, I want to tell you like, what I know about it and have you sort of educate me and I think that'll kind of reflect a lot of the listeners as well. So saw this, like when I was just first starting out in my career, I saw this paper written by, I think it was Accenture and Lawrence, Berkeley national lab talking about the energy on campus.

And it was pretty novel. It was like, this is a really innovative project that's going on. So can you sort of take us from that whenever that happened, you know, early 2000 tens, right? Fish around there too, like where you're at today from a smartphone perspective

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:12:09] and you know, That's a great place to stop.

And now

James Dice: [00:12:12] that the link to the paper in the show notes for everyone to catch up on

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:12:15] as well, it's a great place to start because I think at Microsoft, our buildings, we have a phenomenal energy smart building program. Our buildings are optimized. Sustainability is. Big big goal for us. Right. And you've seen all the announcements that we've made surrounding that.

So when we started it, it was about building operations, building efficiency, building performance optimization of how the buildings are managed position of the facilities management staff who rendered the services and ensuring that when people come to a building, the building does what it's supposed to do.

Now, identifying the falls, doing fault resolution, using that to drive better asset lifetime, better asset performance, producing off false positives, or, you know, reducing hot and cold calls as you do. That's where we started. And I think it was critical because that laid the foundation. If you don't have stable systems that perform the way they're supposed to do often core services in a building.

People don't really worry about anything else. Right? Work, the cooling doesn't work or the heating doesn't work. They're not going to worry about anything. Yeah. So this allowed us to create that foundation through which we had really smart, connected systems that is allowing us to manage our facilities and the assets in these facilities.

Now, next step from that is what more can you do? Now, if you've got beautiful facilities, one of the key challenges with a lot of the real estate folks will tell you is we have space, but how do I drive effective utilization of that space? How do I get people to use that space? It's not about one person coming and using a room.

It's about getting. Okay. A group of people, the room is designed for coming and using that space, collaborating in a waiting and an environment that allows them to be the best word for themselves. For example, if I would like to have a group of people that are going to have a brainstorming session, the configuration of the room has to change.

Right. I just can't use a training room for a brainstorming session. I'm having a person that is coming in and saying, Hey, you know what? I want to have a lecture because I want to learn something here. What you have to say, then a brainstorming style room may not be the best suited for that design. I've got people who then say, you know what, it's all about individual focus for me.

So I would like to find a place that allows me to be more Laser focused on what I'd like to achieve. And at the same time, I also have people that walk into a building have been looking to find someone, meet someone, or have an idea that they want to develop. Right. Then the space or the layout of the building, we'll be able to create for you something called accidental collisions, right?

You walk around the building and you find the expert that is going to help you solve your problems. All this. Happens in the built environment, but not consciously. What we are trying to do is move away from, well, I'm always not the right word is extend or evolve from highly optimized buildings to highly connected buildings that through data, through technology, we create these experiences where the space is adaptive to the needs of the user.

This can be lighting. This can be temperature control. This can be we finding it's going to be finding the optimum space or the collaborative to spot the answers you want to get. This could be your journeys and how do you move it on the building? And that's where we start looking at a building has to be able to cater to.

Different types of behaviors people have, and these behaviors evolve as we go through the journey of the building or gastro how they progress with the journey of the building. So this is where evolution started to go for us from optimization efficiency, to experiences and experiences, ultimately leading to effective utilization of the space that you're creating.

That's

James Dice: [00:15:53] amazing. Yeah. And this sort of progression sort of parallels a lot of what I'm seeing, you know, coming from? So my, you know, my first 10 years of my career were all just the optimization. So pull data in. Do some cool math, you know, produce some insight. And now someone's gotta ask act on that.

And a lot of that was sort of behind the

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:16:11] house, right.

James Dice: [00:16:13] Indirectly affect the occupant. But think that's always going to be limited when it's not connected to the end user. Right. So I think that's one way to sort of say where we're at as an industry is like you have. This sort of proven analytics technology out there.

That is great. It still needs to scale up. But what I think I'm seeing is that, you know, the next step is also to say, okay, well, what about two way control? What about connecting more silos than just meters and HVAC and lighting? Right. What about thinking about these connected experiences? So that's awesome.

And I see you guys as Being like a lot of people are just getting to that, you know, initial fault detection, sort of the analytics, like light bulb moment for them is just now happening. And so I'm hoping that through conversations like these, we can maybe help them along their learning curve. maybe they can skip a few steps here and there.

So anyway,

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:17:06] I think so, you know, it's, it's, a great opportunity, you know, We're a technology company. So we do look at the longer view and try to be more risk taking the water, trying to do, but I do feel that the goal for us ultimately is whatever we are doing on our campus. Anybody should be able to replicate it, repeat it, and use it for their own buildings and their portfolios.

That's what, that's what we're all about. Cool.

James Dice: [00:17:27] All right. Let's zoom in on the, the Redmond campus. do you call it the modernization project or the

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:17:33] yeah, it's called campus. modernization we have a website dedicated to the modernization program. You can go there. We deal with the latest pictures, links to all the new site up, but that's what we're referring to.

It is it's us building 17, buildings ground up and we call it the East campus though, because there's the East part of the campus. Cool.

James Dice: [00:17:50] And what would you say? And I think you've kind of hinted at this already, but from this project standpoint, what is the strategy and within the strategy, what is the smart building strategy itself?

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:18:03] So the, the way I would describe it is one of the key pillars that we had for the project has, always been. Making the building smart from the ground up. It's not about building a building and then go ahead and make it smart. It's how do we bring smartness from the very start of that building? So I would categorize the, digital transformation of.

Get off our Bembry campus modernization, Vikki lists, one plan. What is it going to be the master plan for the modernization of the 17 buildings? How do we build them? How do we design them? How they're going to be raised from the ground up second, how do we take care of the core systems?

All the infrastructure, all the environment of the buildings. I don't know, different buildings for different folks. The reason I say that is you have the genetic team that you have marketing teams, you have sales teams. So how do we, look at the environment and the users of that building then from there, we just are looking at, okay, buildings aren't designed.

For two years or three years I did on for decades. It's one of our goals has been okay. I am creating a building that is going to stay there for decades. How do I take care of the infrastructure in that building that would allow me to iterate to really evolve it, enhance it, and keep adding to it.

Because as you know, technology changes things that we couldn't do five years ago today, we could do very easily. How do I take care of the core infrastructure in that way? I'm talking about, I'm talking about networking. I'm talking about placement of devices. So it gives me an opportunity and others, the opportunity to evolve the experiences that are going to be provided in that space.

Because if I want to run out of cable trace, if I'm going to run out of power in port, how does the building grow? How does the building in house then once we sorted that out, our next step was to say, okay, This has to scale. It has to give us the ability for us to be able to offer it experiences into any of our properties, not just the newer buildings, because all the buildings are a large.

Large focus of our pool as well. So we then said, let's create a platform. And the platform would allow us to unify data from multiple building systems. We that data together and create an experience that people can then consume how they consume the experience is up to them. Some people would like to have the kiosk.

Some people would like to have on their phones, different opportunities, depending upon how they would like to consume that experience and bringing all that up and to say, okay, I now have a plan, a master plan. I now have the kid, the environment and the building layout. I now have the infrastructure that is going to go in the building.

I now have a platform that is going to unite the data coming from all of these systems. With that I can now offer any type of experience catered to unique geographic or cultural requirements of the location that the building's going to operate on because ultimately for us. It's making that space personal and that can only be done if these experiences could be fine tuned or catered, keeping in mind cultural and geographic sensitivities that come into place.

That's how we do that approach.

James Dice: [00:21:07] Awesome. That's really cool. so when you mentioned the third one, the infrastructure you mentioned, so buildings around for 50 years give or take we might need to change out each component. Okay. Every five to 10. How did you guys, can you give me an example of how you approach that on this, newest building

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:21:24] or this new scheme?

Let's take it. If you're talk about it, infrastructure, I would go through infrastructure, life cycle refresh and have a life cycle refresh that happens every three years, four years, five years, depending upon what the organization policies are. in the building, I can't do a refresh every three years or every three years, four years.

Right? Because I'm building the structure. They take time, they take money and their complexities of the ground. So what we start looking at is core infrastructure in a building. How much of power is a building going to consume. And this becomes really important for us because ultimately we are all about sustainability, right?

I cannot all provision. I cannot under provision. How do I find that balance? How much power is the building going to consume? Now, once I have that defined, why is that important? Because people have to understand if I have to collect data, I need devices. And if I need devices, devices need. Power. So where does the power going to come from?

We are anywhere from your conventional BMS, which used to be in a building today, has many other supporting devices. So anywhere from, let's say, 70 to 80,000 devices, that could probably be scattered out across the 17 buildings. What we're looking at now, how do I deal with that power? How do I deal with that growth of that power?

How do I deal with the replacement calibration on boarding of the devices? Now for that, I would also have to look at my networks. We all talk about the most optimal utilization of space now to place these devices in. If I'm then going to say, Hey, guess what? You know, I'm going to build a huge server room in these buildings.

That's not Beyonce. So taking out redesigning networks for the building. So I'm able to understand how big is the server room going to be and what is going to be my architecture for networking? Is it going to be a central networking architecture? Is it going to be a distributed networking architecture with some of the decisions that we had?

Because ultimately even if you look at Poe of early internet, how do these devices connect? Should they be Poe? Should they be line voltage? What does that mean for us from an operational perspective? How much of spare port capacity do I have and to have bottled Eaton and how many ports do I have on the switch?

What type of switch do I need to use? And how do I roll out these switches across my ceiling? If I'm going to put them on the ceiling, how do I secure them? You know, because people see something they like to touch. They like to feel it like to figure out what it is. How do we allow for that provision now? If I'm going to do cabling and you know, anyone who's done structured cabling will tell you I can do structured cabling today, but with the proliferation of devices yeah. In the physical space, the amount of cables are going to go up. Right? If I have more cables in, in a pathway or on a cable tray or in a conduit, I then have to take care of his disputation.

I have to take care of all the other factors that start to come in, including length of the cable. So all of these elements. Power port structured cabling or factors that we looked at in terms of the availability of the building while being sustainable and the amount of provisions we have to make. So this would allow us to add remove devices.

And when you talk about dynamic spaces, if all of my devices are going to be running back to a server room, In a building, it's going to be very difficult for me to move devices around as the space gets dynamically repurposed. So having a distributed architecture with buffer capacity in those switches that allowed me to move these devices much more easily, becomes very, very efficient in terms of thinking.

And this is where we start looking at infrastructure planning. For the devices that will go into here and leaving enough room for the devices that go on tomorrow. And anyone from here construction industry would tell you, it's not about you can build unlimited capacity, but that's not the point. Right?

And that's where the challenge comes in. How do I forecast evolution of the experiences with demand and spare capacity, along with the project costs, bringing all these three elements together is the challenge. And we believe that this that'll be working through at this point in time.

James Dice: [00:25:14] Brilliant. Okay, cool.

That's I just wanted to ask that cause I didn't feel like I understood that piece of the stack. So thank you. Um, when you guys think about the business case for doing smart buildings on this new campus, how does Microsoft think about that? And I think a caveat to that question is, has that changed since the commitment to, I think it's carbon negative by 2030.

Um, and how does that sort of weigh into it?

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:25:41] So the way you would have to look at it is business case can be done in many ways. When we started the program, we then said one, you have to make buildings efficient, right? I can't say because I want to provide great experiences. My building they're going to be inefficient because sustainability is a big goal for us, right?

We have to take care of the environment. We have to take care of the impacts and what the building is going to do. Buildings are the highest consumers of energy, but if you look at it, so sustainability was a key key part of our design. Tool is so we said our buildings have to be efficient. Our buildings have to be optimized.

And we then did the hard, tangible business case to say, how much are we going to get? What is the benefits? And the Ottawa is we would take to ensure that these things are connected, sustainable, optimized, and efficient, right? Inefficient buildings is probably, I mean in non-legal should we can't have it inefficient buildings matter what the reasons are.

That's just bad design. Now the second aspect of it is then coming in and saying, What do you do with the data? And, you know, you've heard all these talks about data being the new oil data, being the new goal. So what Becky doing his buildings are treasure troves of data. You could calculate a BMS by itself today.

And even in old buildings gives you. 5,000 to 10,000 data points. So asset is regular. You don't have to do much on top of that. I'm going to collect additional data that is going to drive experiences or the individuals in that space. What is the value of the data that I'm going to collect? And how is this data going to impact that individual or the group of individuals?

Is it going to drive. Better collaboration. Is it going to drive better productivity? Is it going to attract more people to come and work in my buildings? It was, my buildings are safer, more connected, more engaged. Okay. Is that data going to make  people working in my buildings feel a lot safer because the and built environment within that building.

I'm much better than ambient environments anywhere else. And you are now talking about efficiency of not only the building, but also productivity and empowerment people in that space, equating both of them. Them together is what is going to give you the business case and the positive ROI you'd like to get the biggest conventional you're.

So used to looking at buildings as physical structure with systems that go into them and looking at efficient operations of systems. Right. But you forgot the most important person, which is the user in that space and how happy he is. He is coming to your building. If I create a building and people don't want to come and work in my building, I'll probably say I failed.

But if I create a building, people love to come purely because the space that I'm providing for them engages them in a way that makes them feel more comfortable, safe, and connected. That is probably the biggest benefit. Good driving force.

James Dice: [00:28:23] Yeah. It's like, it's like a top line and bottom line thing. So when we talk about energy, you're talking about O and M savings, those sorts of things.

Those are, you know, bottom line expense. You talk about making people happy. You're at work that's top line.

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:28:37] Right.

James Dice: [00:28:37] And that that's sort of

what

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:28:39] I think we

James Dice: [00:28:39] need to get that shift right. Uh, in our industry, so. Okay, cool. So. You mentioned the word

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:28:46] platform.

James Dice: [00:28:47] And I just did a, so I do these friendly rant

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:28:50] podcasts,

James Dice: [00:28:51] and I think the last friendly rant was about the definition of the word platform and how a lot of people use platform in my opinion

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:28:59] incorrectly.

James Dice: [00:29:00] Uh, so can you kind of explain what you mean by that? I think it was the fourth layer of the stack there. And what you mean by platform?

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:29:07] I knew right. Completely in, in agreement with you that, you know, platform is probably word that gets misused so often if you don't know something, Oh yes, I have a platform.

That's how it gets used nowadays. So for us, when we started, we then came and said, buildings have systems, these systems capture data. How am I going to extract data from the systems? How am I going to transform that data and how my going to use that data to then in turn, weave them together to offer experiences.

So basically I'm talking about data extraction, data transformation. Yeah. And using that data to, to create services, let's say in our case, microservices within that space. So the platform for us is an integration engine. Okay. That would allow us connect to multiple systems, all subsystems and, you know, in the building industry, everyone has their own set of protocols that they follow transform that data to a way that we think is suitable, where the goal is mapping space.

Two device to date. Yep. And finally, the benefit the occupier or the user of that space will start to get pulling all of that together and then exposing it as a service that can be then offered as an experience to that individual. So this to us is a platform. Now this is one aspect of it, but I stopped talking about integration of the data.

The second aspect has to be about devices and how do I. On the devices. How do I manage the devices? How do I calibrate the devices and how do I sensor the devices? Because device lifecycle management in, buildings and you'd know this, we don't go and do refreshes off of BMS every two years. Right.

Those things are there. As long as the, yeah, you're talking about. Sensors and devices, sensors have a tendency to go off, to go off calibration, right? Hence recalibration of these obvious buildings need to take place. How do you do that when you are having so many data capturing devices and that's where the platform then creates the other function of being a key, being able to manage calibrate, optimize track, and sunset, the performance of all the devices going in these core features along with its ability.

To accelerate the onboarding of a building, right? Because every time I do this, I can't go into every building and say, okay guys, let's onboard the building. And the onboarding takes a lot of time. So allowing you to onboard multiple buildings through the integration engine, through the device management leaders that I have using that to manage the experience that I'm going to offer to the multitudes of people that I have across different geograph I think boundaries and managing those services.

And those devices is what our platform is designed to do. And we call this the digital integration platform or the dip for short, uh, the reason we built this. Okay. A lot of reasons. And I think we will get to digital twins. One very hard enough between our discussion, but the. But the goal for us is I need to have access.

Yes, do live data coming from the devices in these buildings. And this live data should be available to me where I can then integrate it. Or viewers with relation to a space with relation to a device or relation to a building. How do I do that? And how do I create that mapping? And that's where we felt the platform that allows us to do all these activities becomes crucial for us.

Uh, we, people always start talking about, is it like a one time thing? I know, but things last for decades, this platform will grow and evolve. Because you would know this, right. I will have, if I have a building at some point in time, certain number of buildings in my, in my portfolio, we'll always be going through innovations or some sort of maintenance or upgrades it's applicator for all these things.

So allowing me to manage the digital from building life cycle is what the platform is enabling us to do.

James Dice: [00:32:55] Wow. that piece of managing devices is so overlooked. It is so overlooked. So you think about a lot of people, a lot of companies will just do their deployment process. And they'll say, you know, you've mentioned 5,000 points.

Let's pull in our 5,000 points, but then two weeks down the road, right. Two weeks down the road, somebody. Moves a thermostat. And now there's, instead of two conference rooms, it's now one big conference room. And now instead of two VAV boxes, there's one. And so now all of that is now, you know, two weeks after the integration was done.

So that ability to keep we'll just use the word digital twin now, because. You started it,

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:33:36] all of that,

James Dice: [00:33:37] the ability to keep that updated is just so overlooked. And so what, what, what made you guys focus on that? Is it the sheer scale of being able to manage,  all these digital

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:33:47] devices? So , I'd probably say it's a bit of what we always do. Device management belongs to be complex. And I think we knew that from the start what the learning for us was is if a building, if a smart building has to sustain, it has to be managed. It has to be operated efficiently. I can't create.

Operations overhead for a smart building. If my, if my FMP is it's managing the building and always starting, and they say that because the building is smart, I'm going to have it on an uptake in operations, overhead for the building. Why would they do it? What is the point of doing it? Right? The cost is going up.

They're saying, hold on. You know, I was running these buildings in a highly optimized manner to begin with and you guys come in and make it smart. And now the operations cost has gone up. What, what are you trying to do? So, you know, our goal was no guys. We have to drive operational efficiency of the buildings.

And if a building is smart, it should be much more easier to manage and control as an outcome of it. So we started with less energy spot buildings, but we were all about efficiency, optimization of core assets. Now, if we're going to add more devices in and the classical yeah. Example I give is let's take lighting a conventional lighting system versus a lighting system.

That's going to be a POV based lighting system. Okay. And systems that have wireless controllers, lane voltage, wireless controllers. I have lighting systems that are Poe based now got lighting system that appeal you based with a key with integrated. Data capturing devices, all sense of quads. What have you called them?

If there is an outage of the light? Okay. I'll have a look. I'll have the FM person comes in, takes the light off replaces and goes. If there is an outage of the experience, because data is not being captured, who's going to climb up. Check that sense about disconnected check. If that port is active or it's not a dead port, and if it breaks, who's going to replace it.

Is that going to be your lighting technician? Who's going to do it, right? So this is redefining the way operations of buildings is going to move ahead. So basically blurring the lines between FM and it operations, right? It was is OTA starting to blur because the system that provides luminance is also the system that provides data.

That drives experiences. So with this in mind, we said, huh. Interesting challenge. So we have to look at it in a way that we are able to ensure smart buildings have an efficient way to be maintained and monitored, enhanced and improved. Just like how core building facilities are. If not, I would end up creating a shadow organization just for these devices, which is not the intention, right.

Everything has to be made more optimized. And that's what led us to this direction to say, okay, create a platform platform we'll track. All of these assets platform will then be able to integrate to multiple devices and use that as a way to redefine operations processes. So triaging of requests in the building are going to involve if the building is smart and connected.

Was this a conventional, Hey guys, I'm feeling hot or I'm feeling cold, you know,

James Dice: [00:36:52] fascinating. Oh man. There's so many ways I want to go with this. I think what I want to key in on also I have like five questions in my head right now,

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:37:01] but

James Dice: [00:37:02] one of the ones I want to key on is you talked about sort of the flexibility of the infrastructure.

I don't want to like zero in on where we're at today, but more big picture with the way that offices and the campus of offices that you have will be used in the future. How does that flexibility sort of set you up to evolve the spaces as they need to. And how are you thinking

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:37:22] about that?

That's a great question. So, one thing that we tried to do is you will have a way that looks at personas and the grit you take personas, who get off people that come live, work, play in the building and go home. What we decided to do is we said, okay, Rather than creating experiences, tied to unique personas.

Why don't we create experiences tied to behaviors because every person through their lifetime, like with the company, they are longevity with the company, or, you know, other engagement with the company, we'll go through different behaviors at different points in time. for example, Yeah, I have a person that is, that just joined Microsoft.

Right? He's excited. He she's excited, pumped, happy. They said, you know, I want to go and learn about that. The Microsoft campus, I want to see all that Microsoft is doing so the space for them. Or the experience for them is discovering the campus, engaging with the campus, learning about the campus, the buildings, the activities, and the various events we have going on.

I then have someone who is, a parent, right? And they come to, to the campus in the mornings and their priority is. I go to drop my kids off at school and I've got to find the closest parking lot so I can get out of the parking lot seamlessly, go through the doors and get to my meeting on time.

And the same thing applies when they're going home. Right. It's like, okay. My kid's school ends at three 15, three 20. I've got to leave my office by three. So I can miss the jam that occurs when everybody leaves out at the same time, what is the optimum way for me to find it? Then I have someone who is, who's like, you know, we're really busy today.

I've got to find it quiet space where I can work on this or someone that's who says, Hey, you know, how do I get my ideation for this concept done? How can I bring people together in a, collaborative way? Different roles, but same needs and users. And these users and needs , will evolve as they go through multiple stages of their career with the company or in that space.

So we started picking up on these attributes and said, let's design experiences based on behaviors. And what are the different types of behaviors people will have. So if I have a developer. I had an engineer that goes through a building at that point in time, based on his behavioral needs, he'd be able to find services that are needed.

If I have mobile sales people who are traveling the road warriors all the time. Right. And they come and say, so the references will be, I just need to find a quiet place to sit down, do my work, use services, and then go home. But the behavior is I want to find a quiet place. The behavior is I want to find an easy exit out of the building, or I want to find someone who can help me with this idea of the concept, right?

So that allowed us to create a broader range of coverage for different types of people that come into contact with our buildings. And this was key for us because ultimately a smart building is truly smart. Only if it is smart for everyone that comes into contact with the building, be it an employee, be it a service provider, be it a contractor, be it a visitor or a guest or anyone.

And that's why we make it really, really important. And at the same time, it is also only smart. If all of the services are accessible by everyone. If a certain service can't be consumed by someone because of a variety of reasons that building's not smart, because I've announced saying that you can only get the service if you do X, Y, and Z, that's not the intention, right.

Accessibility is key and give the openness for anybody to consume and benefit from the services. We're one of the big key design attributes that we had during our service and experience design phases. Wow.

James Dice: [00:41:05] I love that. That's so cool. It's a way of simple the ideation process, right?

So you could have 50 personas, but if you just focus on these activities or these behaviors, like you said, sort of simplifies that thing,

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:41:18] design process.

James Dice: [00:41:19] Fascinating. All right. So. We've got  15 minutes left or so ish. So I want to dive into, so for all the nexus nerds out there, so we've talked about these different layers, right?

So let's start, have go from the edge up to the platform, like you said. let's talk about like, in this new campus, how are you sort of bridging all these traditional silos? How do you think about, you know, HVAC lighting, access control, and how are those systems actually. Built on your campus.

and you know, are they connected? How are they connected?

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:41:52] So, yeah, basically it, so we started this, this journey by first identifying quote infrastructure. Right. And you will have a massive list of code infrastructure that you have to. The baby looked at it is should they be connected devices or not connected devices?

If they have to be connected devices, what should they connect to? Let's take an example. Sub-metering I can submit it right. Anything literally, right. Is this about me just putting a meters everywhere? Uh, could you read meters are wifi enabled, right? They have more connectivity. I can get data, be anything that I want to do, but that doesn't make sense.

If you don't know, what are you trying to solve? If I would like to do something as simple as let's say, gamification, gamification centered on the concept of who consumes more power versus who consumes less power or gamification around who is minimizing waste and who's not minimizing waste. And I would like to run these activities or campaigns over and over again, tune them, change them, put them in different specifics. So what we said was I should not be okay. I should not limit the type of devices that I can add for data capturing. I should be able to allow anybody. From anywhere to provide me those devices, I should be able to integrate with of course, you know, security and all those patterns do set in, but let's assume, you know, we've taken care of all of that.

And I'm talking about an openness for suppliers to come in and give me to buy. So on direction was I will have a device and I can buy that device from anyone I can build it. I can create, I can buy it from an ecosystem of players that I have, and this device irrespective of how it is or what it is, should be able to capture the data that I need.

So one, it was all about openness to our platform, which would allow it just to have any type of device that we can integrate to extract that data. It's going to be integration for native data, which has been a kiosk for us, because we would like to use NATO data to understand how buildings are performing.

Would that be integration wire, an API? Would that be integration via a protocol or a protocol adapter again, which a lot of players have, in the market today. We kept those integrations option four. It's been purely because we wanted to have flexibility on the type of device that we be chosen by.

Right. Because ultimately anybody will give you data. The question is what type of data do you want? Do you want access to native data or do you want access to process data? Is the data going to take place? Why is that critical for us? Because ultimately you spoke about edge, right? And I think edge can be a separate topic by itself in the context of buildings, but very briefly certain experiences.

It happened at the itch because of the criticality of the systems you are going to have edge devices, maybe you'll run the computers, that'd be edged to provide a better quality of services and quality of services can depend on a multitude of factors. Is it the criticality of it, the system? Is it the key is the latency of the data based on which user responses are needed or is it the privacy of the type of data that is being captured?

So that data does not leave the building or this process or the gaping by itself? So using that pre processing, that data, sending that data through our platform, into the cloud and using that to drive the analytics on that data will give us intelligence much better than what we used to get before, while ensuring we've taken care of latency issues, you've taken care of connectivity issues, and we've taken care of privacy and ethics issue as well.

Right? Because ultimately we don't want people to feel that the data is not secure or we've not worried about privacy. All of these have co-constructed goes and, and that's why. Criticality of the type of data that we are capturing and the openness for us to be able to capture any type of data with integral device that we so choose to get was critical.

Hence our answer to that was the builder platform. And on that platform, I'll be able to integrate to any data source that I would like to

James Dice: [00:45:31] beautiful. All right. When I think about all that data coming together, then I think about some sort of data model or ontology. How do you think about that

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:45:41] piece of the puzzle?

Well, yeah, I would say this is, a discussion that me and my engineering teams have all the time. In fact, our code engineering leads on depth. I call it the waste management leads and our business leads have this discussion all the time to say, what type of model should we use?

Is, haystack referred is brick. Preferred under the coming in of Azure, digital twins using DTL a good model of the data or metadata for the devices that are talking about how should we go about doing it? Right? So this is a discussion that we are taking very seriously.  have we come down with the right answer to say that this is what we're going to do?

No, we are not. But what we are looking at is today when we take an out, we would like to identify. For the asset or for the device, what are the metadata that can go into the asset? Right? Because for a certain class of ballistics, something as simple as a people counter counter will have a genetic attributes.

And on top of that, I will have specific attributes, which will allow me to gain intelligence of what that people come to, supposed to do. And once again, we will differentiate between occupancy detection versus people counting. Okay. Defining that for that device and putting it into a data model, using our digital twins definition.

Language is what we are trying to do today. It gives us more flexibility. This then allows us to take, that device or take that model, identify all the metadata attributes to it are how the data is going to be captured and use that. To then be displayed on a three D visualization of that building.

Right? So for us three D visualization is just the representation of the building. I would still have that data map from device to space or to the user of the space who consumes it, built across with all the metadata attributes of that device that is capturing that data, taking that data, exposing that data that can be displayed on a three D visualization of that building.

So creating real time display of. Data on a three D visual model that makes us, so this entire life cycle of how we are creating it and how we're integrating it is what we're trying to define. Now, have you locked down on what do cool model we are going to use, but also part of the digital twins consortium that, Microsoft is a founding member of that as well So these discussions are ongoing and the choice, the model is going to depend on what we see as our best fit, which we're working on at this point in time.

James Dice: [00:47:57] Got it. Got it. And one of the challenges, I feel like we're in right now and that whole world is this concept of like best available information.

Right? So you talked about being able to switch devices in and out based on what you, you want to do. Um, the way I'm seeing it as like I have an occupancy data is a great example. I have occupancy data coming from occupancy sensors, people counters, I might've access control. I might have people's phones triangulating on life by renters.

So. In my mind that digital twin and the, and I haven't seen a lot of people talking about this, but that data model needs to be able to have some sort of intelligence to it. Right. I need to say I have five different,  occupancy data streams coming in. They're all different. How do I choose like the best available one at any given time?

How do you think about

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:48:43] that? So that's a great point. And that's where, when we started this, we actually did something called sensor rationalization.

James Dice: [00:48:49] Okay. That's a better name for it. I feel like

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:48:52] actually devices capture the same data. Yep. How do you  ensure you don't have duplicate data feeds?

Right. So again, and this ultimately ties back to finances of cost as well. You know, I can buy multiple sensors and they all capture the same data, but should I, so trying to identify what is going to be, let's say. The master device for capturing this type of data in that space and using that as the leading system to say that, you know what, I will use this as the clear indicator of noise.

I'll use this as the clear indicator of temperature levels, right. Or I'll use this as the key, an indication of lighting levels, pulling that out and identifying non duplication of sensors because you, I think you hit it. It really hard on the head. People will try to do all the centralization because now with the, ease of which I can collect that data.

Yeah. But then too much of data, which doesn't have valuable, ultimately translate to junk data. So doing a sense of rationalization across our portfolio of devices to ensure that the data being captured is unique, comprehensive. But unique in that given space, it is allows us to deal with that in the first stage.

The second stage is, is then saying, okay, you know, I still may have two devices that are capturing different types of data. Let's take a cue lights. Yeah. I mean, not have temperature that comes through, my BMS because I may not have the breadth of coverage with temperature sensors, but Hey, guess what?

In that zone or in that corner of the building, I have a light and that lighting has an integrated sense of pod, which is capturing that there that don't want to use. So that is where we then start correlating to say, what is available. Based on the accuracy and based on the availability, then say, okay, this is the data that we will use in that particular region of space.

That's why modeling that space and associating data to device, to space to the individual user becomes critical. You said it really well, James, you know, the importance of it is, called. I don't think the people have understood how important this is for establishing a digital twin strategy, because ultimately if I'm not able to tie these three or four elements down, okay.

It is just about me taking any device from anywhere and just randomly making assumptions that this is what the data in that space will be, which is not what we want to do. Yeah,

James Dice: [00:51:03] totally something to figure out for all of us as we move forward. All right. So up to the platform layer,  I want to ask you, so  when I think about kind of where the industry is right now, in terms of I collect data, I have a data model.

Yeah, what we're doing now at the application layer is a bunch of what a lot of people call point solutions. So you have your analytics, point solution where you're collecting HVAC data and you're doing fault detection and you have your energy management, one where you're collecting meter data, doing some cool heat maps and stuff.

You have your CMMS over here while you're doing work orders, right? And there, there are a bunch of point solutions siloed

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:51:40] off.

James Dice: [00:51:41] Even though they're providing these end user experiences. Right. So how are you thinking about when okay. Data gets off.  got the platform all set up. Now I'm going to do stuff, provide use cases.

How are you thinking about the platform from that perspective?

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:51:56] So for us, the platform is going to be something like an orchestration engine, right? We've all of these data items together and create microservices that will be targeted for specific experiences. So let's take one, one experience. Let's take the experience of.

You're being new. Right? New employee comes to Microsoft, excited, motivated and say, Hey, you know, I really want experience the campus. So what are the base or fundamental services that comes in? Access goes without saying, we finding it goes without saying, then finding a space, finding a colleague goes without say, now let's take that to the next level.

the user would like to create a custom journey across the Microsoft campus where the building he's at, rather than taking our shuttles or connectors or driving around, he decides to walk. How is the wayfinding system going to create a unique journey for him that could allow him or her to be able to interact with flora and fauna as they walk across the campus?

How is the system going to tell them that, Hey, you know, guess what you really like yoga. There's a yoga session happening and multiple buildings right now and here registrations won't do sign up. So personalizing notifications based on the physical space that he or she is located in. Getting them to engage into those things.

Buddy's thereby boosting the effectiveness of that space and with the act would be performed, getting them to interact with natural elements. I feel more connected, more in touch with the environment and know how important it is to be sustainable, how important it is to take care of the. And vitamin that we have, and also meeting their goals of discovering unique facts and features about the building and the layout and the walkways that we have.

So they are better tune with your surroundings. Now, if I just say that I'm going to have wayfinding on my campus, it's like, yeah, it was the big deal. No, it is the ability to take a fundamental service or basic service such as we finding complementing it with additional intelligence that would allow us to engage the space in a much better way.

Now let's decide that he's walking new, she's walking by. They get hungry. They're like, Oh, you know what? I really would like to have this kind of food, because that's what I create for you today. Creating a car journey or route and letting you know that, Hey, guess what? This food is available in this case, cafeteria, but looking at the crowd, the coolant and the amount of time you have to wait to get a table.

You have a second option, which is available in this cafeteria. Would you like to try that? Right. So we are trying to eliminate the burden of frustration associated with the journey, but at the same time, empowering the user to choose. And this happens for us rebel. We say smartness does not start. As soon as you come into the campus, smartness starts from home.

As soon as you wake up in the morning. What is the optimal way for you to get to the campus? Right? Are you someone who would like to use public transport? Are you someone who likes to shed passport or are you someone who would like to drive, giving you the flexibility to choose how you want it to get there and letting you know that with all these choices, these are the options that are available for you.

And if you decide to drive and you come and park, you know, parking is always challenging and difficult. How do I motivate you right. To then start using shuttles on campus. So you park your car, you use shuttles, or you walk around, right? Therefore you're taking a different strategy. And at the end of the day, you take your conical back home, bringing these enhancements or delightful qualities to basic services is where the.

Design of experiences coupled with behaviors and data from the system starts to fit in. Now let's stick a technological aspect to it. Right. I then decide. Okay. So you'd notice how the is diverged. I will have a tech conversation where it is all about core technical components. Now. If I take wayfinding, I think you brought that point out.

I said, should I use wifi? Should I use VLE? Or should I use augmented reality? Should I use ultra wide band? Like, should I use Azure spacial anchors, whatever the options are available to me. And why do I need to use this? Or what am I trying to achieve at that location? How is wayfinding going to delight and engage the user?

So people will just love to come to my campus because every time they are here, they get it discover and learn more. That is unique about Redmond, about the Florida, the foreigner, the weather, probably all this stuff happens. That's where we tried to balance. So taking a pure technology view eliminates the experience view, and taking an experience only view.

You, but then start taking us away from actual reality of what could be offered. Right. I can talk about a lot of things, but the goal is they should be consumable by the users of my campus. And that's where bringing both of them together. Right. Hence core infrastructure platform and experience all of this stuff together for us, because we now know that we can offer these experience that people can then consume.

I don't want to build a talk about something that people can't use. Right. Totally.

James Dice: [00:57:04] so if I pick like a couple of different personas right now, if I'm an occupant or a building operator or, Maybe just those two or those two different apps that are sitting on top of this platform, that like it's the same data model underneath the Elvis is providing them two different

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:57:21] experiences with it.

So the apps may be different depending upon the choice that they have, but the underlying data will be the same because of the same systems that are capturing it. Now you bring up a very unique example there, because we actually spoke about this was facility managers are also employees. So all the stuff that all the employees also use, they will tend to use as well.

Right? Because this gets down to saying that, so should the operations room just be an operations room? Should it not give the experience of that space where the operation center is for them to continue and be like, no, it should, because it is space and we want to drive effectiveness of that space. And that's where the question comes in.

Everybody is an employee. Everybody is a user. So all services must be consumed by everyone that comes into contact with the building. Unique customizations will occur based on the profile of that person. So if he's an attorney that manager, he probably would like to go to a site you'd like to check it out and assets he'll be performing, or he'll be notified.

If there is something wrong with the asset, he will check out the asset. And for that, he may need more details such as let's take for an example. Looking at three D visualization. I would like to pull out the metadata for the assets and from the metadata for the assets. I would like, you can look at services three.

I would like to look at service schedules. I'd like to look at warranty, details, replacements, all the stuff that only he would need off, which. Is to maintain in the metadata for the assets that is going to be stored and maintained by our platform. So the same dataset, but the views then start to vary depending upon who the consumer is.

James Dice: [00:58:54] Got it. That's awesome. People that are listening to this. Can't see. But I just started smiling when I thought about like the, the average building operating room and just like the basement and the dust and dislike, you know, no fresh air, no natural light. And I was just thinking about it a lot.

If we delighted all of our facility managers out there, I just started to smile. That's awesome. All right. Cool. So let's wrap up here. I want to ask you based on your experiences with all of this. So you guys are just like, we're building 17 new buildings. you guys are at the cutting edge, in my opinion, on, you know, building smart buildings.

So what do you see as like being at the cutting edge? Like what opportunities do we need to be thinking about as an industry or maybe a better way to put that as what obstacles do we have to building this everywhere? Basically.

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:59:41] So I think the biggest obstacle that is going to come into everybody's mind, even before the project start is how expensive is a smart building.

Right. And that's the biggest job that comes in. Let me look at it and take the, way we structured it, making a building smart from the ground up. So rather than retrofitting your buildings after building them up, making them smart as part of the construction process is one way they should definitely look at right, because rather than you can influences the specs, you can influence the connectivity.

You can influence the type of data that these systems are gathering rather than buying something. And then seeing I would like replace it right. So finance costs, choice of devices. Infrastructure is something that they should definitely look at The next thing that I think they should start focusing on is ultimately going to be, what does that space mean for them and how is that space going to be made more effective?

And that effectiveness comes by identifying the unique services that people or users of that space would like to have. Once again, you always have core services, right? Cooler. It Doesn't really give you a lot of benefit when you're sitting out here in Redmond. The temperature is nice and cool all the day.

Yeah, it does make a big difference in Singapore where you would have to have cooling windows, choosing experiences based on the environment, based on the behaviors, based on the type of users that space is going to have is going to be critical as well, because that would then allow you to put the data that you are collecting effective use.

And finally is the operations model. How are you going to fuse, uh, maintain, manage onboard, sunset, all the devices and how are you going to take care of the operations and uptime of the unique experiences in the buildings? Because ultimately if people like them and they start delighting them, these will become core services that every building will have.

So defining the operations model that would take your building from a connected building to a smart building. And what that means in terms of transformation for the, work was that you have, will be critical as well. So I'd probably say these are the three things that people we should start with.

And once they all come, these three things, uh, it's not smooth sailing, but it'll be better sailing.

James Dice: [01:01:53] Yeah, those all struck me as sort of owner mindsets. Right. So those aren't like technological. Really? Those are just like, let's start thinking about this problem of building buildings differently.

Yeah, totally.

Emmanuel Daniel: [01:02:04] I knew one of the. The unique ways we look at it is because ultimately the goal for me as if I'm the owner, if I'm the operator, or if I'm the leader of space, the common denominator amongst them all is am I making the fullest use of that space that is available to me? So it is not utilization of space, but effectiveness of that space that I'm using and how do I drive that up?

So, you know, ultimately I'd like to it all three in a way, right. He manage, operate and build buildings as well. how do we drive that effective space utilization? How do we get people to come and use that space and delight them to be more productive is wherever you're headed?

James Dice: [01:02:46] Well, thanks for coming on the show.

This has been super fun. I think people are gonna love this episode, so thanks so much and, uh, have to talk to you soon.

Emmanuel Daniel: [01:02:55] All right. Thank you, James. Absolutely. A pleasure. Thank you for having me.

James Dice: [01:02:59] 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

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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 Emmanuel Daniel, Director of Digital Transformation for Smart Buildings & Campuses at Microsoft. 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

This is the first episode in (hopefully) a long series of episodes where I bring in leading building owners that can show us where the market is headed. I think Emmanuel was a great guest to kick off that endeavor!

My overarching reaction was that Microsoft’s progression as a building operator, and the story Emmanuel tells here, reflects this broader shift from energy efficiency (back of the house) to user experience (front of the house). And I don’t know of a resource besides this podcast episode where we can hear someone like him explain that so deeply. I think it’s where the whole buildings market is headed, even beyond offices.

What we are trying to do is extend or evolve from highly optimized buildings to highly connected buildings that through data, through technology, we create these experiences where the space is adaptive to the needs of the user.

And that progression is driven by a strong business case.

What is the value of the data that I'm going to collect? And how is this data going to impact that individual or the group of individuals? Is it going to drive better collaboration? Is it going to drive better productivity? Is it going to attract more people to come and work in my buildings? Is that data going to make people working in my buildings feel a lot safer because the ambient environment within that building is much better than ambient environments anywhere else? And you are now talking about efficiency of not only the building, but also productivity and empowerment of people in that space, equating both of them. Them together is what is going to give you the business case and the positive ROI you'd like to get.

I loved hearing Emmanuel’s description of the platform they’re building that’s needed to enable these experiences. It sounds like there are three integration-related components of the “Digital Integration Platform (DIP): The integration engine, Device management, and the data model. I think the device management piece is highly, highly under-discussed at this point, as I said last week in my October digest.

Finally, there was a fascinating bit about the blurring lines between IT and OT and how that has led to their platform being used as a way to redefine operations processes and knock down some traditional silos by providing a cross-silo experience for all users.

The example I give is let's take lighting a conventional lighting system versus a POE lighting system. If there is an outage of the light? Okay. I'll have a look. I'll have the FM person comes in, takes the light off replaces and goes. If there is an outage of the experience, because data is not being captured, who's going to climb up? Who's going to do it, right? This is redefining the way operations of buildings is going to move ahead. So basically blurring the lines between FM and IT operations, right? IT vs. OT is starting to blur because the system that provides luminance is also the system that provides data that drives experiences.

My highlights:

  • Intro to the building world: “shock, admiration, and the opportunity to transform this industry” (2:53)
  • Emmanuel answers James’ favorite question - a camp may be forming around pain points / evolving user expectations? (4:29)
  • Microsoft campuses - evolution from a focus on optimizing efficiency to focus on user experience (8:59)
  • 5 key layers of Redmond campus modernization: master plan, environment and building layout, infrastructure, platform, experience (15:48)
  • What it means to build smart from the ground up (18:52)
  • The business case for smart buildings at Microsoft (22:48)
  • Emmanuel’s definition of ‘platform’ (26:29)
  • Simplifying the ideation process by focusing on behaviors instead of personas (34:44)
  • How Microsoft is bridging traditional silos on this new campus (38:57)
  • Sensor rationalization (45:25)
  • The platform layer, providing use cases (48:34)
  • Considerations from the cutting edge: cost, meaning of space, effectiveness, and the operations model (56:54)

What did you think?

Leave a comment


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.

Episode 26 of the nexus podcast is a conversation with a manual Daniel who was responsible for building and delivering the technology transformation strategy for Microsoft's campuses around the world. We talked about the history of smart building tech on Microsoft's campus, and then dove into the project going on right now at Microsoft HQ, the Redmond campus modernization project, When one of the world's leading technology companies builds a new campus. How smart is it? The answer is pretty damn smart. This episode of the podcast is brought to you by nexus pro nexus pro is an annual or monthly subscription where members get exclusive writing podcasts and an invite to a monthly members only event.

You can find info on how to join and support the podcast@nexusdotsubstack.com. This episode is also brought to you by nexus foundations, an introductory course on smart buildings. If you're new to the industry, this course is for you. If you're an industry vet, but want to understand how technology is changing things.

This course is also for you. Cohort two is set to kick off in winter 2021, and you can enroll@courses.nexus labs.online without further ado, please enjoy this episode of the nexus podcast.

And one final note before we jump in, I just want to add a quick warning and apology for the background noise in this episode. And we tried to edit out what we could, but weren't able to get everything. So sorry about that. And, uh, please enjoy.

Alright. Hello, Emmanuel. Thanks for coming on the show. Can you introduce yourself for

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:02:38] everyone? Absolutely James, thank you for having me. My name is ed manual. Daniel. I work at Microsoft. I'm a director in the industry innovation team, focusing on smart buildings and smart campuses. And I work with Microsoft real estate and security team on helping modernize Microsoft campuses globally.

James Dice: [00:02:56] Brilliant. Brilliant. Yeah. Thanks again for coming on the show. I'm so excited about digging into what Microsoft is doing. Can we start with your career history though? So how did you get, Through your career to Microsoft. Can you  take us through from the beginning and how you got here?

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:03:11] Yeah, sure.

my career is I come from a very strong technology background. I started in tech. I have an engineering degree in information technology. Uh, I did product development. Moved up to IQ consulting then did Aggie strategy. And along the way we got into the opportunity of figuring out, okay, what is the well headed to, in terms of things and sustainability.

And as we said, can we make building smart? Because buildings are essentially treasure troves of data. What do you do with this data? How do you use the data to be able to optimize building performance and building efficiency? So we said, okay, let's go ahead and try to do a project on smart buildings.

Maybe try to focus on operational efficiency of the buildings, improved asset uptime and. A lifetime of code infrastructure that goes into the buildings. And what does that mean in terms of better management of a larger, greater portfolio of buildings that evolved? And that project was extremely successful as an outcome of that.

We then said, okay, Hey, you know, we can really make building smart, efficient, connected, and sustainable. But that goes unnoticed by the tenants or  the end users that come into that. How will we able to take physical space or the built environment using data and transform the way the user engages with that space?

Thereby I'll bring the user to be more productive, allowing them to collaborate or work in a way that is. Best suited to their preferences. So we started with energy efficiency optimization, which is absolutely foundational for building and involved with, to say, let's now focus on the user of the space because if users don't use that space space, it's useless.

So what will it take for us to make that space connected? What will it take for us to make that space dynamically adapt to the needs of the user? Okay, is Bev you're headed to now. And that's where the concept of experience has started. So with that, I did a bunch of project I'm from Singapore, I think was home for me.

So we did a bunch of projects. I was Singapore that then grew and we started  driving projects. Yeah. Out of the middle East. And with all the traction, Microsoft was creating within the space. I then got an opportunity to move with Redmond and be part of the team that is. Driving the modernization of our East campus.

Got

James Dice: [00:05:24] it. Got it. That's really cool. So

want to kind of ask you about like, when you first came from sort of it, your tech into buildings, whenever that was in that progression, or what was your experience like coming into the buildings world?

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:05:40] So the. The question that I always heard. If someone wants to understand what buildings is all about, they need to go and check out the facilities room.

You can get that's what you get down reality, or what does it mean to be a building manager and to manage facilities within a building? Uh, then you hear all types of jokes. Hey, you know, this is not the world you guys come from. Our world is all about these devices, all about controllers. They all about code infrastructure like BMS is  and look how we work at it.

And the first thing that I get is just enamored by the complexity of the nuts and bolts that go into a building to ensure that the residents are comfortable. Are peaceful. The second part is I started leading percent man could the amount of connected devices and look at the amount of data that these buildings are capturing.

Then after that, you're gonna start to realize, but Hey, you know, all this data is discussed. All these systems are disconnected. You have so many systems, you know, it's like, I mean, it's like a kid in a candy shop type situation. You go on there, you see all these devices, you see all these components and all of this data.

You're like, can I do more by bringing all this together to create a unified experience? Not only for the facilities manager. But also for the owner developer and the final end user of the space and building. So for me, it was shock admiration and the opportunity to transform this industry

James Dice: [00:06:59] opportunity is a great word for it.

Yeah, absolutely. So I want to ask you my favorite question next. So why, in your opinion, this kind of builds on that. Why is the technology in the average building or in, like you said, in the average, operating room, why is it pretty much decades behind other. Technology industries.

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:07:19] It's very simple.

You change something when there is a need and the need arises because people complain about stuff. Not being good, or people are just unsatisfied with the way things are being done. When you walk into a building, you don't expect the lights not to work. Right? You don't expect that I'm coming from Singapore.

You don't expect the air conditioning not to. Right. You go in, you need to have, you know, managed it. Now, if those two components failed, what happened? People don't call and say, Hey, Get me an experience that allows me to set it to the right people and say, look, I'm feeling too hot, or I'm feeling too cold.

That's what you get taught in cold calls of the lights are down. One says, Hey, the wavelength of light is not suitable for my optimum level of productivity in the environment that will say, Hey, the light's not working. Just turn the lights on. People start looking at building services as essential services, right?

And we started providing them as core essential services. The lights work, the cooling works, the doors work. Now, if we have to get it involved thinking to say, the space can actually do much more for you. And for that, the realization it has to come from the end user. And I feel the users aren't aware of how much the space that they operate in, in can do for them and help drive their wellbeing.

Their productivity and their engagement now, because that was not known to the industry. As a whole, people spent a lot of time perfecting devices to keep the building running, to keep the building optimized. They never saw the need as how interactions such as an access management system has to work with.

The navigation system has to work with the parking system and a lighting system and a room booking system. How all of them can work together to create a unified experience optimizing productivity of the individual or group of industries. Was that you have, so this was absent because people didn't ask for it and people may not have understood the capability or the part of the built environment.

And this is why I think the industry has evolved and the way our MEP systems are designed today, much better than the way they were designed in the past. Our buildings are more sustainable, more connected, but the effect of the evolution of these systems and the benefit you get by.

Integrating them and allowing for the flow of data between these systems was not realized by the end user. What we are trying to do is saying, Hey, we can help you get more from that built environment. We can help you transform that space and allow for more space effectiveness. And that's something new.

Right. That's something that we're trying to put in and that's made possible by unifying the data from the system and creating experiences that these systems can offer to them. And that's why I believe that people continue to perfect building operations and building systems, but the users did not have those expectations of how the building can help them be more productive.

But today that view is shifting. And we're saying that for people to be in space, they should be more engaged. They should be more productive and the building should also take care of their wellbeing. So that evolution has started to occur. And that's where I see now the industry is transforming. Wow.

James Dice: [00:10:19] sort of in the course that I'm teaching right now, I showed this adoption curve. So the time it took for the telephone to get adopted and it's like this, you know, the slope is not very steep. And then you show like the iPhone for instance.

And it's  basically like a straight up line,

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:10:33] you

James Dice: [00:10:33] think The rapid progression of technology in our personal lives makes that sort of Delta of experiences grow and sort of is helping our industry move forward faster.

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:10:43] I definitely think so. I think what the evolution of personal technology has done is it has made building services more accessible to everybody.

I don't have to go around the room, searching for a thermostat to set the temperature to my liking. I want to pull out my phone. Okay. Let's adjust the temperature levels. Let's adjust the lighting levels. But I think where it is really starting to hit is the expectations of the user to be able to interact with their environments in a much more simpler, easier and seamless way.

So that is really going to accelerate how technology gets deployed in buildings to make them smarter, connected, and more sustainable.

James Dice: [00:11:20] Awesome. Yeah, I've been talking a lot lately about this stuff. industry-wide leveling up or expectations are growing from a bunch of different angles. Uh, and it's, it's really fascinating to watch.

So let's talk about the Microsoft campus. Let's kind of zero in on, your baby right now. Um, I want to tell you like, what I know about it and have you sort of educate me and I think that'll kind of reflect a lot of the listeners as well. So saw this, like when I was just first starting out in my career, I saw this paper written by, I think it was Accenture and Lawrence, Berkeley national lab talking about the energy on campus.

And it was pretty novel. It was like, this is a really innovative project that's going on. So can you sort of take us from that whenever that happened, you know, early 2000 tens, right? Fish around there too, like where you're at today from a smartphone perspective

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:12:09] and you know, That's a great place to stop.

And now

James Dice: [00:12:12] that the link to the paper in the show notes for everyone to catch up on

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:12:15] as well, it's a great place to start because I think at Microsoft, our buildings, we have a phenomenal energy smart building program. Our buildings are optimized. Sustainability is. Big big goal for us. Right. And you've seen all the announcements that we've made surrounding that.

So when we started it, it was about building operations, building efficiency, building performance optimization of how the buildings are managed position of the facilities management staff who rendered the services and ensuring that when people come to a building, the building does what it's supposed to do.

Now, identifying the falls, doing fault resolution, using that to drive better asset lifetime, better asset performance, producing off false positives, or, you know, reducing hot and cold calls as you do. That's where we started. And I think it was critical because that laid the foundation. If you don't have stable systems that perform the way they're supposed to do often core services in a building.

People don't really worry about anything else. Right? Work, the cooling doesn't work or the heating doesn't work. They're not going to worry about anything. Yeah. So this allowed us to create that foundation through which we had really smart, connected systems that is allowing us to manage our facilities and the assets in these facilities.

Now, next step from that is what more can you do? Now, if you've got beautiful facilities, one of the key challenges with a lot of the real estate folks will tell you is we have space, but how do I drive effective utilization of that space? How do I get people to use that space? It's not about one person coming and using a room.

It's about getting. Okay. A group of people, the room is designed for coming and using that space, collaborating in a waiting and an environment that allows them to be the best word for themselves. For example, if I would like to have a group of people that are going to have a brainstorming session, the configuration of the room has to change.

Right. I just can't use a training room for a brainstorming session. I'm having a person that is coming in and saying, Hey, you know what? I want to have a lecture because I want to learn something here. What you have to say, then a brainstorming style room may not be the best suited for that design. I've got people who then say, you know what, it's all about individual focus for me.

So I would like to find a place that allows me to be more Laser focused on what I'd like to achieve. And at the same time, I also have people that walk into a building have been looking to find someone, meet someone, or have an idea that they want to develop. Right. Then the space or the layout of the building, we'll be able to create for you something called accidental collisions, right?

You walk around the building and you find the expert that is going to help you solve your problems. All this. Happens in the built environment, but not consciously. What we are trying to do is move away from, well, I'm always not the right word is extend or evolve from highly optimized buildings to highly connected buildings that through data, through technology, we create these experiences where the space is adaptive to the needs of the user.

This can be lighting. This can be temperature control. This can be we finding it's going to be finding the optimum space or the collaborative to spot the answers you want to get. This could be your journeys and how do you move it on the building? And that's where we start looking at a building has to be able to cater to.

Different types of behaviors people have, and these behaviors evolve as we go through the journey of the building or gastro how they progress with the journey of the building. So this is where evolution started to go for us from optimization efficiency, to experiences and experiences, ultimately leading to effective utilization of the space that you're creating.

That's

James Dice: [00:15:53] amazing. Yeah. And this sort of progression sort of parallels a lot of what I'm seeing, you know, coming from? So my, you know, my first 10 years of my career were all just the optimization. So pull data in. Do some cool math, you know, produce some insight. And now someone's gotta ask act on that.

And a lot of that was sort of behind the

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:16:11] house, right.

James Dice: [00:16:13] Indirectly affect the occupant. But think that's always going to be limited when it's not connected to the end user. Right. So I think that's one way to sort of say where we're at as an industry is like you have. This sort of proven analytics technology out there.

That is great. It still needs to scale up. But what I think I'm seeing is that, you know, the next step is also to say, okay, well, what about two way control? What about connecting more silos than just meters and HVAC and lighting? Right. What about thinking about these connected experiences? So that's awesome.

And I see you guys as Being like a lot of people are just getting to that, you know, initial fault detection, sort of the analytics, like light bulb moment for them is just now happening. And so I'm hoping that through conversations like these, we can maybe help them along their learning curve. maybe they can skip a few steps here and there.

So anyway,

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:17:06] I think so, you know, it's, it's, a great opportunity, you know, We're a technology company. So we do look at the longer view and try to be more risk taking the water, trying to do, but I do feel that the goal for us ultimately is whatever we are doing on our campus. Anybody should be able to replicate it, repeat it, and use it for their own buildings and their portfolios.

That's what, that's what we're all about. Cool.

James Dice: [00:17:27] All right. Let's zoom in on the, the Redmond campus. do you call it the modernization project or the

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:17:33] yeah, it's called campus. modernization we have a website dedicated to the modernization program. You can go there. We deal with the latest pictures, links to all the new site up, but that's what we're referring to.

It is it's us building 17, buildings ground up and we call it the East campus though, because there's the East part of the campus. Cool.

James Dice: [00:17:50] And what would you say? And I think you've kind of hinted at this already, but from this project standpoint, what is the strategy and within the strategy, what is the smart building strategy itself?

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:18:03] So the, the way I would describe it is one of the key pillars that we had for the project has, always been. Making the building smart from the ground up. It's not about building a building and then go ahead and make it smart. It's how do we bring smartness from the very start of that building? So I would categorize the, digital transformation of.

Get off our Bembry campus modernization, Vikki lists, one plan. What is it going to be the master plan for the modernization of the 17 buildings? How do we build them? How do we design them? How they're going to be raised from the ground up second, how do we take care of the core systems?

All the infrastructure, all the environment of the buildings. I don't know, different buildings for different folks. The reason I say that is you have the genetic team that you have marketing teams, you have sales teams. So how do we, look at the environment and the users of that building then from there, we just are looking at, okay, buildings aren't designed.

For two years or three years I did on for decades. It's one of our goals has been okay. I am creating a building that is going to stay there for decades. How do I take care of the infrastructure in that building that would allow me to iterate to really evolve it, enhance it, and keep adding to it.

Because as you know, technology changes things that we couldn't do five years ago today, we could do very easily. How do I take care of the core infrastructure in that way? I'm talking about, I'm talking about networking. I'm talking about placement of devices. So it gives me an opportunity and others, the opportunity to evolve the experiences that are going to be provided in that space.

Because if I want to run out of cable trace, if I'm going to run out of power in port, how does the building grow? How does the building in house then once we sorted that out, our next step was to say, okay, This has to scale. It has to give us the ability for us to be able to offer it experiences into any of our properties, not just the newer buildings, because all the buildings are a large.

Large focus of our pool as well. So we then said, let's create a platform. And the platform would allow us to unify data from multiple building systems. We that data together and create an experience that people can then consume how they consume the experience is up to them. Some people would like to have the kiosk.

Some people would like to have on their phones, different opportunities, depending upon how they would like to consume that experience and bringing all that up and to say, okay, I now have a plan, a master plan. I now have the kid, the environment and the building layout. I now have the infrastructure that is going to go in the building.

I now have a platform that is going to unite the data coming from all of these systems. With that I can now offer any type of experience catered to unique geographic or cultural requirements of the location that the building's going to operate on because ultimately for us. It's making that space personal and that can only be done if these experiences could be fine tuned or catered, keeping in mind cultural and geographic sensitivities that come into place.

That's how we do that approach.

James Dice: [00:21:07] Awesome. That's really cool. so when you mentioned the third one, the infrastructure you mentioned, so buildings around for 50 years give or take we might need to change out each component. Okay. Every five to 10. How did you guys, can you give me an example of how you approach that on this, newest building

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:21:24] or this new scheme?

Let's take it. If you're talk about it, infrastructure, I would go through infrastructure, life cycle refresh and have a life cycle refresh that happens every three years, four years, five years, depending upon what the organization policies are. in the building, I can't do a refresh every three years or every three years, four years.

Right? Because I'm building the structure. They take time, they take money and their complexities of the ground. So what we start looking at is core infrastructure in a building. How much of power is a building going to consume. And this becomes really important for us because ultimately we are all about sustainability, right?

I cannot all provision. I cannot under provision. How do I find that balance? How much power is the building going to consume? Now, once I have that defined, why is that important? Because people have to understand if I have to collect data, I need devices. And if I need devices, devices need. Power. So where does the power going to come from?

We are anywhere from your conventional BMS, which used to be in a building today, has many other supporting devices. So anywhere from, let's say, 70 to 80,000 devices, that could probably be scattered out across the 17 buildings. What we're looking at now, how do I deal with that power? How do I deal with that growth of that power?

How do I deal with the replacement calibration on boarding of the devices? Now for that, I would also have to look at my networks. We all talk about the most optimal utilization of space now to place these devices in. If I'm then going to say, Hey, guess what? You know, I'm going to build a huge server room in these buildings.

That's not Beyonce. So taking out redesigning networks for the building. So I'm able to understand how big is the server room going to be and what is going to be my architecture for networking? Is it going to be a central networking architecture? Is it going to be a distributed networking architecture with some of the decisions that we had?

Because ultimately even if you look at Poe of early internet, how do these devices connect? Should they be Poe? Should they be line voltage? What does that mean for us from an operational perspective? How much of spare port capacity do I have and to have bottled Eaton and how many ports do I have on the switch?

What type of switch do I need to use? And how do I roll out these switches across my ceiling? If I'm going to put them on the ceiling, how do I secure them? You know, because people see something they like to touch. They like to feel it like to figure out what it is. How do we allow for that provision now? If I'm going to do cabling and you know, anyone who's done structured cabling will tell you I can do structured cabling today, but with the proliferation of devices yeah. In the physical space, the amount of cables are going to go up. Right? If I have more cables in, in a pathway or on a cable tray or in a conduit, I then have to take care of his disputation.

I have to take care of all the other factors that start to come in, including length of the cable. So all of these elements. Power port structured cabling or factors that we looked at in terms of the availability of the building while being sustainable and the amount of provisions we have to make. So this would allow us to add remove devices.

And when you talk about dynamic spaces, if all of my devices are going to be running back to a server room, In a building, it's going to be very difficult for me to move devices around as the space gets dynamically repurposed. So having a distributed architecture with buffer capacity in those switches that allowed me to move these devices much more easily, becomes very, very efficient in terms of thinking.

And this is where we start looking at infrastructure planning. For the devices that will go into here and leaving enough room for the devices that go on tomorrow. And anyone from here construction industry would tell you, it's not about you can build unlimited capacity, but that's not the point. Right?

And that's where the challenge comes in. How do I forecast evolution of the experiences with demand and spare capacity, along with the project costs, bringing all these three elements together is the challenge. And we believe that this that'll be working through at this point in time.

James Dice: [00:25:14] Brilliant. Okay, cool.

That's I just wanted to ask that cause I didn't feel like I understood that piece of the stack. So thank you. Um, when you guys think about the business case for doing smart buildings on this new campus, how does Microsoft think about that? And I think a caveat to that question is, has that changed since the commitment to, I think it's carbon negative by 2030.

Um, and how does that sort of weigh into it?

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:25:41] So the way you would have to look at it is business case can be done in many ways. When we started the program, we then said one, you have to make buildings efficient, right? I can't say because I want to provide great experiences. My building they're going to be inefficient because sustainability is a big goal for us, right?

We have to take care of the environment. We have to take care of the impacts and what the building is going to do. Buildings are the highest consumers of energy, but if you look at it, so sustainability was a key key part of our design. Tool is so we said our buildings have to be efficient. Our buildings have to be optimized.

And we then did the hard, tangible business case to say, how much are we going to get? What is the benefits? And the Ottawa is we would take to ensure that these things are connected, sustainable, optimized, and efficient, right? Inefficient buildings is probably, I mean in non-legal should we can't have it inefficient buildings matter what the reasons are.

That's just bad design. Now the second aspect of it is then coming in and saying, What do you do with the data? And, you know, you've heard all these talks about data being the new oil data, being the new goal. So what Becky doing his buildings are treasure troves of data. You could calculate a BMS by itself today.

And even in old buildings gives you. 5,000 to 10,000 data points. So asset is regular. You don't have to do much on top of that. I'm going to collect additional data that is going to drive experiences or the individuals in that space. What is the value of the data that I'm going to collect? And how is this data going to impact that individual or the group of individuals?

Is it going to drive. Better collaboration. Is it going to drive better productivity? Is it going to attract more people to come and work in my buildings? It was, my buildings are safer, more connected, more engaged. Okay. Is that data going to make  people working in my buildings feel a lot safer because the and built environment within that building.

I'm much better than ambient environments anywhere else. And you are now talking about efficiency of not only the building, but also productivity and empowerment people in that space, equating both of them. Them together is what is going to give you the business case and the positive ROI you'd like to get the biggest conventional you're.

So used to looking at buildings as physical structure with systems that go into them and looking at efficient operations of systems. Right. But you forgot the most important person, which is the user in that space and how happy he is. He is coming to your building. If I create a building and people don't want to come and work in my building, I'll probably say I failed.

But if I create a building, people love to come purely because the space that I'm providing for them engages them in a way that makes them feel more comfortable, safe, and connected. That is probably the biggest benefit. Good driving force.

James Dice: [00:28:23] Yeah. It's like, it's like a top line and bottom line thing. So when we talk about energy, you're talking about O and M savings, those sorts of things.

Those are, you know, bottom line expense. You talk about making people happy. You're at work that's top line.

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:28:37] Right.

James Dice: [00:28:37] And that that's sort of

what

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:28:39] I think we

James Dice: [00:28:39] need to get that shift right. Uh, in our industry, so. Okay, cool. So. You mentioned the word

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:28:46] platform.

James Dice: [00:28:47] And I just did a, so I do these friendly rant

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:28:50] podcasts,

James Dice: [00:28:51] and I think the last friendly rant was about the definition of the word platform and how a lot of people use platform in my opinion

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:28:59] incorrectly.

James Dice: [00:29:00] Uh, so can you kind of explain what you mean by that? I think it was the fourth layer of the stack there. And what you mean by platform?

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:29:07] I knew right. Completely in, in agreement with you that, you know, platform is probably word that gets misused so often if you don't know something, Oh yes, I have a platform.

That's how it gets used nowadays. So for us, when we started, we then came and said, buildings have systems, these systems capture data. How am I going to extract data from the systems? How am I going to transform that data and how my going to use that data to then in turn, weave them together to offer experiences.

So basically I'm talking about data extraction, data transformation. Yeah. And using that data to, to create services, let's say in our case, microservices within that space. So the platform for us is an integration engine. Okay. That would allow us connect to multiple systems, all subsystems and, you know, in the building industry, everyone has their own set of protocols that they follow transform that data to a way that we think is suitable, where the goal is mapping space.

Two device to date. Yep. And finally, the benefit the occupier or the user of that space will start to get pulling all of that together and then exposing it as a service that can be then offered as an experience to that individual. So this to us is a platform. Now this is one aspect of it, but I stopped talking about integration of the data.

The second aspect has to be about devices and how do I. On the devices. How do I manage the devices? How do I calibrate the devices and how do I sensor the devices? Because device lifecycle management in, buildings and you'd know this, we don't go and do refreshes off of BMS every two years. Right.

Those things are there. As long as the, yeah, you're talking about. Sensors and devices, sensors have a tendency to go off, to go off calibration, right? Hence recalibration of these obvious buildings need to take place. How do you do that when you are having so many data capturing devices and that's where the platform then creates the other function of being a key, being able to manage calibrate, optimize track, and sunset, the performance of all the devices going in these core features along with its ability.

To accelerate the onboarding of a building, right? Because every time I do this, I can't go into every building and say, okay guys, let's onboard the building. And the onboarding takes a lot of time. So allowing you to onboard multiple buildings through the integration engine, through the device management leaders that I have using that to manage the experience that I'm going to offer to the multitudes of people that I have across different geograph I think boundaries and managing those services.

And those devices is what our platform is designed to do. And we call this the digital integration platform or the dip for short, uh, the reason we built this. Okay. A lot of reasons. And I think we will get to digital twins. One very hard enough between our discussion, but the. But the goal for us is I need to have access.

Yes, do live data coming from the devices in these buildings. And this live data should be available to me where I can then integrate it. Or viewers with relation to a space with relation to a device or relation to a building. How do I do that? And how do I create that mapping? And that's where we felt the platform that allows us to do all these activities becomes crucial for us.

Uh, we, people always start talking about, is it like a one time thing? I know, but things last for decades, this platform will grow and evolve. Because you would know this, right. I will have, if I have a building at some point in time, certain number of buildings in my, in my portfolio, we'll always be going through innovations or some sort of maintenance or upgrades it's applicator for all these things.

So allowing me to manage the digital from building life cycle is what the platform is enabling us to do.

James Dice: [00:32:55] Wow. that piece of managing devices is so overlooked. It is so overlooked. So you think about a lot of people, a lot of companies will just do their deployment process. And they'll say, you know, you've mentioned 5,000 points.

Let's pull in our 5,000 points, but then two weeks down the road, right. Two weeks down the road, somebody. Moves a thermostat. And now there's, instead of two conference rooms, it's now one big conference room. And now instead of two VAV boxes, there's one. And so now all of that is now, you know, two weeks after the integration was done.

So that ability to keep we'll just use the word digital twin now, because. You started it,

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:33:36] all of that,

James Dice: [00:33:37] the ability to keep that updated is just so overlooked. And so what, what, what made you guys focus on that? Is it the sheer scale of being able to manage,  all these digital

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:33:47] devices? So , I'd probably say it's a bit of what we always do. Device management belongs to be complex. And I think we knew that from the start what the learning for us was is if a building, if a smart building has to sustain, it has to be managed. It has to be operated efficiently. I can't create.

Operations overhead for a smart building. If my, if my FMP is it's managing the building and always starting, and they say that because the building is smart, I'm going to have it on an uptake in operations, overhead for the building. Why would they do it? What is the point of doing it? Right? The cost is going up.

They're saying, hold on. You know, I was running these buildings in a highly optimized manner to begin with and you guys come in and make it smart. And now the operations cost has gone up. What, what are you trying to do? So, you know, our goal was no guys. We have to drive operational efficiency of the buildings.

And if a building is smart, it should be much more easier to manage and control as an outcome of it. So we started with less energy spot buildings, but we were all about efficiency, optimization of core assets. Now, if we're going to add more devices in and the classical yeah. Example I give is let's take lighting a conventional lighting system versus a lighting system.

That's going to be a POV based lighting system. Okay. And systems that have wireless controllers, lane voltage, wireless controllers. I have lighting systems that are Poe based now got lighting system that appeal you based with a key with integrated. Data capturing devices, all sense of quads. What have you called them?

If there is an outage of the light? Okay. I'll have a look. I'll have the FM person comes in, takes the light off replaces and goes. If there is an outage of the experience, because data is not being captured, who's going to climb up. Check that sense about disconnected check. If that port is active or it's not a dead port, and if it breaks, who's going to replace it.

Is that going to be your lighting technician? Who's going to do it, right? So this is redefining the way operations of buildings is going to move ahead. So basically blurring the lines between FM and it operations, right? It was is OTA starting to blur because the system that provides luminance is also the system that provides data.

That drives experiences. So with this in mind, we said, huh. Interesting challenge. So we have to look at it in a way that we are able to ensure smart buildings have an efficient way to be maintained and monitored, enhanced and improved. Just like how core building facilities are. If not, I would end up creating a shadow organization just for these devices, which is not the intention, right.

Everything has to be made more optimized. And that's what led us to this direction to say, okay, create a platform platform we'll track. All of these assets platform will then be able to integrate to multiple devices and use that as a way to redefine operations processes. So triaging of requests in the building are going to involve if the building is smart and connected.

Was this a conventional, Hey guys, I'm feeling hot or I'm feeling cold, you know,

James Dice: [00:36:52] fascinating. Oh man. There's so many ways I want to go with this. I think what I want to key in on also I have like five questions in my head right now,

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:37:01] but

James Dice: [00:37:02] one of the ones I want to key on is you talked about sort of the flexibility of the infrastructure.

I don't want to like zero in on where we're at today, but more big picture with the way that offices and the campus of offices that you have will be used in the future. How does that flexibility sort of set you up to evolve the spaces as they need to. And how are you thinking

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:37:22] about that?

That's a great question. So, one thing that we tried to do is you will have a way that looks at personas and the grit you take personas, who get off people that come live, work, play in the building and go home. What we decided to do is we said, okay, Rather than creating experiences, tied to unique personas.

Why don't we create experiences tied to behaviors because every person through their lifetime, like with the company, they are longevity with the company, or, you know, other engagement with the company, we'll go through different behaviors at different points in time. for example, Yeah, I have a person that is, that just joined Microsoft.

Right? He's excited. He she's excited, pumped, happy. They said, you know, I want to go and learn about that. The Microsoft campus, I want to see all that Microsoft is doing so the space for them. Or the experience for them is discovering the campus, engaging with the campus, learning about the campus, the buildings, the activities, and the various events we have going on.

I then have someone who is, a parent, right? And they come to, to the campus in the mornings and their priority is. I go to drop my kids off at school and I've got to find the closest parking lot so I can get out of the parking lot seamlessly, go through the doors and get to my meeting on time.

And the same thing applies when they're going home. Right. It's like, okay. My kid's school ends at three 15, three 20. I've got to leave my office by three. So I can miss the jam that occurs when everybody leaves out at the same time, what is the optimum way for me to find it? Then I have someone who is, who's like, you know, we're really busy today.

I've got to find it quiet space where I can work on this or someone that's who says, Hey, you know, how do I get my ideation for this concept done? How can I bring people together in a, collaborative way? Different roles, but same needs and users. And these users and needs , will evolve as they go through multiple stages of their career with the company or in that space.

So we started picking up on these attributes and said, let's design experiences based on behaviors. And what are the different types of behaviors people will have. So if I have a developer. I had an engineer that goes through a building at that point in time, based on his behavioral needs, he'd be able to find services that are needed.

If I have mobile sales people who are traveling the road warriors all the time. Right. And they come and say, so the references will be, I just need to find a quiet place to sit down, do my work, use services, and then go home. But the behavior is I want to find a quiet place. The behavior is I want to find an easy exit out of the building, or I want to find someone who can help me with this idea of the concept, right?

So that allowed us to create a broader range of coverage for different types of people that come into contact with our buildings. And this was key for us because ultimately a smart building is truly smart. Only if it is smart for everyone that comes into contact with the building, be it an employee, be it a service provider, be it a contractor, be it a visitor or a guest or anyone.

And that's why we make it really, really important. And at the same time, it is also only smart. If all of the services are accessible by everyone. If a certain service can't be consumed by someone because of a variety of reasons that building's not smart, because I've announced saying that you can only get the service if you do X, Y, and Z, that's not the intention, right.

Accessibility is key and give the openness for anybody to consume and benefit from the services. We're one of the big key design attributes that we had during our service and experience design phases. Wow.

James Dice: [00:41:05] I love that. That's so cool. It's a way of simple the ideation process, right?

So you could have 50 personas, but if you just focus on these activities or these behaviors, like you said, sort of simplifies that thing,

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:41:18] design process.

James Dice: [00:41:19] Fascinating. All right. So. We've got  15 minutes left or so ish. So I want to dive into, so for all the nexus nerds out there, so we've talked about these different layers, right?

So let's start, have go from the edge up to the platform, like you said. let's talk about like, in this new campus, how are you sort of bridging all these traditional silos? How do you think about, you know, HVAC lighting, access control, and how are those systems actually. Built on your campus.

and you know, are they connected? How are they connected?

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:41:52] So, yeah, basically it, so we started this, this journey by first identifying quote infrastructure. Right. And you will have a massive list of code infrastructure that you have to. The baby looked at it is should they be connected devices or not connected devices?

If they have to be connected devices, what should they connect to? Let's take an example. Sub-metering I can submit it right. Anything literally, right. Is this about me just putting a meters everywhere? Uh, could you read meters are wifi enabled, right? They have more connectivity. I can get data, be anything that I want to do, but that doesn't make sense.

If you don't know, what are you trying to solve? If I would like to do something as simple as let's say, gamification, gamification centered on the concept of who consumes more power versus who consumes less power or gamification around who is minimizing waste and who's not minimizing waste. And I would like to run these activities or campaigns over and over again, tune them, change them, put them in different specifics. So what we said was I should not be okay. I should not limit the type of devices that I can add for data capturing. I should be able to allow anybody. From anywhere to provide me those devices, I should be able to integrate with of course, you know, security and all those patterns do set in, but let's assume, you know, we've taken care of all of that.

And I'm talking about an openness for suppliers to come in and give me to buy. So on direction was I will have a device and I can buy that device from anyone I can build it. I can create, I can buy it from an ecosystem of players that I have, and this device irrespective of how it is or what it is, should be able to capture the data that I need.

So one, it was all about openness to our platform, which would allow it just to have any type of device that we can integrate to extract that data. It's going to be integration for native data, which has been a kiosk for us, because we would like to use NATO data to understand how buildings are performing.

Would that be integration wire, an API? Would that be integration via a protocol or a protocol adapter again, which a lot of players have, in the market today. We kept those integrations option four. It's been purely because we wanted to have flexibility on the type of device that we be chosen by.

Right. Because ultimately anybody will give you data. The question is what type of data do you want? Do you want access to native data or do you want access to process data? Is the data going to take place? Why is that critical for us? Because ultimately you spoke about edge, right? And I think edge can be a separate topic by itself in the context of buildings, but very briefly certain experiences.

It happened at the itch because of the criticality of the systems you are going to have edge devices, maybe you'll run the computers, that'd be edged to provide a better quality of services and quality of services can depend on a multitude of factors. Is it the criticality of it, the system? Is it the key is the latency of the data based on which user responses are needed or is it the privacy of the type of data that is being captured?

So that data does not leave the building or this process or the gaping by itself? So using that pre processing, that data, sending that data through our platform, into the cloud and using that to drive the analytics on that data will give us intelligence much better than what we used to get before, while ensuring we've taken care of latency issues, you've taken care of connectivity issues, and we've taken care of privacy and ethics issue as well.

Right? Because ultimately we don't want people to feel that the data is not secure or we've not worried about privacy. All of these have co-constructed goes and, and that's why. Criticality of the type of data that we are capturing and the openness for us to be able to capture any type of data with integral device that we so choose to get was critical.

Hence our answer to that was the builder platform. And on that platform, I'll be able to integrate to any data source that I would like to

James Dice: [00:45:31] beautiful. All right. When I think about all that data coming together, then I think about some sort of data model or ontology. How do you think about that

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:45:41] piece of the puzzle?

Well, yeah, I would say this is, a discussion that me and my engineering teams have all the time. In fact, our code engineering leads on depth. I call it the waste management leads and our business leads have this discussion all the time to say, what type of model should we use?

Is, haystack referred is brick. Preferred under the coming in of Azure, digital twins using DTL a good model of the data or metadata for the devices that are talking about how should we go about doing it? Right? So this is a discussion that we are taking very seriously.  have we come down with the right answer to say that this is what we're going to do?

No, we are not. But what we are looking at is today when we take an out, we would like to identify. For the asset or for the device, what are the metadata that can go into the asset? Right? Because for a certain class of ballistics, something as simple as a people counter counter will have a genetic attributes.

And on top of that, I will have specific attributes, which will allow me to gain intelligence of what that people come to, supposed to do. And once again, we will differentiate between occupancy detection versus people counting. Okay. Defining that for that device and putting it into a data model, using our digital twins definition.

Language is what we are trying to do today. It gives us more flexibility. This then allows us to take, that device or take that model, identify all the metadata attributes to it are how the data is going to be captured and use that. To then be displayed on a three D visualization of that building.

Right? So for us three D visualization is just the representation of the building. I would still have that data map from device to space or to the user of the space who consumes it, built across with all the metadata attributes of that device that is capturing that data, taking that data, exposing that data that can be displayed on a three D visualization of that building.

So creating real time display of. Data on a three D visual model that makes us, so this entire life cycle of how we are creating it and how we're integrating it is what we're trying to define. Now, have you locked down on what do cool model we are going to use, but also part of the digital twins consortium that, Microsoft is a founding member of that as well So these discussions are ongoing and the choice, the model is going to depend on what we see as our best fit, which we're working on at this point in time.

James Dice: [00:47:57] Got it. Got it. And one of the challenges, I feel like we're in right now and that whole world is this concept of like best available information.

Right? So you talked about being able to switch devices in and out based on what you, you want to do. Um, the way I'm seeing it as like I have an occupancy data is a great example. I have occupancy data coming from occupancy sensors, people counters, I might've access control. I might have people's phones triangulating on life by renters.

So. In my mind that digital twin and the, and I haven't seen a lot of people talking about this, but that data model needs to be able to have some sort of intelligence to it. Right. I need to say I have five different,  occupancy data streams coming in. They're all different. How do I choose like the best available one at any given time?

How do you think about

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:48:43] that? So that's a great point. And that's where, when we started this, we actually did something called sensor rationalization.

James Dice: [00:48:49] Okay. That's a better name for it. I feel like

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:48:52] actually devices capture the same data. Yep. How do you  ensure you don't have duplicate data feeds?

Right. So again, and this ultimately ties back to finances of cost as well. You know, I can buy multiple sensors and they all capture the same data, but should I, so trying to identify what is going to be, let's say. The master device for capturing this type of data in that space and using that as the leading system to say that, you know what, I will use this as the clear indicator of noise.

I'll use this as the clear indicator of temperature levels, right. Or I'll use this as the key, an indication of lighting levels, pulling that out and identifying non duplication of sensors because you, I think you hit it. It really hard on the head. People will try to do all the centralization because now with the, ease of which I can collect that data.

Yeah. But then too much of data, which doesn't have valuable, ultimately translate to junk data. So doing a sense of rationalization across our portfolio of devices to ensure that the data being captured is unique, comprehensive. But unique in that given space, it is allows us to deal with that in the first stage.

The second stage is, is then saying, okay, you know, I still may have two devices that are capturing different types of data. Let's take a cue lights. Yeah. I mean, not have temperature that comes through, my BMS because I may not have the breadth of coverage with temperature sensors, but Hey, guess what?

In that zone or in that corner of the building, I have a light and that lighting has an integrated sense of pod, which is capturing that there that don't want to use. So that is where we then start correlating to say, what is available. Based on the accuracy and based on the availability, then say, okay, this is the data that we will use in that particular region of space.

That's why modeling that space and associating data to device, to space to the individual user becomes critical. You said it really well, James, you know, the importance of it is, called. I don't think the people have understood how important this is for establishing a digital twin strategy, because ultimately if I'm not able to tie these three or four elements down, okay.

It is just about me taking any device from anywhere and just randomly making assumptions that this is what the data in that space will be, which is not what we want to do. Yeah,

James Dice: [00:51:03] totally something to figure out for all of us as we move forward. All right. So up to the platform layer,  I want to ask you, so  when I think about kind of where the industry is right now, in terms of I collect data, I have a data model.

Yeah, what we're doing now at the application layer is a bunch of what a lot of people call point solutions. So you have your analytics, point solution where you're collecting HVAC data and you're doing fault detection and you have your energy management, one where you're collecting meter data, doing some cool heat maps and stuff.

You have your CMMS over here while you're doing work orders, right? And there, there are a bunch of point solutions siloed

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:51:40] off.

James Dice: [00:51:41] Even though they're providing these end user experiences. Right. So how are you thinking about when okay. Data gets off.  got the platform all set up. Now I'm going to do stuff, provide use cases.

How are you thinking about the platform from that perspective?

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:51:56] So for us, the platform is going to be something like an orchestration engine, right? We've all of these data items together and create microservices that will be targeted for specific experiences. So let's take one, one experience. Let's take the experience of.

You're being new. Right? New employee comes to Microsoft, excited, motivated and say, Hey, you know, I really want experience the campus. So what are the base or fundamental services that comes in? Access goes without saying, we finding it goes without saying, then finding a space, finding a colleague goes without say, now let's take that to the next level.

the user would like to create a custom journey across the Microsoft campus where the building he's at, rather than taking our shuttles or connectors or driving around, he decides to walk. How is the wayfinding system going to create a unique journey for him that could allow him or her to be able to interact with flora and fauna as they walk across the campus?

How is the system going to tell them that, Hey, you know, guess what you really like yoga. There's a yoga session happening and multiple buildings right now and here registrations won't do sign up. So personalizing notifications based on the physical space that he or she is located in. Getting them to engage into those things.

Buddy's thereby boosting the effectiveness of that space and with the act would be performed, getting them to interact with natural elements. I feel more connected, more in touch with the environment and know how important it is to be sustainable, how important it is to take care of the. And vitamin that we have, and also meeting their goals of discovering unique facts and features about the building and the layout and the walkways that we have.

So they are better tune with your surroundings. Now, if I just say that I'm going to have wayfinding on my campus, it's like, yeah, it was the big deal. No, it is the ability to take a fundamental service or basic service such as we finding complementing it with additional intelligence that would allow us to engage the space in a much better way.

Now let's decide that he's walking new, she's walking by. They get hungry. They're like, Oh, you know what? I really would like to have this kind of food, because that's what I create for you today. Creating a car journey or route and letting you know that, Hey, guess what? This food is available in this case, cafeteria, but looking at the crowd, the coolant and the amount of time you have to wait to get a table.

You have a second option, which is available in this cafeteria. Would you like to try that? Right. So we are trying to eliminate the burden of frustration associated with the journey, but at the same time, empowering the user to choose. And this happens for us rebel. We say smartness does not start. As soon as you come into the campus, smartness starts from home.

As soon as you wake up in the morning. What is the optimal way for you to get to the campus? Right? Are you someone who would like to use public transport? Are you someone who likes to shed passport or are you someone who would like to drive, giving you the flexibility to choose how you want it to get there and letting you know that with all these choices, these are the options that are available for you.

And if you decide to drive and you come and park, you know, parking is always challenging and difficult. How do I motivate you right. To then start using shuttles on campus. So you park your car, you use shuttles, or you walk around, right? Therefore you're taking a different strategy. And at the end of the day, you take your conical back home, bringing these enhancements or delightful qualities to basic services is where the.

Design of experiences coupled with behaviors and data from the system starts to fit in. Now let's stick a technological aspect to it. Right. I then decide. Okay. So you'd notice how the is diverged. I will have a tech conversation where it is all about core technical components. Now. If I take wayfinding, I think you brought that point out.

I said, should I use wifi? Should I use VLE? Or should I use augmented reality? Should I use ultra wide band? Like, should I use Azure spacial anchors, whatever the options are available to me. And why do I need to use this? Or what am I trying to achieve at that location? How is wayfinding going to delight and engage the user?

So people will just love to come to my campus because every time they are here, they get it discover and learn more. That is unique about Redmond, about the Florida, the foreigner, the weather, probably all this stuff happens. That's where we tried to balance. So taking a pure technology view eliminates the experience view, and taking an experience only view.

You, but then start taking us away from actual reality of what could be offered. Right. I can talk about a lot of things, but the goal is they should be consumable by the users of my campus. And that's where bringing both of them together. Right. Hence core infrastructure platform and experience all of this stuff together for us, because we now know that we can offer these experience that people can then consume.

I don't want to build a talk about something that people can't use. Right. Totally.

James Dice: [00:57:04] so if I pick like a couple of different personas right now, if I'm an occupant or a building operator or, Maybe just those two or those two different apps that are sitting on top of this platform, that like it's the same data model underneath the Elvis is providing them two different

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:57:21] experiences with it.

So the apps may be different depending upon the choice that they have, but the underlying data will be the same because of the same systems that are capturing it. Now you bring up a very unique example there, because we actually spoke about this was facility managers are also employees. So all the stuff that all the employees also use, they will tend to use as well.

Right? Because this gets down to saying that, so should the operations room just be an operations room? Should it not give the experience of that space where the operation center is for them to continue and be like, no, it should, because it is space and we want to drive effectiveness of that space. And that's where the question comes in.

Everybody is an employee. Everybody is a user. So all services must be consumed by everyone that comes into contact with the building. Unique customizations will occur based on the profile of that person. So if he's an attorney that manager, he probably would like to go to a site you'd like to check it out and assets he'll be performing, or he'll be notified.

If there is something wrong with the asset, he will check out the asset. And for that, he may need more details such as let's take for an example. Looking at three D visualization. I would like to pull out the metadata for the assets and from the metadata for the assets. I would like, you can look at services three.

I would like to look at service schedules. I'd like to look at warranty, details, replacements, all the stuff that only he would need off, which. Is to maintain in the metadata for the assets that is going to be stored and maintained by our platform. So the same dataset, but the views then start to vary depending upon who the consumer is.

James Dice: [00:58:54] Got it. That's awesome. People that are listening to this. Can't see. But I just started smiling when I thought about like the, the average building operating room and just like the basement and the dust and dislike, you know, no fresh air, no natural light. And I was just thinking about it a lot.

If we delighted all of our facility managers out there, I just started to smile. That's awesome. All right. Cool. So let's wrap up here. I want to ask you based on your experiences with all of this. So you guys are just like, we're building 17 new buildings. you guys are at the cutting edge, in my opinion, on, you know, building smart buildings.

So what do you see as like being at the cutting edge? Like what opportunities do we need to be thinking about as an industry or maybe a better way to put that as what obstacles do we have to building this everywhere? Basically.

Emmanuel Daniel: [00:59:41] So I think the biggest obstacle that is going to come into everybody's mind, even before the project start is how expensive is a smart building.

Right. And that's the biggest job that comes in. Let me look at it and take the, way we structured it, making a building smart from the ground up. So rather than retrofitting your buildings after building them up, making them smart as part of the construction process is one way they should definitely look at right, because rather than you can influences the specs, you can influence the connectivity.

You can influence the type of data that these systems are gathering rather than buying something. And then seeing I would like replace it right. So finance costs, choice of devices. Infrastructure is something that they should definitely look at The next thing that I think they should start focusing on is ultimately going to be, what does that space mean for them and how is that space going to be made more effective?

And that effectiveness comes by identifying the unique services that people or users of that space would like to have. Once again, you always have core services, right? Cooler. It Doesn't really give you a lot of benefit when you're sitting out here in Redmond. The temperature is nice and cool all the day.

Yeah, it does make a big difference in Singapore where you would have to have cooling windows, choosing experiences based on the environment, based on the behaviors, based on the type of users that space is going to have is going to be critical as well, because that would then allow you to put the data that you are collecting effective use.

And finally is the operations model. How are you going to fuse, uh, maintain, manage onboard, sunset, all the devices and how are you going to take care of the operations and uptime of the unique experiences in the buildings? Because ultimately if people like them and they start delighting them, these will become core services that every building will have.

So defining the operations model that would take your building from a connected building to a smart building. And what that means in terms of transformation for the, work was that you have, will be critical as well. So I'd probably say these are the three things that people we should start with.

And once they all come, these three things, uh, it's not smooth sailing, but it'll be better sailing.

James Dice: [01:01:53] Yeah, those all struck me as sort of owner mindsets. Right. So those aren't like technological. Really? Those are just like, let's start thinking about this problem of building buildings differently.

Yeah, totally.

Emmanuel Daniel: [01:02:04] I knew one of the. The unique ways we look at it is because ultimately the goal for me as if I'm the owner, if I'm the operator, or if I'm the leader of space, the common denominator amongst them all is am I making the fullest use of that space that is available to me? So it is not utilization of space, but effectiveness of that space that I'm using and how do I drive that up?

So, you know, ultimately I'd like to it all three in a way, right. He manage, operate and build buildings as well. how do we drive that effective space utilization? How do we get people to come and use that space and delight them to be more productive is wherever you're headed?

James Dice: [01:02:46] Well, thanks for coming on the show.

This has been super fun. I think people are gonna love this episode, so thanks so much and, uh, have to talk to you soon.

Emmanuel Daniel: [01:02:55] All right. Thank you, James. Absolutely. A pleasure. Thank you for having me.

James Dice: [01:02:59] 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

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