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Innovation for the other 87% [Nexus Newsletter #112]

Innovation for the other 87% [Nexus Newsletter #112]

Hey friends,

If you caught our series on the top six themes of 2021 and our latest white paper on small buildings, you know that 87% of buildings under 50,000 square feet haven't even started down the digitization journey.

And solving the climate crisis and maintaining a resilient electric grid depends on digitizing every building, including those 5.5 million (just in the US) small ones.

Our white paper was largely void of actual companies and technologies that are making important progress in to decrease that number. That’s because Nexus Labs is vendor-neutral... we’re not out to promote any one vendor.

But we’ve received a ton of great feedback and questions since writing that paper. Questions like: what are the important vendors in the small building controls space?

Let's unpack that today. To start, we need to simplify the marketplace by thinking in categories. I see four important categories here—each with their own unique approach to creating simplicity for small building owners. Specifically, their approaches are tailor-made to meet the simplicity requirements in that market.

Category 1: Simple Building Automation Systems—Controls for bigger buildings are far too complicated for small buildings (see our white paper for why). Controls for residential are simple, but they don’t have the right capabilities for the messy middle.

A new crop of controls companies are sprouting up to fill that void.

👉 One example: Envio Systems

Category 2: Intelligent stand-alone devices—A simple BAS is great, but if there are only 1-2 devices in the building, why not just make them a little smarter?

👉 One example: Transformative Wave

Category 3: Grid interaction software—If a building has a connected thermostat or other type of controller, software companies can supplement the existing control sequences and monetize the resulting grid flexibility. Some of these companies even give away the device for free.

👉 One example: David Energy

Category 4: Program management platforms—As I wrote about in Volume 5 of our ongoing series The Lens, there are now companies making the technology project development process more accessible, smoother, and faster for small building owners that don't have access to the same resources as bigger buildings.

👉 One example: Allumia

These innovators give me hope.

Now, let's hear from you. How are you helping decarbonize and digitize small buildings?

Hit reply... I'd love to hear from you.

—James Dice, Founder of Nexus Labs

P.S. Want to explore the vendors in each category? Nexus Pro members can do just that with our interactive vendor landscape.