4 min read

Lessons from Google Maps [Nexus Newsletter #78]

Hey friends,

Over a year ago, I wrote about the lessons we can learn from the Google Maps platform. In summary, building owners need smart buildings for the same three reasons we need Google Maps:

  1. Our “jobs-to-be-done” can be done so much better
  2. New jobs need to be done as the capabilities of technology and demands of the marketplace evolve
  3. A platform approach can provide a better overall user experience by expanding into adjacent jobs

Fast forward to today and we can see that progression continue to play out. For example, Maps is now expanding into adjacent jobs by providing wayfinding support inside public facilities like airports.

Not only that, but the app has started doing new jobs as customer demand has evolved. With insights from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Google built a new routing model that optimizes for lower fuel consumption based on factors like road incline and traffic congestion.

These patterns are clues to how the crazy world of smart buildings platforms (“digital twins”, “buildings operating systems”, “independent data layers”, etc) will evolve before our eyes in the near future.

This got me thinking: how long until these sorts of sustainability use cases make their way inside buildings?

For example:

  • When I’m reserving a conference room at the office, why can’t I select the most energy efficient one?
  • When I’m choosing between the 4 different WeWork options in downtown Denver, why can’t I choose the one in the most efficient building, with the most progressive lease, and proven to have the best IAQ performance?

I'm not the only one thinking along these lines. Jacinda Lofland, Nuveen’s Director of Strategy and Innovation (who's also a Nexus Pro member and Foundations course alum), recently spoke on WiredScore’s SmartScore launch panel about that very concept:“What gets me excited is technology as a transparency enabler. (...) Allowing each occupant to optimize for their most efficient workday.”

People want ways to be more productive and reduce their carbon footprint. Google sees this and is facilitating it. Will building owners do the same? In order to do so, they’ll need to knock down some silos. The "front of the house" and "back of the house" silos will need to converge and will continue to do so.

What do you think? Hit reply and let me know.


P.S. Quick reminder that we’re hosting a live broadcast with the members of the newly founded Alliance for Sustainable and Practical IAQ in Real Estate (ASPIRE). It’s next week!

>> Sign up here to get the invite right away <<

At the Nexus

Here’s everything we published this week:

🎧 #053: Jim Whalen reflects on the past and future of Boston Properties' digital buildings program—We talked about Boston Properties’ portfolio of buildings and the unique tech challenges inherent to the business of a multitenant landlord in the United States. Jim provided an inside look at BXP's various technology and digitization initiatives and we did a deep dive into their journey with data, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality.


A data-driven approach to Indoor Air Quality—If you’re like me, it’s difficult to make sense of the world of indoor air quality (IAQ) solutions right now. There are TONS of different types, lots and lots of hype, and even some snake oil.


How To Get Rich in CRE/Why It Is So Difficult To Sell Into CRE—Joe Gaspardone walked Nexus Pro members through, step-by-step, how traditional CRE buildings can often make exponential returns for investors, and why that same factor makes selling solutions into the CRE market so difficult. He concludes with some grounded strategies for selling into the market. (Pro members only)

🤯 Comments seen in the Zoom chat: "Mind blown", "This is pure gold", "Wowza", etc.

Signal vs. Noise

Only the best smart building resources we consumed this week…

Why Katerra’s epic fail boosts ConstructionTech—Fascinating breakdown of a tech-enabled general contractor's (“Digital GCs”) epic failure by Foundamental, a VC firm who invests worldwide in early-stage technology ventures in construction. If tech-enabled general contractors are breaking out, and all market conditions are near-perfect for ConTech ventures and scale-ups. What went wrong here?"(If you're) hiring as many outside disruptors as possible with no institutionalized knowledge, and insourcing as many processes as possible instead of partnering with people who have done this for thirty years, (...) you are setting yourself up to be the Icarus of Construction."


Cybersecurity Concerns Continue For Building SystemsThis is a great introductory primer on the people and process sides of the OT cybersecurity game."There are several reasons why BASs, along with the data networks built to connect the various building systems, can fall through cybersecurity cracks."

One thing I don't see covered enough is what software exists for OT cybersecurity? What are the software capabilities that aid in the process side? Hit reply and let me know.


That's all for this week! Thanks for reading. 👋