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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.