4 min read

Our #1 Myth [Nexus Newsletter #96]

Hey friends,

Do you know the single biggest myth about smart buildings?

That if a building has one or two digital systems (like a “Building Automation System” or “Energy Management System” or even a “Digital Twin’), it’s a smart building.

We seem to think smart buildings are created by one technology product or project.

Once you start seeing this mistaken belief, you can’t unsee it. And you’ll see a lot of our biggest smart building project mistakes stem from it. I’ve certainly messed up my fair share of deployments because I believed it.

If the big myth is incorrect, what is correct? What really makes up a smart building?

Well, to start, it’s really a mindset. There is no one way to make a smart building, and therefore almost no one has this all figured out. So it requires us to have an open, innovative, collaborative, and evolving mindset.

Next, it’s best to think of smart buildings as an ongoing program to create better experiences for us humans that occupy, operate, and own them. It’s not a one-time event, despite our industry’s obsession with them. While we buildings people love a good project, renovation, retrofit, or upgrade, none of these are the magic bullet.

And finally, a smart building program requires all four legs of the stool:

If any of the legs don’t hold their weight, over we go. Let’s walk through each of them:

  • People: all the stakeholders who experience the building and would be affected by new technology
  • Technology: all the systems that come together to create those experiences for those people
  • Processes: how you procure it, how the technology is inserted into people’s lives, how it’s used, how it’s kept up to date and secure, etc
  • Finances: how you pay for it and justify the return on that investment year over year

Question for you: how does this myth show up in your work?

Hit reply and let me know.

—James


✖ At the Nexus

Here’s everything we published this week:

 
 

★ PODCAST: 🎧 #071: DEI Today in the Smart Buildings IndustryI believe this topic is just as important as the technical topics that we usually cover—like indoor air quality, energy management, integration, ontologies. Technical and the social topics are inextricably intertwined. I learned a ton from this panel that all of us can implement today.

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★ PODCAST: What Do You Need To Know About Smart Buildings? With James Dice and Ramya RavichandarI was a guest on the LMRE Propcast with JLLT's Ramya Ravichandar, hosted by Lou Dickins. We talked about the smart buildings industry and our Foundations Course. Fun conversation!


🔎 Signal vs. Noise

Only the best smart building resources we consumed this week…

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CONTROLS: Is the future of Building Management Systems in the Cloud?A nice LinkedIn post and resulting discussion in the comments about several factors holding back software innovation in the buildings industry. Almost every BAS provider is working on a SaaS offering right now... what's taking so long? My comment:

"I'd expand on the "Lack of Innovation" piece into the lack of the ability to disrupt their own business model. The controls industry is addicted to two revenue streams: lump-sum projects and annual service contracts.​The entire business is built around that. Where does SaaS fit? If I'm a salesperson and I sell a SaaS contract, what will happen to the commission I was expecting on that big version upgrade that happens every 5 years?"

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ADVANCED SUPERVISORY CONTROL: AI in Buildings: The Future is Already HereAnother recording from the recent SBX conference, featuring integrator ATS Automation, software provider BrainBox AI, and building owner Cadillac Fairview.

We still need a higher collective IQ on this topic, and this is a good discussion to help with that. Bookmark it for your next roadtrip or walk or plane ride!

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DECARBONIZATION: The Future of Energy Solutions—This Atlas Energy Intelligence white paper examines the key trends that will influence the course of the energy solutions market in the coming decade:

  1. Large Energy Users Will Continue to Unlock the Value in Their Existing Energy Infrastructure
  2. Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure Create New Opportunities for Grid Services and Energy Management
  3. Large Corporations Will Move beyond the PPA and Pioneer New Business Models for Renewable Energy
  4. The Energy Solutions Business Model Will Expand into Clean Fuels such as Renewable Natural Gas and Hydrogen
  5. Regulatory Authorities such as FERC Will Push New Reforms that Expand the Energy Solutions Footprint

"Tackling a diverse set of challenges at once can go further in helping them accomplish their objectives than one-off projects can."

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HEALTHY BUILDINGS: Making Healthy Buildings Real: The Coming Revolution in Diagnostic Imaging TechnologyErik Malmstrom of SafeTraces compares today's buildings industry with the medical industry before CT scans were invented.

"In 2021, the built environment stands at a 1967-like inflection point, when technological breakthroughs will make “healthy buildings” real, not just a marketing gimmick."


🧑‍💻 The Best Jobs at the Intersection of Tech and Buildings

Nexus Labs now curates the best open jobs in the industry.

Featured roles:

Nexus Labs: Community & Marketing Manager (📍Remote - US)

Mapped: Software Engineer, Machine Learning Infrastructure (📍Remote - US)

👉 Curious about Mapped? Check out CEO Shaun Cooley on the Nexus podcast.

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This week's newly posted roles:

Altanova: Engineering Manager, High-Performance Buildings (📍New York City)

C3.AI: Forward Deployed Engineer, Innovation and Demos (📍Redwood City, CA)

Virtual Facility: Data Specialist (📍Remote - US)

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We've got high-impact, high-tech jobs from all over the world!

You can browse more than 30 global open roles or post your own on the Nexus Labs Job Board:

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