4 min read

Part 9: The Apps We Need [Nexus Newsletter #133]

Hey friends,

Today, we're continuing our series on Nexus Lore: the core concepts that come up again and again in this newsletter, on the Nexus podcast, in the Nexus Foundations course, in Nexus Pro gatherings, and in the community chatroom.

If you want to start at the beginning, check out our white paper with all 10 parts: Nexus Lore.

Lore is never written by one person, so send us your feedback for v2!

The Apps We Need

There are endless application providers in the Startup Swamp. There's also endless hype around the mythical "single pane of glass", the "digital twin", the "building operating system", and the "smart building platform".

And yet, having seen it all, there's still room for improvement in how well today's applications meet building owners' true needs.

The transition to a horizontal architecture will (theoretically) set application providers free. They can stop focusing on deploying infrastructure layers, then repurpose all that time and resources towards building better software.

So what do we need that we don't already have?

First, most applications do just three things: they collect, visualize, and analyze data. And while the insights produced can be used to enhance a bunch of different workflows in the average portfolio, the user needs to exit out of the application to actually get sh*t done.

What if smart building applications were built around workflows instead of built around flooding us with "insights"? What if applications were focused on automating human tasks, helping reach outcomes easier, and enabling better collaboration?

Take fault detection and diagnostics (FDD), for example. Diagnostics can be used to enhance a bunch of different workflows in the average building, including energy management, capital planning, equipment maintenance, and commissioning. But FDD applications aren't built around any of those workflows, are they?

Shouldn't we have energy management, capital planning, equipment maintenance, and commissioning apps that are based on the actual workflow of each user persona and underpinned by the same FDD insights, context, and data set?

For example, if a facility manager receives a hot/cold call and opens it up in the maintenance app, shouldn't she see the active faults on upstream equipment, the status of preventative maintenance tasks, historical trends on how many people were in that space, the design occupancy of the space, and a calendar feed that shows how many people will be in the space for the rest of the week?

And when the FDD analytics discover an energy conservation measure she wants to implement, wouldn’t it be nice if she could send that into an energy management and/or capital planning app, where her teammates can group it with similar measures into a project and analyze the financials, seek budget approval, seek financing, etc?

And wouldn’t it be nice if the other apps were aware of the progress of implementation so they didn’t bug me with new alerts about that opportunity? And when the energy conservation measure gets implemented, couldn’t it trigger a workflow in the commissioning app, which would rely on the analytics in a slightly different way to track the completion, facilitate functional testing, and verify the results?

Okay, let's stop the daydreaming. In summary: we need persona-specific, contextually integrated applications that are designed around digitizing and automating human workflows.

Do you agree? How does this need apply beyond FDD?

Let us know on LinkedIn,

—James Dice, Founder of Nexus Labs

P.S. Dates have been announced for Cohort 5 of our Foundations course. Mark your calendar if you're interested in joining us!

✖ At the Nexus

Here’s everything worth sharing from Nexus HQ this week:

★ PODCAST: 🎧 #106: A day in the life of a digitized, decarbonized buildingEpisode 106 is a conversation with Drew DePriest, Facility Management Technology Lead at CBRE and Kat West, Vice President, Sustainability at JLL.

We walked through a day in the life of a digitized and decarbonized building. What are the major features, what challenges are there, where can technology help, and what are the major themes that came up throughout the fictional day.


★ FROM THE ARCHIVE: Why did Arcadia acquire Urjanet?



  • Subject Matter Expert Workshop: CEO at BuiltSpace Technologies Corporation, Rick Rolston presented on Motor Monitoring
    and Analytics. (Replay)
  • Subject Matter Expert Workshop: Co-Founder and CTO at Senseware, Julien Stamatakis, lead as the subject matter expert on how Real-Time IAQ Data Drives Modern Building Management. (Replay)
  • Member Gathering: James and Pro member Brian Vaughn of Cushman Wakefield will discuss the key ways technology is transforming building operations. James and Pro member Andrew Knueppel, also of Cushman Wakefield, will discuss the three categories of MSIs in the marketplace today. Plus, breakout rooms for networking!

Join Nexus Pro now to get the invites and access to the recordings.


★ ON LINKEDIN: Taking one building to net zero is no easy feat. It takes vision and the right leadership. Taking an entire university campus to net zero requires even more...


★ READ OF THE WEEK: The Great Energy Disconnect: Lessons Learned from the Pandemic on Commercial Office Energy Use  


👋 That's all for this week. See you next Tuesday!