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Smart buildings revolutionaries [Nexus Newsletter #82]

Hey friends,

Last week was the most delightfully social week of work I've had since the pandemic began.

I had dinner with a Nexus Foundations alum. I had lunch with a Nexus Pro member and introductory meetings with others. We hosted our monthly member gathering. We delivered our first all-day corporate training workshop to 20 engaged students.

I'm incredibly lucky to meet and engage with such a wide cross-section of the smart buildings industry.

From this unique vantage point, I can't help but notice that across the industry, revolution is in the air.

How do I know?

  • Whereas companies used to have 1-2 people that were the dedicated "smart buildings" nerds, I'm seeing entire teams of 10, 15, and even 30.
  • Whereas the business case for technology used to be about cutting costs, I'm seeing new pursuits to mitigate risk, avoid irrelevance (see Mandi's take below), beat competition, and delight customers.
  • Whereas I used to get emails saying Nexus is "too esoteric", I'm now seeing RFPs and RFQs soliciting bids for "Advanced Supervisory Control" and "Independent Data Layers" and partnerships aimed at creating "Whole Products".
  • Whereas there used to be a division between front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house tech, I'm seeing more and more examples of convergence. This Thursday's podcast has industry legend Darlene Pope's take on this.
  • Whereas Building Automation and Access Control folks used to think their systems were the backbone of the smart building, they're being forced to widen their gaze.
  • Whereas a smart or green building used to be claimed using a plaque on the wall, building owners and operators and realizing that data is better... and engaging stakeholders with that data is even better.

So while I'm still seeing the old patterns, change is certainly afoot.

What evidence do you see?

—James

P.S. No matter where you sit in the industry today, we have at least one way for you to join in on the revolution. Here are a few:

  1. Joining the next cohort of our Foundations course
  2. Joining our Nexus Pro membership (we have enterprise memberships too - just hit reply and I'll give you the deets)

At the Nexus

Here’s everything we published this week:

🎧 #057: Mandi Wedin on ESG+R as a driver for smart building technologyWe talked about the impact of ESG on the real estate sector and as Mandi recommends, we tacked on the "R" to make it ESG+R. Then we dove into what that means for smart building technology and Mandi's strategies for planning, decision making, and funding technology upgrades that mitigate risks and add value in this new climate.

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June 2021 Member Digest & RecordingA collection of highlights from the month you shouldn’t miss. This is designed to save Nexus Pro members time and allow them to catch up on the whole month.


Signal vs. Noise

Only the best smart building resources we consumed this week…

SBX2021 Session Highlight: Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings—In August, I'm getting together with Cara Carmichael from Rocky Mountain Institute, Dr. Ahmad Faruqui from The Brattle Group, Mary Ann Piette from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Lucie Huang from Seattle City Light to discuss grid-interactive buildings as part of the free Smart Buildings Exchange conference.

>>Sign up here to attend virtually.<<

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A Renter’s Experience With a Tenant Experience AppThis reminded me of my conversation with Erik Ubels about the lessons learned at the Edge in Amsterdam, who said that if occupants have another way outside of the app to do something, they will.

"The app must be easier than other methods I’m already using. Pulling up an app on my phone and logging in to access an amenity is not easier or better than bringing my key fob. Getting a package notification from an app is not easier than checking my email. Submitting a maintenance request via app is not easier than filling out the form online. Practically every bit of functionality currently available (from the app) can be achieved through a mobile-friendly site accessible through any browser that’s easier to use."

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Increasing and Broadening Accountability for Building Performance—How digital tools and workflows can foster accountability in the construction process.

"While the design team should be responsible for their decision-making outcomes, they are instead incentivized to focus on delivering “design intent” and limit accountability, leading to tightly bound contracts and potentially higher project costs to avoid risk."

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