4 min read

The most important type of data [Nexus Newsletter #92]

Hey friends,

What's the most important type of data for creating smarter buildings?

I'd argue that for every type of building except data centers, it's occupancy data.

Why? Here's a non-conclusive list of reasons:

  • It helps building owners (and tenant businesses) understand how their customers are using the space, from office workers to retail customers to school students.
  • It helps optimize the Three S's that are vital to controlling building systems and getting to full autonomy: Setpoints, Schedules, and Sequences of Operations.
  • It helps solve for the optimal balance between the competing goals of better IAQ and lower energy use.
  • It can help improve occupants' experience and find the right space to suit their current needs.

No other type of data can benefit so many building stakeholders.

For good reason, there's been a lot of innovation in this space lately.

Recent trends:

  • Granularity—out with binary occupancy sensors and in with people counting and real-time location
  • Privacy fears—more granularity means more concern for invasion
  • Sensor-only vs. Full Stack vs. API-first—the old way was to connect a sensor to the local lighting or BAS controller. New ways bring new architectures and new integration challenges.
  • Sensor+analytics teamwork—New types of sensors (body heat, cameras, counters, etc) come packaged with proprietary cloud analytics that crunch the data. Each need the other.
  • "Best available" occupancy data—Across a portfolio, occupancy information might come from 15+ different sources. An overlay software or independent data layer is needed to abstract away that complexity.

What am I missing here? Are you working at the cutting edge of occupancy data? Hit reply and let me know.


P.S. Pro members can stayed tuned for the next edition of The Lens, which will dive right into this topic, including unpacking the trends, recent news, players, and latest fundings. Join Nexus Pro to get access.

✖ At the Nexus

Here’s everything we published this week:

🎧 #067 - Trevor Pering on 3 ways Google is enabling Enterprise IoTThree types of IoT, how enterprise IoT is different, and the challenges related to enterprise IoT that Trevor focuses on, such as managing devices, automating tasks, cyber security, and scalability.


DEI Today in the Smart Buildings Industry—Join us next week as we unpack diversity, equity, and inclusion in our industry. Mandi Wedin, Chair of the CRE DEI Advisory Board, will lead us through a panel discussion on:

  • Today's status quo: an honest take on diversity in the real estate, facility management, engineering, and integrator communities
  • What DEI means to all of us and what we can do to build an industry where everyone is welcome
  • How we can hire and recruit diverse teams
  • How other industries can show us the way

Please don't miss this one!

>>Register here.<<

🔎 Signal vs. Noise

Only the best smart building resources we consumed this week…


CARBON-FREE: A Practical Guide to Deep Carbon Reduction RetrofitsBrad White charts the path for commercial building decarbonization, making the case for controls and analytics along the way.

👀 👇

"In most cases, getting a building to an 80%+ carbon reduction is not a cost-effective exercise in the sense you should expect an attractive financial ROI. (...) Beyond Step 4, there is rarely a viable financial payback.


IAQ: The Plan to Stop Every Respiratory Virus at Once—The benefits of ventilation reach far beyond the coronavirus. What if we stop taking colds and flus for granted, too?

Good read, but we can't be only focused on IAQ. The author seems to argue for mass HVAC retrofits to increase ventilation. Well, we also need mass HVAC retrofits to get to zero carbon.


CONSTRUCTION: Why It's Hard to Innovate in Construction

"Each task has a web of influence that can impact every other part of the project. Any system that disrupts an established process is thus inherently risky."


ANALYTICS: FDD FOR MECHANICAL AND CONTROLS SERVICE DELIVERYOur friends at Clockworks Analytics give an insider look at how some of their partners are using analytics to transform service contract delivery.

"Just as analytics presents a major opportunity for those that take advantage of it, the other side of the sword is that it could sneak up and harm those that don’t."


NEW-TO-ME: New startups sliding across my desk this week...

  • Origami—EU based trading and automation software for short-term power trading
  • Foghorn—"Edge" "AI" "Platform" software company that serves many industries including smart buildings
  • Facility Health Inc.—Capital planning software for facility management teams.

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

Nexus Labs now curates the best open jobs in the industry. If you missed last week's announcement, check it out on our website.

This week's featured roles:

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

SkyFoundry: Application Engineer - Data Analytics (📍Remote - US)


Other interesting roles:

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

Vanti: Commissioning Engineer (📍Birmingham, UK)

Edo: Software Developer (📍Denver, CO)

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


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