3 min read

"Well, it depends..." [Nexus Newsletter #87]

Hey friends,

I've been feeling like a broken record lately with how often I've been uttering the engineer's favorite phrase: "it depends".

So much about smart buildings depends on the type and size of building you're talking about, the stakeholders involved, and of course the end user of the technology itself.

Some recent examples:

  • How widely is [insert technology] deployed?
  • Which software vendors have the best [insert capability]?
  • Who do you recommend we talk to about partnering on [insert project type]?
  • What do building operators want out of their [insert software]?

It depends, it depends, it depends, and it depends. I'm often feeling bad because I don't have a better answer, but that's better than over-simplifying the raw complexity of our industry.

One concept that helps me sort through this is what Honeywell Forge's Chief Product Officer called “extensibility”:

finding a way to describe, through basic extensions, how one sector differs from another, using a language everyone involved can understand. While terminology can vary widely between industries or companies, the core capabilities are not necessarily different.

There are common, underlying issues all sectors and companies are dealing with. We need tools that address these shared needs. And then there are specific business problems that must be addressed in order to get the attention of the end users.

Knowing the difference is key to building a scalable software platform.

—James

P.S. My main way to simplify our industry's complexity is to rely on the Smart Building Strategy framework we teach in our Foundations course. Enrollment for Cohort 3 opens next week!


At the Nexus

Here’s everything we published this week:

🎧 #062: Jon Clarke on leading Dexus' smart buildings programWe talked about Jon's long and successful career in smart building technology (or simply building technology as he would call it) and what he's learned from seeing it from all sides, the contractor side, the consultant side, and now the customer side.

Then we took a deep dive into Dexus' smart buildings program and where it's headed. Lots of parallels with recent owner-side episodes with Google and Nuveen.

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Since last Wednesday, 350 people have been reading our free, daily email series on making an impact in the smart buildings industry. They'll be the first to be notified when enrollment opens for Cohort 3 of our Foundations course next week.

>>Click here join the list and catch up right away<<


Signal vs. Noise

Only the best smart building resources we consumed this week…

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CBRE, Altus Power merger sign of times in clean energy sectorEric Bloom on how clean electrification company Altus Power's merger with CBRE Acquisition Holdings (CBAH) is a significant indicator of growing interest in the sector.

"We are very excited about the opportunity to supply real estate investors and occupiers with clean energy savings and sustainability benefits using a data-driven approach to design and build onsite solar generation facilities, energy storage and EV-charging for vehicles and fleets – while preparing for a networked future that will have these systems work in tandem and across multiple buildings."

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Hardware vendors: let us pay for what we actually useI like this piece asking why sensor providers force customers to buy the whole stack.

"This is how I see things going – the hardware vendors that charge for a platform/cloud that customers aren’t using are quickly going to limit the scale of their rollout, as customers just don’t want it – what they want is a single pane of glass, everything in one place, and to pay only once."

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Twilio and the Magic of Undifferentiated Heavy Lifting—If you liked my series on API-first companies (1, 2, 3), you'll like this piece too. And you gotta love the flywheel flower.

"These fixed-cost based UHL providers are especially valuable not only because they do the things others don’t want to, but also because they become increasingly hard to compete with over time. As they grow, they have a series of connected flywheels that increase the amount of lifting they can do for customers over time."

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