2 min read

What Hollywood can teach us about smart buildings

Knowing the history of your industry better than anybody else is a huge career and competitive advantage. And even though it's so simple, few people actually read up on the history of the smart buildings industry.

This might seem like it’s off-topic for us, but bear with me: are you familiar with the celebrity gossip magazine TMZ? If so, do you know what that acronym stands for?

It refers to the “thirty mile zone” in Los Angeles. This is where the film industry was born.

Map of the thirty mile zone

There are specific laws for film work done within the zone’s boundaries. Inside the TMZ, workers must pay for their own meals and transportation. Filming outside the TMZ is considered "on location" and the studios are generally expected to pay for these things.

During most of the 20th century, the industry preferred to film movies and television shows within the studio zone to reduce labor costs. This fact, as well as the lack of infrastructure and workforce outside the zone, made it expensive to film on location. In turn, anyone who wanted to start a career in the entertainment industry had to move to Los Angeles to break into the TMZ.

And this explains why Seinfeld, a show about life in New York City, was actually filmed in Los Angeles, on the "New York Street" set, complete with fake snow:

the New York Street set

Weird, right?

Well, our industry is weird just like the film industry. A few examples...

First, every city in the world has similar geographical zones. They determine things like the stakeholders involved, local labor laws, building codes, and energy performance requirements. And just like the TMZ, you gotta be there to break into the industry and understand how to change it.

Second, the building technology industry has its own history. It’s been playing out for decades in mechanical rooms and above ceilings. It started with the humble thermostat, progressed into the first pre-internet OT networks, and is now converging with the internet that has grown up alongside it.

Knowing the history of your industry better than anybody else is a huge career and competitive advantage. And even though it's so simple, few people actually read up on it.

Our Foundations course is a way to catch up on this history. Join the waitlist here and we'll follow up with more info.