Nexus #1 (12/03/2019)

A new EMIS framework, using analytics to motivate, and a word from Bill Gates

Welcome to nexus, a newsletter for people applying analytics technology in buildings — written by me, James Dice.

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I’d love to hear from you. If you have thoughts, questions, ideas or tips, send me an email to james.w.dice@gmail.com.


My latest ideas

Through writing, I’m hoping to sharpen my own thinking, spark conversation with people like you, and drive faster tech adoption across the buildings industry. Here are my latest thoughts and ponderings:

+ What is EMIS? We need a new answer. On replacing the standard, copy-and-paste framework most people are using to describe analytics software.

+ When analytics insights fall on deaf ears. On that deflated feeling when we uncover an insight using analytics and share it with our team or client and… nothing happens.

I’d LOVE to know what you guys think about these.


News worth knowing

The best of what I’ve seen on the web lately…

1. Analytics

+ A new vendor worth checking out: Prescriptive Data. Their Nantum OS platform learns the building to make recommendations to operators and perform automated supervisory controls adjustments. The most specific use case is to determine both the latest time to initiate start-up and how the building can be ramped down during lunch or earlier in the day. NYSERDA’s case study dives into this strategy.

My take: These guys know the commercial real estate market well, and Nantum seems well suited for broad application in that space. While I’m skeptical about some of their supervisory control strategies, I see them competing well as a building operating system, a single-pane-of-glass platform where everything digital in your building comes together - and I’m very excited about their potential.

+ Another one: c3.ai. A slick-looking startup partnering with ENGIE on Ohio State’s 485 buildings. Their EMIS seems to be focused on meter data rather than full system data, e.g. AI-based end-use breakdowns, M&V, and FDD.

My take: It’s official: startups are coming from outside the buildings industry to play in our sandbox. Can they play nice with proven technologies that are already in place - like CopperTree Analytics, which cites OSU as one of their clients?

2. Smart Buildings

+ Bill Gates has his sights set on building energy waste. Yep, Bill’s in our sandbox, too. This blog post talks up one of his investments, 75F, which seems like a next-gen BAS for small buildings. 75F also won some awards at NREL’s Industry Growth Forum this year. Side note: check out the Netflix docuseries on Bill’s work post-Microsoft.

+ 55+% of orgs now have a Chief Data Officer (via Memoori).

My take: I would think these CDOs would start to care about building data, meaning there could soon be a shift in data ownership. From analytics and BAS vendors using the data in a silo, to the owner using the vendors to unlock the power of their data - which they fully own and connect to the rest of the organization.

3. Being human

On a totally different note, spending quality time with family during the Thanksgiving holiday reminded me of Tim Urban’s iconic essay The Tail End. He uses simple charts to illustrate the remaining time we have left with our loved ones, especially our parents. Here’s an excerpt:

Being in their mid-60s, let’s continue to be super optimistic and say I’m one of the incredibly lucky people to have both parents alive into my 60s. That would give us about 30 more years of coexistence. If the ten days a year thing holds, that’s 300 days left to hang with mom and dad. Less time than I spent with them in any one of my 18 childhood years.

I’m sharing this as a reminder (for myself mostly!) that:

🎄 this time of year is about much more than our work

📲 using data to tell a story is a very powerful motivational tool… to call your mom.


What am I up to at NREL?

My new gig at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) started in September and many of you have been reaching out to see what I’m up to. I’m enjoying supporting the Navy Smart Grid deployment, the Federal Energy Management Program’s EMIS work, and GSA’s Proving Ground for new technologies including analytics. If you want to hear more, hit reply!


OK, that’s all for this week—thank for reading nexus!

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