Month: June 2015

Real Estate Professionals – IoT Means Improved NOI


TRANSFORM TO SMART BUILDINGS was the invitation at Intel’s booth in San Antonio, TX last week at IBcon, the world’s largest intelligent building conference. Much of the content at IBcon as well as at Realcomm touched on something new to most property owners and operators, the Internet of Things or IoT.  Amid all the hype about IoT solutions, Intel focuses on transformations that generate real value for building owners and operators, value improving asset NOI.

Best Practices for BAS, BMS

Building automation and management systems have historically functioned on their own with little automation and even less, if any, cross-communication. In the past there was no reason to integrate the various siloed building systems; however, because insights can come from analytics on building data and these insights can reduce operating costs, it is tremendously valuable to connect these systems and have a central repository of data. This repository enables reporting accessible at management’s fingertips wherever they are: on the property, in the corporate office or anywhere in the world on a mobile device.  But, as someone who began implementing technology solutions for real estate information systems over a decade ago, I’m going to throw out a word of caution: technology best practices should be followed to maximize results and minimize vulnerabilities, both of the project and the system.  Intel is razor focused on bringing information technology best practices to building systems (more details can be found on Intel’s Smart Building site).


Cybersecurity was a recurring theme at this year’s IBcon (see Realcom’s pre-conference advisory Cybersecurity and Commercial Real Estate – A Growing Industry Concern).  Most real estate professionals are not aware that Intel acquired trusted security provider McAfee in 2010. The Intel IoT Platform for connected buildings has security built in at all levels via McAfee’s embedded control and WindRiver edge management systems.  These systems prevent unauthorized code from running on the edge nodes, protect data leaks and threats,  and ensure that data transmitted to a cloud service is secure from network sniffers.  End-to-end security is how fears of connecting systems to the internet can be addressed.

Repair or Replace?

When something goes wrong in a unit, whether it is a basement boiler in a residential building, a rooftop HVAC unit on an office high-rise or anything in between, property managers constantly juggle repair or replace vs the budget. When it comes to IoT solutions for buildings, the question managers must ask is retrofit or replace as IoT solutions can reduce costs while at the same time improving tenant satisfaction in both scenarios.

The KMC Controls solution implemented on the BAS for Giséle-Lalonde Secondary School in Orléans, Ontario, Canada is an example of a retrofit solution where the Intel IoT Gateway and Intel’s Wind River operating system are used to provide a better learning environment for students and at the same time reduce operating costs. (For more details on KMC Controls, and this example check out this detailed look at the KMC Controls solution).The advantages that impact the bottom line were gained without making major capital expenditures on equipment because of the ability to add Intel’s gateway, robust operating system and security solutions to existing equipment.

When capital expenditures are necessary, such as in an HVAC replacement or new construction installation, it is important to find solutions that quantifiably improve energy use on an asset. Intel technology inside Daikin Applied‘s Rebel rooftop unit lowers operating costs by improving HVAC performance, predicting faults, enabling filter management based on use, not time, and syncing with weather forecasts to save energy. For more on Daikin Applied’s solution watch this video: Daikin Applied Transforming the HVAC Industry




Corporates Participating in the Silicon Valley Ecosystem

No one wants to be the next Kodak, Blockbuster or Borders.  Failing to embrace innovation comes with consequences. “Corporates around the world are worried about getting disrupted by Silicon Valley innovators,” explains Steffen Bartschat, a longtime Silicon Valley tech executive and technology scout for Faurecia, a $20B tier one automotive supplier. To keep up with rapid advances in technology, “they establish listening posts here, to connect with startup entrepreneurs and divine future trends,” Bartschat said.

Those listening posts come in various forms, from partnership with startup accelerators and incubators to creating their own innovation labs following in the footsteps of Citi with its 15 innovation labs around the globe.  Innovation is also outsourced by corporates to innovation consultancies such as HowCanWe, which focuses on helping companies innovate internally, and to organizations such as BCG Digital Ventures, launched by The Boston Consulting Group, whose teams around the globe take an idea or disruption, build businesses and/or products for partners and then bring solutions to market.

With many options for embracing innovation and leveraging the technology of the future, one challenge is knowing which is the best innovation investment decision. “Funding Innovation Labs in Silicon Valley is a similar problem as picking a nice bottle of California wine – sure, that $150 bottle is highly likely to be a better experience, but maybe the $25 bottle is good enough?  There is a vast range of dollars being spent on corporate innovation here in the Valley, and much of it is wasted,” Bartschat explained.

To shed more light on the issue of effectively participating in the Silicon Valley innovation ecosystem and generating a valuable return  Bartschat will moderate a panel for the German American Business Association in Palo Alto on June 4th with panelists from Deutsche Telekom, Schneider Electric, SanDisk and Crestlight Venture Productions.  The event is open to GABA members and non-members; tickets and more information can be found here.