IoT

Super Bowl 50 In The World’s Smartest Stadium

Lets talk about why this is really interesting: Money.  The new home of the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, CA is not a smart stadium because it has 2,000 beacons, over 1,200 Wi-Fi hot spots providing wicked fast internet, 90 Kezar digital ticket scanners and a great app with amazing features; Levi’s Stadium is a smart stadium because it leverages data from and solutions possible through these technologies to create real, monetizable value that enables higher profits on games and other events.

When the greatest Internet of Things (IoT) technologies available today are appropriately deployed to make a smart building, they completely disappear.  They become part of an enriched experience, not a technology experience.  This weekend, Levi’s Stadium will become the largest smart building the world has experienced, either live at the stadium or live on television screens world wide. Let me share my first Levi’s Stadium experience with you.

2014 was a tough year.  I returned to Silicon Valley from Australia and gave myself 6 months to figure out what I wanted to do.  I began blogging here on WorkTechWork and dug in to the Silicon Valley technology scene.  During the year I completed a few good projects and built out a great network that includes many new friends.  Later in the year I spent 3 months working at a hardware startup in the connected home space that ran into major problems in November.  All opportunity with the startup was dead and gone by mid-December.  Jobless, without a project and with the holidays to celebrate as if nothing was wrong so as to not dampen the mood of my young kids, I was having a hard time keeping it together.

When the phone rang Saturday morning December 20th, I had no idea I was about to experience the smartest stadium in the world.  Jeff Stevens, who I had worked with volunteering with VLAB and on a couple side projects during the year, was on the line and asked if I wanted to go to a 49ers game that afternoon.  Since the days of Joe Montana and Steve Young I had followed the 49ers but had never been to a game.  That answer was YES!

Do you know the first thing I did with Jeff still on the phone?  Download the app.  I didn’t know where the seats were, what the game time was, who they were playing and at that moment I didn’t care.  I had only heard great things about the technology in the stadium and I knew I wanted that app.

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So why is this app wonderful for fans?

  • Instant game replays
  • In-Seat Delivery
    • Order that hot dog and beer and have it delivered to your seat
    • Order and have concessions delivered to a friend’s seat
  • Express Pickup
    • Order and beat the concession lines by picking up in the express line
  • Lines
    • Find the shortest restroom & concession lines
  •  Tickets
    • Check your tickets
    • Email & transfer tickets
    • Check in at the stadium
    • View upcoming events
    • Directions in the stadium
  •  Parking
    • Buy parking
    • Check parking
    • Map & directions to parking location

But it gets better because this app, which is the creation of Venue Next, enables Levi’s Stadium to gather data, fuse it with data from other sources (like those 2,000 Bluetooth beacons) and make data driven decisions that improve the profitability of an event and provide a better experience attendees.  It is an experience they’re willing to pay more for.  Just how much more?  In-seat delivery is available to every seat in the stadium and costs $5.

Is it worth it?  What if you miss the most amazing play of the game?  There is nothing that beats the thrill of a long run and touchdown.  During the game, 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick did just that with this 90-yard run.

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Click to watch

Some moments are best enjoyed not in line, but from the 3rd row at the 20 yard line, or wherever your seat might be.

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Miss this to save $5 and you’ll regret it.  I didn’t miss it and I won’t forget it.  If you’re reading this before heading to Super Bowl 50, download the app now!

The Levi’s Stadium experience isn’t just about the app.  The entire stadium is carefully laid out and you can tell every effort has been made to make it visually appealing.  You don’t see any of the technology because the thousands of antennas for all of that Wi-Fi, the additional cell phone carrier distributed antenna systems to provide cell coverage and all of those beacons are neatly tucked away.  You’re not distracted by cables and wires for speakers, you hear the game and feel how the sound system both amplifies the experience and at the same time balances the crowds energy.

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Some technologies, such as the gigantic displays at both ends of the field, are meant to be seen and enjoyed.  You can see both displays in this panoramic.  Notice how nicely the digital signage on the balcony fits into the scene.  The gigantic displays provide instant replays to the fans.  Advertising opportunities abound for brands who want to reach fans via the gigantic displays and smaller balcony screens.  They are part of the technology enriching the experience and creating monetizable value.

Towards the end of the game, Jeff and I met up with Robert Scoble and Rocky Barbanica to explore the stadium.  We checked out the different concession areas and watched the kicker kick a field goal right at us.  It was cool.  Everything about the stadium is cool. This includes the cool blue lights on the escalators.

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I get excited about technology working for you, especially when it is creating enriched experiences and real, monetizable value.  Smart Building technology in Levi’s Stadium is no exception.

Whether or not you’re in the stands this Sunday, take the opportunity to learn more about smart building technology on Feb 16th at the San Francisco Bay Area’s chapter of the MIT Enterprise Forum.  Tickets and info here.

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Ballasts, LEDs and Smart Lighting for Non-residential Buildings

One component of every nonresidential building may be an indicator of how complex creating a smart building really is: Ballasts.  Jesse Foote, Senior Research Analyst at Navigant Research explains, “You need a different kind of ballast for different lamp types (fluorescent, metal halide, high pressure sodium, etc), and for different tube sizes (T5, T8, CFL, etc), and for different wattages, and different numbers of lamps, and start types (instant start v programmed start), and ballast factors.  And, of course, there are multiple companies that manufacture ballasts.”

The result is that deployed today in nonresidential buildings around the world are hundreds, maybe even thousands of different kinds of ballasts.  Ballasts have been the go-to solution for regulating energy in commercial lighting for decades.  But with the entrance of LED lighting, which in some cases boasts 50% energy savings, runs up to 5 times longer and produces a higher quality light, ballast moderated lighting installations are on the decline.

Ballast Unit Shipments by Region, World Markets: 2015-2024

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(Source: Navigant Research)

While shipments are decreasing it doesn’t necessarily mean that building owners, operators and facility managers are rapidly replacing ballasts, because doing so is costly, labor intensive and facilities management does not typically get a sweet allocation of a building budget. These costs present a problem companies are vying to solve.

Alternatives have entered the market that make switching to LED less costly and less invasive.  One example, Lunera, developed LED lightbulbs that makes it possible to switch from CFL, from metal halide and from high-pressure sodium bulbs without replacing the ballasts or fixtures.  Thier retrofit solution brings the benefit of LED without the drawback of ballast replacement.

A second example is Enlighted, who’s investor Q Motiwala from Draper Nexus will speak on an upcoming MIT Enterprise Forum panel on Smart Buildings.  Enlighted has come up with a creative business model to address the FM budget issue.  The Enlighted Global Energy Optimization™ (GEO™) financing option offers Enlighted customers the opportunity to get the benefit of intelligent LED systems without a major capital outlay.

Enlighted CEO Joe Costello recently explained in an interview by Stacey Higginbotham on Episode 30 of the Internet of Things Podcast, “You don’t cough up a single penny. We come into the company.  We say…we’re going to design it, going to install it, going to finance it.  You don’t have to put up a cent.  It doesn’t impinge on your balance sheet one iota and you start getting the energy savings right away.”

This is a disruptive financing model with disruptive technology in a complex industry ripe for disruption.  It is no wonder the Draper Nexus investment in Enlighted is part of a $150M fund dedicated to smart building related technologies.  Silicon Valley investors looking for real value from the Internet of Things are finding it in smart building solutions.  For more information on smart buildings, check out the upcoming MIT Enterprise Forum panel on Smart Buildings to be held Feb 16, 2016 at SRI.

 

Markets Not Ready for Smart Home; Ready for Smart Building

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BlackRock San Francisco Office

Most people even in developed countries don’t know what a smart home is or what it can do.  Those involved in this game, especially in Silicon Valley where Internet of Things hype abounds, don’t realize just how many millions of people have no idea about the smart gadgetry entering the market today, even if they have heard of Google’s Nest.  People outside the hype don’t know how to use it.  They don’t know how it will benefit their lives.

And more importantly, most of the millions of people who don’t know, don’t actually care!  They have lights, thermostats and locks that work just the way they’ve worked for their lifetime.  Compelling reasons do not exist for them to change to security violation prone and buggy hardware and software, software that is currently delivering a less-than-ideal user experience because the leaders in the field haven’t had enough time to discover what the true UX ought to be.

On the other hand, the smart building market has been primed for smart building technology even though the people involved wouldn’t necessarily say they want a smart building. Building owners, operators and facility managers are looking for solutions to their problems, solutions that the IoT can deliver. But why has the pump been primed so that they are looking for these solutions?

Green building initiatives and legislation are pushing building investors, owners and managers to look seriously at energy consumption.  Talk to a building owner, operator or facilities manager about ‘smart’ or ‘IoT’ and their eyes will glaze over. Talk to them about technology delivering 83% improved occupant satisfaction while decreasing energy consumption in buildings 15-47%, as Building Robotics’ solution Comfy does, and they’re all ears.

The real estate crisis also made owners, operators and facility managers acutely aware of every cent on a budget, engendering a focus on lowering expenses and increasing operational efficiencies.  Their eyes will get excited again when you mention technology enabling operational efficiencies, the likes of which they haven’t seen before.   Anyone who has worked on a building budget (and my eyes saw hundreds at BlackRock over nearly 6 years) knows a % decrease in operating expenses trumps the same % reduction in building energy consumption every time.  When you cut tenant hot/cold complaints by over 90% that is a huge operational savings and that is just one area smart buildings reduce operating expenses.

Building occupants are also demanding smarter environments, open plans, flexible working space and building wide cell phone and Wi-Fi coverage.  Those same eyes will light up when you talk about these things and how they improve tenant satisfaction and comfort.

Because of the costs of managing large corporate campuses, companies are looking for ways to improve space utilization.  Companies such as connected lighting provider Enlighted can not only provide energy efficient lighting but also shine the light on space planning challenges and through data quantitatively answer the question, “Is our new open floor plan working?”

Smart buildings will be the center of the discussion on the most interesting panel discussion on commercial real estate technology the world has seen, and it will be held in Silicon Valley at SRI a place known for producing innovation.  Building Robotics CEO Andrew Krioukov and Enlighted investor Q Motiwala from Draper Nexus will participate in the event alongside other leaders in the smart building space.  More on the event can be found here: https://www.vlab.org/events/smart-buildings/

 

Building Automation Isn’t New; Home Automation Is

 

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With the invention of the elevator and the development of the world’s first sky scrapers, buildings and building systems became larger and more complex and building automation was born to automate and control individual building functions.  While some systems for the residents of luxury homes have been created to automate some experiences in recent decades, relatively speaking the entire idea of automating the home has been something of science fiction until quite recently when startups entered the market with connected objects that could be automated such as thermostats and lights.  Because of this head start, commercial real estate operators recognize and understand building automation while home automation is relatively foreign to home owners.

Home automation is just cutting its teeth with devices such as Nest and Philips hue, while Building Automation Systems or BAS have already developed offspring, BMS or Building Management Systems which network together multiple BASs and the BEMS or Building Energy Management Systems that use info from BMS and BAS along with information from utilities, information from the utility provider and even weather information through APIs to create a holistic energy management system that incorporates disparate variables into a cohesive energy management system.

One might be thinking that with all of this, a building is already ‘smart’ or a part of the Internet of Things or IoT.  Based on some definitions of IoT, this might actually be the case.  But stunning entrepreneurs and a select number of savvy investors believe that deploying hundreds of additional sensors in buildings will generate millions of data points that will actually create millions of dollars of value by harnessing the power of analytics to arrive at insights that will change the way owners, operators and facilities managers understand and operate their buildings.  Changes, savings and value generation will come in energy and operations as well as in other areas, like understanding and optimizing space utilization.

Smart buildings will be the center of the discussion on the most interesting panel discussion on commercial real estate technology the world has seen, and it will be held in Silicon Valley at SRI a place known for producing innovation.  More on the event can be found here: https://www.vlab.org/events/smart-buildings/

IoT Meets API at Apigee #ILoveAPIs

Check out these videos from the Apigee I Love APIs conference in San Jose, CA this week.  If you click the little Facebook icon in the lower right hand corner of the video you’ll be able to read my intro to each video.  Enjoy!  And while you’re there, feel free to visit my Facebook page and check out more of the things I’m up to.  Likes, Comments, Shares and Follows are also welcome and will actually help you see more of the things I do as well as other interesting things from other sources that may be of interest to you.

A couple of notes – To view in higher quality video click HD.  Audio, unfortunately, is as good as I can get it after scrubbing it a bit to reduce the background noise.  New hardware is in the works for me, both camera and microphone, to improve on the audio quality for these videos.  I have to thank everyone who has contributed, either running the camera behind the scenes or offering comments and suggestions on how to improve from audio to video to content to length and more.  Keep the feedback coming!

SAP Beacons For Smart Building Maintenance

SAP AR

Revio

Philips Hue

Sereneti Kitchen

Yonomi

There will probably be one more video from the conference that was graciously recorded by someone who offered to use their nicer phone/camera to record but hasn’t yet provided a copy.  I’ll add it on Facebook and tack it on here when it is available.

Pasadena Becomes IoT Capital of the World Next Week

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Next Monday and Tuesday Pasadena, CA becomes the IoT Capital of the world with the GizWorld LA conference in the Pasadena Convention Center with special guest, City of Pasadena CIO Phillip Leclair.  I have a 50% discount code for you below.

If you’ve been following me on Facebook, something I recommend that you do, then you’ll know that I am heavy into planning the global series of conferences for GizWorldConf.com. Everything at GizWorldConf is focused on the Internet of things. The Internet of Things is changing and it is changing rapidly. Why is that? People are beginning to understand that the Internet of things is more than hype and it is actually a value generating tool. It has implications for generating value in all areas of enterprise and stands to be the most disruptive innovation since the Industrial Revolution.

During next week’s event I will moderate two value-driven sessions and participating in a Fireside Chat with MediaTek.  The two panels are:

  • How Smart Cities will make our cities greener, more connected and safer
  • Successful Business Models for IoT

I am looking forward to engaging with the Internet of things entrepreneurs and leaders that are participating in the conference next week. One of those is Jerry Wilmink, founder and CEO of WiseWear who I’ve written about here on my blog and here on FashNerd.com because #WearableTech should and can be beautiful and seamlessly integrated into life. If any of you are in the LA area and would like to meet feel free to reach out (easiest way to get me is probably Facebook).

If any of you are interested in participating in the conference and would like a last-minute deal on an expo or marketing package, please let me know and I’ll be happy to set you up. The attendee registration link & code are: GizWorldConf.com and code IOTLA50 for a 50% discount.

Touring the Target and Sears Smart Home Concept Stores

Both Target and Sears have smart home concept stores full of consumer #IoT devices.  Check out these video tours of their retail experiences for a glimpse at what the #ConnectedHome can do for you.

Target: Video taken on Friday, September 4, 2015

Learn more about solutions available at the Target concept store at OpenHouse.Target.com.

 

Sears: Video taken Friday, August 28, 2015

Learn more about solutions available at the Sears concept store at Sears Connected Solutions.

Three Important IoT Sessions

IoTInfluencers2015Here’s what I love about IoT conferences:  There is so much excitement about what is possible.  Each one is like a mini CES and because they are smaller you have a better chance of seeing what is going on and interacting with the creators of products and solutions.

I’ll be at IoT Influencers Summit next Tuesday at the 49ers stadium so today I took the time to go through the agenda.  Here is info on three important sessions I’ll be attending.  I also threw in a couple of notes on a bonus session for you that I, unfortunately, will miss because of a commitment to speak via video conference to EE and CS students at Zhejiang University later that evening.  If you have time to attend the IoT Influencers Summit and haven’t registered, go here to do it and use code JB30 for 30% off.

Important Session #1: Main Stage, 8:15am-Creating Value with the Internet of Things

The first session in the morning starts bright and early and the early bird gets the worm in this case when Bruce Sinclair presents on how to create value with IoT.  If you are not in IoT to make money, then move over and let the rest of the world learn from your mistakes.  As technology lovers sometimes we love technology a little too much and love looking in the mirror to do market research.  We can’t do both of those things all of the time and still create value in IoT.  Sinclair holds a monthly meetup focused on value from IoT and this value-driven IoT addict is a regular attendee.  Sinclair also has a podcast with in-depth interviews of key influencers in the IoT space.  His session promises to be worth getting to Santa Clara early.

Important Session #2: Main Stage, 3pm-Solving Interoperability

I’m really looking forward to hearing from Michael Wolf in person.  I’ve listened to him on The Smart Home Show for what seems like forever in the lifetime of the smart home.  If you’re a smart home fan and haven’t tuned in, do so and enjoy.  Wolf will lead a discussion on interoperability, a HUGE issue in the IoT space.  So many people are trying to solve this problem in different ways.

inHome, the IoT hardware startup I worked at last year, tried to solve the problem by creating a piece of hardware in as many verticals as possible and also do it on a unique platform that wasn’t interoperable with any other platform initially (although it was on the roadmap, this approach was easier given the unsettled platform wars and other issues where control was preferred initially over interoperability).  Its sad when the only proof of a former startup is through a web archive but I wouldn’t trade the lessons learned. Creating hardware for everything isn’t the answer, even if its darn cool to control up to 250 devices of 7 different device types through one app.

I’ve chatted many times over the past 18 months with both Muzzley and Yonomi, both app of app control solutions for IoT devices (if inHome were still alive I’d be getting my hardware into their apps and if you’re a hardware maker you should too).  App for apps is a different approach to solving the problem through software.  They are both focused on control for the customer, essentially becoming a universal remote control for the connected home.  Sounds good, but when you get into the nitty gritty, which I hope to see happen at this session, it gets complex-too complex for the average consumer.

Interoperability is a problem we have to solve in the IoT space before the products can go main stream.  We cannot have people feeling like they are working for their IoT devices, their IoT devices need to work for them (gotta throw that WorkTechWork mantra in here…it is super important).

Important Session #3: Main Stage, 3:50pm-The Rise of Intelligent Buildings

With 9 years of real estate technology project management and implementations under my belt, IoT for the building is more than interesting.  There is something special about IoT enabled building automation, management and energy solutions that set them far apart from smart home solutions.  Both buildings and homes benefit from IoT solutions for energy efficiency and security.  But while the home offers relatively little money for the homeowner beyond these two things, smart building solutions also offer savings in the form of operational efficiencies.  You’ve seen what I’ve said about Intel’s smart building solutions Here, about smart apartments Here, and about Telesense Here.  I hope to have good things to say in the future after this session.

PS I’m in the middle of doing a deep dive into smart buildings and building a team for VLAB around the topic.  Want to get involved? Give me a buzz.

Bonus for You: Main Stage, 5:30pm-Postcards From The Edge

Don’t be like me and miss this session.  Robert Scoble is always interesting and has a knack for getting people to talk about technology in ways that make it seem like the world really is going to go around better and faster.  Attending a full day of IoT sessions and then doing nothing different is a waste of time.   Check this session out to answer the question, “Where do we go from here?”

Apple Watch Button vs Apple Watch

Which do you prefer?  I’m testing both.

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One has unlimited battery life, an always-on display and comes with a $20 price tag.

One has many more features and comes with a $400 price tag.

Here is the problem.  I have talked to three people who own the watch this week about their experience.  One occasionally wears it, one wore it for a month, one wore it for a week.  Is there a problem here?  What is it about this device that seems to be turning people off?  I really want to know because I’m starting the experience (now day 3).  I’m not convinced yet whether it is the greatest thing since sliced bread, if it is more like 10 day old stale gluten free bread when all you really want is a steak or if it is something in between.

Is the Apple Watch able to put technology to work for you? Can you persuade me?

You can reach me with your opinion, your experience, or if you just want to vent (or boast) about how the Apple Watch does or doesn’t enrich your life.  Also, if you’d like the button version I can hook you up.

Reach out

On Facebook

On Twitter

On LinkedIn

On the Contact Page

Or call/text me.  My number is (408) 466-xxxx where xxxx = the year I moved to Silicon Valley, 1997.  Good year.  Maybe I’ll answer your call with my watch…

Real Estate Professionals – IoT Means Improved NOI

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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).

Security

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

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