Energy Efficiency

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?”

Technology Working for You: Real Estate Technology Saving Millions

Technology in the Real Estate industry is changing the world and saving building owners, operators and tenants millions of dollars in the process.  Real Estate, for those who do not know this, is traditionally a place where things move slowly.  For those who are outside the Real Estate industry, think about the time it takes to build and purchase a new home.  It is not as simple as purchasing a candy bar from a vending machine.

Technology in the Real Estate industry also moves slowly and while other industries have made progress at break neck speeds, Real Estate has been a late adopter.  There are, however, several reasons why Real Estate is becoming an interesting arena for technologists.  Today I had the privilege of attending a webinar hosted by Realcomm where real estate technology companies presented some of those reasons.  Spoiler alert:  The best reason is millions of dollars saved; I really like that reason and every company featured here has the ability to do just that!


With the objective to lower costs, reduce risks and enhance experience, Intelligent Buildings is a leader in smart building consulting.  As more and more building operators focus on really knowing how their buildings operate so that they can be more profitable, Intelligent Buildings offers valuable insight into how to know what buildings are doing in order to reduce operating costs.  While many older buildings have escaped the need to improve performance by passing most energy costs onto tenants per the terms of leases, regulation is coming into play requiring higher performance.  Tenants are also demanding more efficient facilities in order to reduce their utility costs.  Low-performance is no longer acceptable.  Intelligent Buildings helps improve performance by collecting available data and using advanced software technology to find patterns and identify opportunities for savings, savings in the millions.


You’re in an elevator, the lights flicker and a moment later you’re enveloped in darkness and the movement stops.  Claustrophobia! Agoraphobia! Whether this is something that haunts your nightmares or has actually happened to you, it certainly is not something you want to experience.  Selex ES is using technology to do amazing things, including preventing the aforementioned trapped in an elevator situation.  In large power outages like the major blackout in New York City, utility providers know 30 to 40 seconds before an outage that an outage will occur.  By connecting that valuable information from power suppliers to building elevator systems, an elevator can be instructed to stop at the next floor and open the doors seconds before the lights flicker and the world goes dark.  Hooray for technology making life more bearable!

Selex ES can do more than make life more bearable.  What would you do if you came home from work, opened the utility bill and it was $3,000 for last month?  Most people would experience some sort of anxiety.  What most people don’t realize is during certain periods of the year, it is not uncommon to spend $3,000 an hour or more for the energy needs of a large office building.  You read that right, $3,000 hour.  At this rate of consumption, even small changes in energy use can make or break the budget.  Selex ES brings the data from various sensors in a building together to produce energy savings and at the same time increase occupant comfort.  You see, building operators are under obligation per the terms of leases to provide a comfortable climate for building occupants.  Building operators cannot simply turn down the heat when it gets too cold outside and turn down the AC when it is a scorcher outside.  By monitoring temperatures and occupancy closely, though, they can adjust how much energy is used to heat and cool a building.  One sample implementation resulted in reducing electrical consumption by 10%, a savings of over $1 million a year!

Fischer Logo with tag

Fischer believes in a simple process to adding value through technology.  In real estate, simple is key and their solutions are designed by real estate experts.  By aggregating data, visualizing that data in meaningful ways, automating business processes based on insight from the visualization and then reporting the results, Fischer guides real estate businesses on a path to leveraging technology to generate cost savings.  One client saved $4 million over a period of two years by taking disparate systems and automating processes.


There are tags on our cloths, our food and literally everything we consume.  We tag our photos, we hash tag our tweets, we tag blog posts.   Sky Foundry takes tagging to the next level in the real estate world by using tags in various disparate building systems in order to leverage big data and turn data into actionable insight. This results in cost savings worth millions of dollars.  Now tag that!