Internet of Things

Recent Real Estate Tech Pieces

While this blog has been silent, I have not kept quiet!  Here are a few recent pieces related to real estate technology that have been posted elsewhere.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Smart Buildings & All Things IoT in this ControlTrends Interview

I usually do the interviewing but this time Eric Stromquist and Kenneth Smyers from ControlTrends turned the microphone and camera on me.  Check out the video below.

RealComm/IBcon 2016 Summary & Videos

JoshJimHoward.jpgThose of you familiar with my background know that it is in real estate technology. Those of you that understand my present passion know that it is in disruptive technologies, most of them enabled by the Internet of things.

June 21-24, 2016 I attended RealComm/IBCon 2016, the world’s largest real estate technology conference.  During the conference I had the opportunity to meet and talk to the most brilliant thought leaders in real estate.  A few of them stepped in front of the lens to share their views and the videos were posted on my Facebook page. Here they are for you to browse.

If you like a video, click through to the clip on Facebook and let me know via the comments on the video. Enjoy!


In this clip I talk with Jim Young, Co-Founder and CEO of Realcomm following the Realcomm 2016 opening session. Topics covered in the opening session included robots, drones, wearable technology, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, Internet of things, big data, intelligent building solutions, the shared economy and much more.

This is a quick peak at the #SmartBuildingshowcase at Realcomm/IBcon 2016. Real value generation. Real ROI. Real impact on asset NOI. All the big names are in this game. Companies represented in the case studies include Intel, Google, Microsoft, Cisco, Stanford University, and that’s just the ones with space here in Silicon Valley. Shanghai Tower, multiple buildings in Australia including Barangaroo South in Sydney, are some international buildings. The world is on board with IoT solutions for the building. Are you in the game?

Check out this demo of Microsoft HoloLens by Jordan Lawver from Trimble at RealComm. The future is here: #augmentedreality that creates real value.

The tours following RealComm/IBCon 2016 both impressed and inspired.  I toured the new Stanford University Central Energy Facility and interviewed Gerry Hamilton, Director of Facilities Energy Management at Stanford University’s Department of Sustainability & Energy Management. This is the place that provides the hot and cold water pumped all over campus to heat and cool buildings, labs and the new hospital. Everything is state of the art.  I invite you all to learn more at https://sustainable.stanford.edu/

In this interview I speak with Cityzenith CEO Michael Jansen at Realcomm 2016. The Cityzenith solution provides what they call ‘Big data for the built environment’ and Michael and his team won one of this year’s Digie awards. Note: The video got cut, so it jumps from talking about the property to the individual sensor, but you can look at floors too.

In this video I catch up with Eric Stromquist and Kenneth Smyers, the hosts of the ControlTalk podcast and show. It’s the place to hear about the latest in #cretech #smartbuilding and many other related topics in the real estate industry. Check it out at www.controltrends.org

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/

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.

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?”

IoT Anonymous

If there were such a thing as IoT Anonymous, I would most certainly be member and it most certainly would not be anonymous.  What is this IoT?  The Internet of Things is devices sensing, computing and/or transmitting information to other machines (M2M) via the Internet at a large scale resulting in actionable insight that enhances human capacity.

In the race to enhance human capacity via IoT solutions, IoT Anonymous members are jockeying for markets being created by billions of device solutions, jockeying for the VC dollars to make those solutions a reality, jockeying for the right to be the standards leader in IoT, and much more.  Why? Where the internet itself brought about productivity improvements and efficiency for people such as going from the postal system to email, IoT solutions will bring efficiency to things.  Every ‘thing’ in the world as an enabler of efficiency spells value.

In the race to understand the value of IoT solutions IoT addicts from around the world will convene tomorrow and Wednesday in San Francisco at the Internet of Things World Conference in the Moscone Center.  Find me there.  I’m looking for people creating real value, monetizable value, by putting IoT technology to work.  Tickets and free expo passes are available to IoT World by visiting http://iotworldevent.com/.

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