“I'm not sure if connected building is, kind of, the end point. But I do think it's the starting point. And that's often missed in the conversations around smart because, you know, if you have a maturity model or a ladder of progression, where is starting place in that?”

- Justin Kirby, Market Engagement Specialist

Episode Summary

This episode with special guest Justin Kirby is a fresh and perhaps the only sensible take on smart buildings and retrofit opportunities in brownfield projects! With an academic background in human-centered design, Justin has worn a number of hats throughout his career, spanning cross-cutting areas like technology, sustainability, design, and marketing communications. He speaks with Umesh about frameworks like Jobs-to-be-done to shed light on how a smart building is not a destination, but a starting point. Moreover, he uses the term 'connected' as a better representation of the smart building ecosystem, rather than terms like 'intelligent' or 'autonomous' buildings. Tune in to the conversation to uncover a wealth of insight on how everything ranging from solutions, technology, and infrastructure should be centered around the user if organizations are to strike bigger conversations with customers and achieve their desired outcomes. We would love to hear your views on this episode! Drop a message here, or connect with Justin or me on Linkedin.

Full Transcript

[Umesh] : Hello everyone. Uh, welcome back to yet another episode of the Forever Forward Podcast. And for those of you who do not know, we've, we've done a bit of re in terms of our name. We were earlier known as the Facilities Management Times podcast, and we thought that since we were looking. At, at wider areas of digital transformation, operations and maintenance and, and smart buildings and whatnot. We thought that we would ought to give ourselves a name, which best does justice to what we are talking about. And today I have a very, very special guest with me, Justin, um, you know, uh, from, from uk, who is, who is, uh, who've been, who've known for a little over a month. But we've had countless number of, of, of amazing conversations, uh, already. And which prompted me to reach out to him and say, Hey, you would have to be on a podcast because, uh, a lot of people ought to hear, ought to hear him, his views, which are lateral, rational and like a breath of fresh air when it comes to everything. We talk about spot buildings. So I'll probably just hold back on that quickly. Let Justin say hello to the, uh, to the, to the audience. Hey Justin, would you like to say hello to everyone? Yeah, hi there. Um, should I give you a little bit of background and context? Absolutely. Yeah, so look, I mean, I've worn a number of hats over my career. You know, entrepreneur, entrepreneur, um, consultant, contractor, um, and really across a number of sort of cross-cutting areas. So technology, sustainability, design, I guess, and marketing communications would probably be, be the kind of major ones, but that also how that marketing crosses over into design and innovation. So my actual academic background is human centered design. And so I was, um, approached recently to become this kind of somewhat. Bizarre title in some ways, but um, probably not in others, which is the smart building and sustainability advocate at a company called Ideal, who basically, um, wanted to have kind of different kind of conversations with their customers. Partly because, you know, what they do in the smart building space can be seen by some as really a commodity because it's a networking side of things. But actually that's a really important and fundamental part of enabling smart buildings. So they want to kind of change the conversation away from it just being, you know, this is just a whole load of switches and with feeds and speeds into why, you know, what they do really matters within the smart building space. to be very fair and and honest. Justin, I don't think they could have found anyone else to be a, uh, an advocate. So good job done by the recruitment person. Whoever recruited you mate must have been exceptional. Uh, but, but again, and to the audience, you know, uh, what struck me about my conversation with Justin is that he's probably one of the only few ones who's used concepts like, or who's spoken about concepts like jobs to be done and, and all the value proposition canvases and stuff while talking about everything that we, we, we have spoken about. And I'm sure you'll get to hear, uh, sort of more of it and, and, and this conversation. And again, uh, you know, obviously Justin's made my life likely difficult is we will not have set questions. We will have a theme. We'll, we'll see how we go from here. So, so the theme that, that, that both of us start would be very relevant is to look at the entire. Context setting of what? Smart building. Again, there's so much being spoken about and I'll, I'll probably be the, the last person to be talking on smart building. So I'll let, uh, Justin do the talking and I'll probably be only asking the questions, but, but again, drilling, then drilling down further from a very broad level to, to what we see as a very great opportunity and a risk as well. But, but more of an opportunity which is the application of it in the, in the environment of Brownfield projects or, or retrofit environment. Uh, in, in, in that sense. So firstly, just in my first question, and this is something that stuck when, when we were trying to define or understand, because smart buildings has a lot of definitions and we, we don't have to do a job of, of trying to add another definition, uh, which might just end up confusing people more than convincing them about smart buildings, but you use the word connected as a better representation of the ecosystem. Why would that be so, . Well, I think look, one of the things which happens when you've kind of worked in other business areas as you can see patterns, you know, both of problems and solutions now. Mm-hmm. . And one of the first things that I do when I look at a new area is look at the terminology. So if you look at smart buildings, that's not the only term being used to describe them. Intelligent buildings, autonomous buildings, and generally those terms come from people who have some acts to grind about why it might be called one thing or the other. Mm-hmm. . So, um, one of the things that I have seen in other areas, so for example, in the social impact space, there's a very famous MA model called the ladder of participation. Mm-hmm. . Okay. Which kind of almost shows this kind of layers of, or levels of how much participation you can have in co-creation, collaborative innovation, social innovation, et cetera. Mm-hmm. . . And in a way it kind of goes from, you know, the most necessary thing you need to have, to have any actual real participation to, you know, where it's kind of perhaps relatively trivial to where it's like totally people are engaged in the process. Right. And there are other people, which, there are other models which show maturity models or, you know, progressions, famous one being the experience economy, which, you know, shows a progression of commodities to goods, to, to products, to services, to experience, to transformation. So suddenly those are kind of lenses. I used to look at something and I, I'd have to say that, , I'm not sure if connected building is the kind of end point. Mm-hmm. . But I do think it's the starting point. And that's often missed in the conversations around smart because, you know, if you have a maturity model or a ladder of prog or you know, some form of ladder or some form of progression, where is starting place in that? I mean, it isn't, you know, a building being flu, full blown ai, autonomous being, you know, which has, you know, which can run the building without any of us being needed to do anything. So, you know, the first starting place seems to me is you have to connect everything up. Because unless you connect everything up, and by that I mean the operational technology, the iot, physical devices, digital devices, et cetera, there's no data. Being taken to any of the platforms which are able to analyze it and then potentially automate any of that to technology to bring all the things that everyone says. Smartness is about, you know, like more sustainable buildings, healthier buildings, you know, better understanding of usage of buildings, better provision of, you know, customer experience, et cetera, or user tenant experience. So, you know, the starting place has to be how you connect everything up and therefore, I don't know if necessary connected buildings is the best term for what you, the where you, your destination. But it is definitely where you have to start. But I think it's a, obviously I, you know, it did not come to my mind when you first spoke about it, but right now, when you, when you probably, uh, stressed about this point again and explained it, I think it, it. It's common sense, but, but to be very fair, it's, it's like, it, it doesn't strike you, right? You say when, when, you know, when we talk about smart buildings, we often talk about the end outcome, or we have the end outcome in mind, and which can be very different for different set of individuals or stakeholders in, in, in, in that sense. But when we talk about connected and lay down that you may have any outcome in mind, but the number one thing to start is to be able to connect the dots or the infrastructure and so on and so forth. So, which kind of makes things relatively simple, uh, relatively, uh, not in absolute proportion, but then the, the, the aspect in, could you further break it down? Like when, when, let's say if someone were to use this, this concept of looking at connected buildings to, to, obviously they should be knowing on what are the outcomes they intend to drive, because the outcomes could be very different. How does this change in the context? You wanted to say something, you wanna ride something? Yeah, I was just gonna say, look, I think it's kind of relatively simple because I'll use Star Trek as an analogy, but you know, all the stories are about what happens with Captain Kirk and the bridge, okay? Mm-hmm. , the only time the engine room is ever bought into it is when the Diliithium crystals aren't working anymore. And I think that's a bit like smart buildings because every, what excites everybody is all the kind of apps and platforms and what you can do with all of that. And you know, that makes absolutely se absolute sense because in a way that's the bit that you know, is very tangible. You can see the dashboard and it's representation of what the delivery might be to the. Hmm. But none of that is possible without some of the other stuff underneath it. And that bit is often hidden and not thought about. And so there's a kind of distortion, you know, a glitch in the matrix or whatever. There's a sort of distortion field around smart buildings because all the energy and enthusiasm and excitement is about one end of it, but that end of it doesn't happen, isn't possible without the other end of it. And the, it's the thinking can often become not joined up because of that, because it's, you know, what are we, it's all about, and you know, and rightly so, you know, any human-centered design or you know, User centered design has to start by putting yourself in the shoes of who it is you are designing for. So, absolutely right. But it's about outcomes and all of those things that we talked before, jobs to be done, you know, pains, gains, challenges, all of those things that you're trying to do. And, and I guess that's another thing which is kind of problematic from those people in the world of IT too. Mm-hmm. because traditionally they've been in the business of selling products. Hence what I said before about all about switches, being about feeds and speeds, you know, what is the. , what support counts, you know, how do we IP address each thing, which connects to it? What's the speed going through it in things like that. But actually in, and, and when you're in the smart building space, and particularly when you're trying to offer services around that kind of core, central, common converged, integrated network. Again, another area where there's about 20 different terms of Is that you're having to think about outcomes. You're having to think much more about solutions, not about products. So it's inevitable, but from what I've seen and in a relatively short space, I've seen in it, but those kind of two size aren't as kind of joined up as they could be. As they could be. So, I mean, let's talk about the connectivity between the two. When you said, you know, one is the outcome, which probably you are one most people are excited about, but I'm assuming thinking about connectivity and the, and the, and and the connectivity from the perspective of thinking about it as a connected building or as as a connected infrastructure, uh, must be very different when you are doing a greenfield versus, uh, brownfield, uh, sort of retrofit environment. What's your take on that? Well, you beat me to it because that was gonna be my next point. And I think like the reason why this connected thing is, and that progression is important because, look, I kind of. Here's what my, the pros and cons of the, um, greenfield or new builders, some of the, as it's often called in the construction area, is that in some ways everything has to be done at the onset. You know, you've kind of, you have to think it all through. You're gonna be. Buying a huge amount of, you know, new plants and other operational technology, right? You've gotta think about the devices, you've gotta think about the network. You've gotta think about that all being connected up and that all being connected up in a kind of schedule, which, you know, maps onto the construction plan of works. Cause you know, there's other tradespeople going into the building trying to do their bit where, you know, whatever bit of a mechanical and electrical plumbing they're supposed to be doing, you are having to do all of this in and around them. So it's much more logical ordered. . And, but the downside is those specifications are often written two or maybe more years before the building actually goes live. So at the point it goes live, often the technology in it, unless there's been some more iterative thinking throughout the process, was specified quite long before that building went live. Okay. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. And therefore, and then it's really expensive to have to change anything by them because you've just made this huge investment in putting that infrastructure in place. But then, so I think in the Brownfield or retrofit, but you know, everyone's talking about, um, that connected piece. So inevitably a new build or greenfield, um, project is going to be connected at the onset. Okay. Completely. Because it has to be, if. , the ambition to was to be smart and get one of the different scores, which are out there, whether it's platinum, this or whatever that, Hmm. That's the ambition and everything has to go there. So that's, inevitably it's going to be connected. But in the, in the brownfield retrofit scenario, that is your starting place. , we have to think about how we're going to make it a connected building first before we ever think about it being smart, autonomous, or intelligence. Because we probably have existing assets already here, right? There's probably a whole load of other assets, digital ones, sensors, et cetera, which we need to deploy to help give some of those kind of tenant and user experience improvements, air quality monitoring, density monitoring, you know, maybe some of the, Some of the, um, energy optimization might not need, might not be completely all there at the onset because that's about getting information from all the plants and all the different operational technology. But there are things you could be doing. at the beginning. And one of the things you're gonna have to be doing is thinking about the converged or common or integrated network and how you're gonna PLAn and how you might scale that. Because that's going, and not just that, but also how you do the edge or you know, a lot of people call it different things, but above the network is the edge or data integration layer, often through platforms like Tridium Niagara to help get the data to go from the different devices to, well, whoever platform it is that is going to be sitting at the other end of it. So all of that needs to be fought through. But what tends to happen is that someone commissions the new C C T V system, okay? Mm-hmm. And with the new CCTV system, they buy a network and because they've invested that money in that network, that money which could have been used from network could have gone towards making a network. For everything could have connected to So suddenly that, not just the CCTV, not just the cc d e. Yes. That could have been used for everything, but they've just invested in a network just for the cctv. So all that budget has suddenly been pushed away. So there's a kind of much more upfront thinking and about like, okay, we know where we want to get to. Mm. Cause that's the whatever we are gonna call the next layer or whatever we're gonna call the progression from connected to smart inte bv until estate. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And you are heading in that way. But you're gonna have to start here and, and start there. So if you're thinking about any kind of refresh of any operational technology or even network refresh, So information technology, that is the point at which you start saying, okay, we need to get a lot more people in the room than just the IT person or the building management person and start putting them together to try and plan this so that we can start building a roadmap, seeing what assets we have, seeing what assets we will, you know, physical and digital assets we will need. So I think it's a very different way of going about things than it is with the, um, and I think we discussed it before is, I mean, I don't think it's completely true, but it's a kind of useful kind of analogy or metaphor to kind of describe it. , but because construction projects are waterfall for a reason. Exactly. That was what was coming to That was a great experience. Yes. Cause so buildings don't fall down, you know, that's why you do a waterfall. Project management, like any engineering project, you don't want bridges not meeting in the middle. Right. So you have to have, you don't want some agile thing. Well, we're gonna maybe get here . So, but so in a way the, what happens with the information technology or ICT infrastructure is it kind of follows that waterfall methodology by just virtue of necessity of what else is going on, on the construction project. Um, not necessarily after practical completion, but up, up until, up until, up until, makes sense. Yeah. Makes sense. Mention in the, um, yeah, in the brownfield retrofit, I think you, there's a much greater opportunity to be. More agile because again, they can potentially suffer from the same problem about specifications being out of date by the time something happens. So let's say you do a an initial thing with some plans, or by the time you've installed that and it's all operational, then things will have moved on anyway. So you need to be able to keep kind of doing the iterations, evolving it, et cetera, et cetera. So Justin, if you were to take a step back, I mean like you on, on the Greenfield versus Brownfield, I remember in in that conversation you made a very, you know, a, a, a comment that kind of, again, is simple but powerful is that when, when everything is in the construction stage, it has to be delivered. So you ha there are, there are specifications for everything. There is very, there's like a zero room for any deviation. There is, there is like, you know, really. So if, if the network has to be in a particular way, way, the devices have to be connected and stuff like that, all have to be as per specifications, which have been drilled down. But when you look at the Brownfield, the challenge then becomes is there an a in greenfield, the number of stakeholders were limited. You had the, probably the company that was doing the construction, the company that owns the asset and, and there's a transfer handhold process. Very little of it is, is like e e Even in the handover process, facilities management companies for large infrastructure don't really come into play. They've been trying to shout at the top of their lungs. They get us involved while the handover is happening, but I don't think anyone ever listens. That hasn't happened. But as soon as you come into the brownfield or retrofit environment, you have a way more number of stakeholders. All of a sudden you have, uh, um, companies which are into applications or apps or, uh, companies which are into hardware or BMS companies or facility management. So you have a way more different stakeholders. Then it's just a question for your, for, for a company like yours, which wants to have a more broad conversation. I mean, how do you even bring all of them together? Like what, what do you think is going well? Because at the end of day, just, just 1, 1, 1 final point before you is because you know, your, as you said, you know, your work essentially is the starting point. But, but one needs to know where they might want to go and there's just too many people, uh, in the room now. Okay. So, Two things. One is the point you made about the fm, which I think is really interesting because in the past, most of the specifications are coming from what we would call building consultants. So there may be a division of a, you know, engineering company or pot potential, something like that. You know, I'm not gonna name the names, but there are a lot of them and Correct. Some of them have smart building consultancy teams within them. Okay. So that's where specifications. But you are now seeing people who used to work in those kind of building consultants, setting up similar consultancies in the FM companies. Mm-hmm. Without naming names, um, to do exactly that. So basically the fm and we're talking about the, you know, From the four bigger ones that everyone knows. Mm-hmm. , um, you know, they are having special digital advisories and now they're, um, arms and now they're having smart building consultancy arms within them, which I think is trying to address this problem is, look, you know, at some point the FM or building services company is going to be having to manage all of this. Right. Therefore it makes sense for whoever specifying it to be, you know, at least have involved, if not doing the specification come from that side of things. Hmm. You know, and I think it will have end up being horses for courses about who decides, you know, whether they go with the traditional, more, you know, the traditional route of building consultants or they go with this kind of new breed. But I'm beginning to see emerge, but I mean, I'm only beginning to see that emerge within the time I've, um, You know, when they're truly writing the actual specifications that, you know, people like ideal receive. Um, in answer, do you have a question? How do you deal with the multiple stakeholders? Well, I could tell you how I'm trying to be, how I've been trying to deal with this Well, that makes sense. Well, this is part of it, really. You know, I'm having conversations with you, you know, you are on, you know, that I've met some other people in the cloud space and app space and had conversations with them and, you know, I, you may have seen on LinkedIn, but I hosted a, you know, I, I didn't host it. I basically curated an mc it, but. Kind of underlying principle behind the creation was how do you get people from across the industry in one room to come and speak to each other? So that had investor developers, it had building landowners, it had construction companies, it had building consultants, it had MEPs, it had BMS people, it had platform people all in the, and I think it may have even had, you know, passive infrastructure, structured cabling type people. And it had a major IT vendor behind the kind of I C T products. Hmm. You know, behind the network and other aspects of smart building. So, you know, the part of the purpose was that was at least how can you facilitate a conversation. Now, clearly that's on a very small scale for, for one, you know, company in that whole, in that ecosystem, I mean, , I think some of the certification bodies would argue that that's what they're also trying to achieve. And in a way that their certifications are the kind of embodiment of that kind of interchange, you know, the big conversation that they help facilitate and research and analysis around that. But they do, you know, that's, and given that a lot of people are getting certified by those things, maybe there's, that's the proof in the pudding. So I think, you know, that's one of the things, what I would say is I haven't really seen anyone as yet produce a kind of structured blueprint, you know, for a kind of retrofit. Brownfield type situation, you know, opportunity scenario, whatever you want to call that particular thing. And I think that's partly because there's never gonna be one size fits all approach to it. But I do think you could say, here is a kind of progression route that you need to be thinking about. You know, like auditing what assets you have, um, you know, working out what the outcomes are that you are trying to achieve. You know, working out how, what it is that you could be doing without having to do major refreshes on all your equipment just by using, you know, A scalable common network. Um, new sensors and devices, power over ethernet, all of those kind of things, which will give you some kind of future proofing and be able to bring more things on board as you go forward. You know, how much can you ensure that open protocol is part of whatever it is that you are doing and all of those things. M Q T T, which you probably know well about for your platform. So the, um, all of that kind of things. I think, you know, and look, I'm not a project manager, so I understand journeys and, you know, personas and the jobs to be done, be done. How you would map an ecosystem, how you would do priority mapping on all of the different, you know, needs and wants of a, of the particular user group. Hmm. and look, and it's, you know, I think we touched upon this before, you know about all the different platforms out there. I mean, you know, I'm just gonna give three categories. There's probably more of them and you know, you'll feel free to throw more of them at me. But there's certainly those which are more focused on tenant and user functionality. They're often apps which you people have on their mobile. Okay. There's often a platform sitting behind them. There are those which are much more designed on estate management, those people who have large portfolios and lots of buildings and assets within that estate or portfolio. And then there are those which are much more about. Building operations and management. You know, like when are we gonna have to re, when are we gonna have to service the elevator? When are we gonna have to do fire checks? When are we gonna have to do this? You know, which devices are actually on which has fallen off the network? Is that the network's fault or is that the actual whatever it is, you know, the fire system itself, or you know, something much smaller than that, you know, the FOB device and on building a, no one can get into the building or whatever, those kind of things. So, or security or cctv, whatever. So that's, you know, and there are people who want to bring, you know, put in, you know, kind of one size fits all solutions, which cover all of those. And I think as we discussed, there's a sort of, Well, there's a problem there. I mean, it's a bit like a Swiss Army knife, isn't it? I mean, but, but for, for interest of everyone, the sport that, that probably we are talking about. Yes. Sorry. The spoke Yes, yes, yes. Is the, is a single pane of class view that a lot of white papers suggest as a, as the sort of be it all, uh, strategy. So I think we have, so we ended up having, so would, I mean, we would love to know what you, you know, share with, with everyone what you think of that Spog, and again, does it apply to all and, and what could be the spog at all? Well, I mean, that would, I mean, maybe in some commans room or command center in some sort of, you know, where everyone's sitting looking at the dashboards in one place, but I don't know. , I think it's about whose job is it and what jobs to be done. Do they have, you know, is the person who looks after, who's responsible for the culture and community of the building, right? And therefore much more kind of user and tenant focused. Are they looking at the same things as the person who's head of building operations? Okay. Mm-hmm. Or the person who's head of estate management. Mm-hmm. And is, is that one role really? Or several roles? And therefore, are they going to need different views? You know, depending on what their jobs are, that also means there's different personas that they're having to think about or you know, users that they're thinking about. And so my take in whatever. Area solution development that I've ever been in the past is you always end up with this situation between enterprise-wide versus best of breed, and that being a kind of strategic decision that someone who makes the commissioning has to think about. Are we gonna get one enterprise-wide platform because we have one SLA on it. , we have one bill, one billable person, or are we going to get several things because those are best of best in their class now, you know, I'm not gonna save it.one who wants better than the other. Yeah. Yeah. I'm just gonna save it. There are some problems in that because why best of class exists in the first place is often because the people making that platform better understand the users they have been developing for. It's as simple as that, you know, if they didn't understand that, Then they wouldn't be a best in class solution. Okay. True That, true that it's always the case that, you know, so anyone who offers a one size fits all would have to probably demonstrate that really they do, each one of the different components they offer is at least as good, if not better than the best, the best. And you know, and that would mean that they would have to basically really got under the skin and each one of those different areas of the people using those different things. Now, I'm not saying that's impossible, but it's always going to be, you know, . And I don't know about smart buildings cause I don't know enough about the people offering those who offers those off solutions and whoever they can do it. But my take in, um, from other business areas, just learning, just the learning from elsewhere. They not from, yeah, it's just that like they often are a bit like Swiss Army. knives. You know, they have all the different tools, but not one of those tools is as good as that single tool itself. Okay. So the knife on a Swiss Army knife is not as good as having a, a ni, you know, a separate knife. Neither is the screwdriver, neither are the scissors. You know, probably the only thing on a Swiss Army knife, which is as good as an uh, one, which is yeah, is the toothpick. , you know, so, Um, so I think that's the problem about one size fits all, and, and potentially now also a single plane of glass doesn't necessarily have to be one solution. It could be something which brings in data from different solutions and presents them on a dashboard which the user, you know, the, the, um, different users, stakeholders within, you know, the organization have asked for, you know, because whoever's asking for the sustainability reporting thing may need very differently, needs to the person who wants to make sure that the lifts are all maintained properly and operational. So it's kind of, you know, so there's no reason why, you know, you couldn't have a sync, you know, someone, you know, let's take in a different area monday.com, for example, which pulls in other people, you know, allows. Openness to be able to use other applications in the overall application. Like I could easily see something like that happening in a kind of smart building space where someone says, look, we're gonna create a platform which allows other people's platforms. But then, but then the point is, yes, a platform cannot be a culmination of applications within your own app platform. Like it, it then really has to open up when you, when you look at it. And that's, but yeah. Got, got it. And I think you're starting to see that, you know, the term marketplace happening, you know, with different people. I mean, the whole Tridium Niagara framework is built on that, isn't it, with their database and things like that is open. So maybe you'll see more things like that around the different applications out there. And there will be the, you know, as I say, there will be this kind of divide between enterprise wide versus best in class or best of breed or whatever you want to call it. I mean, that's, uh, that's how I can see that. That all shaking out over the next, you know, few years or whatever. Hey, thanks Justin. I mean, uh, appreciate your views on, on a single pane of class and I completely agree that, that again, we are, it's gonna be too premature to do anything out. Um, I mean, you know, given the way solutions are developing and the kind of stakeholders that getting involved, you, we might see a lot of, uh, uh, a lot of innovation happening. But, but I, but I agree that, that, that, you know, the. You know, just, just my perspective on smog, the way SPOs been defined is probably not what it should be and, and not what it would be. Uh, it would really have to be really, really open. So what I'm trying to say it, it cannot be the Apple way where you say, my s my applications and I control. That's not a definition of being open, is how, how I would, I would look at, uh, you know, but it, it, it really needs. Yeah. Look. Yeah. And look, here's another thought because back in the day, you know, when financial technology, or at least the kind of era I was in was called Treasury technology, you know, there were companies like SunGard, which helped consolidate the market by basically acquiring a whole load of best of breed players. Players who did a specific, you know, financial instrument or areas of trading, whether it was commodities, derivatives or whatever. So there's no reason in principle, but some big player may come along who might. Start doing that kind of consolidation where they'll say, right, we're gonna, you know, analyze the market, see what the, you know, how it slices and diocese. Mm. And create a best of breed platform, you know, from the people within the market, right. Who already have best of breed platforms and you know, they would have the money and investment to be able to do that. So it's not like it's theoretically impossible. I just think unless you have that kind of scale and money behind you, it's gonna be more difficult because, so pull it off. You probably don't have the resources to really dig deep enough into each different kind of cluster of people that you are trying to develop part of your solution around. So, you know, that's really my take on it. But, you know, historically, if you look at other sectors, people have kind of worked out how. They solve those problems, you know? Right. So, you know, either through acquisition or research and their own research and development and innovation, depending on how much it's going to be not built from here or not, you know, True that, true. That, no, that, that adds. But I, I go back to one of the points that you mentioned earlier when you said that, uh, one of the things you are looking at doing and, and a part of your role is to be able to strike different conversations, uh, uh, or let's a broader conversations with your, with, with your customers. And again, w when we, when you spoke about the fact that there isn't a lot of conversations, uh, independent conversations happening out in the market when it, when it comes to retrofit, uh, sort of environment. Just, just wondering, out of all the stakeholders who could potentially take the lead, or is, is, is it like. And again, when I say who, I'm not meaning a company, but who, as in which of those stakeholders could have a broader say or interest, according to you so far, what you've seen and say, fair enough, it lies in our best interest to be able to sort this and bring everyone together. Could, could there be, could there be some, someone doing that? Well, I mean, at the moment, I think that that's a kind of ambition that some of the certification bodies are trying to bring about. I mean, there's, you know, there are some, you know, networks out there who are trying to do things like this, you know, and there are some kind of, um, I can't remember what the, there's a network kind of based out of New York, I think was trying to do something like this. Um, and then there's a few kind of commu, uh, network community, whatever you want to call the group. And, you know, then there are things like, you know, I don't know if that's necessary, their kind of remit, but they do have a kind of educational remit. So Nexus Labs is a kind of example, smart building. Um, boot camp is another example. Yeah. Necessarily that's there necessarily. Sorry. Sorry for that. Totology. It's not necessarily, but that is their core remit. But there's no reason in principle why that, why they come. Couldn't be part of what they do. However, the most interesting discussions, you know, I've had personally, and that's because I'm not necessarily involved in those communications and certification bodies and, you know, educational communities or whatever. So much has been far more by informal networks, you know? Mm-hmm. And you know, who seem to have a sort of fight club rule. But the first thing is you don't talk about fight club , say the . I mean, not because there's anything untoward going on. It's because it is far more informal, you know, than means, you know, and it. I guess, you know, so this comes to the heart of what I do, I think, because I think a lot of people think I'm some sort of network harvester or, you know, lead gen guy or content guy or whatever. I mean, actually, what I really, perhaps I'll roll into one . Yeah. Probably, you know, and, you know, forgive me, I have sinned, , um, I'm a recovering network. Harvester . But the, um, but there's a much broader purpose behind that, and that's called market engagement. Really. I'm gonna be starting write and posts about it and, you know, so clearly someone's paying me, they, they want something in return for that, you know, so, and you know, but however, there's some other things which come out of that and. I suppose because one of the areas I've been in, and I've actually co-wrote a book around it, you know, looking at it strategically a lot like the kind of conversations that you and I have been having, and I've been having others, you know, looking at the naming of it, looking at the layers of it, looking at the problems that are being solved, trying to think about it as a phenomena or an ecosystem and things like that. Hmm. And that was a content marketing space. So part of what I do is connected to that, but part of the problem with that approach is it's become part of a very problem. It, it was ordered to solve. To solve because everyone is a thought leader. Now everyone is putting out a white paper and it's this whole concept of we are experts, here's our expert opinion. But everyone can see that's just the setting out of a stall. Okay? Hmm. It's just more marketing collateral editorialized or presented as research or whatever. Right. So it's, its currency has been lost or its value. Hmm. And so, and partly because the way it successes measured is on the same wave that what it was trying to be an antidote for, which is advertising it. Successes are measured on how much attention it generates, not necessarily the outcomes. Sort of, well, the insights and intelligence which comes out of the process. You know, what have we actually learned by having this conversation, running this event, putting this report together. Has that strategically helped our business or not understand the market we are in, understanding the needs and wants of the users? Or is it just our successes judged because loads of people talked about it and said, this is really clever. So I'm not saying all those things like the profile building and reputation building are, it's not important benefits or useful or important, but actually what's really useful about it is the insight, you know, market intelligence that comes out of the facilitation and doing it. So, you know, does it matter how many people actually saw the output? If. The insight from that conversation was generated fundamentally helped you rethink or reshape your business because it was something that you had failed to see or understand that was coming down the line. You know, so it's How do you Yeah. You know, it's like I had this conversation with that person. They gave me this insight, and that totally rewired my thinking about this thing because I hadn't seen that part of that. Hmm. You know, so, so, yeah. So I mean, and that's more comp, so in a way is kind of like putting marketing, putting research back into marketing, and that becoming more of a strategic business function rather than just a promotional business function. Because it's about, you know, these conversations, whether they're one-to-one round tables informal in networking, you know, around facilitated by some talks and other things going on. Hmm. Those are kind of the real currency I think, because since when you really get to understand what it is that people are trying to achieve, what are the jobs they've, you know, what are their jobs to be done? What are the problems and what are the challenges they're facing? Cuz then you can think about, okay, I hadn't thought about that. Here's a potential solution. And that probably changed my priority mapping of what are the key challenges that those people are facing. But I guess that kind of joined Upness, a more holistic way of thinking about things is problematic for a lot of organizations. Because, you know, although they may talk about, you know, autonomy and things like that, organizations are about we're paying this person to do this particular job, or we're paying that person to do that particular job and therefore it's harder to kind of see, well actually that thing's much more joined up. It cuts across different. You know, business functions in our organization, you know, from strategic thinking, new product development, marketing, sales, , all of these things, all of that, you know, so I think that's kind of like, so yes, you can formalize it, but the formalization of it makes it into a framework or something of which you are then selling and at that point you have an ax to grind around the thing you're selling as opposed to it that all that research and intel just being more or informal, I mean, look, there's noth, neither of us here are. Trying to sell each other's products that , you know, so we're having a conversation because we're generally interested in this, and having conversations with other people in the ecosystem helps us understand or what's happening on Yep, yep. Change the way we think about these things. So, I don't know. I mean, you know, that's why I kind of, a lot of this put my kind of design thinking hat on around all of this is, it's kind of like, in a way, just a kind of extended part of the discovery phase or deep dive into the space you are in. You know, it's kind of like, yeah, it's interesting because it reshapes my thinking about, you know, and on a very kind of, You know, on one level that's about the swat, isn't it? You know, what are the threats? What are the opportunities? If those are threats and opportunities, where are the strengths and weakness in, in terms of responding to those? Um, but it's also about, you know, well actually the real problem for construction companies is this, or the real problem for investors, developers is this, or the real product of building landowners is this, you know, and therefore, you know, if we are framing what our solution is, it has to take that. And be part of how the messages is and what the value proposition is and all of those things. So, you know, and it's funny, I've never seen those things as isolated. And you know, in the startup space, if you look at a company like Strategizer who make the books, like the business model canvas, the value proposition canvas mm-hmm. , that's all integrated. You know, you start with a business model environment, then you look at the business model, then you look at the value proposition, then you have a whole load of tools about how that's rolled out. And you know, some of those tools include looking at the team, um, behind, kind of deeply interconnected. You, you, you kind of one leads to the other. Yeah. And then also, You know, and there's whole load of diagrams from the kind of lean startup, which kind of join the dots between design thinking, lean ux, agile development, growth hacking, and they don't, those diagrams join the dots between all of those things. They're not seen as, so it's not like I'm the only person who's thinking like these, these things need joining up. There's people much more, I think. No, you're quite correct, Justin. I mean, I think what you, what you say is obviously the, the essence of it. I mean, I think you rightly said that a today obviously, and, and people within our own rights. I mean, I'm sure, uh, you know, when you say there are a number of thought leaders, which a, is a good thing that today I think we are in a democratic environment where at least you don't need to be really big to be, to, to share your piece of, of your opinion or what you think. But it's just that, you know, I mean, people have also, with, with so many people sharing their own opinion or, or what they think, uh, it, it has also become the peop the, the people listen, listening to it or reviewing it have become wiser. And, and that's where I think the best form of content that wins is the, is the content that is, as you rightly said, is, is not. Even in its any form designed to sell, but designed to educate. Um, and then if, if selling has to happen, it happens. But fair enough. I mean, um, I think the two of you, the two of us can do what we can, which is to have a conversation, which we've had, but I'll go back to one, you know, l last forward looking question for you. You've, you've, you've, uh, from you, so you've spoken about the, you know, as a recap as well for everyone, like we've spoken about, It's not a challenging situation, so it's not either or. But why? Probably starting from a connected and uh, sort of thinking process helps, uh, you know, people start because it's, it's like the start. You are very certain of where you want to start. The end might change, uh, or influence your pro as, and it's be best to look at progression as you said. And, and that fundamentally is, is what the bigger opportunity, you know, retrofit environment presents us with and so on and so forth. We've spoken about about that. What's that one thing you are incredibly excited about? One or maybe two, uh, uh, about, about this space. Uh, and probably if we can limit to retrofit environments for 2023. Yeah, look, I mean, I need to be careful because it sounds like, I think it, it says you should start with the network and, and connecting things. I'm not really saying that because I do think you have to start with outcomes and things like that, but to be able to get to those outcomes, you have to start with, that's the fundamental thing. Makes sense. Connect with things up. So, you know, I just wanted to clarify that. Um, I don't know if there, well, okay, there's two things, things that excited me or interesting me. I mean, what I think in cited me about the retrofit is there are, there's a lot of talk about it, but far few case studies out there have been anyone who's done it very well. Okay. And so that probably needs to come out a bit more. What I am excited about is like a lot of people are talking about it, um, I. Actually, there's quite a lot of, from my experience of speaking to different people across the hill, the the thinking is actually quite divergent at the moment. And I think that's potentially a problem and one that needs to be solved. Because if there's a lot of divergency, it's only gonna create market confusion About what and when. You just, just, this is interesting. So when you talk about divergence, is it divergence in the minds of the customers or the potential asset owners or in the minds of market stakeholders? I think it's those who are providing solutions because they look at the, you know, the solution to every, you know, it's like if you have a hammer, the solution to every problem is a hammer. And so . Um, and I think so, I think, you know, a lot of the solution providers thinks that, think, you know, from, and I'm not saying every single one, but enough of them. General consensus. Yeah. You. Be a little bit blinkered by their solution being the root to solving the problem. When you speak to a load of other people, if they're all saying something similar, then you go, well, if everyone thinks that their own one is, is the starting place and right way of, you know, doing this, then you know something isn't quite right here. So, you know, there's probably a need for a kind of round table or report or whatever, which asks different stakeholders about, you know, their particular view on how they see this. To look at where things converge and where they diverge. Because it can't be, the solution can't be, it can't be always one person's perspective out of all the different, you know, makes sense. Different stakeholders. So there has to, and you know, I, and, and in a way you kind of. , if you have that situation, you get the penguin around the ice problem around the hole in the ice problem. Mm-hmm. , which is, none of the penguins wanna jump into the hole in the ice because they don't want to be eaten by the shark or seal or orca or ever. But once one jumps in , then they all go because, and so at the moment when there isn't this kind of clear way, or kind of at least some common agreement about what is the best way to progress with this, you're getting the thing, you know, there's a, there's concern about being the first to, you know, to jump in and take a risk of it. And I'm not saying people aren't doing it and aren't doing it well, but it's just given all the talk about retrofitting or, you know, brownfield, it's not, you're not seeing it in any way near the, um, anywhere near, in terms of the case studies as you are for new build. I mean, I, I don't know. You know, I. Based on what I'm seeing and LinkedIn and all the other things. You know, there's not this kind of body of here's a load of people who have done retrofit, here's how they've done it, here's how they roadmap it, here's how they got the different stakeholders together, or whatever. So I think, um, another thing which probably will come back to me about that, uh, um, uh, uh, which I kind of see as, um, exciting is, I don't know whether it really matters about brown or greenfield new build or retrofit, but I am seeing this kind of consolidation with master systems integrators, okay? Mm-hmm. or master systems integration as approach. So if you see a smart building consultant sitting in the middle of the user functionality and the technical foundation, because they're the people who write specifications, whether they're from the original kind of building consultants or the kind of new breed which are emerging out of fms. They sit there, they're, they're really actually involved in deployment. You know, because that's master systems integrators will be, you know, the Tridion resellers, right? The people who are putting in the I C T infrastructure, the people doing the structured cabling, right? Um, power over enet and all of those things. They're the people who are put in the kind of infrastructure connecting up, you know, the commissioning of the it, the, um, issuing of IP addresses for all of the different devices, et cetera, et cetera. But I kind of see a lot of those things consolidating. So, and I'm about to share a diagram, which is a best less about it being a series of layers, devices, network edge data integration, cloud platform, but more about the players involved in those different things. Got it. And the more about how they're starting to cluster. Ok. So, Cloud platform companies are by virtue of a necessity because if they want to bill for their platform, are often having to become more involved in master systems integration because otherwise their platform isn't gonna be getting the data that they need to be able to show value. So you're kind of seeing those people who do edge device and data integration having to offer, you know, merging or with the cloud platform things often not because that's what they want to do because they actually just wanna be selling the platform because they have to do that. Um, you're also seeing, you know, the device layer b m bms, OEMs and others doing some of that. Edge and edge and data integration. And that's not a big surprise because Honeywell owns both tridium and trends, so they would rather do it. Yeah. Why wouldn't they be a reseller of those products as well as that? And therefore they're also starting to provide networks as well. As part of that, then you're seeing the kind of people who worthy kind of tridium Niagara or trend type resellers also kind of merging with the kind of, so the MSI and MSPs emerging. So you're seeing a lot of consolidation and fluid fluidity between those different people in that space. And I don't think that's really about. New build versus retrofit. It's a general move. Yeah. Yeah. It's a general move and, and, and partly because it's about what are the jobs to be done and the problems to be solved and who's got to solve them. Well, often those problems happen at the same time. So, you know, when I first started to come into this space, I kind of saw the network as necessarily being at the heart of this. And I think that's still a really important part of it because it's what connects everything up. But I'm beginning to think on the technological foundation. It might be the asset information model, which is actually at the center of everything because that's tells you exactly what it is that is being connected up, and that's what provides all the data that you're going to have to then analyze or automate. It's also where the cybersecurity threat comes in. So because it's those assets, those devices, which. The new thing. You know, once you start connecting things up, even whether it's an ac, wifi access point, they all start to prevent cybersecurity risks. So maybe, I don't know if it's the heart, but it's kind of like that's the thing which kind of joins all the things together. And it's kind of interesting. If you look at the smart score framework, it's almost right in the middle of things too. Although they do it in slightly different layer their way, they structure their kind of key criteria slightly different. So, you know, even my, you know, even as I look at these things, things evolve based on more information and, and I'm already seeing like that kind of consolidation that I've just described, described. That's interesting that, that interesting. In fact, I, I, I did not, that's, that's obviously a, a, a very good takeaway from, for me. I did not see that coming. The, the consolidation and, and and sort of, uh, movement across different sort of stakeholders and one trying to do what the other would do not. Well, I mean, it's like all things, again, it's a bit like I said about, you know, someone buying, you know, an enterprise-wide solution versus, you know, having several SLAs for best of breed platforms. I think it's the same with this, you know, some people may want a one stop shop, you know, makes sense. Who does everything, you know, others are, again, to one specialists who can do, you know, again, once one thing really, really very well is what they really well, and you know, often that's gonna be probably about the size of a project. You know, if it's massive project, you might, you know, you'll probably have budget to be able to, you know, have other people. You know, might not understand why there's so much margin being passed down chains. You know, it might say, well actually that needs to be consolidated, you know, around, because, you know, we don't want to have all have all these different contractual ifs with all these different people. So I don't think, again, you know, that's gonna be determined on lots of different factors about, and you're seeing that not just in, you know, I think it's because we're linked to construction. So everything I described there is no, no kind of like, you know, trade secret or anything. It happens within the way that construction companies are now contracted. It's happening in the way that, you know, Other people, other stakeholders are being contracted. And you know, as I said, it's already a kind of consideration within platforms about enterprise vi wide versus best of breed. So all of those things, if you, and that's what I mean, if you've worked in other industry areas, you start to see patterns of both problems and opportunities. You know, and this is just an interesting thought coming to my mind when you, when you say about, uh, some might want best of breed and some might want something which is generic. Uh, and, and probably let's say, uh, you know, APO that we've defined, I think what we've seen working with facilities management in, in, in projects which have been completed, but they could be airports, could be data centers and stuff like that. What, what, what we've seen, Justin, is that who is really owning the retrofit. If the retrofit is being owned, uh, why are the energy side of things? It's, it's often the building services and they decide what sort of technology enablement need to happen because, and, and I think you quite clearly said that we haven't seen enough of retrofit happen from the perspective where an asset owner is going in and saying, Hey, I'm creating an enabling environment where the data would be owned by me. The connectivity would be owned by me. And then, you know, we can, you know, what we offer is connectivity in terms of data reciprocation or insights and stuff like that. So I think that is what's going to decide as to who ends up owning and which is not the challenge in, in a, in a con, in, in something that's being built. Well, look, I mean, look, there's still specifications being issued out there for network refreshers, which don't have any. Thought or provision for how like OT might, or for, you know, how anything convergence built into them in any shape or form. There are still fire systems being commissioned. C C T vision, right? You know, bma, B M S refreshers being commissioned where, right. There isn't necessarily any thought about, you know, why the conversion's going on. So, you know, and. . And it's interesting because if you, you know, there's, I, I went to, I've been to a couple of building shows recently and there's a lot of talk about digital transformation, but not always are they talking about that level of convergence where the IT people are talking to building operations or estate management and the sustainability team are in the room. You know, so how many companies have put out a specification for, so let's say a network refresh, but also at the same time have committed to, you know, 20 30, 20 40, 20 50 and drive to net zero, but haven't made any provision for operational technology technologies to go in. To go in as part of their network refresh, you know? And it's like, well, how do you think you're ever going to get there unless you operationalize your buildings and connect up all your assets? So, you know, it's not an attack on those people, but it's just a suggestion on what, what you might have to look through. Yeah. So I think, you know, yeah. So there's another part of the jigsaw puzzle that needs to happen, which isn't just like people in the industry kind of coming together to talk more about how this might roll out. It's also from, you know, the other side about how people within an organization come together and, and look like this, and. You know, maybe the, the root into that is via sustainability. People to say, look, you know, if you really are committed to drive towards net zero, then part of what you're going to have to do is get your IT people and building services in the room with you and, and other stakeholders. You know, probably. You know, head of, is it H R C O or c H R O, you know, head of whatever that might be. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Head of human resources or whatever, because there's, you know, it's also about employee experience, isn't it? You know, the user functionality. So you're probably gonna have to get more people in the room as part of what it is that you're trying to do. If you really want to achieve that. And I'm not saying, you know, because you know, if you look at the stats, and I think we discussed this before, didn't we? But like, um, every single platform provider has the same second slide after their title slide, which is 40% of all the missions from buildings. No, our, our, our slide has 900, there are 900 million non-technical workforces in the No, but you know what I mean, it's like everyone's aware of like how much that buildings our sense of humor. But ours is the third slide, the 40% one. No, but I mean, that's my point really. So maybe if we really want that internal education to go. , you know, on the commissioning side it may be, you know, PE and this is about lateral thinking. And I'm only saying that because before my kind of, you know, smart buildings journey, that's the space I was kind of operating in more on the communication side, but you know, already there that you were seeing, you know, the connection between e s G reporting and actually kind of, sort of more operational actions, but that was often in large FM c g companies, much more, um, you know, connected around their supply chains, their factories, their processes and things like that. I mean, I very rarely saw, you know, buildings as being , like one of the key considerations that they were talking about. Absolutely. And that's, and then, you know, and if, if anything, that's one of the reasons I was really excited to come into the smart building space because it seemed, you know, given that stat, it seemed like a really tangible place to be in where you could make a difference basically. Because, I mean, again, you know, I'd always clearly or shocked a time, but I just have to make this one final. You, you just again said very one interesting point, Justin, where you, you mentioned that because admissions is such a big thing in, in built, in built environment, that might be the, the route to, to bring the stakeholders together and especially as you read Yeah, I'll just say this. We, we have, we, we get, we, we wanted to get started at, at a huge facility in and in the middle of Middle East. And, and it's been three months we've been figuring out with the it on the network. So I could not, and I could not, and it's been like a, it's been like one meeting after the other trying to solve for security network access and which are all legitimate by the way. All legitimate discussions, but as you rightly said, the moment when you have that enabler in the room, uh, which is, let's say that hey, we are committed to net zero, and that's why it's important. Everything works out. But the moment you do not have a driver, it's difficult to get, uh, you know, everyone on board in, in that sense. So you, you hit the nail on the head there. Uh, and that's also what their job is to do, is to try and bring everyone on board and try and do it. So, you know, true that. And so, like, I, you know, I don't know. I, I kind of think, you know, There is an education job to be doing. I'm not gonna name them, but I think it's part of the process. But you know, there's a platform provider out there who's got this kind of campaign running out the moment called like, you know, turn off your, your bloody lights. Bloody lights off. Yeah. And I'm thinking that's part of it, isn't it? Because like, you know, they are actually highlighting companies who do have, well, well, well, I think Mike Mg would, would, would really appreciate if we give him and his company the credit. I, he was my, I mean, I should do, it's, it's metric because like, this is, they spoke at the event, but I, um, they kindly spoke at the event. No. MG was, was, was, was my, my last, uh, you know, uh, he was, he was one of the guests of the, and absolutely. You simply love that. Right. A lot of people would be very apprehensive on how you do that campaign pe people might get offended and stuff like that, but you, but you really do it. I mean, and, and, and I'm hoping that that has also got them customers, by the way. Uh, which is , which is there. But, but Justin, uh, thank you, thank you so much for taking time out. It was all, it's always a pleasure. And I'm sure this is just a start of many conversation, not just between us, but between everyone who is whoever is, is, is, is motivated about the prospects that happen to be there in this, this, uh, uh, this industry. Uh, thank you so much, uh, to everyone who's tuned in. Uh, Justin, follow him. I, I'll send, we'll have the links to his LinkedIn profile. Uh, he has amazing, uh, you know, as you have found out from the podcast, thoughts, lateral thinking, uh, and, and is is more importantly according to me is wanting to, to, to, to, to just have the conversation because it just helps. And then whatever be the outcome, uh, is really, really important. So thanks once again Justin. Really a pleasure, uh, talking to you buddy. Thank you. Thanks very much ime. It's like really good and really appreciate the opportunity as much as anything just to sort of sound out these ideas because you think about this stuff and unless you've got a sounding board, you've got no idea about whether as, you know, makes any sense to anybody else or you've kind of connected some dots which actually didn't need joining. So hugely appreciate the opportunity. Absolutely. In fact, that's another thing. So whoever is listening, please be our sounding board. If you think whatever you've spoken does not make sense or needs to be deliberated more, I'm sure either one of us wouldn't mind having this conversation again, but with you, uh, in the real, uh, as well. Thank you so much.