RECAP: July Innovation Review and Smart Communities IoT Forum
With thanks to our host, Parkmerced Labs for lending us their “industrial chic” venue within the Parkmerced community to hold our IoT Forum Innovation review with a focus on smart communities. Probing questions from the room put the startup pitches and product pitches through their paces, lively discussion ensued during the case study and revelations about the challenges and opportunities for buyers of smart community solutions the room was filled with conversation.
Kicking off the meeting we heard from 4 startups and 3 IoT companies on topics ranging from security to brilliant buildings:
- Helium – providing smart device communication and management without the compromises of other IoT platforms
- Eclypses – removing the risks of transmitting or storing real data via their MicroToken Exchange
- Pole Star – offering the first 360 degree indoor location platform
- Teem – bringing intelligent tools and analytics to the workplace
- Sensity – leveraging the lighting technology infrastructure to offer smart parking, location analytics and security
- Sigfox – reinventing connectivity for the IoT with its global LPWA
- Enlighted – going beyond smart buildings to bring brilliant buildings
Our Case Study, between Scott Hublou of Salus North America and Rod McLane of Ayla Networks demonstrated Salus’s use of Ayla’s IoT platform to launch applications, accessible via smartphone, to control their electronic equipment, eg, hvacs, as well as getting in-depth analytics. Reliability and scalabilty were identified as key considerations, along with viability for business growth.
Giving a brief history of the Parkmerced community, Seth Mallen of Maximus Real Estate, mapped the proposed transformation from post-WWII veteran community to modern, environmentally conscious “suburb within the city”. Stephen Linaweaver introduced Parkmerced Labs as a joint venture between Parkmerced and Broadscale Group, developing and deploying next-generation technology solutions that help property owners and communities improve urban living.
Our meeting closed with our Buyers Unpanel discussing what real estate companies are looking to get out of deploying the IoT. Moderated by John Feland of Argus Insights, Seth Mallen of Maximus, Phoebe Yee of Related and Prashanthi Suhakar of Schneider Electric discussed the opportunities and challenges facing developers as they look for solutions that are upgradeable over the lifespan of a house (generally 10 years) which are compatible with consumers who need to use, but don’t get to choose, smart home technology. This fascinating discussion ranged over the challenges facing organizations designing and managing Smart Buildings. One of the key challenges brought up was the need to select technologies that would be stable enough during the sometimes 5 plus years between the design and build phases of many projects.
Additionally, we heard different views from Related and Parkmerced on how their building management interfaces were architected. Related tends to have a different management interface at each of their properties, partly due to the uniqueness of each project, given the need to interface with retrofit technology as well as integrating with new platforms and systems. Parkmerced is looking at developing a single platform to integrate across the entire property and taking this system to other projects through their Parkmerced Labs efforts. We learned from Schneider Electric that 70% of the world’s electrons flow through Schneider components. For them, future proofing intelligent building systems is a constant struggle as they seek to both support heritage building system but also take advantage of the new technologies offering so much to the building industry. Both Parkmerced and Related shared that their main future proofing effort is to install extra conduit throughout the properties to allow for the additional of new cables, etc. throughout their properties.
When asked about the how these leaders keep up with the dizzying pace of innovation within this space, Related has a dedicated Smart Buildings czar whose job it is to translate between the real estate firms and the technology firms. Parkmerced Labs group performs a similar function. Schneider Electric has an entire Open Innovation team within Silicon Valley that helps scout new opportunities for the entire company.
Overall it was an incredible day, hearing about solutions from across the ecosystem as well as what are some of the sticking points facing advocates for Smart Buildings within the real estate industry. You can check out the agenda and attendees here. Join us in September when we will be focusing the IoT Forum on Asset Tracking, one of the key adoption segments of IoT.