Award winning manufacturer of IT-based building automation.
Anto Budiardjo, Fractional Entrepreneur
Nicolas Waern is the CEO of the fast-growing Nordic IoT company Go-IoT
and is usually accompanied with the hashtag #Thebuildingwhisperer on
Linkedin and Twitter. He loves what he does, and he knows he’s in this
business for the long run, having the time of his life. Go-IoT makes it
easier for others to harmonize data in buildings as well as simplifying
the transfer of any data to and from the edge to any cloud, leveraging
all that is BACnet with their dynamic BACnet server on the edge. Their
offering consists of open and modular software and hardware solutions
which form a powerful edge gateway under the name of DINGO and Go-IoT
Cloud. Their solutions have the power of converting any sensor
technology into BACnet objects, creating a BACnet umbrella for
everything making SCADA systems, BAS, BEMS and anything in between,
IoT-Ready. Why not take advantage of all that the API economy has to
Facility IT Interview with Nicolas Waern
This interview is one is a series of interviews by Anto Budiardjo on the subject of Facility IT.
Facility IT is a discipline lying at the
intersection of Building Automation Systems (BAS), Facility Management
(FM), and Information Technology (IT). It’s best described as the use
of information technology to ensure that the building systems are
performing and delivering on the needs of the organization who pay for
and rely on the facility. Facility IT emerged from the New Deal for Buildings initiative.
Anto Budiardjo: What is your opinion on the Facility IT movement?
Nicolas Waern: My
opinion is that it is a much-needed movement and there’s no better time
than the present. I am quite new to the industry, but it is obvious
that it is not IT, nor the technology itself which is lagging behind.
It is us people, organizations and processes that are working in silos,
not just the data. By reframing organizations with Facility IT in mind,
we’ll soon start to see more value-driven organizations better fit to
operate in a modern world.
However, there are imminent problems
that need to be solved. The big question is if Real Estate can learn
tech faster than Tech companies can learn Real Estate. Judging by what
is hailed to be one of the smartest buildings in the world, the Edge in
Holland, where Cisco and Phillips combined their efforts, I would say
Traditional Real Estate Players are losing. Big time.
Anto Budiardjo: How do Go-IoT solutions fit in the Facility IT space?
Nicolas Waern: That’s a
good question. I believe the Facility IT movement looks good on paper,
but there are challenges on all sides that need to be solved in order
for this dream to come true.
Technology is the one we can solve
rather well. This is due to the fact that we can turn anything IoT into
BACnet objects, leveraging BACnet/WS to create one way to and from the
building. Together, this makes it possible to fit everything in and
outside the building underneath the BACnet umbrella.
The major challenges that we solve at a very high level are:
This helps not only traditional BAS
companies but also Analytics companies in that they get semantic
interoperability between vendors and standards, speeding up the time to
value creation using AI and ML at the edge and in the Cloud.
We have hardware, software and cloud products, and we are 90% software and 10% hardware. We believe in the ND4B
three tenants, of open standards, service transparency, and digital
twins. Furthermore, we believe that a customer has to have the freedom
of choice and that the biggest lock-in effects we can have are by the
very freedom we can provide.
What I mean by that is, if it sounds
confusing, is that the way forward has to be about offering freedom of
choice for customers. That will make them stay with your products,
instead of forcing them to be locked in. And that is exactly what we do
with hardware, software, and cloud. Pick everything, something, do what
is best at any given moment. But of course, be sure to pick something!
And as such, I would say we are
perfectly positioned to stand in the middle of Analytics, and FM
services with a solid base in the BACnet BAS/BMS allowing our customers
the freedom they need in order to make the most of all three sides.
Anto Budiardjo: Would you consider Facility IT a focused subset of IoT?
Nicolas Waern: I would
consider IoT as a focused subset of Facility IT. IoT in itself is
nothing but connected stuff. We are switching towards never talking
about technology and only talking about the benefits one can derive
from thinking differently.
The big value we can offer our customers lies in how we can help them to:
And of course, how any effort resonates
with the 3/30/300 rule and what benefits there are for the people,
inside and outside of buildings.
I digress, but Facility IT is in my mind
as the overarching term to encapsulate all that can be done combining
OT, IT and IoT, with the overall focus of turning data into information
which leads into action for a greater good.
Anto Budiardjo: How does the European perspective of Facility IT differ from the US?
Nicolas Waern: Due to the fact that our target market is in the US, and Asia, Asia-Pacific region, I can mostly speak from a Nordic perspective. Having talked with traditional BAS, BMS companies as well as Analytics and FM companies I feel that there is a great divide. Not only among the different companies, but also within companies themselves.
An example I had a recent discussion
with one of the largest FM-companies in the Nordics. It was a workplace
representative who never really did interact with the “other side” of
the pond, traditional BAS people. Analytics were nowhere to be seen,
not really anyway. Even within a company, there are divides
Here in the Nordics, the challenges don’t lie in technology, but instead organizational processes, hierarchy, structures, and culture for existing companies. Again, this is something which is problematic, and this gives Tech-companies the upper hand, moving into a new scene, to understands what needs to be done, and to execute it.
On a side note, BACnet is nowhere to be
seen here in Sweden. Even seasoned industry professionals sometimes
haven’t heard about it; this opens up even more for fragmentation in an
already fragmented market.
Anto Budiardjo: What advice would you give readers on making the most of Facility IT?
Nicolas Waern: The best option in this turbulent world is to take the right decisions. The second best option is to take the wrong decisions. And the third is to take no decision at all.
I think it really depends on who the
reader is and what they want to achieve. Again, don’t focus on
technology but rather give it a benefit-driven, outside-in approach.
The outside-in perspective is crucial in today's environment, and
companies will have a much better chance of making the most of Facility
IT also thinking about product market fit from the get-go. Focus on
doing the right things is more important than doing things right.
I am also a bit worried that this becomes an IT issue which is definitely wrong on all accounts. This needs to be connected to a strategic issue on the highest level where close interdisciplinary interaction, with a focus on action, is the key. IT should be seen as an enabler, with business as the driver.
My final advice to everyone in this industry is to stop talking about technology, focus on the why, get buy-in at the higher levels, and plot out a course to truly leverage all that Facility IT has to offer. But above all, get out there, ruffle some IT/OT and IoT feathers and just start something!
Let me know if you need any thoughts on where to start; I am after all the Building Whisperer - Making buildings talk to people.
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