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July 2017
Interview

AutomatedBuildings.com

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Rick Rolston
EMAIL INTERVIEW
Rick Rolston
and Ken Sinclair

Rick Rolston, CEO, BuiltSpace Technologies Corp.




Currency of Collaboration is Data

BuiltSpace is an open platform, we see the opportunity to bring in other manufacturers and service providers of all types so that they can digitize the processes with their customers and suppliers in our common platform.

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SinclairBuiltSpace & Schneider Electric announced a partnership last year.   What does that mean for BuiltSpace?
 
Rolston:  Although most of us know Schneider Electric from their electrical equipment, they understand that the future is connected and is about data, and it was an important milestone for us that they saw BuiltSpace as key to that future. We see Schneider Electric as an anchor tenant in the BuiltSpace ecosystem, where they can build collaborative relationships with other service providers and end-customers, so for BuiltSpace, it is important to have global players promoting and using our service. At the same time, as BuiltSpace is an open platform, we see the opportunity to bring in other manufacturers and service providers of all types so that they can digitize the processes with their customers and suppliers in our common platform.
 
SinclairIt’s interesting that you describe your platform as an ecosystem of stakeholders in buildings, and clearly Schneider sees a fit with their energy monitoring offer, but most of our discussion here is about building automation.   Tell me more about how your platform fits with intelligent buildings.
 
Rolston:  The problem for everyone in dumb buildings is that no one in them knows what is going on. BuiltSpace provides the radical transparency that allows all people in a building to see what is being done to the building that affects them real-time, like when did that filter for the air conditioning unit get changed, or who has been assigned to fix that door and when? So, controls are key as they manage the equipment in a building, but analytics platforms that measure those systems miss all of what people are doing and the non-automated equipment, this is where BuiltSpace pulls the physical and digital world together, by digitizing people processes and documenting. This is the fit with companies like Schneider who make products like automation, as Evan Kirstel, of Ten Digit Communications states, “You have to link products and services," and BuiltSpace does this, linking services that people provide with their products.
 
SinclairIt makes sense to me that products and services need to be linked, but many service interventions are completed by outside vendors.   How does BuiltSpace involve vendors in these processes?

Rolston:  We bring vendors and their suppliers and customers together in a space where processes can leap across corporate boundaries and information can be exchanged effortlessly. We bring the power of the internet and cloud to buildings. Otherwise, today, each company maintains their own data and through information across the gap as paper or PDF documents.  Very inefficient, with a huge duplication of information by each party, poor data quality, accuracy and long waits to get data inputted.
 
We are replacing these data silos with a secure digital building, providing a hub for the storage and exchange of building data.  The first rule of computing is, don’t let too many people access your operating system, so our platform brings people together but isolates vendors, tenants, occupants, and even facilities staff, from each other’s core enterprise and operational systems.    We give each stakeholder the information they need to complete their own business processes safely and efficiently.
 
Service transparency means that the facility operator can tell exactly when an air filter was changed or a washroom cleaned, even from thousands of miles away.   Transparency creates a cascade of efficiency.  The vendor’s field service technicians spend less time on-site (but do each job more profitably), bringing the right parts, and doing it right the first time.   Online transaction exchange reduces or eliminates data re-entry on both sides, provides provenance for work completed, and speeds approvals, shortening fault-to-pay cycles.  Shorter cycles mean fewer open transactions, reducing administrative workload, again on both sides.   Finally, measured processes promote better decisions, with outcomes measured in realtime.
 
SinclairThat’s great.   I can see the service transparency side, but where does the tenant or occupant come in?
 
Reliable ControlsRolston:  Information will be the big disrupter of how buildings are managed today, as all of these IoT devices, controls, mobile and cloud allow solutions like BuiltSpace, that make measuring and analyzing possible, easy and necessary to compete with online vendors -- for example, today, although tenants pay the bills, they are blind to the costs or even what was done to arrive at those expenses. They also want these spaces to be in better repair and to be better managed, that requires speeding up service cycles while lowering costs and increasing accountability. The acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon is perhaps the biggest wake-up call to the need for the commercial real estate industry that big data and bricks and mortar are intertwined.
 
Thus, by necessity, the landlord-tenant relationship will become more collaborative, and the currency of this collaboration is data.   Some of this data can come from building automation systems, but much of it must be derived from on-site business processes.   For example, Amazon is now providing customers with smart barcode readers with integrated artificial intelligence using Alexa.  This technology enriches the customer experience and moves the point-of-sale from a cashier at the checkout to wherever that product is, and this allows Amazon to collect detailed metrics about people’s actions as they shop, not at checkout, but before they purchase.   
 
SinclairYou’ve hardly mentioned energy.
 
Rolston:  I have Ken, just indirectly, as building efficiency is about energy and labour savings.  Our processes help measure the labour component of automation and provide critical data on how people use and maintain each building, which allows their work to be optimized to focus on doing the things that people need to do to make a building more energy efficient sooner and better.
 
SinclairSo, bricks, mortar, and data.  It’s about more than managing energy consumption.  Buildings are only part of the business process, and everything is happening faster than our traditional systems can handle.  Is that what you’re saying?
 
Rolston:  Great summary Ken.

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