The IoT Show S1Ep3
ALAN BEHRENS [00:00:29] Good morning and welcome to another edition of the IoT show. My name’s Alan Behrens. I’m from Taxal. And we’re here today to talk about things. IoT specifically within buildings and cities. And we’re calling this the smarter show and smarter buildings and smarter cities. The IoT Show, for those of you who don’t know, it is really about insights. It’s about engaging hot topics. Talking today about obviously the IoT he has applied to the AC building owner, operator and products industry for building cities and communities. But really what we’ve got is the guests who got knowledge about situations, opportunities, insights, recommendations and gotchas on things on the industrial IoT within the building environments. So today I’ve got three guests. I’ve got Ted Lamboo from Bentley Systems. I’ve got Lisa DeLuca from IBM and I’ve got Martin Powell from Siemens. So welcome you. Let me just hand over to our guests and just allow them to introduce themselves first, starting with Ted here in the office. Ted, why dont you introduce yourself and your company.
TED LAMBOO [00:01:49] Thank you. Yes. So I represent Bentley Systems. Our solutions are focussed on the built infrastructure. You refer to it as infrastructure at large. And we provide solutions for the design construct and operational phase of the build infrastructure that particularly includes, of course, roads and rail. And you refer to cities, cities are made up of many different types of infrastructure, including buildings, et cetera, et cetera. And it’s particularly entered the operational phase where we touch and need the IoT. Right. So as a part of the introduction, the other thing I would like to mention is that we are a strategic partner with Siemens. So it’s good to see that Siemens on the call as well. And there is a lot of synergy that those happening between the two companies with regards to infrastructure and IoT.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:02:53] Okay, good. Lisa, how about yourself? Why don’t you introduce yourself and you your interests?
LISA DELUCA [00:03:01] Sure, hi, I’m Lisa Seattle. I’m a distinguished engineer within our IBM Internet of Things division. I’m working on a solution around the buildings and energy efficiency. So this is perfect timing and I can’t wait to speak to you guys about this topic.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:03:16] Great. Thank you. Martin.
MARTIN POWELL [00:03:20] Good morning. I run our urban development practice globally for Siemens. This includes smart cities, resilient cities, everything with cities in the title. We have 70 city directors positions in the big cities around the world. I’m based in New York, really to focus on the Americas and the real. Evolution of what’s really happening here now in North America in particular with regard to smart cities. I formerly have been the meral adviser to Boris Johnson when he was mayor of London and also an adviser to Michael Bloomberg when he was chair of C40 Cities. So.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:04:07] So I think the audience will guess that they will some real knowledge, some real interesting knowledge actually here in the studio and and with our guests remotely. I think the first thing I’d like to pose a question to our guests is what does the IoT mean to you in the context of buildings and cities? Lisa, why don’t we sort of go over to you first and just give us your thoughts?
LISA DELUCA [00:04:34] Yeah, I mean, IoT provides a really unique opportunity for buildings in general because we’ve already got infrastructure in place and buildings so we can monitor some of the use. It’s like energy. I just saw stat that 40 percent of the world’s energy is used within buildings and 75 percent of the building costs over the light’s lifetime of the building. That’s maintenance and operating expenses. So you can use IoT t to help optimise those building resources and minimise some of the energy costs. So there’s a huge opportunity for customers and clients that probably solutions around IoT.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:05:10] Great. How about yourself? Martin.
MARTIN POWELL [00:05:14] Yeah. I mean, as Lisa said, buildings are responsible for 40 percent of global green greenhouse gas emissions. Beyond that, they just need to be connected across cities for optimisation of how we use energy, particularly during peak peak hours. Just bringing the full energy demand down. Building resilience across the whole network by buildings talking to one another, you’re able to power, share and do all sorts of interesting things. And as we move into the world where buildings become mini power stations rather than consumers of energy, the need for them to be connected is ever more present.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:05:57] Right. Ted?
TED LAMBOO [00:05:59] Yeah. What does the IoT mean to us? So from where we come, the first requirement to make a to put an IoT to use means that you really do have to have a digital twin of the infrastructure upon which you’re going to collect data back from. Right. So having an IoT without the digital infrastructure would still not give very meaningful ways of analyzing what the information is telling you. So we’re very big on making sure that there is a strategy in place to digitise and to continue to maintain a digital representation of the infrastructure so that the IoT and the big data can be laid, overlaid over the underlying information of what the infrastructure is meant to do and what it actually does and start doing the comparisons and the and the analysis. So we refer to it as digital twinning.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:07:05] And I suppose also throwing into the mix is the fact that, you know the Internet or industrial Internet of Things as applied to buildings and says he’s also affects a lot of product companies because one has to remember a lot of the products that get embedded into these buildings that have sensors or provide information. Part of that big data that’s used within the buildings themselves. So, I mean, it does affect in the ramifications far beyond. And that includes cars. I mean, of course, autonomous vehicles, et cetera. So why dont we you know, first, just talk about, you know, when people first look at the internet of things with regards buildings and services. I mean, what did what do they think about when trying to justify investments? What are the what are the thoughts that go through their heads? What should people be thinking about? Ted
TED LAMBOO [00:07:55] So the if you approach it from the city side, the drivers for the city are things like safety, clean air, easy traffic, economical, viable environment where companies can thrive. You know, those are the drivers. And and what prohibits them or what helps them to have a city operate so efficiently that it encourages and encourages people to live there and to work there. Right. So I think you have to approach it from what makes a and a city smart. Now, you can’t be smart unless you’re digital. You could be digital and still not be smart. But I think you have to work your way backward from saying what does smart mean to to traffic, to energy consumption, to pollution, to safety, et cetera, et cetera, and then translate back which data you have to collect in order to become smarter.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:09:02] Right. Martin?
MARTIN POWELL [00:09:05] I suppose a smart investment, if you like is like any other investment has to make sense. It has to really stack up so that the business case has to be financial. It has to be clear. But it has to also deliver the benefits. And Ted alluded to some of them, but the co benefits that come from smart investments are the things we need to be better at measuring. If you put a low emission zone in a city, this makes a financial revenue so that the city makes a return, that you can invest that in public transport improvement. But it also cleans the air. It has health implications. It reduces the number of premature deaths as a result of particulates, as a result of NOx emissions, et cetera. So I’m really beginning to measure the positive externalities that come from these kind of investments is essential, but they also stack up on their own rights as well.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:10:10] OK, Lisa, you got anything to add to that?
LISA DELUCA [00:10:14] Yeah, we went through all of this because there’s so much room for innovation around buildings. And where do you start? Right. There’s not much you can do, especially with IoT. See for us. We want to find what is the biggest return on investment for our clients. And while there’s the sexy cases like occupancy inside trying to figure out how to find a co-worker in a space. It’s harder to justify that return on your investment by, you know, putting money Into that type of innovation. So for energy, that’s why we focus on energy first is because it really is possible to prove that energy savings just from Google’s historical analysis of how much money is spent in the past versus now with your IoT solution.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:10:57] What do people you know? I mean, there’s so much to look at and so many benefits and so many routes one can take. I mean, what are the basic steps that companies should think about when looking at how to invest the monies into the small buildings or smarter cities? Ted?
TED LAMBOO [00:11:22] Yeah. You’re asking the question from the company’s perspective, right? I think the very much a driving force will still be the city’s right. And, you know, every every bigger city, every school or city, maybe, as well as having a plan of what I want to aspire to in 20 or 30 years. And I think the industry, the companies are trying to align with what their biggest priorities are. And I think several of those priorities have been mentioned to both. It goes back to buildings as a source of energy rather than a consumer of energy. It goes back to traffic and flow through the city. It goes back to safety. It goes back to health. And you need to find those pockets that are meaningful pockets to the city. And if they are meaningful and they help to save money or avoid risk or generate revenues, one of those three are each good drivers for being in that business and investing there, because that’s what the return of investment to come from.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:12:29] Lisa, what are your thoughts?
LISA DELUCA [00:12:32] Yeah, and I think, you know, starting small is better than not starting at all can be really overwhelming. You know, where to jump in and get started with this kind of technology. So if you can find a way to use your existing seven metres and metres and get gather insights out of that existing infrastructure as opposed to starting new and installing all these fancy sensors on it being too long for you to see that return on investment, that would be my advice to tech companies is to just see what you can do now and then grow as the technology grows.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:13:07] Martin.
MARTIN POWELL [00:13:08] Yeah, I’m a big, big fan of Lisa on this one. I definitely think. Start small. Just do something. I mean, it’s very easy to connect to data streams from two different devices. Every company, every city has multiple data streams emitting from from its technologies, from its infrastructure, just just connect to data streams and analyze them and see what you can do with them. I guarantee you can do something. And I guess if you’re a company looking to. By this kind of technology or a city, you should start small. Just combine some data, build an application that’s going to have an incremental benefit to what you’re doing and probably when you do that, you will unlock the potential that is actually currently beyond reach. So what you’ll end up doing is probably discovering further benefits that you can do as a result of that first step.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:16:08] I mean, what should people focus on? Obviously, there’s so many things that one can focus on. Some of them being new and some of them being retrofit, for instance. What what are the things in what order should people focus their efforts and their their research?
TED LAMBOO [00:16:29] Right. Well, so, first of all, going back to the start. Start small and create some success stories and make sure that your next step leverages the previous step, the successful step that you that you took. I think that’s very wise advice. One of the typical issues with a city is that its governance gets re-elected or not every four years. Right. And as a result of it, even though they might have a longer term plan, the re-elections may cause a re prioritisation of what is most important to the city. If we talk about about city specifically. Right. So I believe a city is a system of systems. And if you go to the smaller steps and the smaller systems, there is building infrastructure. There is energy. There is water. There is sewer. There is rail. There’s roads. There’s all those individual what we call asset classes. And in each system, there’s benefits to be had. So pick your your battlefields and decide which one is closest to your home and where you can create a return on investment that ultimately is going to benefit the building owner. That might be a commercial owner or the city which is a governmental owner. Right. Or a utility, which is maybe a little bit of both. And and and just go from there. And then over time by Federation of Information, it will add up to the greater good of what the city is going to benefit from it.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:18:18] Lisa?
LISA DELUCA [00:18:23] Yeah, I would like to add that, I mean, there’s only 30 billion devices connect to the Internet by 2020. Right. So we don’t have a shortage of data. So it’s really about finding those insights from the data and using machine learning and A.I. to understand what exactly is interesting of the data you’re collecting so that you can do those in those actionable insights. What we call. All right. So take action on what you’re discovering and preferably that’s in real time.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:18:50] Right I suppose the old learning of you don’t know what you don’t know. And some of this is is a learning experience for all of us, something and for all sort of utilities or cities and building companies. What about, you know, the the the sort of investments that people have to make in things like readiness and infrastructure and software and the like I mean it. Have you. What experiences have you got, Martin, in in those areas that perhaps have been interesting learning experiences for you?
MARTIN POWELL [00:19:29] Yeah. Readiness is an interesting topic, but just I just want to touch on a comment that was just made, but even politicians don’t don’t get in the way of a good idea. And I don’t I’m not being critical when I say that. But. A lot of solutions have been dressed up as the next big thing, and this is gonna be wonderful and this is fantastic. But the reality is it has to make sense. It has to stack up. So, you know, when you move into readiness, what do you need to do. Then actually it’s about the people that are open minded about what it means to connect infrastructure. It doesn’t take a lot. It takes a platform for which there are many. It takes the ability to. Connect to data stream, which is relatively easy as well. And then you just have to build an application on top of that. Once you’ve done the learning from the data analytics to look at the problem you’re trying to solve and possibly push that into the hands of a citizen can contribute to the success of that application as well. So in order for a city to be ready, they just need to accept that the next step for them is to connect infrastructure to a platform. And it’s not about the platform. I know lots of people will tell you that it is, but the platform is the enabler. You have to figure out the data that you have, the applications you want to create. The problem you’re trying to solve, and those people actually exist within the city. So it’s really convening the right people coalesced around the problem and coming up with the solutions. And I’m a big fan of actually co creating these applications with the city because a lot of them are also going to be extremely local. So. That’s that’s how I would kick off with if I were a city,.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:21:40] Right? Ted?
TED LAMBOO [00:21:42] So so a an event that were seen to happen is not an event, but we see that in innovative cities they’re starting to appoint chief technical officers, which would which sometimes come out of the industry and of the I.T. industry, or sometimes it’s referred to as a smart city or a digital city officer who sits right underneath the politicians, who is advising the city how to go digital. Right. And there’s go digital has everything to do with how you become smart. Right. It’s important that we help them. What steps to take and how to book success every step that you take, because if you make it a monumental issue and you try to boil the ocean all in one go. We all know that those are the most difficult projects. So I totally stand by the small steps and grabbing your success before you go to another one. I think those CTOs should be the source and the centre where the new and innovative ideas come of which apps or which applications and which data consumption is going to lead to smarter ideas. And I think the whole industry owes it to them to help them come up with those ideas and turn those into successes.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:23:17] I mean, Lisa, where does one go for this sort of help and advice on these topics?
LISA DELUCA [00:23:26] You know, if it were me and I was trying to figure out what to do and how to get started, I reach out to a lot of companies and just ask them for a demo, see what they’re up to. Start-Up Pilot can easily touch and feel something without having to shell out a lot of money just to see how the solution works and see if it’s got the use cases that you want to address within your business,.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:23:47] Right? Martin Anything to add?
MARTIN POWELL [00:23:51] I mean, if customers want solutions to their problems, they want a trusted relationship with somebody that’s really invested in their outcome. And as Lisa said, if they don’t, they don’t want to pay a lot of upfront money that they don’t. They want to find a solution that solving a problem that can be financed, that has a return that’s going to benefit the city. And if you do that, then they will come. This is just a very simple step then to move forward. But the city just needs to find a good trusted partner and come and have a good conversation. And that’s the only way they’re going to move forward.
TED LAMBOO [00:24:37] I obviously stand behind the trust, trusted the party and get some some professional help. I also want to mention that, you know, it’s sort of a new 4.0 era and they’re certainly also rule for crowdsourcing ideas. I think because cities will will very much support open data. I think by allowing open data to be used by anyone that wants to build ideas around that open data, I think the public might sometimes surprise us. And I think it’s a great area for the academia and university world to come up with new ideas and new innovations of how to leverage big data in an infrastructure environment.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:25:27] Interesting, interesting observation. So what about surprising situations and hurdles? I mean, obviously, we all hear of war stories in all the industries that we’ve we’ve dealt with in touch in the past. Martin, I mean, have you got any sort of sage words of advice for listeners on things they should be wary of all opportunities that may not also.
MARTIN POWELL [00:25:53] Yeah, I do actually that I’m representing a technology company. This may sound odd, but my advice would be don’t be too fixated on the technology and I may get shot for that. But the technology is critical and you know that our company, like many others, provide good, secure, reliable technology, but the focus should be on this. The problem you’re trying to solve. And then figuring out where you got the data streams from which data streams are going to provide value and then doing the hard work and the analytics and machine learning, artificial intelligence is is just going to sweep through all our data sets as we connect more and more devices. It’s going to help us find ways of optimising everything that we use to run our cities. It’s going to make our train performance better. It’s going to make our energy performance better. It’s going to do all of this in the face of very rapid urbanisation. And it’s essential because we can’t build new infrastructure faster than we can improve and optimise it. That’s the world we’re in right now.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:27:09] Right. Ted.
TED LAMBOO [00:27:11] You have to sort of incremental thoughts here. The first one is that for any new infrastructure that is being contemplated, make sure that it’s designed to be digital and expected to talk back to you. The infrastructure right from the outset and the world is reasonably good at doing that during the design phase. But during the construction phase, a lot of intelligence is lost. And that’s one of the least automated workplaces, the construction place. So we got to make sure that that whole chain ensures that what comes out as new infrastructure is already smarter. Infrastructure from the outset. So that’s one idea. But cities, particularly are very old. What do you talk about? The buildings or the utility infrastructure or the road network or the metro or what have you? It’s very many different classes of infrastructure, and it’s a daunting task to make the digital. Yet you can’t make it smart if it isn’t digital. And so there are some real nice new technologies to leap over the problem of having old infrastructure that you still need digital. So I particularly refer to what what is called the industry reality models of the existing infrastructure. It’s like a brownfield that you can digitise with cameras that can be anything from top of the range. Aerial photography down to your iPhone. And there are some smart new quick ways of how to create a digital representation so that you can move on and focus on sensors and how to combine that with smarter big data coming back.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:28:57] Right. Interesting, Lisa.
LISA DELUCA [00:29:00] Yeah. I mean, I can’t agree more with what was just said. Don’t chase the shiny new technology. Right. Stay true to yourself. Then what does use cases are for you and that trusted partner that will grow with you and listen to those business needs and give you a chance to provide feedback into the technology that they’re creating, hopefully in lockstep with you. As you guys build towards the future of what those use cases are for you.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:29:26] And finally, sort of last words on getting people motivated to think about these types of technologies if they haven’t already. What would you give as a final snippet of advice? Lisa?
LISA DELUCA [00:29:42] You know IoT is while it is, we’re talking about more of the industrial IoT, IoT is also affecting us as consumers. So to make it not so scary and play with it at home, you know, like get a Google home or an Alexa and play with. If this then that and just start trying to understand where it could possibly go and the innovation of where you can take it beyond your personal interactions to your business, I think that’s the best way to not be so scared of what the solutions are and where you can go with it.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:30:13] Sage advice. Martin.
MARTIN POWELL [00:30:15] Yeah. You know, cities are aware, you know, bankers and builders share a bus where different cultures are in collision with one another way. You know, people propose marriage to one another. Cities are just incredible places. And to keep all of that imbalance requires some very local solutions, some very subtle improvements that don’t upset that balance that allow these cities to thrive and operate. And nothing is in the mind of city leaders more than keeping the whole show on the road. But if if you don’t connect your infrastructure now, you will fall behind. That’s just integrity. You will not be able to come up with the way that cities operate, how they optimise fleets, how they bring costs down, costs of energy, costs of transit fares, et cetera. And people will leave your city and vote with their feet. You know, they will go and live somewhere else. So my advice is be connected. Move forward. But, you know, the baby steps are true. Just start with two data streams. Connect them together. See what happens. I think this will open the door to something bigger.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:31:31] Right. Great. Ted.
TED LAMBOO [00:31:32] We all know that urbanisation is rampant. And that’s not going to stop. So there’s lots of challenges ahead of it. So the best thing to do when there’s big challenges ahead is to have some fun with coming up with solutions. So think about applications that people grasp that people on the stand that they’re seen to benefit from. Maybe it’s tourism. You know, I think focus on the inhabitants, the users or the other users of the city or the city infrastructure and make sure that it’s a small step, that you get a benefit and a fun benefit to everyone. And that’s how you catch the eye where people say, no, I understand why and why I’d benefit from that investment. And that just makes it easier to make next steps that are IoT is a means. It’s not a goal to itself. So make sure that you focus on the goals and the IoT will follow.
ALAN BEHRENS [00:32:29] Great. Thank you. Very sage words of advice. Some really fascinating insights there from our guest. Thank you very much. To Ted Lisa and Martin for their input. Very kind of you say your time in joining us here. I hope you as the audience found that interesting. They’ll obviously be some key takeaways which I’ll be producing, which will go with this particular episode. And you can download that online and you’ll see the link on the Website. Thank you for your time. And join us for our next episode. Thank you.