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    CleanAlert IoT Podcast #3: Smart Buildings Tech and Facilities Management: Interview w/ Jeffrey Veffer

    Posted by CleanAlert Blog Team on Feb 12, 2017 9:44:22 PM

    Welcome to another Clean Alert podcast. In this episode we are joined by Jeffrey Veffer. Jeffrey is a seasoned innovation professional with experience in creative thinking, sourcing, and implementing new product concepts. Jeffrey is a frequent speaker who focuses on innovation, the Internet of Things, and customer analytics.

    His recent speaking opportunities include talking about the topic of things and big data at the International Facility Managers Association Leadership Series in April 2016, and he has been a speaker at the Canadian Consumer Insights and Trend Spotting Conference. He has received an MBA from the Queen's University, a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Waterloo, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto. Jeffrey, welcome to the Clean Alert podcast.

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    Bill Banham: Jeffrey, welcome to the Clean Alert podcast.

    Jeffrey Veffer: Thanks, Bill, great to be here. 


    Bill Banham: Jeffrey, let's jump straight in with the questions. We've got a lot of things to talk about today. I'm excited to get a chance to chat with you. First question: Tell us a bit about your career background and the companies that you've worked with, both in terms of companies that have employed you, and the clients as well that you've helped.

    Jeffrey Veffer: I've had a really varied background. A lot of what I'm doing now, I built the foundations on many years ago. After graduating in architecture, I did practice for a number of years in an architectural firm, then moved over to technology. Really what I was interested in is understanding the why's of how things were working, how technology really looked like it was going to change the future of the way we interact and the way that we live.

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    The way I did that was working a lot on interactive web development projects, all the way through to the dot com crash of 2001, where I went back to school to try to learn a bit more about business and some of the metrics which were coming out of what they call the new economy at the time. Then working in technology for Bell Canada, I managed several enterprise products for large clients on the innovation team at Bell. We looked at trends as well as consumer research to try to understand the future landscape, what that was going to look like for the company, what people were going to be doing a few years out.

    After that, I spent some time at Air Miles, [inaudible 00:02:34] corporate development, as well as some mergers and acquisitions and partnerships. Then worked at Brookfield GIS, where I headed up the Internet of Things, as well as business intelligence for the company. A little later on in the interview we'll go into how those two are actually very well related.

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    Bill Banham: Awesome, thank you. Tell me a bit about how you help to educate facility managers.

    Jeffrey Veffer: A lot of this would be both internally and externally. From the internal side, one of my tasks at Brookfield was to help the FMs understand what some of the possibilities are and to help them really to communicate what some of their key challenges were in their portfolios. It was a bit of a give and take, where learning about what they did on a daily basis with some of their key challenges really helped to shape the portfolio of the IoT initiatives that we were going to roll out.

    The education piece I found was really critical, because we did a lot of in-person events and calls, which they really responded to because let's face it, FMs are extremely busy, depending on the size of their portfolio. Even in smaller buildings they've got lots of things coming at them and they really have to be dedicated to solving problems, so it's a case that almost less is more, and trying to break down that information and contextualize it so they can understand how it relates to their job is really the way which I gave great success.

    Bill Banham: To your point just then, facility managers are very busy people, and yeah, they've got lots going on. What do you think are really the key issues that facility managers care about when it comes to metrics related to the performance of their role?

    Jeffrey Veffer: Depending on the size of their portfolio, they can have various different metrics. If their embedded is working for the clients, or if they're actually working on behalf of a client like we did at Brookfield, they could have specific metrics relating to efficiency, cost reduction, as well as in certain areas, there are [inaudible 00:04:40], which are looking to improve their portfolio. Perhaps energy efficiency is something where they're looking at, new capital investments, or even looking at some of the maintenance issues which are happening, depending on the age of the portfolio. A lot of that is depending on the size. It's not a one-size-fits-all model, so I would say that looking at making sure that obviously the facility is running properly, the folks that are actually inhabiting and using the facility are productive, and so all that comes back to how they're measured and compensated.

    Bill Banham: What other technologies and products geared at FMs would you suggest facility managers check out in 2017?

    Jeffrey Veffer: I think there's a fair amount of talk in terms of looking at systems, the large systems that I mentioned earlier, HVAC, as well as lighting. There's now new products on the market which can actually power your lighting through the same cable that actually you connect to for data, so ethernet can be your one single cable that can handle your data needs, as well as your power for your overhead lighting. Then with that, each one of your lighting fixtures has an IP address, and then you can get very, very granular about how you control your lighting. Those are our technologies which are emerging. They're being implemented now. Companies are getting use cases for how those services actually perform in the real world.

    Again, I would say that looking at the data aspect, trying to understand the mountains of data that are going to be coming in, because if you think that buildings and these operations are creating data now, once you implement IoT devices, they can create billions of points of data, and somewhere that has to get managed, and not only managed, utilized to provide a good foundation for your clients, as well as your facilities to make better decisions about how they invest in their facilities for the future.

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    Bill Banham: Will you be attending or speaking at any facility management related events in 2017? Clean Alert certainly will be NFMT Baltimore. I think the plan is to be at BOMA again. These are both great events, maybe NFMT in Vegas. I'm hoping maybe I get to go there next year myself. Will you be at any events in 2017, speaking or attending? If so, which ones and why?

    Jeffrey Veffer: I'm looking at events in the new year. [Coronet's 00:07:07] always a great event to go to. There are some local events, one of the ones which I likely will be speaking at in the spring of 2017 is an event for the manufacturing industry, specifically on IoT. I'm going to have a bit more data on that in probably the next couple of weeks as it comes together.

    Again, you know, looking out at the industry, there's a lot of really interesting developments, just by following the title, following the IoT hashtag on Twitter or just checking out articles on Google. It's not too late. The industry is still in an emerging state, so I think that there's a lot of opportunity for people to get a good understanding of where the industry's going and some of the possibilities.

    Bill Banham: Before we wrap things up, how can our listeners and how can our readers learn more about you?

    Jeffrey Veffer: The best way is actually to go to my website at jeffreyveffer.com, and post some IoT related information there. If they want to email me, the best way to get ahold of me is at my email address jeffrey@jeffreyveffer.com.

    Bill Banham: Wonderful, thank you. Well, that takes us to the end of this particular interview, so thank you very much, Jeffrey. This has been wonderful, hope we get you on again very soon.

    Jeffrey Veffer: Absolutely, Bill, I'd be more than happy to come on again.

    Bill Banham: I've been the host, Bill Banham. This has been the Clean Alert podcast. Thanks very much for listening and until next time.

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    Thanks for listening to the Clean Alert IoT podcast. Subscribe to the show on iTunes, and check out Clean Alert's award winning remote air filter monitoring technology at cleanalert.com.

    Topics: NFMT, facility managers, IoT podcast, Jeffrey Veffer