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Empowering Business Through Connected Data

We live in a digital age consumed with instantaneous access to information. Ninety percent of the world’s data has been generated in the past two years, nearing 2.5 quintillion bytes each day. With 4.9 billon unique mobile users, 8.4 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices and innumerable unstructured transactions generated from the web and social media each second, the global datasphere’s growth rate dwarfs Moore’s Law.

Our ability to transform bits and bytes of data into actionable real-time information, coupled with predictive analytics, is still in its infancy. As companies connect these disparate data points, new innovative opportunities will emerge, and long standing processes will be disrupted. Agile tech savvy firms will unlock creativity, bringing new solutions to market at an accelerated pace. To stay competitive, how do traditional businesses embrace today’s digital first paradigm that empowers employees to achieve more through connected data?

In practice, the heart of our ubiquitous digital universe is a comprehensive ecosystem designed to deliver collaboration and transparency while supporting a corporate vision. To put this into a business context, we invested in a comprehensive overhaul of our long-established residential leasing process. Our goal was to reduce the number of system touch points, automate manual processes, connect disparate unsynchronized silos of information, and provide a greater level of self-service. Secondarily, we would replace Excel as the reporting tool of choice with analytic platforms delivering real-time insight and visibility into trends, fostering a proactive management style.

Based on anecdotal conversations, we started to analyze a broad spectrum of roles and responsibilities. It became apparent many daily tasks had become disconnected and layered with unnecessary duplication. As we assessed the way people worked, our end users struggled to visualize the possibilities and were becoming increasingly uncomfortable with change. This dilemma is one every agent of change has faced, knowing that without stakeholder’s support, moving forward is fraught with risk and uncertainly.


To rebuild confidence and trust in technology, we turned to a new digital approach to illuminate our vision: storyboarding. Through a series of meetings with key employees, we delved into current processes, pain points, system usability and reporting requirements. The result utilized a graphical UX / UI approach that brought our findings to life in a simple, intuitive fashion. Through a "Business Lifecycle Storyboard," our end users were able to clearly visualize how technology would enhance their daily tasks and interactions with prospects and clients.

A supplemental "Technical Workflow Storyboard" provided programmers with a roadmap to accomplish our goals. These detailed design specifications translated each task into four main components: system touch points, process inputs, process outputs and reporting parameters. Through the visualization process, we were quickly able to discern no single integration method would satisfy our comprehensive application integration requirements. After reviewing each platform’s architecture, we blended Application Program Interfaces (API), SaaS Integration Platforms, JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), Apex code and custom application interfaces to address our bidirectional and unidirectional data exchanges.

During our development cycle, the intrinsic value of preparing detailed workflow process blueprints, with accompanying swim-lane diagrams, became evident. It guided our strategic in-depth review of each application's ERD (Entity Relationship Diagram), focusing on table indexes and field attributes essential to successful data mapping. Furthermore, the creation of custom staging tables facilitating field level transformation based on business process triggers were developed to maintain system integrity.

With disparate data silos now connected, our employees had the ability to see trends and behavioral patterns across the entire lifecycle, building a foundation for strategic engagement. Through an intuitive graphical interface, managers and analysts could also visualize data from different viewpoints empowering them to make more accurate and timely business decisions. Over time, as historical data points are collected, new patterns will emerge allowing dynamic decision-making to drive revenue increases and operating efficiencies.

Cybersecurity risks are growing daily, and with proprietary data, intellectual property and perhaps a firm’s competitive advantage traversing the cloud, our vulnerabilities will grow as well. When constructing system interfaces and data connections, always incorporate a few simple precautionary cyber guidelines:
  • Require VPN connections for data exchange
  • Whitelist traffic using firewall rules
  • Encrypt data at 256 AES, both in transit and at rest
  • Implement strong passwords policies
  • Monitor system intrusion alerts
In our digital age where we are continually connected and bombarded with information, filtering out the noise can be a gateway to knowledge. To quote Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella, "When you change the way you see the world, you change the world you see." By empowering employees and unlocking creativity through connected data, businesses that embrace today’s digital first paradigm will lead the way and achieve transformational results.

Sandy Jacolow, CIO, Silverstein Properties
Sandy Jacolow joined Silverstein Properties in 2011 as Chief Information Officer, a role in which he oversees the technology initiatives that support the company's financial, operations and development, including the World Trade Center, and Silver Suites activities. Sandy has been active in the real estate industry for nearly 35 years with a focus on the institutional advisory, property management and brokerage markets.

This Week’s Sponsor

CBRE|ESI helps its clients successfully manage the energy use of complex building portfolios. We help companies take control of their infrastructure, connect disparate systems, lower energy costs, increase occupant comfort and safety, and prolong reliability and uptime in a way that lets them focus their time and talent on their core business. Please visit our website at www.thinkesi.com

UPCOMING REALCOMM WEBINARS

Achieving Optimum Energy Efficiency in Buildings - New Benchmarks Being Set - 7/26/2018

Five years ago, the driving factor for smart buildings was energy costs. While operational efficiency and occupant experience have been added to the discussion, energy savings still play an important role in the smart building strategy. Energy usage in buildings accounts for over 40% of electrical consumption which has ties to coal, natural gas, petroleum and nuclear energy. Energy waste in buildings is easily evident and provides great opportunities when addressed. Advanced energy analytics, enhanced building automation monitoring, new lighting solutions, low voltage infrastructure, micro grids and other technologies are reshaping the building energy landscape. This webinar will bring best practices and new benchmarks into focus.

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Tom Shircliff Intelligent Buildings
Tom Shircliff Co-Founder Tom Shircliff is a co-founder and principal of Intelligent Buildings, a nationally recognized smart real estate professional services company that was
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Tom Shircliff
Co-Founder
Intelligent Buildings
LinkedIn

Tom Shircliff is a co-founder and principal of Intelligent Buildings, a nationally recognized smart real estate professional services company that was started in 2004. Intelligent Buildings provides planning and implementation of next generation strategy for new buildings, existing portfolios and urban communities. Tom is a speaker and collaborator with numerous universities and national laboratories, a gubernatorial appointee for energy strategy and policy and founding Chairman of Envision Charlotte, a Clinton Global Initiative.

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Kevin Bates Sharp Development
Kevin Bates Owner Kevin Bates is the owner of Sharp Development company. Over the past six years, he has concentrated on retrofitting older generation concrete tilt-u
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Kevin Bates
Owner
Sharp Development
LinkedIn

Kevin Bates is the owner of Sharp Development company. Over the past six years, he has concentrated on retrofitting older generation concrete tilt-up buildings that are carbon neutral, have a net zero energy bill as well as a strong emphasis on the health and wellness of the interior environment for the occupants. The driver for Kevin is to demonstrate that this way of repurposing existing building stock can be done in a manner that is more profitable for the ownership than the less expensive way of building to meet minimum code.

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Dana Jennings LinkedIn
Dana Jennings Project Manager, Global Sustainability Dana bridges the gap between buildings and their occupants through fun initiatives that drive energy efficiency across LinkedIn’s global portfolio. W
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Dana Jennings
Project Manager, Global Sustainability
LinkedIn
LinkedIn

Dana bridges the gap between buildings and their occupants through fun initiatives that drive energy efficiency across LinkedIn’s global portfolio. With over six years of experience in corporate sustainability at both startups and large corporations, Dana understands the crucial role that business plays in addressing climate change. She is excited about how technology is transforming the built environment, and looks for opportunities to scale innovation and to help LinkedIn and others achieve audacious sustainability goals.

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Matt Eggers Yardi
Matt Eggers VP, Yardi Energy Matt Eggers is currently VP, Yardi Energy where he leads the development of software for energy management and high performing buildings at Yardi. He
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Matt Eggers
VP, Yardi Energy
Yardi

Matt Eggers is currently VP, Yardi Energy where he leads the development of software for energy management and high performing buildings at Yardi. He has extensive experience in leading teams to record sales and growing operations and market share.

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Chris Phillips ICONICS
Chris Phillips Strategic Accounts - Building Automation With over 30 years of experience in commercial real estate and IT/Internet-based building services, Chris leverages his deep rooted knowledge of what
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Chris Phillips
Strategic Accounts - Building Automation
ICONICS

With over 30 years of experience in commercial real estate and IT/Internet-based building services, Chris leverages his deep rooted knowledge of what is important to building owners and operators. He will discuss how ICONICS advanced building optimization software solutions with real-time Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) help customers by integrating information from all disparate building equipment systems and energy metering into a uniform building automation system. Automated FDD visualizes in a meaningful manner what is critical to achieving energy reduction, operational efficiency and sustainability goals. Chris holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Ralf VonSosen Lucid
Ralf VonSosen CMO & VP of Customer Operations Ralf VonSosen has 20 years experience in technology product, marketing and customer operations. He is passionate about transforming data into actionab
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Ralf VonSosen
CMO & VP of Customer Operations
Lucid

Ralf VonSosen has 20 years experience in technology product, marketing and customer operations. He is passionate about transforming data into actionable insights. Ralf leads Lucid's customer onboarding and professional services.

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Karthik Rao EnerNOC
Karthik Rao Director of Energy Management Solutions Karthik is the Director of Energy Management Solutions at EnerNOC. His team works with large energy users in the Commercial and Industrial sectors to
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Karthik Rao
Director of Energy Management Solutions
EnerNOC

Karthik is the Director of Energy Management Solutions at EnerNOC. His team works with large energy users in the Commercial and Industrial sectors to deliver outcomes using energy intelligence software, utility bill management, smart building solutions, microgrids, and more. Karthik has over 10 years of experience in the energy industry and holds a Bachelors in Engineering Physics from Queen’s University and a Masters in Systems Engineering from Cornell University.