Marc Pégulu 0:00
General Purpose of Internet of Things is about collecting some some data, process the data and then act. So you build an intelligence based on you know, objective set of data, you may compare them to certain profile of usage or an expected usage and from which you can make more intelligent decision, whether it’s about routing, or it’s about automating some operations in, in, in a building. So, when it comes to, you know, commercial building, there are different type of applications, which could be, you know, in the category of having a reduction of the operating cost of the building. That’s one key type of applications. And the second one would be, I would say, relative to the wellness of occupancy or in that case, for instance, and commercial building wellness of employees. And because there is a strong relationship between this notion of wellness and of course, the motivation and as a consequence the efficiency of employees.
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J Darrin Gross 1:24
Welcome to Commercial Real Estate Pro Networks, CRE PN Radio. Thanks for joining us. My name is J. Darrin gross. This is the podcast focused on commercial real estate investment and risk management strategies. Weekly, we have conversations with commercial real estate investors and professionals who provide their experience and insight to help you grow your real estate portfolio.
Today, my guest is Marc Pégulu. Marc is the Vice President of Internet of Things product marketing and strategy for Semtech Wireless and Sensing Products Group. And in just a minute, we’re gonna speak with Marc about the IoT of things with commercial buildings, and how low raw sensors are being deployed to help builders, owners and residents overcome some of the biggest challenges for smart applications with commercial buildings.
But first, a quick reminder, if you’d like our show, CRE PN Radio, there are a couple things you can do to help us out. You can like, share and subscribe. And as always, we encourage you to leave a comment, we’d love to hear from our listeners. Also, if you want to see how handsome Our guests are, be sure to check out our YouTube channel. And you can find us on YouTube at Commercial Real Estate Pro Network. And while you’re there, please subscribe. With that, I want to welcome my guest, Marc. Welcome to CRE PN Radio.
Marc Pégulu 2:56
Hi there. And thank you very much for having me with your podcast. And I look forward to our conversation today.
J Darrin Gross 3:03
Well, I’m looking forward to our conversation as well. Before we get started, if you could share with listeners just a little bit about your background.
Marc Pégulu 3:10
Yes, my pleasure. So I’m an engineer by nature. You know, I came up like any engineers quite interested in solving problems. My speciality has been wireless and sensing from day one, I’ve been working in several companies in the semiconductor industry on sensors of connectivity. And with Semtech we thought that there was a huge, I would say opportunity to bring a new type of connectivity. It was back at a time in around 2015 People were starting to speak about this kind of World of Internet of Things or IoT. And we say where you know, we think that this type of market will require something new, something entirely low power, very low cost, the type of connectivity and this is where we come with this technology named LoRa, which simply stands for long range. And then we worked very closely with the ecosystem to build an alliance called the LoRa alliance to promote an open and free communication standard.
J Darrin Gross 4:26
Now I heard the LoRa is long range. The The other thing you’re talking about the last part that didn’t quite get that what was that you’re saying is for
Marc Pégulu 4:37
The low power, probably the low power part is very, very important. So what’s one of the key element and the other part is about having an open communication platform so you need you know,
J Darrin Gross 4:49
Okay, open so an open platform
Marc Pégulu 4:51
Is like yeah, like Wi Fi. For instance, you know, you want a protocol which is open so that anybody can can work separately and have a level of interoperability
J Darrin Gross 5:02
Now that that’s, that’s definitely music to anybody who’s trying to, you know, connect things, I find that everyone’s got their own platform, and you’ve got different entry points and, and nothing can speak to each other. Yeah, that’s the, that’s the point where sometimes I want to just undo the whole computer thing, because it’s like, I thought this was supposed to be single entry input, don’t just put it in one time and use it. But that’s great. So let’s talk a little bit about the Internet of Things in commercial real estate, what are some of the the points that you have identified, that can be controlled or measured or can can integrate with the Internet of Things? Yes.
Marc Pégulu 5:46
So the general purpose of Internet of Things is about collecting some some data, process the data and then act. So you build an intelligence based on you know, objective set of data, you may compare them to certain profile of usage or an expected usage, and from this, you can make more intelligent decision, whether it’s about routing, or it’s about automating some operations in, in in a building. So, when it comes to, you know, commercial building, there are different type of applications, which could be, you know, in the category of having a reduction of the operating cost of the building, that’s one key type of applications. And the second one would be I would say, relative to the wellness of occupancy or in that case, for instance, and commercial building wellness of employees, and because there is a strong relationship between this notion of wellness and of course, the motivation and as a consequence, the efficiency of employees. So, we try with the Internet of Things, indeed, to bring this kind of birth world of technology to a simple way enough so that it makes sense for people, it makes sense for corporations and we see is already a key element of what we are doing together with with the ecosystem. And of course, I would be happy to give some examples of type of applications if you want to,
J Darrin Gross 7:15
I was going to ask if you could identify some of the points that you’re monitoring or that you’re able to control.
Marc Pégulu 7:22
So, the typical typical examples would be for instance, anything related to air quality, and it’s especially important for indoor operations. So, how do you determine air quality in general you measure different parameters such as temperature, humidity, but also some specific gases like co2, and all of these you know, there are a lot of correlations between those different parameters and what you can call air quality has been seen during the last two years or so, with all the consequences of pandemic with COVID where it has been proven that you need to renew the the air quite often and the industry came to a realization that actually did not have enough sensors to properly make a determination as whether a specific home got the hair renewed, often enough. So, now, you know if you have a very cheap way to deploy sensors and collect regularly this data you can bring I mean the expected level I would say of feedback and and safety for for employees to air quality is a big one. Then you have things like customer satisfactions, right so which could be for instance about a feedback you know, you you collect a feedback with a traditional red green, yellow smiley face type of button, that’s fine but it could be also when you go to the restrooms you want to notify that you know something is not right and you would like to cause the cleanup company so all this kind of information is just you know to make sure your time at the office or in the commercial building a little bit more pleasant or so when you come to a place right you know, it’s nice to know that you can pack in Fiat directly to the right place to park but even better. So, this is what we call smart parking. And smart parking is based on some Proximity Detection sensors which basically you know, will give real time information as well as our place is occupied or not. And you could before even entering the parking get access to within permissions and be directed exactly to the right this may be your last one because there are a lot with be related to anything which is related to building damage. So I take the example of one of our office actually at Sam tech here in in San Diego we got leak damage during the time of pandemic. So know people from time taking the building and then we discover Like a few weeks later, that actually the tenant above us a leak. And we had a whole flow of kind of damage. And that’s super expensive from an insurance point of view, where what if you had? And now we have because we learned our lesson, what if we had some leak detection sense of everywhere in order to be alerted immediately? And, you know, to mitigate the risk and the cost for everyone?
J Darrin Gross 10:25
Yeah, that last one you touched on, I’m very familiar with insurance companies are really kind of keying in on that, you know, recognizing, whatever forget to call them water bugs, or whatever. But there’s, there’s a way to detect if there’s water where it shouldn’t be and then to turn off the supply to, again, to minimize the damage. It’s going to ask you, you know, on the on the air quality one, is that something that that has always been a point of measurement, or is that something that really kind of grew during the pandemic has that been something you guys have dealt with
Marc Pégulu 11:01
It’s grew significantly during the pandemic, I think temperature definitely and humidity have been constant measurement measurement point, but the co2 or ozone gas monitoring is new. It came up with, you know, it was, it was a little bit before the pandemic, but the pandemic bring, I think, the real value, immediate value, I would say to everyone, because it was short term and high risk immediately. But we we’ve seen that also in schools, for instance, we see a lot of schools now deploying those kind of co2 sensors, in order to make sure that the kids are being in a proper environment to run. And I think people are starting now to integrate this type of information to their daily life, and how to, you know, how to best use I think this is normally information everyone should have. We never paid attention to that before. But I think it’s going to be more and more, I would say, in in our way of, you know, thinking about how we should live, right?
J Darrin Gross 12:01
Yeah, no, I get it. And it makes complete sense. I was just, it’s kind of interesting, some of the, of the data points that are being collected and or the just the awareness of it, and even how, you know, the proper levels affect one’s experience, and where you can feel, you know, more alive, awake, and you know, you can affect one’s just enjoyment of the situation or the space by having, you know, better air quality there, as opposed to perhaps they didn’t even know they had poor air quality. Yeah,
Marc Pégulu 12:40
I think people didn’t know. And they, they think we see a trend or so you know, curious about as, you know, as a citizen to be a little bit more empowered. And I think empowerment comes or so can be helped with knowledge. So if you’re not aware of certain things, actually, you feel a little bit more empowered, and you know, you have a voice, your voice matter. And I believe corporations are integrating this more and more. You know, everybody, we hear that all the time, right, the first asset of a company is its employees, and being able to deliver, you know, this clear message to the employee that the company you’re working for, is taking care of that for you know, they may give the gift. Right, right. And definitely, we see a lot of impact, positive impact and motivation of employees.
J Darrin Gross 13:35
Right. Now, the the kind of curious, is the drive or the interest for these products? Is it coming from the building owner? Is it because it coming from the the the control industry, meaning like if it’s the HVAC industry or or the construction industry, or is it coming from the the tenant occupier, expecting these things to be present?
Marc Pégulu 14:06
I think that’s a very good question. And once we think that it comes now, because it’s related to the people and the occupants, it’s more the tenant actually, which is driving this kind of consideration. So maybe I can take the example of some some companies like Capgemini, which is a pretty large consulting service company is using our raw technology actually, for the building. We live we have about 400 buildings worldwide, pretty large specifici. And, you know, what’s driving them is for instance, optimizing the occupancy of the building. So it’s both about making sure that you know, there are not too many offices which are left unoccupied, but also making sure that if you need a meeting room, the meeting room is available when you need it. And when is not no conflict. And the the figure that, you know, he’s on the first case about occupancy, they could save six significant money, right they have a yearly budget of 300 million euro. And what they can save is, you know, you’re only 45 million, so it’s, you know, a bit more than 10%, the kind of savings, so which is very significant for a small amount. In that case, it was 6 million, your whole kind of investment to equip the building. And you get an immediate, I would say a payback on that. But this is a tenant in obviously, for themselves, because they want to optimize their space. It drove I would say this aspiration to reduce the cost and implement IoT technologies. For others, when it’s more related to wellness or health safety. Again, I think it’s company companies and tenants were basically making certain level of promise and our safety promises to their employees, and they have to deliver. So they’re asking, working quite often with, you know, the owner of the building to make sure that the building is properly equipped as well to to accommodate those kind of technologies.
J Darrin Gross 16:18
No, I appreciate you going through that the you find that predominantly, this is a commercial office, space wareness application where the market is, where are you finding it in different asset classes as well?
Marc Pégulu 16:36
We see a lot of traction in the commercial building right now. I mean, offices, definitely. That would extend that also to factories, factories as a tendency and warehouses as well have a tendency to include also some other considerations like safety. So we see for instance, panic buttons type of, of things, as well, in association to the oneness, in operation of operational optimization of the building. So these are the primary segments that today we see.
J Darrin Gross 17:19
You mentioned in the office, they’re talking about, like the conference room availability, and that, you know, made me think just for a second, you know, kind of the whole on the hospitality side of things with like the Airbnb and how they’ve, you know, created all these entry exit, things that are no touch, opportunity, and you can schedule, you know, you’d go on a calendar and pick the address or the place you want to stay and put it on electronic calendar, and you’ll be in and it will give you a code prior to entry. And as soon as you’re out and somebody else will come in and clean it for the next person. And I mean, it’s all very low touch kind of thing. Given kind of the reset that COVID is in, I don’t know that the the the ink is dried, as far as writing the story on on office space, post COVID, I think that there’s still kind of a, some sort of a, you know, a hybrid that’s that we’re in right now. But but, you know, pre COVID, this the the shared workspace was was a big, big thing, kind of the WeWork model. did, I would think they would would your your technology, not even kind of offer for a shared workspace to really implement some controls there would that be? Am I thinking long term?
Marc Pégulu 18:55
I think keeping it right indeed, because you have, for instance, with see usage of the technology associated to some low resolution camera for people counting. So you can count how many people are getting in or out. So it’s about preserve presence detect in general, which is one of the key elements in the to you know, make valuable a shell the aesthetic shadow shell building. We think anything which is indeed, related to security system, so you mentioned that Airbnb, obviously, you know, there is a lock here, this is one of your key and toughest to enter the place you have rented. You need to make sure that indeed you have the place has been properly locked as well. So it’s very convenient for the owner of the press, actually to our first kind of monitoring information. And obviously the technology I mean don’t exist as a technology in itself. And I would say independently of the sensing and the control mechanism, what you mentioned about delivering a new card, and then three cards all the time to the user fits into that right fits into this big picture. Where the technology comes into play this type of fire to technology, while it’s between, you know, at some point, you need to communicate with your luck with new information. And this is where more or less, it’s, you know, it’s the most common way actually to communicate between the lock itself, and whichever intelligence deliver or selectors and you got to enter. So but it’s a good good example that you gave, actually, I would agree with you that we are returned bitter still early in the phase of a post pandemic, to properly understand how companies are going to manage shared workspace like we work and others, we do see that it seems actually that they took the time to properly reflect on how they should equipped the building of their offices in order to anticipate the back to office in in a safer way. And what has been blocking so far a little bit, the installation is just manpower work. So it’s just a simple thing to allow people to go to the office to install devices, but the business case is definitely here, the desire and the budget here. And we see now that as people are allowed to get back to office, so are the maintenance people capable of installing in a simple way it was it was devices. And as a user, of course, you want that, right, you want that your building has been equipped with this kind of flavor of, of knowledge to make sure that you don’t enter an overcrowded press, you want to know that the press, the Office of the meeting room is free, right when you get into that, and that, indeed, that the air quality has been renewed. And that’s a safe place to come and maybe to bring your customers together with you.
J Darrin Gross 22:06
So let me ask you this question, because this is the the question I’ve always had with doing all these things on my phone or you know, however, and I get get that the capability of all of it exists and when it works, it works great. What is the the concern? Or how do you compensate for the the what if a network goes down? Or there’s a there’s a gap somewhere or there’s some sort of a could be a cyber thing is there is there an effort to is there any redundancy built into these to where you know, you can avoid any kind of you know, downtime or non operational time?
Marc Pégulu 22:54
So, yeah, I think you bring up a few good points. So, the first thing is of course, we want to use as an interface what people are used, you know, which is a you interface with your smartphone. So all those technologies are compatible, because in the end, we see data processing and internet and you’re using this interface this interface is also used for crafting quite often. So what happens you know what could happen right the first the first thing is any kind of communication is extremely encrypted. So you want to make sure that the there is no data privacy kind of concern. So that’s the first element then most of the information which is communicated is is a sensor information. So it gives you an additional information. It does not necessarily for instance, lock you out of a building or something like that, but it gives you an additional information remember what we spoke about and governmental information. But if you don’t have this information, you know you may not be happy. But you know, it’s it doesn’t prevent you save from using the premise Sam for early detection or something if it doesn’t work, why it means you know, you may have some risk for given you know, given time until this is repelled. But the good thing is that you are you’re alerted that something doesn’t work. So we see you get it and the reason why you get this information is like you pointed out it’s very easy to build a redundancy with this type of technology. So I started we started by saying you know we are working on this technology of Loja which is long range. And this is really important. Now because there are things you can and things you cannot do with short range technology. And building redundancy with short and short Tange technology. It’s very complicated because it means you need to install an infrastructure or dense infrastructure which is absolutely not compatible with economic concepts. With loha Actually, you are in studying almost like it’s like a Wi Fi hotspot except that you get a super long range something like 20 or 30 times longer range than Wi Fi And it enables, you know, with a few gateways in the building to cover with redundancy every corner of the building. So even if a gateway goes down, that’s fine, actually, you know, you will get another gateway. And interestingly, so let’s imagine you you lose, you know, power into your building, where actually your sensors which are battery operated could be received by what we call the lower one public network. So one of the elements which is already important for us is that we offer the possibility to ecosystem to deploy your network as a private network, like Wi Fi in your building, but also as a public network. So you have companies like, you know, mobile network operators, or cable network operators who are providing local one technology from outdoor to indoor. So your device can be received or so as an information as an encrypted message by outdoor hotspot router, or gateways, which don’t belong to your building, but you know, you can, you can subscribe to this service, my building is down, okay, I want to know what’s going on into my building. Okay, I can work, for instance, with a company like Comcast, to get my low one data and understand what’s going on, even if everything is is shut down in my building. So this is very, very powerful in terms of consultancy.
J Darrin Gross 26:24
Got it? So let me ask you, does this work better? Or can you do it in both new construction versus like an existing building? Upgrade?
Marc Pégulu 26:38
So you can do both? There is obviously no, no problem, I would say does it make a big difference? In general, if you do it in a new building, you can plan for it in a slightly better way. But where we see the business, I would say a putting us is actually in the retrofit, because there are quite a lot of buildings, you know, who have not been designed actually for these kind of new technologies. They don’t have, for instance, wires in order to connect sensors. And the only possibility is to install Wallace. But we operate in devices, they don’t have power, they don’t have cable, it’s so that’s the only way there is no no alternative. So that’s why we see quite vibrant demand in this type of retrofit Bonfield if you want in terms of building because, you know, you’re not going to deploy cable, it’s just too expensive. You want the lat Wallace is a very elegant way to get there. So both are possible. But you know, it makes sense that the market looks at the retrofit first for its base type of technology.
J Darrin Gross 27:47
Current given that this deals with some energy conservation, I would assume you you kind of fit in some of the funding sources that are available. Do you find that building owners that are looking to utilize you know, any, any of your, your your products? Or is there their funding available through any of these green initiatives that can help offset that the cost?
Marc Pégulu 28:18
Yeah, so totally. environment in general is one of the primary usage of IoT type of, of technologies. And NLG is quite often a primary driver, I would say, you know, quite often from an operation, expenses perspective, but also more and more for environmental concern, more and more companies now, you know, are working towards this kind of promise to be almost carbon neutral. And Semtech wants to, obviously, to encourage and I think we fit very well, with this notion of you know, we can help you deploy a better intelligence in a much more granular way, at a low cost with, you know, very, very low energy device, a battery operated device for all I can work for 10 years without any problem. So, that’s really important because, okay, not only you don’t need to connect to the power and you know, overuse, easy analogy. But also, you don’t have to replace the battery. So there is this waste management of a battery. Which means, you know, it’s not just about recycling the battery, but it’s also about sending somebody to change all those batteries. Imagine, you know, a building equipped with 1000s of sensors, if you need to get someone you know, every couple of months to change those batteries. If that customer outrights I mean fuel to get there and that’s just not workable. So, we he that’s why low power long range goes together, low cost for infrastructure, low cost of maintenance is very important and actually it’s so much low power that we to see in the very near future that NLGI investing is going to take over and potentially replace a lot of the of the batteries. The solar energy investing is about you know, using natural energy, which is number one on my mantle variable energy like light instance, in order to power your devices. And this is possible with this type of robust sensors, we see for instance, that even with say, no relatively dark office now, we can use very efficient solar panels to power you know, all all the requirements you need in terms of sensing and communication for for sensors. So, really important. So, you know, by giving this power of blinking sensors, everywhere, you can control light, make sure that lights is not left on, you can control the temperature to make sure you know that AC is not operating, while there is nobody in the building, all of that, you know, goes together. And, you know, in the end, this is really what we are trying to bring as a contribution as well and outside for better environment better social gospel value for the company, all the all the work.
J Darrin Gross 31:11
Is there any kind of a study you guys do like before or after, and kind of a, an energy savings or some sort of a cost savings estimates that as part of the sales process for the building owner to, you know, justify the the numbers or
Marc Pégulu 31:31
So, yeah, VCs indeed are something that are, I would say, technology user are doing. So Semtech, you know, as a technology provider, we provide one one piece, an important one, but it’s not the only one, which is a connectivity. But our direct customers indeed have this kind of study about savings of energy in different building. I don’t have one specific example right now, but I, you know, I on top of my head, as she you know, a lot of water savings in the range of 30% saving. And same for this kind of electricity saving. So, you know, this is the order of magnitude, the magnitude that we get quite often from a former customer when they make the study. And you’re right, we, this is important that they communicate in both terms to building owners or tenants. Because you know, nobody, you know, really care so much about the technology itself. I think in the end, they want to understand what’s the impact of that. And so we prefer, you know, to let our ecosystem where we say, you know, their specialist about the abdomen, they speak about that. And, you know, we’re here on the technology. So probably, they’re in a bit too harsh, but I would love indeed, to share with you as a follow up some detail, poor savings, and that he sees men by the ecosystem.
J Darrin Gross 32:51
And when I’m certainly just thinking about it, when you say 30%, I would think that’d be pretty easy to obtain, just based on controlling the temperature. You know, when during times when nobody’s there, we’re, you know, controlling lights and stuff. So makes a lot of sense.
Hey, Marc, if we could, I’d like to shift gears here for a second. As I mentioned earlier, by day, I’m an insurance broker. And as such, I work with my clients to assess risk, and determine what to do with the risk. And there’s three different strategies we typically try and consider to see if if we can’t, you know, mitigate the risk. The first we look to, is to see if we can avoid the risk. And if that’s not an option, then we look to see if there’s a way we can minimize the risk. And when we are unable to avoid nor minimize the risk, we look to see if we can transfer the risk. And that’s what an insurance policy is. It’s a risk transfer vehicle. And as such, I like to ask my guests if they can take a look at their own situation. Could be the technology could be the marketplace could be government, politics, interest rates, you know, however, however you would like to frame the question and answer with respect to the biggest risk. So if you’re willing, I’d like to ask you, Marc Pégulu, what is the biggest risk?
Marc Pégulu 34:27
So, you know, fall for what we talked about today, I would say for for us, the biggest or biggest risk would be having, I would say the wrong awareness or for low awareness about the technology and what it can do. We think that we have really a unique and huge opportunity in this law technology. We are extremely happy to have the opportunity to speak with you. For example, because you are helping us, I would say, to make sense to give a purpose to the technology itself. And this is the awareness I’m speaking about. Today, we are already, you know, willing to make sure that we are not seen as just, you know, new technology, you know, to always push the limit of the technology. We want to make sure that our customers and their customers understand that they have at hand now, technologies capable of bringing much more environmental friendly type of building and more social responsible type of building for their customers.
J Darrin Gross 35:39
Sounds good. Marc, where can listeners go if they’d like to learn more or connect with you.
Marc Pégulu 35:47
So I would really encourage them to connect is up to the Semtech website, or to some of our social media posting, which we do for instance, on LinkedIn Semtech , as as you know, is a sharing quite often some information I do share as well myself. And either way, I would be happy now they can contact me for some type of UI directly for my LinkedIn profile. I would be happy of course to share anything, you know, any answer any question that your audience would have.
J Darrin Gross 36:26
Right? Marc, I cannot say thanks enough for taking the time to talk today. I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly and learned a lot. And I hope we can do it again soon.
Marc Pégulu 36:37
Thanks a lot Darrin it was very inspiring for me also to put technology in the context of end users and knowing your background, as an insurance broker is definitely quite interesting for me.
J Darrin Gross 36:51
I appreciate that.
Marc Pégulu 36:52
J Darrin Gross 36:54
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