The Times They Are a Changin’

“Come gather ’round, people, wherever you roam, and admit that the waters, around you have grown. And accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone. If your time to you is worth savin’ and you better start swimmin’, or you’ll sink like a stone.

For the times they are a-changin'”

Bob Dylan, 1964

To pass the test of time

To keep up with the pace of today’s and especially the world of tomorrow, the next decade, the next 100 years is a daunting feat. Are organizations today able to pass the test of time? Are the decision-makers capable of making the decision based on the future and not the past?

Do the buildings that are built today, capable of passing the test of time for the next century?

What capabilities should a building like that have?

I believe that a building, as well as its components and solutions, needs to be robust, useful, and attractive. It is the same as it has ever been. Buildings must pass the test of time.

Robust, Useful and Attractive – Firmitas – Utilitas – Venustas

Most companies today feel that the world is moving faster than their company. That technology is leapfrogging ahead and that we need to expect more of our buildings, as well as existing processes. That’s where the classic three Vitruvian virtues can help.

“Today, I would argue, that a building has to be able to adapt to its users, to be open, flexible, and that is the true testament on how to pass the test of time.”

  1. Firmitas – Robust back in ancient times meant that it should pass the test of time and to be everything but modular. It was built like a brick house. But we see today that a building must be able to adapt to its users. It must be open, flexible, and that is the true testament to how to pass the test of time. Robust = Modular.
  1. Utilitas – The usefulness must be tailored to the many roles and masks the users wear in a building. The solutions which a building consists of must be useful in themselves. Solutions must be helpful for system integrators, owners, users, guests as well as for other solutions in the building. The only way that will happen is through open standards, service transparency and digital twins—the core tenants of #ND4B, which was described in a new deal for buildings.
  1. Venustas – The venustas part is perhaps the most interesting one and an elusive one in this traditional industry. A building can be both useful and robust, but the emotions it will evoke in a person, if the building is not attractive, will not be enjoyable. A building must be all these three things from the beginning to the end if there even is one. We have seen it with Apple products. And we will see it even more with all products going into a building and even more so with the ones to which end users connect.

This segment was initially posted during my time with Go-IoT as the acting CEO back in 2018.

Resiliency, flexibility and Stakeholder KPIs

But what does this mean for some of the existing stakeholders? What should they be able to expect from buildings? Done right, every stakeholder should assume that the data they need should always be available when they need it. And the time it would take to get the data should roughly be the same amount of time it takes to google something and scroll down to some answers.

Post-Corona and Covid, we see that tenants expect and demand more from their buildings. And we will see that real estate owners need to be able to respond to these demands of their tenants. And to be able to deliver the services that will match said demand.

  • Is it a reliable internet connection?
  • Is it mission readiness for the military?
  • Is it safe for tenants?
  • Is it productivity, profitability and well-being for the commercial tenants?
  • Hygiene, clean spaces and making sure the correct certified cleaners are available and know where to go to hospitals?
  • Or even to find equipment in the hospital?
  • Find available meeting rooms?
  • Ingest geographical data, any data, to make better decisions?
  • Act as node-balancers in a smart city/smart grid environment?
  • Possibilities to make ancillary incomes through e-commerce ready digital malls?
  • Services needed to deliver insight into retail?
  • To harmonize any kind of data from anywhere into actionable data?

It is all the above and more. Buildings should be able to deliver the value for ALL the stakeholders that have anything to do with the building. It should consist of useful, robust and attractive interfaces for all, for all time. And have the ability to adjust accordingly without too much pain.
“Ask not what you should do for the building.Ask what the building should do for you.”

Today and the future

Look at the stakeholders of buildings today, beyond the tenants. What will the stakeholders look like in the next decade? The following 20 years? Will it even be possible to deliver the value for tenants with the tools that companies are using today?


The best exercise to do is to create a map over the existing stakeholders in the industry today.  Map out how interactions are made and how they need to shift to cater to the same stakeholders in 20 years. There is no time like the present, and buildings, its components, as well as the companies and people servicing the buildings, need to be able to adapt. Otherwise, someone else will take their place, your place, to do the job better, faster, utilizing modern tools that are robust, useful and attractive; how it should be.

“Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'” – Bob Dylan

And that is why we are here to tell companies what the world is going to do a month, a year, a decade from now.  WINNIIO has a complete understanding of what is needed to stand out from the competition, advise on pros and cons, and be the strategic partner for both technology and organization-advice in a Smart World Environment (Construction/Industry/Smart Buildings and Cities).

Please reach out if you have any questions on how to get started, get going, or how to succeed in the next decade!


Nicolas Waern

Smart World Architect – Helping companies create optimal value in a Smart City Context


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