In episode 11 of the Let’s Connect! Podcast, Erik Fossum Færevaag, Founder and President of Disruptive Technologies, joins host Ken Briodagh to talk about Smart Buildings and Facilities Management. In particular, they look at how the commercial real estate industry needs to evolve with the help of IoT solutions. 

Erik Fossum Færevaag is the Founder and President of Disruptive Technologies, a Norwegian Tech company providing The World’s Smallest Wireless Sensor. The company has received numerous recognized awards such as Gartner Cool Vendor, Nordic Startup Awards, Norwegian Tech Awards and more. The sensor is the size of a postage stamp with 15 years battery lifetime, unmatched ease-of-use and scalability. Sensor data is delivered on a cloud API, where the complete service, including sensors, are managed. Erik’s background is from the microchip/semiconductor industry, architecting the world’s lowest power microcontroller EFR32 and the world’s lowest energy ISM band digital radios.

Interested in connecting with Erik? Reach out on Linkedin!

Disruptive Technologies is a developer of commercial-grade wireless sensors and a rapidly growing innovator in the IoT market. The Internet of Things promised a self-sufficient world of interconnectedness, but the technology was expensive, cumbersome and limited. It also came with a range of new privacy and security concerns, hindering adoption. The company’s sensing solution simplifies data collection and delivers the data securely to their dashboard (DT Studio) or a partners’​ analytics programs in the cloud. The technology enables sensor solutions for smart buildings, facilities management, workplace, manufacturing & warehousing, cold storage and substations. Finally, safe, cost efficient and sustainable operations allow people to truly unload the ordinary for more rewarding pursuits.  Follow them on Twitter. 

Key Questions and Topics from this Episode:

0:00 Show Introduction 

1:20 Erik Fossum Faervaag Introduction

3:10 Facilities Management Post-2020

5:40 What is Building Cleaning Validation?

6:43 The Future of Work and Workspaces 

7:53 Commercial Spaces in Smart Cities

9:30 Sustainable Buildings 

10:05 Case Study on WeWork Pilot 

13:12 Smarter New Construction

15:05 How to Start an IoT Company


- [Ken] This is the IoT For All Media Network.

- Hello friends in IoT. Welcome to Let's Connect, the newest podcast in the IoT For All Media Network. I am Ken Briodagh, Editorial Director for IoT For All and your host. If you enjoy this episode, please remember to like, subscribe, rate, review, and comment on all your favorite podcasting platforms and to keep up with all the IoT insights you need, visit Before we get into our episode,

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- [Ken] Really happy today to have Erik Fossum Færevaag, the Founder and President of Disruptive Technologies. Erik, welcome to Let's Connect. In case folks aren't familiar with you or with Disruptive Tech, can you give us a little bit of your background and sort of where you guys fit into IoT?

- [Erik] Of course. So, Disruptive just might be the world's smallest wireless sensor and it's always on, it's the size of a stamp and it has a battery lifetime of 15 years. So, it's something completely different. I guess the listeners may wonder how is that possible? So our background is from semiconductors and we built the world's smallest industrial-grade wireless sensor and technology. And then in another company, with the lowest power microcontroller in the world. And this made us realize how hard it was to build a reliable, easy to use sensors. So that was basically the idea behind Disruptive Technologies.

- [Ken] You guys are operating mostly in the sort of smart building space right now, is that right?

- [Erik] I would say that we're agnostic to the type of application really, but in order to succeed business wise, you need to focus. So facility management is a good market for us, if you can call it a market. It's a little market. So the smart building environment, more on kind of the predictive maintenance, on the A-track and the systems and so on. CMMS systems on the soft facility management, the cleaning efficiency and cleaning validation, which is the ERS. What we, as the company, are doing is to deliver raw data from sensors and into these applications. Software applications that is already in use. So we're kind of telco sensors.

- [Ken] Really cool. I think that there's a really good case to be made in IoT up for sort of agnosticism to Applications where something just works wherever you need it to work to do the thing you need it to do. But I do want to to talk about facilities management with you because it's a really interesting time for that right now. I think that over the last year, pretty much now when the whole world has been dealing with COVID and and distance working and things like that, the the commercial real estate and the facility space has been one of the sectors that has had to make the most adjustment. And I think is one of the sectors that's in for a really rough time coming up if they don't make some some changes in their operational procedures. And I think that, that the smart building and facilities management IoT space has a lot to offer those facilities, facilities managers who are looking to not just survive the next period of time, but, but grow and learn how to evolve their businesses. Can you talk a little bit about what you've seen over the last year and sort of what, what that industry looks like right now?

- [Erik] Yeah, thanks for the question. We, as mentioned, we raised mark in 2019. And before that we did some early piloting with various cloud platforms, but these cloud platforms these software applications were basically focusing on building their own applications and they didn't look for data from the from the world out there. That has completely changed over the last two years I would say often released to market. And I think the COVID situation has accelerated this as well, because you do want to have data from the field remote monitoring. You do want to understand what's going on in in New York facilities without being that we have roll-outs in the U.S. and Europe at the same time of brought a thousand sites just to collect data so that corporate donors can understand what's going on there. And, and we didn't get to any of those requests earlier. So it's a completely different change of, of, of of requests that we're getting. I would also say that earlier, it was more not only about the cleaning efficiency and, and and some specific Applications that were no-no from before. But then we started to hear about cleaning validation, something completely new. I mean, do you need to know that it's clean? Yes, you do, because there's no people here you need to know if it was someone there and actually clean. This is getting quite a bit, I'll . You need to, to recognize the patterns of the cleaning cleaners there they might be confirmed in certain places. And so this is what sensors can do. So you can both use to increase efficiency and to to kind of validate the quality of the data.

- [Ken] Yeah. I think that that sort of idea that cleaning validation, the, the, the quality assurance aspect of, of facility sensors is, is sort of a a door opening toward what future smarter facilities might look like. Because I think that, and I'm just sort of prognosticating a little bit here that as that companies have learned a lot in the last year, but one of the things they've learned is that they may not need as much physical spaces they thought they did. Their workers can be more remote and they can stay effective and, and productive. And so the raw square footage in a facility might have to be used differently. There might be more shared space.

- [Erik] of use spacing, into that space, as well as desktop. For example, I would actually, then it was by law that we have a sense productive, covert these kinds of applications. Well, a temperature sensor is used to detect if there's a desk or not. And, and analytic with a partner are acting, arguing signal processing to decide if, if, if if someone is sitting there or, or not. So dispensary's is empty, that fluctuates what their usage and so on has been requested.

- [Ken] Yeah. Yeah. And I think that the interesting thing about that is that I sort of envision this really interesting sort of thing happening to commercial spaces, that it looked like a lot of multi-use buildings in smart city applications are doing where the building becomes this sort of hub of activity, a sort of micro community. And I think that, that this kind of smart building and smart facilities technology where you're doing validations, where you're doing more than just monitoring, makes a commercial building into more of a community space and a space that can still be a viable business for a facility manager or building owner.

- [Erik] Yeah. I think also that's something that we've seen over the last, I would say three, four or five years with, with the co-working space. And so on

- [Ken] Uh huh.

- [Erik] that it's what they try to offer is not the building itself exactly. But just the it's kind of way, a place to meet and discuss ideas. And, and then to that point we we've had pilots with Everlaw recognized on there and just what they were impressed was data about connectivity patterns. So for example, how often was a door opened and closed? Was there people at the, at the dispenser near a time, how many people were there? And using this too stimulates or varies patterns as well because then they knew that or would anticipate that people were thriving and do a better job and discuss more and so on.

- [Ken] Yeah, I think you're right. And I'm excited about it. I think it's a good, a good development. I think it'll mean more, sort of sustainable building, more good environmental thinking around buildings it'll mean we put up fewer buildings probably, and, and that's good too. More open space and stuff like that. Can you identify, I mean, are there some parts of the world some communities that are leading in this way that are sort of really being aggressive about about rethinking facilities? Or some companies even that you've dealt with?

- [Erik] Yeah. Once as they say, was we had a quite good pilot with, we worked earlier on.

- [Ken] Oh, OK.

- [Erik] I'm not hiding an Olympic team behind this as well.

- [Ken] Um huh.

- [Erik] And they were good going at , understand what was going on. And..

- [Ken] Yeah. A bunch of folks that I've talked to have said that we worked ventral troubles aside. They had a really good idea that may have been two years too early. And if they were coming up right now which apparently they're coming back, but if they had been coming up right now, their model could be the thing that saves commercial buildings.

- [Erik] Yeah. It was, I would say even from my perspective which obviously thinks that there will be sensors everywhere, they were really instrumenting some parts of the with what's going on.

- [Ken] Um huh. Yeah, for sure. I think that their problem was not technological, it was organizational and that's probably enough said about that.

- [Ken] Yeah. The, the commercial real estate and the the facilities management space, I think is a really interesting and a space now. And it's one that's been sort of about to adopt IoT for a bunch of years, in mass, and is now sort of been pushed into the space where any smart facilities manager is going to be trying to incorporate, not beyond the HVAC stuff that everybody talks about into intelligent use of space. And so that's really exciting to me to hear that that you guys have been doing some pilots and that you've been seeing that happening sort of

- [Erik] I think now, it that it moves over the last one and a half, two years with pilots we have 350 pilots before we released the market or in the time that we were really smarter. And many of these are now going into I would say production and it's accelerated by COVID. And this seems to be a very adaptive environment then if demand is these days. But we're also focusing on the manufacturing warehouse thing and, and and energy and the big grid where which also can benefit hugely from, from more data. And today there's all that what we say to dumb equipment out there that could be easily digitally represent with, with sensors, not only from us, but we can be part of that plan.

- [Ken] Yeah. I think that the, the sort of industrial infrastructure world is, is sort of at a cusp like they've been adopting for a long time in in bits and pieces and upgrading and and sort of doing these bolt-on get smarter type solutions for probably, you know, fairly 10 years, maybe 15 depending on how you count it. I'm interested to hear whether or not you've heard about like new construction spaces, smart power plants and and things like that that are coming up as we've sort of got better systems management across the IoT stack. Have you been seeing those kinds of implementations happening?

- [Erik] Yeah. So our focus has been to address this sort of simple applications out there as a starting point. So more to what it to be is dumb instrumented. And to instrument that more as a package which what we have found that substations at the certain level is a good fit for us but on the pump level, it's, it's we've had many requests and there's pilots as well but it's maybe not that easy scalable before it reached the corporate level of visibilities. And so it's kind of a well known to the pilots or you know, to the, to the plans with the pilots, but but kind of reaching stay with them is, is harder.

- [Ken] Yeah. I've heard, I've, I've heard that from a few folks that I've talked to the case for the scale implementation hasn't quite been proved out enough for some of the folks in the procurement department. Basically

- [Erik] There seem to be a lot of people involved. I mean, it's critical infrastructure and there's a lot of things that need to be taken off in order to roll out. So

- [Ken] Sure.

- [Erik] it does make sense.

- [Ken] Yeah. And I think we'll get there. I think it's just going to be time and, and, and more more proof of concept.

- [Erik] I hope so.

- [Ken] Let's shift gears a little bit because you're, you know Founder of Disruptive Technologies and and I know a lot of our listeners are either founders or folks who'd like to be founders. So I'd love to talk a little bit about your experience in the world of founding a company in IoT. What's that like? And how, how did you get started?

- [Erik] Yeah, Just to be honest, I'm, I'm just a really, really big nerd if they say the . So I started to work for this company that made this digital radio transmitter so I'm educated in analog electronics. Then it's physics and modeling. And this company I joined were acquired by this Five. I was checked on and Texas Instruments, a lot of a lot of good decisions on that on afterwards worked there for four years and then and it takes these fantastic company to work for. But I also saw the opportunity to go within a new startup in Norway that made it smallest microcontroller in the world. And that company was acquired in 2013 and by Silicon Laboratory and other American company. And so I don't know much more than, than startups really but what I would say have, and wouldn't be caught up to describe it. It fantastic in one way, but it's also a nightmare. I mean, it's the worst thing I I've done every every time I go into this because it's really, really hard work but what you achieve am I just don't want to or when there would be some market for us in, in like April, February, 2019, most like amazing for Disruptive, and that's kind of what your look you're working for, at least I do. And then there's always something that we haven't thought about. And in Disruptive, we thought that we would release to market within three years and spent like a million-ish UC. It turned out to be way way more building manufacturing lines building essentials. Yeah. A lot of things that we packaged and shipped, system logistics systems, drivers, or health code, team parts, whatnot fleet management systems and so on and so on. And all of this is a challenge for a startup would need to raise money. I need to kind of maybe spend the same resources which is not educated, but then this field people matter. And then we allocate something different. But I would say that that dynamics is also something that triggers me and hopefully others that are starting a company.

- [Ken] Yeah. I think that, that you have to sort of be in love with that work reward cycle. If you're, if you're going to be starting starting a company in any, any industry. Unfortunately we're just about out of time, Erik. So thank you so much for chatting with me today and telling us a little bit about about you and about what you've been working on at Disruptive Technologies. Thanks again to all of you listening out there. I hope you've enjoyed our discussion and if you have please make sure you like and subscribe so you don't miss out on any of our episodes. We post every week. And I hope you'll leave us a rating and review and comment on your favorite podcasting platform. If you'd like to suggest a guest please click on the link in the description. And we also have a great sister podcast on our network called the IoT For All podcasts. So make sure you check that out.

- [Ryan] Hey, Ken, let me jump in real quick and introduce your audience to another awesome show on the IoT For All media network. The show that started it all the IoT For All podcasts where I bring on experts from around the world to showcase successful digital transformation across industries. We talk about Applications in IoT solutions available in the market and provide an opportunity for those companies to share a device to help the world better understand and adopt IoT. So if you're out there listening and haven't checked it out be sure to go check out the IoT For All podcast available everywhere.

- [Ken] Thank you, Ryan. Now get back to your show and thank you all for joining us on this episode of Let's Connect. I've been Ken Briodagh, Editorial Director of IoT For All, and your host. Our music is "Sneaking on September" by Otis McDonald.

- And this has been a production of the IoT For All Media Network. Take care of yourselves.

- You are listening to the IoT For All Media Network.
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IoT For All is creating resources to enable companies of all sizes to leverage IoT. From technical deep-dives, to IoT ecosystem overviews, to evergreen resources, IoT For All is the best place to keep up with what's going on in IoT.
IoT For All is creating resources to enable companies of all sizes to leverage IoT. From technical deep-dives, to IoT ecosystem overviews, to evergreen resources, IoT For All is the best place to keep up with what's going on in IoT.