Solving the skill shortage gap, forever.

Nicolas Waern
6 min readJul 2, 2021

We are not only looking at a skill shortage gap, but also the skill transfer/knowledge transfer gap.

Do you want to solve problems for real? Do you want to collaborate with experts all over the world, and realize the true potential of buildings from a lifecycle perspective? Do you want to stop making decisions in a vacuum and share ideas with others all over the world? Reach out to me here on Linkedin if interested and stay in tune with Beyond Buildings where we will announce something shortly. We are about ten people already from the entire lifecycle that want to solve problems for real, together. It is energy people, FM, technical asset managers, HVAC people, owners, construction, consultants, IoT-people, smart city people, and others. And now, on to the article.

Setting the stage — skill shortage and knowledge transfer

We are not only looking at a skill shortage gap, but also the skill transfer/knowledge transfer gap.

  • How, if ever, can we make people from different backgrounds agree on a shared truth?
  • How can we enable collaboration and communication between experts in their respective fields, and with people with zero understanding of HVAC, lighting, pneumatics, valves, BACnet, vendor lock-in, the cost to do something, where stuff is, etc etc?
  • How do we get them to collaborate?
  • How do we transfer the knowledge from the one person who knows everything, into the minds of the 5 people with different backgrounds, working in separate parts of the organization/building?
  • How do we agree on a shared truth between engineers when they only have access to BI-dashboarding tools, that offer a glimpse into a part of the building that is also reserved only for experts?

“Trying to learn what Web Services Digital Twins are by dissecting the acronyms is like trying to learn how to drive by studying an automatic transmission” — (Paraphrasing) from the legend Steve Tom (from his seminal article about BACnet/WS in 2004)

Agreeing on something that is based on space and time
Picture a factory. That factory consists of systems that are usually not interconnected. They consist of HVAC systems, the actual pipes and plumbing, people, manufacturing processes, and people with responsibilities in different areas.

  • Suddenly! A pipe bursts on the far-left-hand side of the factory!!!
  • What to do? The one in charge of that has no clue where it leads to, and their BI dashboard does not show the correlations to the entire plant, only their area!
  • The one that knew all this retired a month ago, and the 4 people in charge do not know where to start and how everything is connected.
  • And the one person that has an idea, cannot explain well enough, nor get the understanding from all the different dashboards.
  • What do to?

Luckily — they invested in an innovation platform the other week that solves these challenges! What does it do?

  • They have integrated the data from different applications, sensors, and systems across silos into an innovation platform that is built upon a Digital Twin database.
  • It absorbs data from any kind of source, irrespective of standard, API, and it makes sense of the world as it is by mapping data sources to a non-industry-specific ontology.
  • Initially, data was mapped towards the visual aspects of the Digital Twin and attached to CAD/BIM/GIS data from a template building/the real building to enable people to understand and see the space that they are all in.
  • Everyone can see why the pump burst, what it is related to in the entire factory, and they can all agree on what the problem is, and what the solution is. As well as run simulations of what will happen if they do x y and z and get suggestions from the system itself.
  • They can quickly come together and determine what needs to be done since the systems are talking to each other, and that people can communicate around one true source that is the visual digital twin. Not just dashboards.
  • Other data that hasn’t been available help them in an invisible way of making decisions by eliminating possible outcomes that are too risky, too costly, or will lead to unintended consequences for any of the other disciplines in the factory/or organization.

This pipe bursting is of course a hypothetical case since this would not have happened in the first place. Everything would have been connected and this would have been prevented before it happened. Managing risk is after all one of the major benefits of a connected innovation platform.

Why this is important

Since everyone today is working in silos, ALL companies have a problem creating solutions that work flawlessly in the real world. Therefore, companies are not realizing their expected return on investment when executing AI initiatives and analytics efforts in scale. People are not collaborating as they should be, and there are not the laughs and real-time decisions we read about at the beginning of the article. People are not hailed as heroes, legends, and heroines. It is more about scapegoats, and everyone is trying to protect their piece of the fiefdom. While organizations have a problem seeing the big picture and this is detrimental for the world since we need better solutions now. Maybe even yesterday.

The skill shortage gap will not go away in the short term but utilizing systems that can bring data sources together AND visualize them in an understandable way is the key. BI dashboards are, and forever will be a remnant of lost times made for experts working in silos. They can exist, but there needs to be more. Automating work that should be automated. As well as minimizing the dependency on people that knows everything. With an approach that can scale across boundaries and systems, we will see an exponential increase in levels of collaboration and communication and faster time to market for innovative ideas, control strategies for the built environment, and more holistic undertakings at large.

If you want to read more about this and also understand what the future will look like, head over to Beyond Buildings for the full article!
My role is to advise decision-makers and 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).

And if you or someone you know need help with questions regarding strategy, innovation, and figuring out how modern technologies can help you where you are today. Look no further. WINNIIO will always be by your side. Just reach out to me, Nicolas Waern, on LinkedIn or check out my Podcast Beyond Buildings if you need any assistance.

Nicolas Waern

Nicolas Waern is the CEO, Strategy & Innovation Leader, and a Digital Twin Evangelist at the consulting firm WINNIIO. He is a thought leader around Digitalization and Digital Twins, regarding Smart Buildings, Smart Cities, and future-ready strategies. And a firm believer that we have all the ingredients to make the world a better place for everyone.

Nicolas is working with leaders in several industries to understand how they can succeed in the age of AI. Assisting them in creating their future, by predicting what the world will do in a week, a month, a year from now. He does this through a Digitalization- Demand approach for anyone that needs to change before they have to.

Nicolas is also Podcast Creator & Newsletter Editor for The Beyond Buildings Podcast
Thought Leader regarding Smart Buildings & Building Automation for AutomatedBuildings
Speaker and Influencer Event Streaming Platforms as the Holy Grail for Industry 4.0 Applications
Subject Matter Expert Real Estate Digitalization Proptech Sweden — Digitalization Expert
And an active Member of Digital Twin working groups Digital Twin Consortium & Chalmers — Digital Twin City Centre

Originally published in August 2020 at



Nicolas Waern

It took me 37 years to create an approach to solve all the challenges in the world. Now I’ll spend the rest of my life to get it done. Are you with me?