What is EMIS? We need a new answer.

In the last month, I’ve read over 50 research papers, blog posts, and articles on analytics software for buildings. I realize this would put most people to sleep, but I love it. It’s also part of my job. One thing I don’t love is the standard, copy-and-paste framework most people are using to describe analytics software. I think it’s confusing, outdated, and it’s inhibiting the adoption of this powerful tool. 

It’s time for a new answer to the fundamental question, “What is it?”.

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When analytics insights fall on deaf ears

Ouch. That deflated feeling when we uncover an insight using analytics and share it with our team or client and… nothing happens. Or we’re presenting a screenshot from the EMIS and the audience is unresponsive or just doesn’t get it. Blank stares. Or you send a report from your EMIS and no one responds. I hate that feeling. 

If you’re finding cool shit with your analytics and it’s falling on deaf ears, it might be time to take a step back and consider this: EMIS is an exploratory analytics tool. We use it to find the needle in the haystack. To understand what the data is hiding in our buildings. But to get shit done, we need to transition to explaining what the data means, including who, what, where, why, and how. 

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What’s your favorite analytics software?

My colleagues, clients, and partners have always come to me when they have a question about deploying analytics software in the built environment. Without hesitation, the most frequently-asked question, especially for newcomers, is this: 

What’s your favorite analytics software?

Or this: 

What do you think of X software? Is it better than Y? 

Lucky for me, I love answering this question. I have plenty of opinions on the merits of this or that brand. I love to go down a rabbit hole of the best energy data visualizations or fault detection algorithms. I love calling out vendors for bullshit marketing hype and selling nothing but smoke and mirrors.

But I can’t answer it. Not yet at least.

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