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  • Mike J. Walker

Episode 28: Microsoft's Campus Reboot into a Smart Campus



In this episode I'm speaking with Emmanuel Daniel, the Director of Digital Transformation for Smart Buildings & Campuses where he is responsible for building and delivering the Digital Transformation strategy for campuses across Microsoft. In this one hour 40 minute interview we cover a lot of ground! First we discuss what smart buildings are and are not, the technologies that support them, and examples across the industry. Then we dive into Microsoft's multi-year campus refresh project that will include 18 new buildings, 6.7 million square feet of renovated workspace, $150 million in transportation infrastructure improvements, public spaces, sports fields and green space.







In this Episode 00:07:53 What are smart buildings? 00:11:48 Smart buildings adapt to you not the other way around 00:12:42 Benefits of a smart building 00:19:16 What are the enabling technologies for smart buildings 00:21:12 What are the types of activities of a smart building 00:35:56 The role of consumer technologies in smart buildings 00:38:06 Digital Ecosystem Platform 00:40:54 The role of standards 00:45:13 How do the remote office and the primary office converge 00:49:51 Discussing the role BYO technologies 00:53:29 How's this campus refresh different than others in the High Tech world? 00:55:21 Microsoft Building #7? 00:59:21 Can we get some more tree houses? 01:01:34 Optimizing campus with more pedestrian walkways 01:09:31 Were there any aha's or surprises? 01:12:29 Importance of analog experiences in digital buildings 01:13:58 Is there 1 thing you are most excited about with the refresh? 01:17:44 How has COVID-19 impacted smart building projects? 01:26:08 What lessons can we learn from hospitality and robotics? 01:30:21 The importance of culture 01:33:48 Dealing with different views, ideologies, and preferences 01:37:39 Emmanuel's top 3 lessons learned


Microsoft Campus Refresh


At a time when space is at a premium and many companies are looking for room to grow, we recognize that our 500-acre campus in Redmond, Washington, is a unique asset. Neighboring a vibrant urban core, suburban towns, lakes, mountains and miles of forest, it’s one of Microsoft’s crown jewels. And as we continue to grow and look to create the best workplace in the tech sector, Microsoft will invest right here in Redmond, our home for more than 30 years.



The multi-year campus refresh project will include 18 new buildings, 6.7 million square feet of renovated workspace, $150 million in transportation infrastructure improvements, public spaces, sports fields and green space. Today Microsoft has 125 buildings in the Puget Sound region. When this project is complete, our main campus will be comprised of 131 buildings — including the equivalent of 180 football fields of new and renovated space — of modern workspace for the 47,000 employees who work here every day, plus room to expand operations and add up to 8,000 more people.


Artist Renderings


This project represents a significant investment by the company, will involve roughly 2,500 construction and development jobs, and will take five to seven years to complete. It’s an investment that’s good for Microsoft employees, good for the Puget Sound community, and makes good sense for MSFT shareholders. They are not only creating a world-class work environment to help retain and attract the best and brightest global talent, but also building a campus that neighbors can enjoy, and that we can build in a fiscally smart way with low environmental impact.


The new buildings will focus on inclusive design and accessible technology to empower all Microsoft employees. The campus will be built for pedestrians and bikes with all cars moved to an underground parking facility. It will also build off the region’s smart investments in transportation by constructing a foot- and cyclist-only bridge across WA-520 that will connect both sides of the campus and tie into the future Redmond Technology Transit Station where Link Light Rail will arrive in 2023.


Redmond has been Microsoft’s home since 1986, and we are proud to be an active part of the Puget Sound community. Microsoft is committed to remaining a good neighbor and ensuring that our operations are run in a sustainable way. We prize our relationship with the City of Redmond and will work closely with officials on the approval for campus and building architectural designs, engineering, building permit review and land use code compliance. As a Zero Waste Certified campus we will continue to focus further on waste-reduction initiatives. We’ll also continue to fully fund transit options for employees, including ORCA transit cards, carpool and vanpool, and Microsoft-run employee Connector buses and other vehicles to supplement existing options. And we will continue to be Energy Smart, using Azure for building system monitoring to optimize our energy usage and reduce our carbon footprint.


More Information


About Emmanuel Daniel

Emmanuel Daniel is the Director of Digital Transformation for Smart Buildings & Campuses, in this role he is responsible for building and delivering the Digital Transformation strategy for campuses across Microsoft. He leads a multidisciplinary team of architects(business / technical) and experience designers. He builds experiences that merge technology with the built the environment, leading to the formation of spaces that respond to the needs of it users. As part of this role he puts in place the strategy for identifying the next generation of products that will make more Smarter & Sustainable Buildings.


Previously he drove the IoT & Smart Building business across the Middle East & Asia Time Zones and was responsible for the Strategy, Sales & Delivery. As part of this role he incubated & managed smart building partners and helped create some of the World’s Smartest Buildings including those at Microsoft.


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