Get to Know BJ Siegel: Former Apple Executive and Co-Founder of Juno

BJ Siegel WDBE keynote speaker

Don’t miss BJ Siegel’s keynote speech at WDBE in September 2023.  

In this interview, we learn how he’s revolutionizing sustainable housing as a consumer product, using digital tools and asset-light approaches, while transforming how companies manage their data and processes.

Designing commercial concepts

BJ Siegel is on a mission to reinvent the world of urban multifamily housing through his prop tech firm, Juno. As a co-founder, Siegel is dedicated to creating branded consumer products that seamlessly blend functionality with impact. But his journey in design didn’t start there.

Siegel’s expertise began as an architect at a small design firm in San Francisco, where he honed his skills in exhibit and product design. This led him to create exhibit designs for Apple’s product launches at their Macworld Expos. Eventually, he became part of the team that explored innovative retail ideas to take Apple’s products directly to consumers. 

Siegel’s experience at Eight, Inc. equipped him with the tools to develop unique ideas about concept design, which he took with him when he joined Apple in 2009 as the head of Innovations and Standards. Today, he is still passionate about design and continues to draw inspiration from it. “I love the idea of being able to work in so many different aspects of design at the same time and understanding the whole picture,” he says.

Modular Construction: Meeting Developer and User Needs

Have you ever wished for an apartment that truly meets your needs and exceeds your expectations? Well, that’s exactly what Juno is striving to achieve through their innovative approach to modular construction. Their focus on productizing apartments is not only aimed at satisfying the end user but also ensuring profitability for developers and investors.

“The basis of our business model is to actually be a decentralized kind of orchestrator of a number of partners in an ecosystem and that makes us asset-light,” Siegel remarks. While this innovative approach presents challenges in terms of changing people’s ways of working, Juno remains committed to finding solutions that benefit everyone involved in the project. Ultimately, Juno’s goal is to provide a seamless and efficient construction process for their clients.

Urban Living and Single Family Houses

In the United States, the dream home for most people has typically been a single-family house. However, as the country evolves, so do the needs and preferences of its residents. There are those who value flexibility and agility in their living situations and would rather not be bogged down by a large asset. Moreover, the desire for an urban lifestyle is growing, especially among young professionals who are drawn to the cultural activities and walkability of city living. 

This shift towards urban living has led to a shortage of apartments in urban centers in the US. The way forward? “We’re trying to not solve every problem, but we’re trying to solve that problem of urban density and high-quality living in the city,” Siegel notes. The need for more urban housing options has resulted in a vibrant demand for apartments, as they offer high-quality living in a sustainable and environmentally conscious way. The sharing of resources and having a lighter impact on the environment is critical to achieving this goal.

Prefabrication and Offsite Production 

Imagine a world where buildings are made not by hand on site, but rather in controlled environments by specialized manufacturers. That’s the vision of offsite construction, a concept that has been attempted by many but has often failed to disrupt the industry due to inefficiencies and lack of adaptability.

However, Juno is shaking up the game with a fresh take on their approach. According to Siegel, their model relies on an asset-light strategy that involves breaking down the project into parts. Instead of producing large volumetric boxes, they’ve established a network of third-party manufacturers who create flat, panelized components that can be easily transported and assembled on site. 

This approach doesn’t just boost efficiency, but it also offers more freedom to make changes without a huge financial investment. It’s a smart move that allows for greater adaptability and flexibility in the long run.

Digital Tools and Processes for Sustainable Construction

Siegel observed that by utilizing digital twins and automating the process of creating a library of parts, there’s a 50-60% improvement in the time it takes to draw a building from concept to permit drawings. This not only saves time and resources but also helps predict costs and reduce waste. By optimizing the raw materials used and nesting parts efficiently, they have reduced waste so effectively that their job site dumpsters are almost always empty.

What’s more, Juno’s decentralized supply chain strategy enables them to transport parts more efficiently, reducing their environmental impact. But what really sets their approach apart is their use of mass timber to manufacture component parts. By doing so, they create a staggering difference in the embodied carbon footprint of their projects, offsetting much of the unavoidable carbon emissions from other sources. All of this is achieved by leveraging digital tools and processes to their fullest potential.

A Look Into Building Ecosystems and Life Cycle Mentality

Siegel discussed their current production status and future plans, which involve testing various markets to ensure flexibility. They aim to create larger buildings that contribute to urban density in cities. Also, they’re developing a platform and process for making buildings that can be applied to different types of housing.

Juno also emphasizes their connection to the building after construction. They partner with building management companies to receive feedback from users and ensure energy-efficient maintenance. Again, the company is exploring ways to take apart the building at the end of its life for reuse of materials.

Meet BJ Siegel at WDBE

Dive into Siegel’s insightful thoughts right now by tuning in to WDBE Talks, the must-listen podcast for anyone passionate about digital construction. Even better, join us at WBDE in September 2023 to hear his keynote speech in person.

And if you’re eager to connect with this industry trailblazer, follow Siegel on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date with his groundbreaking ideas. To reach out directly to the team at Juno, visit their website.

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