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Agile Adaptive Autodidactic Autonomous Accepted Actions

Oct. 25, 2017
We need to embrace these six words and make them a part of the IoT journey we all are on.

We need to embrace these six words and make them a part of the IoT journey we all are on.

Let me explain and better define this collection of six "A" words that are part of our transformation.

Agile -  We need to learn just what we need to know, just when we need to know it, as easily as we can.

Adaptive – To deal with the increasing rate of change we need to embrace Adaptive Intelligence, the key to which is asking questions about the knowledge that you know you don't have. This process -- where you measure things you know that you do not know -- is called Lygometry. For an example of what I am talking about watch and listen to this presentation, Adaptive Intelligence: Hacking Your Brain's Response to Change by Amin Toufani:

What do we need to unlearn to adapt?

Autodidactic - We need to keep on our self-educating journey. We need to be self-taught and create self-learning companies because our teachers and trusted advisors are still learning as well. All known resources are still evolving. Books and other prepared education are obsolete almost as soon as completed.

Autonomous - More and more IoT devices are becoming autonomous with data and AI at the edge, and the trend is that information that was once sent to the cloud is now processed out on the intelligent edge.

Accepted - We must seek understanding and acceptance from all the people in our equation and educate and guide them through their personal People Powered Transformation.

Actions - Once we have learned the correct skills we need to put them to use. That is how we build the future.

We need to quantify and autodidactically increase our knowledge of our lack of knowledge. Writing these words makes me realize that my past five decades in building automation and two decades in publication has been powered by my personal Lygometry, by my lack of formal training and a general lack of understanding of what I should know. But my search for answers was fueled by agile actions. Perhaps not particularly well executed or well-founded but somehow accepted. The autonomous action was me. 

To unravel this a bit, let me offer a real-world example. I am currently updating my almost 30-year-old home automation system (I was – surprise! -- very early to home automation). 

With Agility I taught myself what I needed to know to purchase a color WiFi LED bulb and downloaded the app. Adapting the product to talk to my phone is a process I know nothing about. However, Autodidactic learning via instructions fed to my phone enabled me to make the connection. The bulb is a new, Autonomous device solution. Then turning this all into Action, I introduced the new device and its app to my Google Home Assistant. And presto, I am talking to and controlling the color of my light bulb. 

Can you imagine the unlearning I needed to do? The mental shift that this required for an old mind like mine? This is the kind of transformation of thought we need to make, unlearning while understanding the new ways of doing old things and getting our mind around new capabilities like, say, the control of lighting color in our home automation equation.

Bet you thought I forgot Accepted? Sometimes the best route to acceptance is to show people what you are thinking. Let the people play with the transformation, watch them. Trust me, you will learn lots of things you do not know. 

What has changed? The original lighting control system required wires or a line carrier network and a physical direct digital controller programmed by a computer. Telephone interface was achieved over the house landlines that no longer exists. The cell phone is now our go-to device not a computer for programming cloud servers and apps.

Here is a link to the Smart Buildings PodCast for the week ending October 15. Jump to the 14-minute mark for my comments on the power of these A-words.

An article for our November issue that evolved from industry opinion, Our Inclusive Open Data-driven Reinvention, helps document BAS Trends for 2018. Quotable input was requested and provided by several industry leaders/experts. Here is a sneak preview of those quotable thoughts in no order, but the shift to data dominates. You will need to wait until November 1st to see just who said what.

The use of data to improve operational results
The data contained in a device is more valuable than the device
Open Source Finally Arrives 
Merging of the typically isolated silos of Lighting and HVAC control
The proliferation of analytics-ready controllers and solutions
The BAS industry is at the tail of the whip
Re-establishing how we do every function to support a building.
A greater focus on the evolving Master System Integrator, MSI

And to finish up, here’s a longer quote from someone just entering the industry, Cory Mosiman, University of Colorado, Boulder M.S. Architectural Engineering 2018:

Since getting interested in the Building Automation and Controls world about four months ago, I've noticed the prerequisite diverse skill sets and knowledge base required even to have a worthwhile conversation regarding BAC. There is not only need to understand how buildings function from a mechanical/electrical/controls perspective, but additionally to have scripting capabilities for understanding time series data and working with API's and being able to traverse routers, switches, and other network devices.  Having just a basic understanding of network engineering doesn't even cut it because there is now the whole cybersecurity issue that came to light after the Target hack. Additionally, the reason I came to CU Boulder is that of their unique Building Systems Engineering program, but most of that focus is on system design, not integration. If you really want to get young talent involved - where are the co-ops and university partnerships? Where's the chance to learn and see the challenges faced by the industry first hand? I think there are a lot in my generation who want to see real progress, who want green buildings to be more than a plaque on the wall vetted through an energy modeled building that, after RFIs and value engineering, cut 30% of the features required to make it function at 50% more energy efficient than a code compliant new commercial building. I'm done with hype pamphlets and renderings created by AEC firms. I want buildings to work as designed and that's what I find fascinating.

Hope the Six A words, Agile Adaptive Autodidactic Autonomous Accepted Actions, help increase your knowledge of your lack of knowledge and allow further travel on your IoT journey.

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