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Simon Daniel James (Winadzi)

The face of digital transformation for 2018

Dec. 29, 2017
The mask represents a material metaphor for carving our existing digitalized world into a shape never before seen, in a process that blurs the lines between science and art but inside that transformation is yet another amazing transformation opportunity to create a better image of ourselves.

A transformation mask is a type of mask used by indigenous people of the Northwest Coast and Alaska in ritual dances. These masks usually depict an outer, animal visage, which the performer can open by pulling a string to reveal an inner, human face carved in wood.

The mask can represent our struggle between our human and our animal natures, but equally important is the element of surprise as the one face gives way to the next.

We are all involved in today's digital transformation and have an amazing opportunity to create a new, softer, more approachable face for our industry. This column talks about how we can improve our image as we digitally transform and inspires us all to envision what the world will see when we pull the string on our transformation mask to expose our new inner selves to the world.

The mask is a material metaphor for carving our digitized world into a shape never before seen in a process that blurs the lines between science and art. But inside that transformation is another amazing opportunity to create a better image of ourselves. Will our new inner, transformed face be for the greater good of all?

Here is a quote from Simon Daniel James, tribal name Winadzi, a first nations artist and carver of transformation masks:

"Our artwork must reflect who and what we are as first nations artists and keepers of the cultural knowledge."

(See more of Winadzi’s work at

My last off-the-wall column had me Teaching the IoT Monster how to ride a bike – just one of the steps in creating our digital transformation.

We need to carve our digitalized world into a shape never before seen, in a process that blurs the lines between science and art.

Can we create a new, softer, more welcoming face for IoT? Can we evolve from the IoT monster, carving a new image, creating a focus on what the people will see when we pull the string to show them our surprise? 

Can we present a face that respects human and social values; privacy, participation, and diversity, and offers new functionalities to support people’s real needs and address global sustainability challenges?

This article By Leor Grebler at IoT for All, Applying Emotion and Sentiment Analysis in IoT Applications provides some insight. Key takeaway?

There is a big opportunity for developers to create automated responses based on emotion.

Can we create a Human Internet of Things? Next Generation Internet ( aims to shape the future internet as an interoperable platform ecosystem that embodies the values that Europe holds dear: openness, inclusivity, transparency, privacy, cooperation, and protection of data. The NGI hopes to drive this technological revolution and ensure the progressive adoption of advanced concepts and methodologies spanning the domains of artificial intelligence, IoT, interactive technologies and more while contributing to making the future internet more human-centric.

This article from, Hot IoT tech trends for 2018 provide these insights:

2018 promises the IoT-ification of a lot of existing technology, plus edge computing, improved analytics and even some security improvements, if we’re reading these tea-leaves correctly... IoT has been one of the biggest phenomena in technology for years, but 2018 is the year that it begins to really shake up the rank-and-file of enterprise users, according to Christian Renaud, director of 451 Research’s IoT practice. There's a new level of sophistication coming to the way companies approach the analytical end of the IoT phenomenon, Renaud said.

In fact, all over this year’s AHR Expo you will see the transformation of products and services that will usher in this new future. We at invite you to join in a conversation about the shape that future might and should take:

Transforming our Industry with IoT @ AHR Expo 2018

This year AHR Expo promises to be a smörgåsbord of transforming products, services, and ideas and presents an arena for action.

All of us are engaged in this transformation for the greater good. The transformation will occur when and as fast as we allow it -- but only when all the people it touches embrace the change.

We need to engage in our future. We need to unlearn and rethink our vast experiences. We need to revisit our preconceived notions of what can and cannot be changed. Discovering that your learned experiences (some of which you have taken for granted as the bedrock of your business) are now the new variables can be upsetting, but that is the nature of transformation.

We need to unhinge our minds and set new paths, find new mentors in the younger people who have grown up exclusively in the digital age.

We need to learn what we do not know, not just keep repeating what we do know. We need to seek those that will lead the transformation of our industry.

I have published an online magazine for the last 19 years and I am constantly overwhelmed with our rapid transformation. I have captured some quotes from key articles to help you make better sense of how IoT is transforming our industry.

Why do I want to be, why am I so excited to be a part of this transformation?

Because IoT is a game changer; it is changing what we are delivering -- how, when and where. However, realizing its potential starts with understanding the value and contribution it brings.  IoT is as much about behavioral changes and business opportunity, as it is about technology. We need to operate and manage buildings based on outcomes, not output. IoT is not the objective of this transformation but the platform upon which to connect, collect and analyze data so we can measure and validate these outcomes. Building owners and operators should not “buy” IoT; they should purchase solutions to specific problems where IoT components are part of a solution.

What does "IoT Ready" mean?

Being IoT ready is being able to discuss the merits of IoT and apply them to our applications for human-centric solutions.

When I originally created the catchphrase #RUIoTReady, I thought the question was focused on our traditional smart building industry but now have come to understand it is not just our industry that needs to be IoT ready. Those who are the reason for our human-centric solutions need to be part of the discussion, education, and solutions. This process of developing inclusive solutions requires us all to think more like app developers. We need to borrow the mindset of those same mask carvers when creating our human-centric solutions.

As an industry, we need to stop the waste of time in this duality of “them” and “us” -- we are all in this together! It is not a war, it is a love-in "for Human-Centric Solutions." We want to gracefully and purposefully connect humans to our large inventory of soulless buildings exposing only our best surprise face from our mask.

From the raw logs of our digital surroundings we need to gather inspiration and create a vision of our transformation. Once we have that vision, the next step is to imagine how we want the world to see us.  We need to carve our digitalized world into a shape never before seen, in a process that blurs the lines between science and art. But inside that transformation is yet another amazing opportunity to create a better image of ourselves.

About the Author

Ken Sinclair | Editor/Owner/Founder

Ken Sinclair has been called an oracle of the digital age. He sees himself more as a storyteller and hopes the stories he tells will be a catalyst for the IoT future we are all (eventually) going to live. The more than 50 chapters in that ongoing story of digital transformation below are peppered with HTML links to articles containing an amazing and diverse amount of information.

Ken believes that systems will be smarter, self-learning, edgy, innovative, and sophisticated, and to create, manage and re-invent those systems the industry needs to grow our most important resource, our  younger people, by reaching out to them with messages about how vibrant, vital and rewarding working in this industry can be.

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