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Building Emotion

June 28, 2018
Building Emotion

"Emotion" is the noun used to describe the creation and depiction of a mindful interactive relationship — the conversation, if you will — between the inhabitants and their physical building. It is a virtual identity, a feeling, a learning, an interactive piece, a virtual brick-and-mortar that hosts the buildings' emotion. "Building" is the verb or noun that modifies it.

Emotion is a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with their environment, which is the combined purpose of the building and its inhabitance. The Building Emotion would likely be hosted in the cloud with interaction the edge devices and available to every building to create its own “personality.” Emotion is often intertwined with mood, temperament, personality, disposition, and motivation. Yes, this is the new building emotional twin; not restrained by physical parameters it is a growing, living, interactive thing. Emotion will become a new virtual medium of communication between the inanimate building and living humans.

Okay, I have overstated it but you get the basic idea: an improved relationship between the physical, the virtual and the emotional world.

I just returned from Helsinki where we were discussing the best methods of humanistic inclusion of the buildings' inhabitants to create the ultimate user experience "UX". You may wish to read my Takeaways from Helsinki.

BIM (Building Information Model) was presented as the digital twin for the physical building — but is not the correct tool for the new emotionally evolving building. We are all trying to figure out how to build a new virtual identity on the edge that will be a home for “Building Emotion.” 

I posted this comment on the AuotmatedBuildings.com site:

In light of our discussions in Helsinki, I'm starting to question the value of BIM as a vehicle for creating the emotional twin of buildings. I believe it's a great digital twin for the physical building and will always be present. As we all strive to find the correct digital twin environment for developing the emotional side of the building I'm sure that it will exist in a much lighter form in the cloud or on the edge with interaction by the ubiquitous phone. It would be akin to using BIM like driving thumbtacks with a sledgehammer directly through the hearts of the people in the building.  The model contains too much information and is not soft enough or pliable enough or agile enough to express building emotion or ever create an awesome UX .

I started this discussion, Building an awesome UX back in May. Whether you view “building” as a noun or a verb, we as an industry need to create Awesome User Experiences. Creating this Awesome User experience is just part of Building an Emotional side, a whole new virtual identity in a transparent, interactive twin. 

I feel that the best place to build the buildings' emotional side is on an agreed upon virtual platform of trust that allows the emotions of the inhabitants of the building to reflect and interact (via an opt-in) to the identifiable emotional side of their building. I am thinking of the generic definition of “platform” — a raised level surface on which people or things can stand — and it could be any of the evolving virtual platforms.

In 1999 we started AutomatedBuildings.com, during the dot-com days, we wrote:

We have selected this article to be in our first launch issue because we think it sends us all a wake-up call as to how significant the internet is going to be in the future. The concept of a large building as an internet identity with its own web address is now the latest step in presenting and managing your Automated Buildings.

Almost twenty years later the with the wide acceptance of BYOD there is a call for us to develop building emotion by collecting information device less, while housing and interacting with it on a platform of trust.

This from this review of Helsinki event, Intelligent Technology Is for Human Services, Not Real Estate by Isla Vainio:

Deviceless mentality was pervasive throughout the convention starting from our first keynote and continuing through the event to the discussions afterwards. We defined ”deviceless” mentality as the idea, that users, meaning humans, wouldn’t have to use devices, apps or interfaces to access smart services. The method of access was suggested as anything from mobile phone to facial recognition. The underlying idea being that the creation of intelligence is hidden away in the engine room, always there and always on, but never visible to the user. This idea seems to arise from a wide spread frustration at countless apps and interfaces we need to constantly be opening, learning, mastering and updating.

This article, Mobile Devices Positioned to Make Buildings Safer, More Secure, & More Efficient by Scott Cochrane, President and CEO, Cochrane Supply & Engineering and Cochrane Tech Services ends with:

And this is just the start of how these mobile devices become a part of the ecosystem of the building. They allow us to create new services that can bring huge value to people who occupy and operate these facilities. Welcome to the next phase in building control—functional integration—where real-time building control data meets real-time people, creating a new universe of functional applications between them.

Our task is to create a valuable app with an awesome UX for our building that plays nicely with the original concept of the building as a website. We need to fashion this into an awesome user experience that will encourage interaction and the creation of our building emotion. 

Here is some great, pioneering work being done to expose building emotion from a company called Tieto, as explained on their homepage, The future of buildings is empathic:

Tieto Empathic Building includes all the necessary tools for developing human-centric workspace design: It gives an instant view on, not only the physical space and supporting technology within, but also work content and issues affecting work culture.

It helps in bridging the gap between building utilization and employee satisfaction – with the selected KPI’s and data to prove it. This in turn accelerates the transformation from traditional office-based activity towards intuitive, agile and efficient activity-based working.

With the help of IoT sensors, system integrations and data analytics, Tieto Empathic Building features a mobile and desktop application visualizing your physical space, work and the people within – in real-time. It helps your office users and visitors to choose intuitively and instantly where to work and with whom to work. In addition, it provides a real-time tool for instant feedback on issues affecting employee satisfaction. And the data to prove everything.

With the acceptance of virtual assistants such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, etc., we may evolve to a new version of the suggestion box for the building. Voice your beefs and bouquets, providing valuable input and interaction to help generate building emotion.

At the convention in Helsinki, the Amazon Echo presentation ended with "it is early days for what voice will do in the building." I agree. The new voice of the building has the power to learn, provide prepared responses, and even voice print who is talking. The interaction that will form the basis for the building's emotion will be varied and multi-media.

Here is an example of voice analytics, Vibemetrics, an online service that works in the web browser and mobile devices, which makes it quick and easy to share and measure your feelings.

The ability of our Building Emotion to self-learn is the exciting part. Concerns about privacy can be handled by having sophisticated edge devices collect data that will provide the analytics, then purge whatever sensitive data collected as part of learning. The concept of a digital data passport for each person and their data to identify your tolerance for inclusion is another exciting possibility. 

Also discussed at the convention was the rapidly evolving science of extracting mood from video analytics; its application in retail and riot control have made amazing progress.

This news release, Beyond Productivity: The Human Side of the Digital Workplace Quantified from Aruba, a Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Company, has a lot to say about open access to Building Emotion:

The very nature of the term 'workplace' is being transformed, as companies begin to realize that effective space is experience-centric, and must accommodate work styles spanning generations and personality types,” said Francisco Acoba, Managing Director for Deloitte Strategy & Operations. “This ushers in new processes where IT solutions, building systems and furnishings interact harmoniously with humans to create such spaces. Regardless of your enterprise’s specific situation, when spaces become active participants in the user experience it benefits the bottom line. After all, workers who feel comfortable in a space get their tasks done. Those who don’t will eventually move on to a more inviting option.”

I love writing in HTML as well as gathering my Tweeted and LinkedIn thoughts. I am able to include links to the online material that shapes my thoughts, sometimes something that sparked and idea only hours before. Being able to test phrasing and thought and word usage with powerful search tools often takes me in a new direction while feeding my autodidactic soul. I am never sure what the article is going to say until it is done and it is only done when it needs to be sent to meet a deadline. Then that article becomes resource for the next article.

Would be very pleased to have you join in my never-ending conversation and share your thoughts on Building Emotion by copying this URL into your favorite, trusted social media platforms and provide your comments while initiating your own discussion.

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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