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Contractormag 12078 Transformation

Edge of Change

Dec. 13, 2018
We need your input as we are now at the "Edge of Change" and you are part of this change.

The last few chapters of our digital transformation are pushing the "Edge of Change" for 2019.

Changing collaborative connection communities — we are all part of several connection communities, but reorganizing our existing ones and the creating our new ones is now foremost on all our minds. 

Edge-ifcation in the Era of Connection — together we are starting an interesting, important discussion and – to one degree or another – participating in the necessary disruption that is driving that transformation. 

Please join in the discussion by giving all the chapters of our digital transformation a quick read or re-read. Post them on your social media of choice with your comments and questions. We need your input as we are now at the "Edge of Change" and you are part of this change.

Another way to participate is to join us at to  at AHRExpo 2019 Atlanta. Sign up for any of our free sessions and share your experience with us directly. 

As we ready ourselves for 2019, it reminds us that all those things that were going to happen in 2020 are just a year away. My mind is consumed with "The Edge of Change,” and we will be sharing our emotions in our opening session in Atlanta:

The Future of Building Automation Creating Our New Persona "Building Emotion"

Mon. January 14 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM | B311 

"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. A mash-up of a fixed physical asset and its emotional contents creates the new Building Emotion identity. So how do we best "Look" with rapidly evolving video analytics, and "Listen" with natural language interaction and learning, using the personal assistants that are evolving as part of our edge-bots? How do we use our history of "Feeling" temperature, humidity, occupancies, etc. and best combine this all with “Thinking" that will come from self-learning?  Once complete we need to work a lot harder on returning that mindful reaction in the creation of Anticipatory Humanistic Relationships.

(More on our emotional evolution here The Edge of Building Emotion.)

This editorial from over a year ago started our journey to the edge, The "Make Me Happy Button" - Claiming our Piece of the Productivity Puzzle:

We are all circling the productivity puzzle and its lucrative paybacks as we all explore how our new "IoT" presences will provide more than energy and operating savings for our clients and allow us to morph to providers of occupant happiness.

Now is the time for us as an industry to stake claims for our pieces of the puzzle — that is, satisfaction, wellness, productivity — in our buildings.

My thinking as I started to write this editorial rapidly evolved to this: No one person or group can completely solve the productivity puzzle. It is a mosaic of comfort satisfaction and wellness control, and it includes temperature, humidity, IAQ, draft, lighting level, lighting color, fenestration control, wellness, social media communication, digital mindfulness, psychology with successful client interaction.

In the old days (before, the early 1990s), we often joked about the "Make Me Happy Button," an important mythical DDC input from the field to let us know that our clients were not happy. This, of course, was long before smartphones and social media. In those days, we had no method of communicating the happiness of our occupant/client. But, as best said and sung by Dylan, "the times they are a changin’."

A fun evolution of the Make Me Happy Button is HuggieBot:

“We’re interested in enabling robots to hug because of how common hugs are in daily life and because of their numerous health benefits,” according to lead researcher Alexis Block, a Ph.D. student in the Haptic Intelligence Department at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems. Studies suggest that hugs—whether between family, friends, or significant others—can ease stress, lower blood pressure, and make us feel supported, all of which helps stave off infection.“When my advisor and I were discussing several potential topics for my master's thesis, we realized both of our families lived far away,” Block told Geek in an email. “We thought about how nice it would be to get a hug from our moms on difficult or stressful days. This idea became HuggieBot.

In addition to the touchy-feely stuff real questions are being raised and discussed, this conference, the 23rd Annual ARC Industry Forum (of which we are a media sponsor) states:

How will disruptive technologies change existing products, plants, and cities?  Can cybersecurity threats be overcome?  How will machine learning, artificial intelligence, and open source solutions transform operations?  How will a digitally-enhanced workforce stem the loss of tribal knowledge?  How do connected products create opportunities in aftermarket services?  What steps can organizations take to foster innovative thinking? There are countless ways to conduct your digital transformation journey, multiple technologies and suppliers to evaluate, and endless choices to make along the way. Embedded systems, networks, software platforms, augmented reality, and machine learning may play a role as you begin to improve uptime, optimize operating performance, enhance service and the customer experience, and re-think business models. Join us at the 23rd Annual ARC Industry Forum in Orlando, Florida to learn more about how digitizing factories, cities, and infrastructure will benefit technology end users and suppliers alike. Discover what your peers are doing today and what steps they are taking in their respective journeys. 

This article, The Promise & Progress of Smart Systems and IoT Platforms from Harbour Research help explain the complexities of change:

The functional requirements for new digital and IoT platforms increases with the complexity of the use cases as well as the scope of assets to be targeted; the IoT is not a simple environment to navigate.  High value use cases enabling widespread visibility and collaboration can be achieved using today’s technology however, significant time and money is required to integrate and manage the diverse tools from numerous vendors.

Who will be the winners and who will lose as the Smart Systems Platform opportunity develops?  In the much larger and more complex world of business-to-business technology, there is no vendor that has the clear leadership position.  While the “Internet of Things” platform opportunity represents a market of vast potential, technology suppliers must be aware of the current technical and competitive dynamics if they are to successfully navigate the market. How well will various supplier groups align with the Smart Systems opportunity as it develops?

This requires new technology innovations and new relationships between and among large established players and small emerging specialists. All participants will need to carefully pick the horizontal technologies that they want to master and/or the verticals that they want to dominate and give up the others. Sadly, this does not appear to be the current state of affairs in the collective digital, Smart Systems and IoT arena, particularly for platform development.

No matter how we look at it we are Building Emotion on our journey to buildings powered by the people for the people, and we need to apply the “4 D’s” from this article, The Built Environment in 2019 by Mark Petok, Chief Communicatoins Officer & VP, Marketing for Lynxspring, Inc.:

In 2019, we will be driven by what I refer to as the “4 D’s”:  digital transformation, data, dialogue, and disruption. In fact, the 4D’s will be driven at NASCAR speeds and continue to lead the way in redefining how we operate, manage and use commercial space in ways never imagined. 

·       Digital Transformation (DX) is becoming more immersive, and we are investing a lot in the experience DX enables us to deliver. 

·       Data is being treated like it’s the most valuable asset on your balance sheet

·       Dialogue is changing the conversation about our buildings and facilities. 

·       Disruption:  Is not the who anymore, it’s the what is going to disrupt you. 

While we continue to speculate what the new year will bring, I believe there are some definite trends we should be thinking about no matter what role you play in the built environment.

More from this article, The Edge of Change – The need to stay connected with other corporate communities by Leo SaLemi, Professor and Program Coorindator for Building Automation, George Brown College, Toronto:

The ‘Edge of Change’ is a term coined by our friend Ken Sinclair at The term may have a different meaning depending on what angle you are viewing it from, but metaphorically speaking we will never reach the edge as we move towards it, but one thing is certain if we don’t learn how to deal with the ‘changes’ during that journey … we are certain to fall off. Keeping up with the rate of change within one’s own corporate community is a challenge in itself but keeping up to speed with what your corporate peers are doing in their community is often overlooked because there is no perceived benefit in doing so and it cuts into the bottom line. Collaborating with other technical communities requires an investment in time and resources and the smart business leaders know that this is the secret to survival if you don’t want to fall off the ‘edge’ especially when the next wave of the Digital Transformation hits us.

Monica Holbrook, System Architect at Climatec LLC, shares her thoughts in this article, Our Journey to the Edge:

Our journey to the edge relies on the merging of technology and people. Distributed collection and robustly distributed network architectures give us the ability to perform more complex tasks than ever before. Analytic events, reports, and dashboards generated by industry professionals, all aim to provide the end user a set of tools with actionable results. Yet, even the most advanced analytics and visualizations require a level of analysis and ‘boots on the ground’ to address repair needs and further diagnose complex system issues.

The role of the integrator is expanding, requiring a need for new education, support and workflows. No longer is the core business going to be slinging wires and hanging boxes. The next generation of the building automation business is one that is a convergence of IT, data science and mechanical understanding. 

This article on, The Edge Will Eat The Cloud by Ron Victor, ioTium CEO helps to define the value of the edge further: 

There is great complexity in connected legacy assets. This much is obvious to anyone who has worked with aging machines that have—some for as long as 100 years—operated within isolated, closed systems. That complexity can prevent business leaders from launching their digital transformation. And that might make those business leaders obsolete sooner than later. It’s daunting, for sure. Suddenly manufacturers who have been successful for decades must connect machines that have never been connected. They must change the mindsets of their personnel, alter business practices, take on new roles and purchase new equipment. And what I see as the biggest change/challenge/opportunity is this: business leaders must start to recognize the true value in edge computing. That’s not an easy task when a business has, say, 5.6 million machines in play.

More discussion here about the Edge of Change and sessions @AHRExpo:

Videocast and PodCast for the week ending Dec 2, 2018 features owner and editor, Ken Sinclair, who discusses the theme of his December edition of Automated Buildings and the upcoming training sessions at the 2019 AHR EXPO.

Want to flyover 20 years of how we got to Edge of Change in 3D? Click on the 3D mode, the small circle to the left once you have started your journey and fly over the events stop anywhere in the blur for connection to the thinking of the time.

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