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Contractormag 12766 Roadtrip
Contractormag 12766 Roadtrip
Contractormag 12766 Roadtrip
Contractormag 12766 Roadtrip
Contractormag 12766 Roadtrip

My Building Automation Road Trip

April 10, 2019
As Willy Nelson would say, I am "on the road again" following a few of my many Communities of Practice.

The title of this chapter describes my journeys for the next few months. I’ll be on the highway to Motor City (Detroit) then to San Diego's Silicon Beach and then off to Music City (Nashville). As Willy Nelson would say, I am "on the road again" following a few of my many Communities of Practice (CoP).

I think we all have been part of CoPs without actually realizing their importance, as this commentary relates.

I’m also very pleased with our last chapter in which "We the People" created an amazing cybersecurity resource for our industry and provided an important connection to the CoP of Holistic Cybersecurity

My first road trip is on the highway to Motown's CONTROLS-CON which takes place May 2nd and 3rd, 2019 at the MotorCity Casino Hotel in Detroit, Michigan. This fast-paced, education-packed event will bring together hundreds of integrators and end users from throughout the United States and Canada to explore the latest technologies and possibilities of Building Controls and the Internet of Things (IoT) in commercial and industrial buildings.

The Highway

Imagine we are all are on the on-ramp watching the blur that is the highway of today's CoP of integrators and Master System Integrators (MSI).  How do we get up to speed to merge with the community? How do we put things into context, get them deciphered, filtered for ourselves and our organizations (or whomever)? How can we be comfortable and professionally competent? 

I think it’s a great analogy, "getting up to merge speed." Scott Cochrane and I had been fooling around with the idea. He’s pushing me along the merge ramp trying to get me up to speed before I hit the highway at his conference because if we don’t get up to speed, we will be roadkill. Merging requires speed, power, knowledge and confidence. We all need to learn how to merge with our rapidly evolving CoPs.
Part of my keynote—"My Next 50 Years"—will speak to my personal struggle with extending my "best by date" by using the power of connection communities. I only recently discovered, much to my amazement, that the last 50 years was not about the change in technology (pneumatic to AI), but about the people and their communities. Those communities are still here, while the latest and greatest technology of the time is not. The CONTROLS-CON is a gathering of "We the People of the Community of Practice (CoP) of integration."

I’ve spent my first 50 years in the Automated Buildings industry (of which the last 20 years was as and speaking an industry “tribal elder” I’ll repeat that last point again: The people and their communities have staying power; the technology does not. Those are hard words for an old technocrat like me to say. Although you are selling technology today, if you are invited to return to sell new technology tomorrow will be because of your people and their communities of practice.

Most of us are digital immigrants born or brought up before the widespread use of digital technology and are looking for how can we get new digital native people into our industry. Our younger mentors actually now have younger mentors of their own! Anytime I talked to my younger mentors, the comment back is; "you should see what these kids are doing.”

They are talking about the new generation of kids that grew up with a mobile phone for a soother. I call them "digital augmented" because they have never experienced un-mediated reality and cannot function without a digital world. With them we will create the marriage of our realities; with them we will create Augmented Realties (AR), Artificial Intelligence AI, and a higher level of automated intelligence. It is a strange world that is changing fast.

Our next resource in the process of growing the industry younger is our resource of “Women Waiting in the Wings.” We have many women who daily power our companies. We need to unleash their power with job matching that allows them to amplify their value and define the jobs they wish to do, from customer relations to coding to full on project ownership. Our ability to work remotely, anywhere, allows for greater time flexibility and enhanced work/life balance, two advantages that always rate very high among female employees.

This little fable from contributing editor Scott Cochrane gives you a peek into the type of discussions that will go on at the Controls-Con event: Scott and the AI Beanstalk (This is what I call IoT in your face!):

When Scott climbed the AI beanstalk up through the clouds, he found a goose that laid golden eggs (key decision makers who seemed fully on board). But, the clouds rumbled and a giant appeared (a much bigger company). He smelled Scott nearby and chased him all the way back to his house (with better app capabilities and knowledge).  

This giant is still alive and well, and reinforces the fact that AI is already here! New technology is being developed constantly, the use cases are endless, and the possibilities will only continue to grow higher and higher through the clouds.  

We have been working with AI embedded in digital cameras, turning them into sensors capable of capturing thousands of data points in regards to comfort, security and safety. And yes, integrating them back into the building control systems. If deployed properly, a single camera can replace all of the sensors in a space—heck, let's put two in for redundancy! Eliminating all those sensors, wires, and ugly-looking devices in the ceiling grid mean not only huge first-cost savings and lifecycle cost savings but also a cleaner looking space.  

AI in cameras can also help us make things happen for building occupants automatically. We are testing a camera that uses facial recognition to unlock a door in a traditional access control system.  This would eliminate the need for a card, allow it to be used for dual-factor authentication, or add access through an app on a new iPhone. And with an iPhone already using facial recognition, this results in triple-factor authentication utilizing two different forms of AI. This is what I call IoT in your face!

As you can see we plan to have fun.

The Haystack

My next event takes me across America to San Diego's Silicon Beach to Haystack Connect 2019 which is organized and produced by the Project Haystack Organization—an open source community of people and companies who share the vision that a connected collaborative community can move the industry forward in ways that no single supplier can. The event builds on the inspiration and mission of the community to address the challenges of making smart device data work seamlessly across applications of all types.

I love the Haystack as an example of a Community of Practice, and because I have been part of it since the beginning. 

My how the collective community has grown since 2013's C U in San Deigo. Here’s from my editorial right after the event:

June 2013 theme; Data Models Alter Industry Dynamics

Just returned from a first-ever very successful Haystack Connect event in Chattanooga.  What I learned is it is not just the naming of data but a consistent data model that allows us to free our data to a world of dynamic dimensions for our own purposes. No longer must data be predefined before use if an accurate self-discoverable model is present. This new way of viewing data allows us a new world in which data can be used in several different ways as a dynamic subset of many scenarios.

So from every successful event, there needs to be a takeaway that changes our point of view.  For me, it was captured when a couple of hayseeds took the stage and planted the seeds of change and showed us all how a connected Haystack using data modelling could alter industry dynamics as we know them.  Great production with an amazing cast in this historical and mildly hysterical production.

That was then. What is the focus of the community now for San Diego?

The 2019 Haystack Connect agenda consists of three days, with the technical program concentrated on days two and three. This year’s conference – the 4th biennial event – will be held at the Paradise Point resort in San Diego, CA.

The building automation, energy efficiency, and IoT markets have a variety of events. Some are under the control of a single manufacturer. Some are large conferences where the needs of systems integrators, technology vendors and their customers are lost in a sea of unrelated products and content that are not relevant. Haystack Connect directly serves the needs of the community that is on the leading edge of applying smart data, smart devices, smart equipment and smart building technologies to create a more efficient and sustainable world.

Haystack Connect is known for the quality of its technical program, which is driven by the community. Presentations focus on the real-world challenges in integrating diverse systems and data and are delivered by individuals leading the effort to streamline data interchange through the use of Project Haystack technology.

From the Haystack Connect schedule:

Haystack in Practice – Applications of Haystack Tagging in Real World Applications:

  • Consulting engineers and Haystack; Making data open – Haystack in specifications; Evolution of new data-oriented business offerings by the consulting community

  • Haystack beyond building environmental systems – Haystack in industrial applications, data centers, agriculture, etc.

  • Why product manufacturers are implementing Haystack in their products

  • The Haystack/Analytics Connection: Haystack’s role in streamlining analytics of IoT data

  • End users’ experiences implementing data management strategies and Haystack’s role

  • Haystack for contractors and integrators

Technical Track: 

  • Haystack type system and BACnet/Brick collaboration

  • Haystack integration and collaboration with other standards

  • Haystack-related open source projects

  • Working Group Updates

  • Open session for community suggested technical topics

New Products and Services Using Haystack – “Pitchfest”

    • Up to twelve 20-minute sessions are being offered on a first come first serve basis

The CoP of Haystack is evolving rapidly join their community to understand better why. More info here and here.

Real Calm is an Oxymoron for what you will experience at . The Realcomm Conference Group is an event company at the intersection of technology, innovation and real estate operations. Through their annual conferences, webinars, workshops, CIO Forums and other strategic services, they provides networking and collaboration opportunities, while educating industry professionals about the latest business solutions and technologies to improve commercial real estate development, leasing, management and operations.

For a quick overview watch this video REcalibrate | Using Innovation to Turn Challenges into Opportunities               

Realcomm & IBcon Conference Highlights:
•     Decision-Makers Representing 50 Billion SF of CRE Space
•     Four Days of World Class Education and Networking
•     2,000+ Real Estate & Technology Professionals in One Location
•     Leading-Edge Educational Program With 150 Sessions & 300 Speakers
•     Real Estate Innovation Tech Tours
•     Real Estate Building Cybersecurity Forum
•     CIO Roundtable
•     COO, CFO & CAO Innovation Summit
•     Higher Education Smart Campus Summit
•     Smart Building Leadership Forum
•     Intelligent Buildings Boot Camp
•     Smart Building Integrator Summit
•     5G Congress Hosted by DASpedia *NEW*
•     Property Manager Technology & Innovation Forum Hosted by IREM *NEW*
•     Investment Managers Technology Track
•     21st Annual “Digie” Awards
•     Vendor Expo Featuring 175+ Top Industry Solution Providers
•     5G & In-Building Wireless Pavilion *NEW*
•     Microsoft Partner Pavilion *NEW*
•     Smart Building Best Practices Showcase Featuring Over 40+ NextGen Buildings
•     Conference LIVE News Desk Featuring Live Stream Interviews
•     Robotics Demo Lounge *NEW*
•     “Best of Music City” Welcome Reception
•     5th Annual Golf Outing
•     “Hangout” Networking Lounge *NEW*

IBcon has grown to become a leading-edge discussion on the next generation of smart, connected, high-performance, green, sustainable, intelligent buildings. This event is not about the traditional one building, one system, one vendor smart building of yesterday, but rather the open architected, interoperable, integrated, IP, IT-centric smart buildings of tomorrow.

IBcon brings together visionary experts from around the globe to discuss the latest technologies and present the world's most advanced, next-generation smart building case studies. These projects are no longer just ideas; they are real and are resetting the benchmarks on what a building should look like and how it should be operated.

Here’s a great follow up to our Holistic Cybersecurity chapter, the CRE CYBERSECURITY FORUM  on June 12 at the Nashville Music City Center. From the event’s site:

Every company is at a different part of the cybersecurity journey. Most Real Estate organizations begin by focusing on enterprise related issues which can impact operations. Recently, with the increase in cyber-attacks on the built environment, more companies have begun the task of securing the building and all its systems. While some knowledge can be garnered from critical infrastructure experiences, protecting buildings from cyber threats is a relatively new phenomenon. This session will provide insight into what a comprehensive Building Cybersecurity Program might look like. In addition to presenting the foundational plan, some Monday morning advice on ‘where to begin’ will also be provided.

For a sample of what you can expect from the forum, check out this video and article, Real Estate Cyber Risk: Are You Prepared? by Don Goldstein, CEO, 5Q Cyber:

Security breaches are, unfortunately, a part of our reality now. For industry, they have a high monetary cost and cause erosion of the public trust. A company's reputation in such instances relies on staying apprised of cybersecurity protections, readiness, and a quick response to malicious events.

Please join me on all or any part of my road trip to see America while exploring what is new in smart building controls for global, large, automated buildings. 


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