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Born Again

Born Again Connected

Jan. 24, 2020
Perception of our reality is everything. We need a method to disconnect from our perceptions and imagine ourselves "Born Again Connected.”

To catch sail in today's winds you need to Get Out of Your Heads and imagine what being "Born Again Connected" might mean. In taking our messages about our Education Emergency to AHRExpo 2020 Orlando we need to imagine what every HVACR product would look like if it was "Born Again Connected."

I struggle daily with this question: how old would I be if I did not know the day I was born? Perception of our reality is everything. We need a method to disconnect from our perceptions and imagine ourselves "Born Again Connected.” I am just starting to understand that this is not just a problem for me, trying to get out of my head. Others are struggling while trying to understand what being born connected might be like. 

My millennial contributing editors are now starting to share the problem. Generation Z is upsetting their thinking as the millennials once did mine.  Everyone needs a younger mentor—even your younger mentors!  This article by Sean McDowell, 9 Important Insights about Generation Z - (Born Connected)  has some insights on the new generation gap: 

1. Digital Natives: While Millennials grew up in a technologically savvy and connected world, younger members of Generation Z cannot remember a world without the Internet. They grew up swiping an iPad before they learned how to talk and are the first generation to be raised in the era of smartphones. Teenage members of Gen Z are connected nearly every waking hour of the day. 2. Entrepreneurial: Gen Zers have been raised with businesses such as Uber and airbnb, seeing how easy and simple it is to use your own time and resources to make money. 72% of older members of Gen Z want to start their own business.

This article from our Contributing Editor  Nicolas Waern (our “building whisperer”) still haunts me—Born Connected:

The products which are born connected have the possibility to solve a lot of the challenges prior to even becoming problems in the first place. Adding the possibilities for connectivity enables OEMs to get to a “Born connected” strategy which has many benefits. This is not only for the OEMs but also for the customers and other stakeholders in the total value chain. The benefits are the ones described above, but it’s also a paradigm shift on how things are done and will be done in the future. I would argue that almost all products can, should, and will be born connected.

And here’s another article from Nicolas that asks an important question, Are existing companies built to die?

This article is about the importance of understanding how and if businesses can capitalize on all the shiny new tech that exists in the market. And how the embryo of a re-born connected strategy might look like. If you are worried that new technology isn’t delivering as expected, and wondering why that is so? Then this might be something for you. Re-Born Connected – Do or Die? If we have a product that is born connected in the left hand. And on the other hand we have this traditional organization that wants to utilize all of this cool new technology. What to do?  Can the company be re-born connected?  Maybe. But there are a few buts and ifs;

•    How long would it take to change the organization?

•    How fast are other organizations moving in the industry? 

•    What are the threats from other industries moving forward much faster? 

•    Are the barriers to entry beginning to be removed, making it easier for anyone to innovate?

•    Are existing channels being re-invented by new players in the market, circumventing existing ways of working?

•    What are the primary revenue streams of existing businesses and does that correlate to future ones?

•    How suited is the existing organization to fulfil future needs?

•    What is the need for the companies products/services on the market? “Companies need to constantly be trying to disrupt themselves before anyone else does

Brad White, P.Eng., MASc, President of SES Consulting, Inc.,  in his AHR Expo 2020 preview discusses his Open Dream Team, and how they hope to redefine our an open future:  Open Future of Building Controls and the Role of Buildings in the Climate Emergency

Sinclair:  Sounds exciting, can you give us a few examples?

White:  he most tangible example I can think of is from one of our panellists, Calvin. He has designed and manufactured his own controller, with plans to open source the design files so that anyone can access those, modify them however they like, and build their own custom controller based on his design. We’ll have the controller at the session for anyone who wants to take a look. We’ve also been doing more work in launching services for our clients that are based on open source and free software and hardware like Plotly, MongoDB, Google Data Studio and Volttron. Finally, there are some exciting new projects that aim to bring together BAS hardware and software so that they are no longer inseparable, such as is envisioned by Project Sandstar. 

These initiatives move us away from the proprietary and closely coupled hardware and software that is offered by every manufacturer today, to a model more like the IT industry where users are free to choose a combination of best in class hardware and software that best meets their needs.

In the second session, we’ll be talking about Attraction and Retention of Hyper Digital, IP-Enabled Millennials and Generation Z. This session will be all about the people side of the businesses that Scott and I run, and how we attract and retain the best people.  Finally, our third session is on Becoming IP-Enabled: People and Products. In this session, we’ll focus more on the ongoing shift in BAS away from legacy network configurations and onto IP platforms and the challenges and opportunities that will bring. 

Dave Lapsley, Managing Director Econowise Group of Companies, writes about the early days of building automation in this articleBorn Connected? - What then should a smart building look like in 2020 and beyond? 

A smart building is now becoming a very different proposition to anything that has gone before. Referencing the UK-based European Intelligent Building Group, they define an intelligent building as a building that creates the environment that maximizes the effectiveness of its occupants, while at the same time enabling the efficient management of resources with minimum life-time costs of hardware and facilities. In order to achieve such environments, building systems have to be interoperable and must provide a simple cost-effective means of establishing interconnectivity utilising standard off the shelf devices to provide information.

This information or data as we like to call it will ultimately be analysed and actioned outside of the conventional building envelope by way of cloud-based services.

He closes with:

We as professionals in the building automation arena must not underestimate the pivotal role that we play in providing scalable cost-effective platforms. These systems will become vital tools in providing connected smart environments.

Generating this data is of significant importance as it will unlock answers and educate consumers with respect to offering a sustainable future for generations to come. It is our job or perhaps in many cases vocation to provide ‘connected’, ‘open’ systems that in turn will allow us to ‘connect’ with decision makers and ‘open’ their minds. Without the information that we will ultimately provide to educate, the future of our beautiful, precious yet vulnerable ecosystem will remain surrounded by doubt.

The Connected Twin? Important insights from this article, Defining the Digital Twin for Buildings by James Dice, energy efficiency innovator, who writes:

With the combined functionality of all of these approaches, the digital twin is more intelligent and able to provide better analytics and control. It’s greater than the sum of it’s parts. We’ll get to that in more detail in the next installment. 

Another way to think of it: define what a modern digital twin needs to include: 

  • A three-dimensional model—traditional models that describe the building’s physical attributes such as materials and spatial position  Static data—all of the details that add context, from O&M manuals to model numbers to human profiles  
  • Streaming data—data from physical building systems and third-party applications like weather feeds  
  • Computation—traditional analytics, now being supplemented with AI Human interaction—Interaction, feedback, and a user interface for occupants and operators A platform for applications—the middleware connecting everything together

Drop any one of these and, in my opinion, you no longer have a modern digital twin. In the next installment, we’ll walk through what digital twins will do for building owners, why they will change the buildings industry and my questions about the future of digital twins.

How is the home market opening up? Check out this article from Security World Market, World's first Smart Home standard ready to roll:

The OCF UCI is a programming interface that can be used to standardise connectivity between different manufacturers’ cloud servers, and between devices and the cloud. This cloud application programming interface (API) helps the IoT industry to streamline partnerships and avoid implementing and maintaining numerous proprietary programming interfaces at once.

Will the robots take over? Or will automation instead bring new opportunities for the workforce? Read this article by Neil Sahota, Thanks To Robots, Humans Are Finally In Demand:

So, what can’t robots do? They cannot think. They cannot feel, dream, or imagine. And there are many theorists who suggest they never will. If we really want to ready ourselves and our culture for the new economic reality, we must recognize this surprising truth: Unlike during the previous era, the coming automation age will prize human attributes like never before. As our book attests, rather than being a zero-sum scourge upon the workforce, the rise of A.I. promises to tilt the nature of work in wonderfully positive, unprecedented ways.

Is your company dying? Are you ready to be Born Again Connected? Join us in Orlando, become part of the discussion.  

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