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Global Reboot - Adopting Adaption

April 23, 2020
So, what will that global reboot look like?

Did the COVID-19 virus stop the world and send us all home to our rooms to think about what are we doing wrong? We were at risk, vulnerable, confused; we have been powered-off for our own protection with the question of when the will our power be turned back on pending.

While we are waiting like turned-off devices, we can clear our memories before the start of our reboot. So, what will that global reboot look like? Should we use the same operating system that caused the failure in the first place—or should we move to a new one? How should we reconfigure our virus protection? Do we need to replace our prime control devices? Reconnect to new networks? What new remote working tools should we make part of us? 

Lots of life changing questions! Should we all work remote from now on? How much or how often should we travel? How will we make repurposed buildings safer? Can our buildings be part of the solution?

We (well, most of us) have the luxury of online access while we craft our own, personal reboots, while at the same time taking part in the wider global reboot. We will be able to craft different approaches and will probably encounter more crashes, more restarts for all of us to watch. This is of great value in learning the lessons the post-reboot period will bring.

What we do know is change is everywhere. We need to adapt to new evolving environments caused by this extreme change.  In our last chapter of our ongoing transformation we highlighted the importance of Adopting Adaption - Achieving Antifragility. The ongoing global pandemic has shown us all how fast we can adapt for survival. Antifragility is a property of systems that actually increase in resilience as a result of stressors, shocks, volatility, noise, mistakes, faults, attacks, or failures. We need to make it part of all we do. We need to be more flexible, more adaptable to rapid change.

Although everything in our lives is now on the global table for consideration, I will try to stay focused on the subject of our digital transformation as it relates to intelligent building automation—but the lines around our focused interest continue to blur. What follows are several trending articles, interviews, videos, blog bits, which I have linked with a quote to allow you a quick overview of evolving thought.

Why We Need a Global Reboot by Daniel Pinchbeck writing on the web site:

We can think of our current civilization—its technical and socio-political infrastructure, its ideology and beliefs—as an operating system, much like the software that runs our computers. Now we need to reboot and install a new system software. A new social design could, eventually, give every human being the opportunity to flourish and thrive, to live creatively, without fear for their future. Accomplishing this is a great mission that will require a truly rational, empathic application of our technical and creative powers. “The only thing that one really knows about human nature is that it changes.”

Kimmy Bettinger, writing on the World Economic Forum site argues that Emerging Technologies are Now Critical Infrastructure:

Under COVID-19, emerging technologies are propping up our daily lives. Connected devices enable both education and remote work. Chatbots provide life-saving information and relieve overwhelmed health systems. Location data applications track and map the spread of the virus for health workers and researchers. The COVID-19 crisis has shown us that emerging technologies like the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence are not just tools, they are essential to the functioning of our society and economy. Particularly in this time of instability, we need to think of them as critical infrastructure.

One of the great hopes I’ve found expressed on social media is that following the reboot will not come a “return to normal” or even a “new normal” but instead a “next normal,” a society that is not as extractive, materialistic and detrimental as the previous “normal”. Possibly one with a few computers instead of politicians.

The hope of the Disposable Identities community is that the next normal will incorporate a  transparent, trust-based infrastructure based on fundamental values of privacy and autonomy.

Arvind Sethumadhavan and Max Peiro, writing on the MIT Technology Review see the opportunity in crisis in this article, Covid-19: An unexpected catalyst for digital-platform adoption in China

The greatest impact on daily life has been the canceling of situations that depend on close human-to-human contact, such as conferences, education in classrooms, doctor visits, and door deliveries, to name a few. These situations have led to greater adoption of human-to-machine or machine-to-human communication systems. Innovative use cases that enable social distancing have emerged to address challenges ranging from simple video conferencing to the use of autonomous mobility applications for contactless delivery. Offline businesses like gyms are resorting to online content and classes to continue engaging with their customers—even nightclubs have launched “cloud raves” on streaming platforms like Douyin, China’s version of TikTok. To maintain a semblance of the social interaction that is vital to daily life, China has been fast embracing technology across a variety of settings:

Ron Tellas, writing on the web site, discusses How COVID-19 May Change Technology Usage in Different Markets:

As we adjust to new ways of living and working amid this global pandemic, an interesting question arises: How will these shifts impact us long term? Will the habits we’ve formed and the new technology we’ve relied on so much over the past few weeks become our new norm? Will COVID-19 serve as a change agent, transforming the way we use technology?

In many ways, recent technology advancements are doing more than changing how we work. They’re helping us adhere to social distancing and stay-at-home orders, keeping non-essential workers at home while those on the frontlines head out every day to help fight this battle. Without our progress toward faster speeds, more bandwidth and applications such as videoconferencing, many of us would be struggling much more than we are to get work done, keep in touch with family and even keep food delivered to our front door—without having to leave our homes. This pandemic is also an indicator of how reliant we are on connectivity (or the “fourth utility”). 

A side effect of the current crisis is a profound unplanned experiment; we are witnessing an amazing demonstration of what world-wide de-carbonization might look like. Some results are analyzed in this article by Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich, writing for the New York times:

Traffic and Pollution Plummet as U.S. Cities Shut Down for Coronavirus 

Air pollution from vehicles has likewise plummeted in the Seattle area, which had one of the earliest recognized coronavirus outbreaks in the country. Traffic patterns there changed drastically before most other cities.

In early March, local officials recommended that residents over 60 years old stay in their homes and that workers telecommute if possible. Shortly after, Microsoft and Amazon, two of the region’s largest employers, told their workers to stay home.

The impact was immediate: By March 8, the number of trips into downtown Seattle during morning rush hour had declined nearly 40 percent, according to a recent report by INRIX.

Here’s a piece by By Martha Henriques, writing on the site:

Will Covid-19 have a lasting impact on the environment? 

Pollution and greenhouse gas emissions have fallen across continents as countries try to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. Is this just a fleeting change, or could it lead to longer-lasting falls in emissions?

Here is Andrew Mason, writing on

Why you need a Workplace Strategy now more than ever!

The idea that the Workplace can be a lever for strategic advantage is by no means new, but it’s one that many senior leadership teams have failed to act upon. The Coronavirus has accelerated the need for change and we need to reset the dial and view COVID-19 as an opportunity to re-define our Workplace strategy for what will be the ‘new normal’ for your business and the Workplace needed to support it.

Post the pandemic and the rescinding of lockdown measures. Businesses that can open their doors again, will encounter new challenges, that had not even been considered plausible previously, even in the most extreme VUCA world.

The return to work for many will be a welcome relief from the rigours of isolation but as organisations, we need to understand that at a personal level this will be overshadowed by fears of a reoccurrence of the outbreak and impending economic hardship.

From the Memoori web site, Imagining the “Pandemic-Smart” Buildings of the Future:

 If we don’t learn from this pandemic then we only have ourselves to blame. The smart building industry must now muster its innovative spirit to reduce the economic impact of the next pandemic, and maybe even help control the spread of the virus itself.

Also from Memoori, this article that discusses some disturbing aspects of the Chinese government’s response to the crisis:

Will Mass Surveillance Become a Leading Epidemic Control Technology? 

The Chinese government collects an immense amount of data about its citizens and they have found innovative ways to utilize that surveillance culture to tackle the coronavirus. As lockdowns went into place across China in January, residents of large residential complexes and neighborhoods are forced to pass through facial recognition-based access control systems to exit to the outside world. Data from those systems along with data from the over 200 million video surveillance cameras around the country are fed into a central database and analyzed using machine learning. In addition to centralized payment and social apps like WeChat, the Chinese government is able to track the movement of specific people as they move around urban areas.

And one more that covers similar territory:  

The Impact of IoT & VSaaS on Video Surveillance Routes To Market

The fundamental shift from analogue to IP Network cameras; Consolidation in the Distributor business and more recently aggressive pricing strategies; More integration and package solutions; And now the rapid growth of VSaaS. With the latter potentially meaning end users having a much closer relationship with the System Integrator.

Hani Khalaf, Lead for the Internet of Things and Digital Cities Solutions at Dell Technologies, writing for the A.I. Journal:

Why IoT and AI will be more relevant in a post-COVID-19 era 

As the world recovers from the global crisis, we’ll be seeing much more adoption of IoT and AI use cases.  Businesses will be scrutinizing every item that affects the bottom line; looking to automate tasks, creating higher operational efficiencies, reducing workforce exposure to infectious environments, and making fast and efficient decisions in times of crisis. IoT and AI will be two major tools that businesses will adopt at increasing rates than previously.  IoT enables remote readings of data from areas where human presence might be deemed dangerous, once remote devices are connected, control becomes as easy as clicking a button on a computer screen.  AI will enable better business insight through the analysis of real-time and historical data.

Reporter Stephen Nellis, writing for Reuters:

As fever checks become the norm in coronavirus era, demand for thermal cameras soars 

Major employers such as Tyson Foods Inc (TSN.N) and Intel Corp (INTC.O) are experimenting with thermal cameras to ensure workers do not enter factories with potential illness, a critical part of maintaining production during the pandemic that could become more widespread as economies reopen.

Real estate services company JLL has an on-demand presentation, Preparing for re-entry and reimagining the workplace:

While the social distancing mandated by the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to be in effect for the foreseeable future, now’s the time for organizations to think about re-entry into what will be a fundamentally different workplace model. Gaining a competitive advantage in the post-COVID-19 world means adopting a new distributed workforce ecosystem and re-imagining the workplace of tomorrow. Hear JLL consultants share their perspective on the paradigm shift that will forever change the corporate real estate landscape.

Brian Sutherland, Industry Principal, Commercial at Yardi, writing on the Realcomm site:

How Resilient Companies Endure Challenging Times  

What does it mean to be resilient? Every organization, like every individual, will face adverse situations, disruptions or threats that must be successfully overcome in order to continue forward. The current global state of uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic makes being a resilient company more important than ever.

To round things out, here is Episode 359 of ControlTalk NOW with Marc Petock, Lynxspring’s Chief Marketing & Communication Officer. Marc provides insight into the immediate impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the Building Automation Industry and leads a frank discussion about the new facet of “safe occupancy” confronting the Real Estate Industry. There are many important opportunities in the challenging times ahead. Key quote:

It will take the collective expertise and efforts of all the players: ASHRAE, manufacturers, engineers, distributors, and contractors to deal rapidly with these new sets of challenges that are scaled differently across a multitude of building types and markets.

Being resilient and making people count while Adopting Adaption needs to be part of our "Global Reboot " 

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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