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Embracing Enlightenment

June 25, 2020
The five core values of the Enlightenment were: happiness, reason, nature, progress, and liberty.
In our last chapter Reinvention, Rebirth, Renaissance, the word Renaissance delineates the significant, positive break with the old and issues a welcome to the new era. 

That chapter took an optimistic approach (as was the intent), but it is difficult to maintain an optimistic outlook when you have been downsized or replaced and the economy is crashing. We need to understand more about the Renaissance and our coming Enlightenment.

I have crossed over from my normal discussions of technology—the bits and bytes and blinking lights—to discussing mindful Embracing of Enlightenment. How does this all fit into my never-ending story of our Digital Transformation? What follows a Renaissance? Enlightenment? It is a process we are working through now to make “not normal" the new normal.

The five core values of the Enlightenment were: happiness, reason, nature, progress, and liberty. Using logical thinking and reasoning the philosophers analyzed truth in the world.

Given the current state of the world, we should all act more like philosophers in our day-to-day lives. Let us use responsible social media to bring trust and truth to enlightening the world. Enlightenment is when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and know for certain that it's not an oncoming train.

The rapid, radical change caused by COVID-19 forced us out of our offices sending us home and making us part of the world's greatest experiment in online living and working. This ongoing experiment has us all learning and reevaluating Digital Ethics. We all need to enhance our understanding of the shifting global landscape and strategically incorporate digital ethics in ways that support the industry, our customers, and society in general. This complex task is now spread over the home, office, and the evolving physical and virtual "In Between.”

So much travel in the form of the commute to and from office or air travel to remote city meetings and events has been demonstrated to be simply unnecessary in today's digital world.  Zooming and other forms of video conferencing has and will continue to eliminate or greatly reduce travel.

For the following events I will be traveling (Zooming) virtually to the Location of  "Online Event”—no longer is the physical location of an event or a business all that relevant.

Looking forward to speaking and being part of this free gathering, the Digital Wellbeing Festival 2020 with the goal of Advancing Global Digital Wellbeing, this June 30 - July 2. 

Lawrence Ampofo, Ph.D is organizing the event in the hope of promoting digital mindfulness (something we could all do with a little more of). Here’s a quick peek into part of one session. From the event description:

The Digital Wellbeing Festival is a unique gathering of industry experts, business leaders and brands showcasing the latest developments in the area of technology for human flourishing and wellbeing. This is where experts from around the world come together to take stock of the present, and look into the future to prepare for the challenges and opportunities ahead. Subject matter experts share their insights on emerging trends, innovative business leaders talk about their breakthrough strategies. As a global population, spending more time at home has increased the amount of time spent with digital devices and the requirement for digital wellbeing has never been more relevantTechnology is now front and centre of our lives as people around the world are compelled to work remotely. Topics We’ll Cover: Health, Wellbeing & Stress Management. Digital Habits, Online Safeguarding & AI, Workplace, Community, Buildings & Cities.

I hope to learn and hopefully become Enlightened along the way—please join us.

I am also part of Monday Live, a live weekly open conversation with industry friends and colleagues to help us get through the pandemic and prepare for a new normal for commercial buildings post-COVID. The event takes each Monday at 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EST

From regularly attending the event, I’ve come away with a few observations.

We are going to be working in three places: from home, the office and what we've identified as the "in between,” which will be some kind of a social, close community location. That presents an interesting challenge for companies, large companies in particular, in that they need automatic employee control systems that straddle all three locations. That will lead them to the conclusion that they need much more portability in their automated corporate platforms. Combine this with the acceptance of the subscription model, "Safety as a Service,” and we might see a point when a tenant moves into a large building they bring their own automated systems with them. These automation systems are likely to include sensors that haven't been invented yet, future-ready for wireless devices to be added by the tenant not the owner. Interesting developments are happening, and who knows where it's all going to play out? But flexibility is definitely a big piece of repurposing.

Younger people are less attached to real estate. They're as happy on the beach or at coffee houses or wherever they are. So the "in between" now further blurs physical space to being virtual space. The other thing happening is basically pods of random connection and interaction spaces so they can create virtually instant communities. Working remote has made us think at least 10 years younger, (though we probably need to think 20 and 30 years younger). We were forced, all of a sudden, to use all this stuff we talked about, and sometimes forced to ask younger people, “how do we really use this stuff?” I think it's just that different mindset. Born connected, connected, and those that are simply users of connection.

The fact is that a lot of these buildings have automation systems that have lasted 20 years plus, and are way beyond their useful end of life, but are still performing their original functions fairly well. They actually need to be completely modified and/or replaced, and some building owners can't understand the need for these million-dollar retrofits. So if we take these necessary upgrades into a subscription model, I think people will start to look at things completely differently and start dumping pieces of that old obsolete equipment. This existing automation is there to save energy, but now there is a need for so much more. Its data is necessary to prove that we're doing a good job and that the building is safe and now COVID free.

So the subscription model needs to be explored and re-evaluated in the Renaissance. We are all becoming software companies and our services need to be marketed like software and connected services.

The touchless side of all of this needs review. Simple things like our touch screens—the one in the mall used as a directory, or the one at the office front door—we're no longer allowed to touch. That all needs to be converted to voice, and that's an interesting transition. The same goes for elevators, for anything we touch. Even our touch screen thermostats are probably going to fall. We've all avoided voice because we found it annoying, but if given the options of touching or voice, I think voice is probably the direction we’re going. 

Another innovative thing that caught my attention is they're actually working on a voice print for the COVID cough, which I thought was extremely interesting. Apparently, when you cough with this disease, it has a unique voiceprint. And I know the last time I had a credit breach on my card, when I was getting it all straightened out, they asked if they could take my voiceprint and I said, Well, yeah, what's that? And she said, Well, the next time you call, I have your voiceprint and I can match it to your voice. She said that's not the only credential but that would be one of the credentials we will use. This is a whole technology evolving that might one day fall on us.

All of these remote things we're doing keeps bringing everything closer, reducing or eliminating travel. That's an interesting trend that I'm seeing as the value of close community increases. And I think you're going to see significant rebuilding. The mega-cities are going to begin dividing themselves into small cells, where the close community will be recreated as a small city within the large city.  That kind of thinking will drive a lot of repurposing of buildings, which would be good for our industry and the economy in general.

On our path to Enlightenment we need to achieve happiness and reason to power the true Renaissance but our worrying about the unknown is consuming all our time. We need to re-learn (as the classic book from Dale Carnegie puts it), How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.

This book, originally copyrighted in 1944, was one of the first reads recommended to me to help deal with a worrying problem I had as a teenager that was causing a stomach ulcer. I guess my first mentors were Willis Carrier and Dale Carnegie. As the Amazon caption says, this book can change your life!

It changed mine, and also gave me a great perspective on how to overcome the worry habit. I was fascinated by the examples of the lives of major industrial revolution characters and how they deal with their amazing problems similar to our problems of today.

By accepting the worst outcomes we have nothing more to lose and everything to gain—all our energy can be focused on Reinvention, Rebirth, Renaissance. It is just a change that we can deal with and nothing to worry about. The more we understand about the changing landscape the better we will be able to cope.

From a post on by Larry Dingam, What does the new normal look like post COVID-19? Key quote:

ZDNet surveyed earnings conference calls to see what the new normal will look like across multiple industries as business re-opens following the COVID-19 pandemic…  As COVID-19 impacts every aspect of our work and life, we have seen two years' worth of digital transformation in 2 months. From remote teamwork and  to sales and customer service to critical cloud infrastructure and security, we are working alongside customers every day to help them stay open for business in a world of remote everything.

Early in my career one of my building automation mentors told me we are always moving toward or away from centralization. Looks like that thought also applies to our surrounding social structure.

Rahul Kumar, writing on, Your IT Organizational Structure: Should You Centralize or Decentralize? Key quote:

There isn’t one answer to the question whether your organization’s IT structure should be centralized or decentralized. That’s because businesses rarely commit to one of these models. In reality, centralized and decentralized IT structures are two ends of a spectrum, and most organizations, including yours, are somewhere in the middle.

From the 2020 Accenture report on technology and vision, Tech-clash to trust: organizations need to focus on value and values:

In a world where digital is everywhere, people’s interactions across society are changing. They are reevaluating their relationships with businesses and governments. They are rethinking their actions in a globally interconnected economy and seeking more sustainable products and services. And they are reexamining whether the value that enterprises deliver is fully aligned with their core values. Technology is an intrinsic part of this process,to the point where it has become deeply embedded in how people work and live. Enterprises have furthered this reliance by weaving technologies into their product and service offerings and how they are delivered to customers.

Also from Accenture Research, appearing on the web site, Vala Afshar asks, What does 'post-digital' mean for companies?

According to Accenture: "Doubling down on completing their digital transformations to get the most value from those investments and at the same time, turning a strategic eye toward what's next. By moving the company's focus to targets of opportunity, finding a place among the ecosystems of the post-digital era, and mastering digital investments with an eye toward the post-digital future, leaders will position themselves for success for years to come. Your digitized organization will be the foundation from which you drive all future innovation."

Talal Rafi, a Forbes Councils Member writing on the Forbes web site, explains Why Having Young People On Corporate Boards Is A Game-Changer:

Underrepresented Millennials More than half of the world’s population is under the age of 30. Millennials are the largest generation in the world's workforce, which shows that a significant portion of consumers are young people. It is important for young people to be on the boards of companies because that is where all the key decisions are made. According to PwC data, statistics are grim: More than half of the 500 S&P companies within the report have no directors at the age of 50 or under. Having age diversity could be a game-changer for many of these large corporations.

Andrew Krioukov, writing on, asks the question more and more people are asking, Is the office dead? What COVID-19 means for the future:

COVID-19 has shown that for many office workers, remote work is feasible or even preferable to the daily office commute. Even as lockdowns are slowly eased, as many as 75% of employees prefer to work from home out of caution or convenience. This has dramatically accelerated a trend towards remote work that was already underway over the last decade and begs the question, do we need offices?

Here are a few more great resources to help us bring trust, truth, and hopefully Enlightenment to the world.  

Cimetrics Guidelines for COVID-19 Response  

The purpose of this document is to summarize current recommendations in the United States from ASHRAE and CDC related to air distribution systems, quantify the financial and operational impact of those recommendations, and demonstrate how building analytics can be used to facilitate decision-making and operational management. 

6 Feet Office, Cushman & Wakefield 

Certain phrases surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have sparked global conversations, the most notable being social distancing – the entire world now understands the importance of staying six feet away. Across the globe, we’re in different stages of experiencing the pandemic. But, as we begin visualizing life after COVID-19, we must begin to think about what a six feet society will look like and how we will adjust.

Apple Offering Covid-19 Testing to Staff Returning to Offices by Mark Gurman:  

Apple Inc. employees heading back to work at the company’s headquarters in Silicon Valley will face new realities in the Covid-19 era, such as optional testing for the virus, closed kitchens and a requirement to wear masks. Apple began bringing some workers in to the main Apple Park office in May, including some hardware and software engineers. When they arrive, they’ll have the option of taking a nasal-swab test to check for the virus, according to people familiar with the process. Temperature checks are required. As the building gradually reopens, some employees are working from the Apple campus only a few days a week.

Three ways to think about the post-digital age from author Brian Carruthers, writing on

We're currently living through the 'mid-digital age', according to Zenith's Tom Goodwin, but it's time marketers started considering the post-digital age. ...

Today, however, one can frequently detect an air of digital disappointment as people's expectations grow faster than technology can deliver.

Graeme Neill, Editor at SmartCitiesWorld talks to Lauren Sorkin, acting executive director of the Global Resilient Cities Network, on how cities can rebuild post Covid-19.

In order to make our cities safer, healthier, more sustainablewe actually have to take this holistic and opportunity-based approach

As the picture becomes clearer, or the degree of uncertainty we will face becomes more certain, a new smart city model will emerge. Already we are seeing it taking shape, whether it’s Sydney and its spaces for safer travel, Pittsburgh airport’s fleet of autonomous cleaners, or even Singapore and its pack of robotic dogs to enforce social distancing.

Join me in Embracing Enlightenment!

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