Combining Collaborating Communities Competencies

Aug. 14, 2020
Changing control freaks to scrum masters.

We need to Combine, Collaborate all our available Competencies to create powerful, never before seen or conceived, outcome-driven services from our Communities of Trust.

Today amazing outcomes are built on existing, proven services. Imagine powerful combos like Uber and Google maps. One cannot exist without the other.

Our industry struggles with evolving as a service model. It is hard to let go of our proprietary past and learn how to think agile, like the scrum masters of the new software companies. We are by nature control freaks and have in the past controlled our Automated Building industry completely by selling our own proprietary systems, never sharing our secret thoughts or collaborating with the team. We perceive ourselves as carrying the ball for our clients--but we never want to pass the ball, to collaborate with those in a better position to score. To move to the "Outcome as a Service" model we need to move to strategies pioneered by software developers.

We connect with other communities of trust like BACnet, EnOcean, KNX, etc, but these are shared proprietary places.

If we close our minds to sharing and collaborating we will never be the best team we can be. We will never discover all that we could build on the available valuable work of others. We need to realize that some solutions in place are far better than our proprietary past. We also need to recognize the speed of deployment of today's virtual world using trusted community building blocks. Some of these building blocks are so powerful they will redefine your products/services and even your role in Outcome as a Service.

If we continue to think and operate as an industry in our totalitarian proprietary past without fully collaborating our competencies with today's amazing evolving resources we are doomed.

This old article from our online magazine from 2017 Brad White, Principal for CES Consulting, Inc. and contributing editor, talks about the changes we must make that many have not. Cope with the IOT Revolution by Staying Agile:

Assuming that we know what people want and designing/building to that is a recipe for building the wrong thing. What we need then is a process for ensuring that we build the right thing. 

Fortunately, we can borrow solutions from software developers who have long had to grapple with this same problem and have developed frameworks to deal with it. One widely adopted approach in that industry is based on Agile Management. In the words of the Agile Manifesto: Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.

While Agile does not prescribe a particular methodology, many frameworks have been developed that embrace Agile principles.  One popular example is Scrum, which is the one that we have chosen to adopt. 

In this interview between myself and Troy Davis, VP Sales for EnOcean, we talk about how combining competencies can have a major benefit for building owners and facility managers:

Collaboration between EnOcean and Aruba 

The Aruba-EnOcean relationship allows the data to be collected by the Aruba access points already installed in the field while staying off the IT departments secure networks. This significantly reduces the investment and occupant disruption to deploy an IoT system.

Sinclair:  What types of applications do you envision being implemented using this arrangement?

Davis:  It’s nearly limitless with over 5,000 types of devices available. As I mentioned earlier we could see everything from simple temperature monitoring all the way to social distancing implementations. But some of the most popular deployments include shared workspace occupancy, elder care patient monitoring, cleaning crew management, if no one uses a space that day, why are you spending time and money to clean it?  Monitoring power consumption is also a very powerful data point and EnOcean does this with no batteries and a simple device that clips over a wire, completely non-intrusive.

Siemens made a few big smart building related announcements recently:

- The Comfy app will be deployed at 600 locations

- Siemens and Salesforce will partner on "a new workplace technology suite that will support businesses globally to safely reopen and deliver the future experience for physical workplaces."

- Siemens employees can now work from anywhere.

Here’s an example of collaboration, a method for digital contact tracing that preserves its users privacy, built by volunteers and shared as open source software:

COVID Shield works along the same lines. It is:

A free exposure notification solution built with privacy as its top priority. It was built by a group of volunteers in order to help Canadians and the rest of the world safely return to work.

COVID Shield is a private, secure, and easy-to-use tool to help governments launch their own exposure notification systems. It is based on the exposure notification technology provided by Apple and Google, the most privacy-preserving approach currently available.  COVID Shield is provided as a reference for your local public health authority to build their own app.

Yet another collaboration in the building automation space:  

Schneider Electric and Cisco embark on tech partnership to advance smart buildings

According to Schneider Electric and Cisco, today’s smart buildings are increasingly digitised and leverage the internet of things (IoT) for efficiency, occupant comfort, and greater building value.

The solution brings IT and operational building control together in a secure IP network solution.

Here’s an example of changing communities from Memoori:  

The Building Process Must Begin with the End in Mind!

Too much focus on ‘Output not Outcomes’. In other words, significant energy is being spent on functional features much too early in the project asking the customer to define value long before utility of the space can be recognized, or perhaps without engaging the voice of the customer.” Plus “Warranty emphasizes that all relevant data being generated within the built environment must have the capacity to be connected, can be made continually available, and shares information securely. It demands all data from assets, equipment in IT, OT, and IoT systems are open protocols, always available, secure, and most importantly actionable to drive outcomes.”

Jump into the Monday Live! Conversation. Therese Sullivan, Customer Marketing Leader, Tridium Inc. and Contributing Editor for talks about some of the high points (so far) from the weekly show:

The panel also generally agrees that the following five trends were underway in the BAS industry before Covid-19 hit and that they are accelerating now:

-Rise of Data-Driven Approach to Facilities Management and Building-Asset Lifecycle Management

-Rise of the Master Systems Integrator Marketplace Shifts from Component- to Solution-Selling

-Rise of SaaS Model for Controls Solutions

-IT Focus on Cyber Security Widens to Encompass OT

But I’m not just a promoter, I’m a contributor! Here are some of my comments from the August 4 conversation:  

I think one of the problems we have is everything is evolving so rapidly, with so much complexity that we simply have to make some real tough decisions quickly. And one of the easiest ways to do that is to evaluate whether I trust that person or company. Do I trust Microsoft? Do I trust Google? Do I trust the various vendors? And when they combine with others I trust, that starts to give me a better feeling.

So, Trust is an interesting commodity that we're starting to work with here. All of us on this Zoom are here because we have companies of trust. And I think Trust is going to be more important. But I think it's the fact that we're forced to make these decisions really quickly, we can't really analyze the technologies and we don't really know what the outcomes are going to be, so we need to know that we are going with somebody we can trust and somebody that's not going to take the ball and run away with it. We need to "Collaborate all our available Competencies" to feel more comfortable with our rapid evolution. We need to build Team Trust.

From Pook-Ping Yao, CEO, Optigo Networks, writing on, COVID-19 and the way forward for the building automation industry -- Thinking about our new normal, and how buildings can evolve to help keep us safe and secure:

Now, we’re being advised to socialize with “few faces, [in] big spaces.” And the great indoors feels like the real danger, with microscopic threats we can’t identify and avoid. Our goal for the near future is to try to find those places where we can get the distance and stay out of the crowd. So density seems to be a concern, if you follow the stats just look at them compared to people density, there's a strong relationship there. That balance is gonna bring a lot of change. There's no doubt about that, everything is going to change and densities will be questioned.

Episode 374 of ControlTalk NOW features Distech’s Tech Support and Training Guru, Sam Sharma in a conversation with yours truly (my part begins at minute 39:00).

Automated Buildings has indeed captured and preserved much of our industry’s heritage, and built one of the most important and valuable trusts of information available to the global HVAC and building automation communities at large.

The tech workspace tends to be a harbinger of coming trends so this article from the IEEE Spectrum web site raises many concerns: Will the Tech Workplace Ever Be the Same Again?

As the COVID-19 pandemic began its explosive spread through the United States, tech workers were among the first to switch to working at home in mass numbers. By early March, before regional stay-at-home orders came into play, most tech professionals at Microsoft and Amazon had switched to working at home, others would soon follow. Since then, Twitter announced that it would offer work-at-home as a permanent option to many of its employees, and Facebook also began planning for a large work-from-anywhere staff.

Highlighting some of those workplace issues is this Global Office Tenant Report 2020 COVID-19 Edition from Equiem, a tenant experience platform: 

Over 60% of occupiers said they wouldn’t return to the office until it "feels safe’"- discover what they need to feel secure, plus many other timely insights for landlords in Equiem’s most comprehensive tenant survey to date. Hosted via Equiem’s world-leading tenant experience platform, used by over 175,000 office workers worldwide, the report provides insights into the impact of COVID-19 on worker’s remote work situations, expectations for their return to the office and health and safety concerns.

Return to Physical space will be slow and the purpose of the space will change drastically.

Almost empty buildings are being kept open as rent is still being paid because of the original long-term lease arrangements. If the owner closes the building they will break the terms of the lease allowing these lease arrangements to be canceled, so building owners’ have months--and maybe years--to work with lease holders to Collaborate their mutual Competencies into a solution of trust.

In the Beyond Buildings Newsletter is this article by our own “Building Whisperer” Nicolas Waern, Creating Future-Ready Organizations:

Do you want to solve problems for real? Do you want to collaborate with experts all over the world, and realize the true potential of buildings from a lifecycle perspective? Do you want to stop making decisions in a vacuum and share ideas with others all over the world? Reach out to me here on Linkedin if interested and stay in tune with Beyond Buildings where we will announce something shortly. We are about ten people already from the entire lifecycle that want to solve problems for real, together. It is energy people, FM, technical asset managers, HVAC people, owners, construction, consultants, IoT-people, smart city people, and others.

This article will also be featured at where my mentor Ken Sinclair resides. If interested you can always read some of the other articles that I wrote and see how they have aged over time.

And another from Nicolas, Solving the skill shortage gap, forever.:

We are not only looking at a skill shortage gap, but also the skill transfer/knowledge transfer gap.

How, if ever, can we make people from different backgrounds agree on a shared truth?

How can we enable collaboration and communication between experts in their respective field, and with people with zero understanding of HVAC, lighting, pneumatics, valves, BACnet, vendor lock-in, the cost to do something, where stuff is, etc etc.

How do we get them to collaborate?

How do we transfer the knowledge from the one person who knows everything, into the minds of the five people with different backgrounds, working in separate parts of the organization/building?

From Scott Cochrane, President, CEO, Cochrane Supply & Engineering, BAS Trek: An Ongoing Mission to Explore New Smart Building Opportunities:

They are providing a platform with enterprise connected data streams that allow for the IoT-customized services that building owners are looking for. The relationship between the building control data and the owner has just hit warp drive and with these advancements, the IoT applications for the modern building are ready to take for a test spin. 

So what the heck am I talking about? Well, with the master systems integrator’s capabilities of digitally connecting HVAC, electrical, security, life safety, authentication, data lakes, mobile apps, cloud apps, ERP, work order management, you name it, they probably want to connect to it.  When they start to mix that tech together, they can create magic. For instance the ability to spot someone outside the building, authenticate them, automatically open the door, set the office temp to a personally desired temp and light level on their work app, automatically log in for network use, notify the manager that the employee is on prem... and that’s all done before they walk through the door. (WARP SPEED INITIATED!!!)

From James Dice, writing on the Nexus web site, The BAS industry is broken… here’s why :

Welcome to part one of a three-part deep-dive series on fixing today’s building automation system.

As I’ve written about several times, the BAS is the linchpin of the smart building. Given its importance, I believe our expectations of the BAS industry are far too low. To get some outside perspective and expertise on this gap, I brought an expert in from the trenches to explain this mess and how to get out of it.

This article on the web site of the Singapore Business Review talks about the movement towards "as a service," Lendlease launches digital property lifecycle platform:

The Podium digitisation platform includes innovative products and services that will be used by Lendlease and will also be offered as-a-service to the broader industry to provide better clarity across the lifecycle of a project.

We need to reinvent how we market our proprietary products which are evolving rapidly to the "Outcome as a Service model" transforming us all from control freaks to scrum masters  Agilely Combining Collaborating Communities Competencies.

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