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Review, Renew Retread Realationships

July 13, 2023
Your knowledge of the past and your valuable industry relationships are your superpowers. Your ability to mashup your past experiences in the new AI-propelled Era of Enviromation will define you.

Although we are creating many new relationships in the new Era, we need to carefully reevaluate, review, renew and retread our existing relationships. (Retread: go back over a path of one's steps.)

How did we get here? Why are we doing what we are doing? How will those strong relationships that created our past now propel us into our future?

Last month I wrote about Navigating the Noise of the New Era.

What is all the noise? We are entering the “Anything is Possible ERA,” which I have dubbed the “Enviromation Era.”

“Enviromation”—in case the word is new to you—is a term I coined to describe the fusion of environment and information, where we use AI to create sustainable solutions for our planet. It is the era we live in, where we face unprecedented challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution and resource depletion.

How do we navigate the unknown? The Never Neverland of what has not been done before with tools we have never used?

An example of what I am talking about is here in this post, Introducing ctrl-flow from our newest/old Contributing Editor, Paul Ehrich.

I first met Paul in Chicago, at AHR Expo, where I encouraged him to start his new company, Building Intelligence Group, which he has been the Founder and President of for nearly 20 years. Since 2004 the company has been involved with projects across North America focused on energy efficiency, integrated controls, and optimization, as well as participating in research efforts that range from helping to develop plans for Net Zero Energy Buildings to programs for training next-generation building technicians. Clients have included building owners, utilities, Government agencies, and Non-Government Organizations.

Paul took over writing the control column for Engineer Systems Magazine, and we collaborated on several articles, one example being this one from 2005, What Is An Intelligent Building?

Here’s an excerpt:

Over the last 20 years, there has been a lot of discussion and debate about the concept of an “intelligent building.”  Work has gone on in many forums to define and quantify what the term really means. The end result of all of these efforts is that an intelligent building is not just one thing. My definition of intelligent buildings is as follows:

“Use of technology and process to create a building that is safer and more productive for its occupants and more operationally efficient for its owners.”

So please welcome back our past Contributing Editor, and please give attention to his message about [email protected], the high-performance controls design tool:

I would like your help in trying to get the word out about a new tool that has just been developed by Lawrence Berkeley Labs. This tool is an online website that is intended to help building system designers develop control sequences. The initial release of the tool allows designers to input information about a project, and it will output an edited version of the sequences defined in ASHRAE Guideline 36. Editing the guideline manually is a challenging task that takes from 2 – 6 hours and is easy to do wrong. Using this tool only takes a few minutes.  The tool is limited in what it does on the initial release – but it will be expanded over time to add more systems and functions.

All our relationships from the past have grown and embraced new ways of connecting. This LinkedIn post, for one example, has been well received.

This article by Marc Petock adds more about the value of our past knowledge: Driving Outcomes with Smarter Buildings.

Key quote:

The common aspect between all of these is driving outcomes. When it comes to technology, it can either be the anchor that drags down outcomes or the mainsail driving outcomes. Smarter buildings are not just about installing smarter technology. Technology is simply an enabler and a means to drive outcomes. Smarter building outcomes are about solving owner/operator challenges and achieving business, strategic, financial and marketability outcomes. Today’s owners and operators want solutions to help them maximize their business outcomes.  For the smarter built environment today, the challenge is not the need for smart technology or solutions, but rather, it is the willingness and preparation to take advantage of them. It is the understanding of the insights and outcomes that reshape buildings to make them smarter.

Mashing the past with the future needs our understanding to be passed to those that hold our future and continuance in this post from sponsor OpSys Solutions, Key Skills and Knowledge for Working in the Automated Buildings Industry.

From the article:

If you’re considering starting a new career, there’s no better place than the automated buildings industry. It’s one of the best-kept secrets in technology careers today. It helps, when starting or growing any career, to have a good understanding of the practical tools you’ll need, so consider this list of essential skills and knowledge for the building automation industry. Pass along this list to anyone thinking about getting into the industry.

Developing and honing these skills can greatly contribute to success in the building automation industry, as they encompass both technical expertise and the interpersonal skills required to navigate complex projects and meet customer expectations. But just because these skills are important doesn’t mean you need to have mastered each now or even know much about them. It just means you will likely encounter them in the future. If you feel confident in your dedication to learning, you’ll have few barriers to growing a successful career in the building automation industry.

Here are some examples of how AI is being used to study and improve the environment:

  • Monitoring and predicting weather patterns, natural disasters and climate change impacts
  • Optimizing renewable energy sources, smart grids and energy efficiency
  • Detecting and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution and waste
  • Enhancing biodiversity conservation, wildlife protection and habitat restoration
  • Improving agriculture, food security and water management

I bring this up to tie back into where this article began, with the unprecedented challenges we face, that we can only hope to address together. I want to share why your past knowledge and industry connections are your greatest assets in the AI-driven Era of Enviromation.

You have a unique advantage over others because you can draw from your past experiences and apply them to new challenges. You can also leverage your existing relationships to collaborate, innovate and learn from others in your field. These skills will make you stand out in the Enviromation Era.

But you must also revisit, revise, renew and retread your past and present relationships. Ask yourself: How did my past relationships shape my career? Why am I doing what I am doing now? How can I improve my relationships with my current and potential partners, clients and colleagues?

Doing this allows you to mash up your past and present experiences in new and creative ways. You will be able to adapt to the changing needs of the Enviromation Era and contribute to its success.

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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