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Building Whisperers Aid Digital Transformation of Buildings

By Ken Sinclair

What are building whisperers? Those who adopt a sympathetic view of the motives, needs, and desires of the building's relationship with its humanistic purpose based on rapidly evolving views and understandings. What is the process of creating building whisperers? We need to clearly educate and inform our industry practitioners of the art of humanizing our building relationships. We all need to engage in the discussion of change while learning how to whisper building emotion.

Those that well understand what I am talking about are younger. We all need to grow younger to understand. We all need to engage with their digitally raised thoughts to help us understand new ways of thinking and of doing old things. The complete industry needs to grow younger while engaging in the discussion of digital disruption. 

It is happening, and the only thing slowing and sometimes preventing the necessary radical change is our existing mindset and fear of the unknown. Yet daily we take giant leaps of faith towards digital transformation in our personal lives.

This interview inspired my August theme as Nicolas Waern identified himself as “the building whisperer”: Making buildings talk to people.

He states, “All the technology is here. It is just us people that need to start implementing." Nicolas has just agreed to join this evolving session of young, open-everything zealots in our session at Building Emotion @ AHRExpo.com Atlanta. Very pleased to be working with a group of less that 40-year-olds on a new education session for Atlanta AHR, “Next Generation HVAC Controls: Open Hardware – Open Software.” Very interesting perspective on our future by those that are now creating it:

“Truly open hardware and software is common in many industries but has only made relatively small inroads in the world of building automation where proprietary solutions still reign supreme. Open standards like BACnet enabled a revolution in open communications, but the vast majority of building automation software and hardware is still closed.

“The mass marketing of powerful micro PCs such as the Raspberry Pi brings low-cost computing power to technical professionals and hobbyists alike. Suitable for most field installations, they also provide an excellent training and experimental platform for individuals interested in controls and automation. Coupled with an open protocol in BACnet and an open programming language in Sedona, it only takes the imagination of the systems integrator to define the next generation controller.

“The rise of software-focused building analytics solutions is shaping up to be a key driver of a shift to open source. Tools such as Volttron, UT3, ECAM+, and Grafana, just to name a few, are already making data much more accessible. These tools will start to become the basis for commercial products and services in much the same way that software like Linux and mySQL now provide the basis for many traditional IT systems.

There is a need to have low-cost access to BAS data to help engineers with building optimization. Having open source software with the core functionality we need has proven to be a more cost-effective and durable solution to our problems. This is a game changer for our industry and we’re only starting to see how embracing open source can lead to a tremendous boost in innovation, especially among those organizations with only modest resources at their disposal.

“The new rapidly evolving open standards when coupled with open tagging (Project-Haystack.org) using one API, and getting the data to and from the building in a standardized way will be discussed at this session.

"The session will also cover the range of available today’s micro PCs — Raspberry, beagle boards, Dingo, etc. — along with their potential for doing BAS control and deeper self-discovery. The project-haystack.org Sandstar solution will be discussed.

“Evolving IoT trends likely to fall on us will also be discussed, 

“Interactive voice technology capable of texting device commands, receiving feedback, conducting human interaction while self-learning has become one of the lowest cost interfaces for our evolving products. Although Amazon and Google are not standards their open services are available to create new products quickly providing an open path to a new breed of interfaces supported by millions.

“Video analytics using GPU (graphics processing unit), a programmable logic chip (processor), allows for advanced machine learning / deep learning algorithms giving computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed. These IoT standards are rapidly evolving. 

“All the technology is here. It is just us people that need to start implementing.”

This Voice Buyer’s Guide is for building decision makers: “It all comes down to one word: friction. People will rely on voice for more tasks throughout their day because voice removes friction. As the builders of tomorrow, I urge you to consider daily routines, from the memorable to the mundane, and those moments when you want to take action right now. Which tasks can you make faster, easier, and more delightful with voice? 

This article asks the question, Is our industry Building-IoT ready?  

Amazon, Google, and Apple will change building automation for years to come. Give this a read — scary but true.

This article not on our website shows strong support for building emotion: Solving the Smart Building Problem. We need to find a way to make an emotional connection between a building and its occupants.

The way we construct the physical world around us, will change because of digital technology while not necessarily through digital technology.

To help understand what we are talking about this analogy seems to describe both my unreal worlds of Building Emotion and Building Whisperers.  Are we looking for the fourth wall?

The fourth wall is the invisible "wall" at the front of the stage in a conventional theater, through which the audience sees the action of the play. In my mind, the building is our fictional work....smile.

Toby Considine as always is deeper in thought: “Last month, in the July issue, Ken Sinclair called for smart buildings to spearhead an improved relationship between the physical, the virtual and the emotional world. Relationships go two ways. When we consider how buildings can manipulate our emotions, we also are considering how our emotions can manipulate buildings.”

Two of our reviews this month speak to  "Building Emotion Edge-Bots" and a mash-up of the real and the unreal with a sneak preview to our sessions  Building Emotion @ AHRExpo.com Atlanta.

Tired of reading? Give this a listen, Episode 274: ControlTalk NOW — Smart Buildings Videocast and PodCast for week ending July 15, 2018. “It features Ken Sinclair, owner and editor Automated Buildings, who shares some more of his amazing industry voyage (viewers and listeners will be richly rewarded). Siemens puts the pedal to the metal on its way to ‘Perfect Places’ — adding Building Robotics and Comfy to its J2 Innovations and Enlighted acquisitions.”

How does one start in our industry and where will our feedstock come from to help us grow younger? This article helps define a path: Where to Get a Building Automation Degree. This article by Scott Holstein, marketing manager, Computrols, highlights a select few universities that are at the forefront of building automation system (BAS) curriculum.

Speak softly exploring humanizing our buildings while building emotion by becoming a building whisperer.


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posted on 8/15/2018