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Our Assets Are People, Not Technology
January 23, 2017 - Building Automation
By Ken Sinclair
I have been sensing some worry in our industry: “Oh no! The IoT sky/cloud is falling on us. It hit me on the head, so I know it must be so,” says Chicken Little. It is so heavy we all shall be crushed or displaced or outsourced. (Big smile.) So I felt the necessity of pushing the focus back on the people of our industry, our only true assets, and putting them on the watch for Foxey Loxey in our new year of incredible opportunities 2017. Happy New Year!
The Internet of Things — “IoT” — transformations are bringing significant industry disruptions.
Disruption is good because it causes our assets to be employed to review our core values, our reason for being, and to adapt to change for survival. These are things that only the people of our industry can do; our existing technologies can not help and have the potential of becoming liabilities.
Our industry like all industries is inundated with the movement to the cloud and the self-learning edge; IoT is in our face everywhere. In lieu of the necessary action of how we might repurpose our only assets, our people, we focus on our existing technologies, their high cost, missing functionality, and the lack of speed and IoT connection of our aging technologies and outdated procedures.
We need to focus instead on our only assets, our people, who have all been through several technology shifts in their lives. They have seen hardware evaporate into software and become data in the IoT cloud or processes acted on at the edge.
People that are deeply attached to their existing technology are very concerned because these IoT-driven changes are coming very fast and are very disruptive to their reason for being.
There are a lot of pieces on the table for sure. We will quickly move to hybrid controllers blending the best of old field connection hardware with the new low-cost IoT-ready processors providing self-learning at the edge and providing amazing new IoT connections. "Open" like we have never seen is occurring everywhere, commoditization of our products, strange new bedfellows, are all part of our future.
So rally your people, your only true asset to set in place a plan as to how best work with today's IoT tools and technology shifts. You may have become so attached to your technologies that you are immobilized to move forward without them, and this is of great concern.
Has your company been reinvesting in your only asset with new people, to grow your company younger and increase your industry relevance? Our people's skills that create our reasons for being are our assets, not our technological flavor of the day or the latest IoT app.
How much money have you spent updating your only assets, your people? Yourself? Your procedures? Your IoT connections and knowledge?
Being an old guy, I just simply see another radical change that increases the value of the folks that understand our industry. There are still quite a few of us old huff-and-puff pneumatic guys still in the industry today. The DCC revolution of the 1980s did not kill anyone; it just made us all much more powerful and socially acceptable. We moved from being in the weeds of public understanding to the center stage. The greatest value of the DDC revolution was the injection of the myriad of new minds with fresh thinking. With these new minds, we moved from physical devices powered by air to software control languages and microprocessors while developing open protocols, and learning how to use the Internet. Do you think that our IoT future will be injected with Millennium minds, which question all that we do while giving us the raspberry?....Big Smile. I do. “The Times They Are A Changin'” again!
These are the new assets we need to invest in to change the industry. Our existing assets that accepted Web ways, open protocols, and the edge of IoT are now ready to welcome total immersion in IoT.
Opening all our assets to IoT thinking will usher in The IoT Future of Building Automation.
The IoT world is a challenge — to achieve a successful transition to the new way we need embrace the new folks of the millennium into our reason for being while retreading old existing minds. As we build the assets in our companies, our value as an industry will increase.
We need to attract self-learning assets with a continuing self-learning growth; that is the goal we all wish to achieve in our people assets and our company cultures because it is organic and natural but most of all sustainable. If you can hire good people, train them well, and ensure they continue, throughout their career, to learn, we will see industry, from the operators to the engineers, achieve the potential we all know is there.
This extract from our August 2014 issue echoes the above:
My observation is that your understanding of where on the adoption curve the technology around you and part of you provides the value you bring to your company and our industry. “R U the Asset?” To invest and grow our companies’ assets we need to clone your knowledge and understanding. We as an industry and you as a company need to invest more of you (time and money) in the training and growth of those around you. Mentoring is an amazing feel-good, do-good vehicle, and every mentor should have a mentor, all working to create a network of the brain trust to be part of your own company culture and collaborators.
Working Together. Separately — Although our August 2014 theme seems like an oxymoron, the cloud enables us to “work together” while flexing our greatest resource our people, a group of individuals that separately create pieces that fit the cloud puzzle. I recently found clarity in the cloud and have started talking funny but now have a clearer vision of our future, a collaborative mosaic of our industry “working together, separately."
Please join us as we to the best of our understanding embrace the future and its changes and have added these changes to our ever expanding mission statement.
Help us support the open source community Project Haystack.
Project-Haystack.org is excited to announce the publication of the second issue of Haystack Connections magazine. Haystack Connections reports the news from the Haystack community around the world and provides updates on the development of tagging models, reference implementations, complimentary applications, and success stories from the community as we work together to make device data easier to use across applications of all types.
Ken Sinclair is the founder, owner, and publisher of an online resource called AutomatedBuildings.com. He writes a monthly column for FacilitiesNet.com about what is new in the Internet of Things (IOT) for building automation.