Now that we have been COVID -ized we have seen the value and necessity of working together apart. The COVID-zation of 2020 has created, injected, extracted, but mostly simply accelerated many new relationships allowing us to connect “Together” and disconnect, be “Apart”, quickly and remotely without the need for physical travel.
We started this discussion with Our COVID-ized Future Reality, where we wondered: will it be real, or augmented and artificially intelligent? Or a COVID-ized hybrid?
Over 6 years ago (long before we were Covid-ized), I wrote this editorial: Working Together. Separately
Although our August 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”.
AutomatedBuildings.com is a great example; Jane and I work separately from the industry as publishers of a B2B magazine generating the content which is the result of our collaboration of all the working together folks to create something we hope is useful to the industry. Open standards groups like Haystack, BACnet, are based on working together but are powered by separate individuals. In Anto’s interview he tells of his free web service that brings all events together for us as a web service. He is working together separately. I have included a quick review of a digital signage company that uses their working together collaboratively to help sell their individual services.
The core of all powerful web services is providing the ability for us to work together for free or at a very low cost in the cloud, but this all happens with separate individuals building these services.
Our future is clear; we need to identify our collaborative resources that will take us to the outer edges of the IoT of buildings, but we need to clearly convey how our individuals will add value, and why they must be part of your collaboration.
How has this worked with Open standards groups like Haystack, BACnet? All are based on working together but are powered by separated individuals. Here’s an AutomatedBuildings article on the Fall 2020 issue of Haystack Connections Magazine, Making it All Work Together:
This eighth issue demonstrates how the Haystack Community has continued to further solidify the value brought by its widely adopted open-source methodology for semantic tagging in the built environment. Find the magazine at this link: https://marketing.project-haystack.org/images/connections-magazine/Project-Haystack-Connections-Magazine-Issue-8-Fall-2020.pdf
Project Haystack has continued expanding the standards for semantic modeling methodology and building on the tagging libraries for more and more applications. This community-driven, open-source process is engaging companies that work on different facets of specifying and implementation. They understand the importance of “Making It All Work Together”.
The Connections Magazine Fall 2020 issue consists of articles, conversations and updates from Project Haystack members and supporting companies. Here are just a few highlights – a conversation between Lewis Martin of CM Industrial and Project Haystack Executive Director John Petze, “The Role of Open Source – Getting Inside Project Haystack”. Richard McElhinney, Chief Software Architect at Conserve It, contributed an article on “Taking Project Haystack and Niagara to the Real IIoT”. “The Haystack Byte Journey Continues” is an article written by Alper Üzmezler, Managing Partner of BAS Services & Graphics. Paul Ehrlich, P.E., Founder and President of Building Intelligence Group LLC, collaborated with Veronica Adetola and Draguna Vrabie of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) on two articles, “The Future of Building Control – Rule-based or Predictive?” and “Co-Design a New Process to Improve Control System Design and Delivery”, both highlighting the importance of tagging to achieve the goals of advanced control. “Enabling Plug-n-Play Small Buildings Using Haystack Tagging” was contributed by Scott Muench, Vice President of Customer Experience at J2 Innovations. Rob Glance, Vice President Information Technology of BuildingFit contributed the article “Finding Our Way: Take the Established Success Path for Implementing Building Analytics”. Jean-Simon Venne, CTO of BrainBox AI, contributed his article “Resolving Pain Points in Tagging Via the Use of Artificial Intelligence”.
Brian Frank, Technical Lead of Project Haystack, provides an update on Haystack 4. The Project Haystack website, www.project-haystack.org, is being transitioned to the new Developer website, www.project-haystack.dev, to focus on the new Haystack 4 methodology and assignment of tags. The activities of the Working Groups and the developer Forum conversations will be transitioned to the Developer site soon, as well.
Because we were all Covid-ized we could not come together for our 9th Annual Connection Community Collaboratory. It did not happen because our annual together place, the AHRExpo (https://www.ahrexpo.com/ ) was canceled.
Here is a link to a video of last year’s Collaboratory (prepared by Control Trends). From the introduction:
The 8th Annual Connection Community Collaboratory offers useful insights into the future of HVAC and Smart Building Controls. Hosted and moderated by automatedbuildings.com Ken Sinclair, this panel of Industry Experts including Lynxspring’s Marc Petock, Sky Foundry’s John Petze, Contemporary Control’s George Thomas, Distech’s Martin Villeneuve, and EnOcean’s Troy Davis offer invaluable insights into the future of HVAC IOT and Smart Building Controls.
A lot of this discussion around our Covid-zation has several of us working together apart with the newly created and re-purposed LinkedIn group MondayLive. From the page:
A weekly group to discuss the advances of smart buildings, and to improve the quality, sustainability, and performance of built environments around the world.
January 4, was discussing mentorship for the future workforce in the smart building industry.
● The industry needs a new workforce
● Need a new way to do internships
● We need new young blood
● Schools/Colleges need content
● Schools/Colleges need our perspective
● Oldies have a lot to offer
● Oldies need to learn new (young) ways
● Monday Live! need interesting guests
● We need to build a new ecosystem
Some more help here at the Building Performance Career Map from the BEST (Building Efficiency for a Sustainable Tomorrow) web site:
In today’s world, buildings need to perform better than ever. Energy, health, economic, and environmental issues are forcing buildings to become more sustainable. However, “green” design alone cannot guarantee success. Attentive operations and maintenance are also vital to cutting energy costs, creating more competitive businesses, and reducing pollution.
What does this mean in terms of a job or career for you? Skilled technicians with a solid grasp of building systems, energy efficiency, and indoor environmental quality are high in demand. You might troubleshoot a faulty piece of equipment, verify proper operation of an economizer, or collect and analyze energy usage data to identify energy savings opportunities. There are many occupations where you can make a difference and earn a healthy salary in a job that can’t be sent overseas:
- Building automation/ controls technician
- Building operator/ engineer
- Commissioning/ retro-commissioning agent
- Energy auditor
- Energy engineer/ manager
- Facilities manager
- HVAC/R installation & service technician
- Indoor air quality specialist
- Lighting systems & controls technician
- Measurement & verification specialist
A career map illustrating many of the jobs and career paths possible in building performance. To try the interactive map, visit hvaccareermap.org. Who knows where you’ll end up?
Here’s a comment I shared in the MondayLive video:
One thing our industry has always been chasing the national solution rather than a local solution. And I think this is something we need to change, change our thought patterns, we need to take a look at what’s happening right around us and reach out and become part of our community. It’s part of that being remote, but being close and bringing in the resources and the people and creating your industry right where you live.
This feeds on how Together Apart will evolve in our industry with a new word: Microjobs. You can see how this employment model is developing here on the BMS Integrator site, https://www.bmsintegrator.com/. Browse through a group of building automation engineers. Choose one that matches your needs. Pay as you go.
Local resources are now globalized. Working “Together Apart” follows the IoT model of how they agilely put projects together and take them apart quickly, with a mobile present located anywhere in the workforce.
I am impressed with Shopify as a Company that provides a online platform for anyone to do business “Together Apart” and has had amazing growth during COVID. Shopify has as their simple business philosophy: Community Over Competition. One can learn a lot about online culture, community, and evolving business models from studying their progress. From their Twitter feed:
Until recently, work happened in the office. We’ve always had some people remote, but they used the internet as a bridge to the office. This will reverse now. The future of the office is to act as an on-ramp to the same digital workplace that you can access from your #WFH setup.
How do you start a global conversation on Social media? Here is a great example from the LinkedIn page of our contributing editor Nicolas Waern.
Some folks want to work in a “15 minute City,” a model urban neighborhood where residents would be able to work, rest and play, all within a 15-minute stroll from their front doors.
This article from the Wall Street Journal made me smile, 15-Minute Cities After Covid-19. We have lived in a “15 minute City” for over 30 years working “Together” with the industry globally. Living “Apart” on an island, we clearly understand the concept of living where you play and the advantages of being able to walk to your food supply and know the name of the farms supplying those markets. We are very close to living carbon-free and have operated from a home office for over 45 years. Did we do this because we saw COVID coming? No, it was simply a lifestyle choice.
And speaking of the current state of the pandemic, here’s an article from Noah Kirsch, writing in Forbes, When Will You Be Called Back To The Office? Likely Not Soon—Despite Hopeful Vaccine News:
If the good news keeps flowing, vaccine roll outs should commence this month, a hugely positive development, but one that leaves some remote workers wondering when they’ll be called back into the office.
Companies largely aren’t yet moving in that direction. Two studies published this week, one from VTS, a real estate software firm whose platform manages 60% of Class A office space, and the other from the commercial real estate trade association BOMA International, show that demand for office space continues to lag.
This is not all bad news for our industry. My observation of our industry over the last 50 years is we thrive on the change driven by disaster.
In the same vein, here’s an article from Anne Helen Petersen writing in the New York Times, Are You Sure You Want to Go Back to the Office? The future of work is flexibility:
When I talked to dozens of analysts, H.R. experts, architects, consultants, real estate agents and office furniture designers, the consensus was clear: The future of office work is flexibility. At one end of that flexibility spectrum, there will be fully “distributed” companies like the software maker GitLab, with no headquarters and employees scattered across the world. At the other, there’ll be more old-fashioned organizations that demand facetime in the office, but whose belief in the infeasibility of remote work has been permanently undercut.
From Les Shaver writing on GlobeSt.com, COVID Will Accelerate Property Repurposing:
“We’re going to see very creative developers come in and repurpose those properties for their next use,” Krueger says. “At this stage, we don’t even know what the best use of some properties will be. “Maybe an abandoned mall is a perfect opportunity to put a nursing home or some assisted living facility because you already have all these access points.”
Everything can and will be repurposed by those working Together Apart to rebuild their close community. I hear concerns that social media may be tearing the world apart. I would like to counter than instead it may bring the world together, while allowing us all to be apart. We get to vote every day, every hour as to whether we support these global identities or not. Individuals and organizations are held accountable by their global following. Social interaction pointed locally can help us bridge the digital online understanding gap. We need to understand whose past world is being torn apart and whether that is positive or negative.
For the big picture thoughts for the future of Together Apart , I go to the IoT Council. Here’s an interesting perspective from their resources page, https://www.theinternetofthings.eu/what-is-the-internet-of-things:
The last decade saw over The Top Players on housing (AirBnB), mobility (Über), music (Spotify), data storage (Azure, Amazon, Alicloud). The next one will be characterized by fights over the core addressability and the ecosystem built on the unique identifiers of people, objects and events.
Goods, persons, houses, situations and Industrial processes all radiate data and create digital twins. These twins exist as sets of properties in an analytic layer that is in many hands now but not really under multi stakeholder control. The situation is hybrid in the sense that the digital twins actually begin to actuate back in the analogue objects. This is the moment of ontological change. It demands a new tool set on the notion of identity itself.
From Alicia Asin, Co-Founder and CEO of Libelium, writing on the company website, 2020 is ending… and now, what about the IoT?
IoT needs to move towards a business model that priorities holistic IoT solutions, rather than focusing on one specific area. Post-pandemic, the sector needs to shift away from hardware and software providers, and become an industry that provides whole solutions to problems in every vertical.
And of course, I can’t let you go without a link to the latest episode of ControlTalk NOW. Key quote from yours truly:
The COVID-ization of 2020 has created, injected, extracted, but most simply, accelerated many new relationships allowing us to connect and disconnect quickly, remotely, while eliminating physical travel.
We plan to keep exploring our future COVID-ized hybrid that connects us all Together Apart. Share your thoughts on how you see the change.