Babel Buster Network Gateways: Big Features. Small Price.
Considering Collaboration Platforms for
Your Whole-Building Hub
must be one of
those people being closely pursued by the Grim Reaper, as Ben Evans,
mobile-tech industry seer and personal hero, describes. I conversed
with Ken Sinclair about his ideas for the December issue via email.
When Ken asked me to put my thoughts about how content for learning and
collaboration was being organized and shared these days, I realized
what a glut of category labels and UI images I had in my head as I have
used a lot of platforms over the years - email, file sharing, knowledge
bases, content management systems, social media sites, etc. Ben Evans
is being harsh with his ‘die off’ option, but everyone does eventually
seem to abandon certain modes and platforms when they cease to host
vibrant conversations by real people with authentic voices.
My current angle of interest in learning/collaboration platforms comes from my work creating training and marketing content for building commissioning firms. Buildings come with no 'whole product' manual. Until commissioning happens, how the whole building should perform is not really decided. Lots of tweaks and bigger changes happen at this point. Commissioning consultants are in a unique position to fill this documentation void. The challenge is to transform the client building operations staff into a self-learning organization. Their charter is not complete until there is a knowledge-base that contains all the content needed to feed ongoing learning. But, what form should that knowledge base take? What platform/medium would provide the best experience for the target customer—commercial building operations and facilities management staff.
At GE’s Mind + Machines event in October Ben Evans made the simple point that the tech tools we use to conduct business, eventually change the business we’re conducting. When it comes to communication tools, there is no option to ‘play the contrarian’ and stick with a mode when those you seek to communicate with have moved past it. Here’s a few current perceptions and factoids from the whirlwind:
The defining aspect of this new category -
collaborative team chat
app’s - is the number and popularity of the service integrations the
app has garnered. Slack has an impressive list of integrations to date,
app’s for file sharing, project management, video chatting, marketing,
etc. Slack also integrates light mobile apps for building a knowledge
base or collaboration wiki. One
example, in this category is from Atlassian. A Slack hub for
maintaining whole-building communications
should integrate many of these popular general-business services as
well as all the messaging and notifications that come from our
industry-specific apps - building operational analytics and
maintenance-call and job-tracking services within enterprise workplace
management suites. Slack boasts that all content integrated into the
platform becomes “instantly searchable, and available wherever you
go.” That’s what you want, even extending to archival content. I
can envision an automatedbuildings.com
integration where seekers could
find background on analytics for buildings, HVAC, lighting, security
equipment, energy metering, etc.
That is how I see this someplace where someone who wants to learn will go when the moment is right to find just that something that will fulfill the learning/collaborating need at hand. I’m sure I’ll be alive to see it, if I’m not taken out by email first.
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