January  2021

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Our Covid-ized Future Reality

Will it be Real? or Augmented & Artificially Intelligent? or a Covid-ized Hybrid?

Ken Sinclair
Founder, Owner, Publisher AutomatedBuildings.com

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Our 2021 future reality can not help but reflect the year 2020 when we were "COVID-ized".

You know I love playing with new words. This one just crossed my desk and describes well what just happened to us all.

Thousands of researchers dropped whatever intellectual puzzles had previously consumed their curiosity and began working on the pandemic instead. In mere months, science became thoroughly COVID-ized. Source How Science Beat the Virus And what it lost in the process  ED YONG JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021 ISSUE

Understanding that we as a industry have been Covid-ized is important to grasp what our future reality holds,

This article provides great insight,

Welcome to 2021, the year of healing with innovation  I have been thinking about how 2020 has been a nightmare for all of us unifying us into an alternate reality and grounding us to rethink how we live, and what our daily actions and social interactions mean  - Sudha Jamthe

In 2021, as part of the healing process, first we get to stop and breathe in hope. We see the hope of a vaccine which will free us of the pandemic. We will still have the bruises of behavior change from being quarantined indoors for most of the year. We still will have travel restrictions and so much work to do to get the whole world vaccinated.  If we pause and look around, we can see the data from connected devices and cameras and a huge deluge of data from our new behaviour of doing everything online. There is even going to be more data about the distribution of vaccines and who is getting vaccinated and when different parts of the world reaches the critical mass of vaccinated people required to stop the pandemic. There is going to be healthcare data and AI segmenting people to show who should get the vaccine first. There is going to be supply chain data, fraud prevention data and AI forecasting and prediction to follow the vaccine.

We saw a generation of kids who adopted mobile first with the advent of smart phone apps. Now we will see a new generation of kids who know to engage with AI with computer screens all around them. As we resume our mobility to go back to bring life to buildings, we are not the same people who hurriedly left the buildings.


What does this mean for us as humans? It means that we have moved closer to co-exist with machines and AI albeit unknowingly.

More shared thoughts here, 

This phenomenon is not just about the impacts of technology on people, business, and societies. It’s also about the impacts of people, businesses and societies on technology development. Networks and information technology’s most profound potential lies in its ability to connect billions upon billions of smart things and people in a way that will stretch the boundaries of today’s business and social systems, and create the potential to change the way we work, learn, innovate and entertain.

So, rather than focusing on “point” technology trends, we are highlighting what we like to call “emerging research themes” that examine the many reciprocal impacts that are occurring between and among technologies, people and society

More here, https://harborresearch.com/getting-to-the-promised-land-of-digital-innovation/?

To stay competitive, OEMs will need to sustain momentum in their core business while developing new digital and Smart Systems capabilities and solutions. The assumption that the primary role of an equipment manufacturer is only about sustaining their core product business no longer works. OEMs need to think about new growth businesses in a manner that transcends their core products or services.

When traditional business practices and company culture inhibit an organization’s ability to adopt new innovations, or when traditional operating models constrain the ability to develop new technical skills and capabilities, that is when an OEM needs to seriously consider alternative innovation modes and non-traditional organizational maneuvers.

A Year in The Life of a Building — The Turbulent Story of 2020  published: December 17th, 2020 Memoori

The beginning of 2020 seems like a long time ago. While COVID-19 was already starting to make an impact in China and neighboring countries, for the rest of the world it was just another January. In the smart building industry, we were talking about Amazon, Apple, and Google asserting their dominance over the smart home with an open standard, and highlighting the need to introduce the concept of embodied carbon to stop prematurely demolishing our buildings. In the smart city space, we were discussing BIM/GIS digital twins and the potential of biomorphic urbanism. And, in the workplace, somewhat ironically, we were talking about how we could develop the office environment to cater to an aging workforce. It was the beginning of a new decade but it was just another year.

“With office densification rates increasing across the world, combined with evidence of poor space utilization and the expectations of occupants for more human and productive environments, the need for workspace management platforms to provide better insight into the repurposing of current workplaces has never been so urgent,” explained our Q1 report on occupancy analytics and location-based services. Little did we know that occupancy analytics would soon shift from emerging productivity technology to become critical to survival for any commercial building hoping to maintain optimum performance in the unprecedented year ahead.

More related input from
Chris Irwin, VP of Sales EMEA, J2 Innovations https://www.j2inn.com/media-centre/j2-innovations-predictions-2021?

“The COVID crisis is accelerating building portfolio operators’ realisation that they need to be able to remotely manage their buildings more effectively, so the need for easier and more secure connectivity technologies will increase. The climate crisis is accelerating the transition to greener technologies, both in terms of renewable energy generation and a focus on reducing the carbon emissions from existing buildings by optimising the way they are controlled. In many buildings, the need to increase air change rates to reduce the risk of COVID transmission, has temporarily been prioritised over energy efficiency. But once the immediate crisis has passed, the HVAC industry will deepen its commitment to developing more advanced ways of maintaining good indoor air quality, while simultaneously minimising energy use. Air ionisation and mechanical heat recovery solutions are therefore likely to grow in popularity.” says Chris Irwin, VP of Sales EMEA, J2 Innovations

How the internet of things can help create a better new normal   The pandemic has been a brutal stress test for many businesses. Embracing digital transformation through the internet of things can help build a better future

The office buildings of the near future will have to be reimagined to cater for a new normal. They will be smarter, more flexible and, crucially, Covid-secure. At the centre of this shift will be the internet of things (IoT) – body-temperature monitoring and people counting, monitoring air quality and energy consumption, and powered by a network of smart, connected devices that will help governments and businesses not only track Covid-19, but also make smarter decisions about transport and office infrastructure. And, as we work together to create a new normal, these IoT solutions will also help us hit zero carbon emissions targets.

This all builds on our last chapter Out of In...novation Innovation begets innovation and what comes out of amazing innovation is something beyond our imagination

This is a great example of how our industry's go to events were Covid-ized

INTERVIEW – with Jim Young and Scott Cochrane  Jim Young and the Realcomm team have inspired our industry for many years, showing us the latest and greatest in tech presentations from a wide variety of top thought leaders.  Their platform has allowed countless industry relationships and helped drive the changes our industry needed to help us move forward with new innovative ways of thinking.

Cochrane: Jim, on the journey your team went through to host such a huge event during the pandemic, when did it become clear this was going to be something completely different?  

Young: We put the brakes on Miami in the first couple weeks of March. The Realcomm | IBcon conference went from Miami in June to Miami in September.  But then we still couldn’t get the Miami people to lean in to what we wanted to do and the convention center was still being used as a COVID hospital. So once that happened, we said we have to go someplace that’s leaning in and we started looking at Arizona, and got it narrowed down to two hotels and completed a site visit. Then the governor and mayor of Phoenix weren’t seeing eye to eye and there was a great deal of political contention. We couldn’t get agreement between the two political forces that we could hold an event, and at that time we were expecting about 250-300 people. We then had to pivot to Texas, which was very open for business.

We looked at San Antonio and Dallas and then Texas blew up with cases and the optics of announcing an event in Texas would have been terrible. So then we had to pivot toward a politically-neutral state that had low COVID impact, and we looked at Colorado. They had good numbers. But by then, it was very apparent we weren’t going to have 200-300 people, we’d just have a small group of professionals who were going to be the studio audience and the speakers. We knew we had to get people back in buildings to preserve the economy. This was substantiated by a bartender I met at the event. She shared with me that she used to work eight events every two days… our event was the eighth one she had worked since March. She was so thankful, she said she was barely hanging on. I reached in my pocket, and gave her a bigger tip.

Interview ends with

Cochrane: So at the end of the day, the real estate industry is thinking it’ll be summer of next year before we see a transition? 

Young: It’ll start to be a “we’ll see” first quarter. The doors are open; the buildings are open. But nobody is coming into them. The tenants are still paying their rent. The conversation that’s creeping in more and more in the last month has been okay. People have now learned to work from home; they like the office but they also like working from home. Post-COVID, how many people will want to get on the highway to drive two hours in downtown L.A. to get to the office? There are some that will never go back. One company recently surveyed their employees and 95% said they will never want to go back to the standard five days in the office. There’s this middle population that will want both—they’ll want the office as the place to go but they’ll also want more flexibility to work from home. So what will the office look like post-COVID? Time will tell…

Almost all events in 2020 were covit-ized.  Our largest industry event
https://www.ahrexpo.com/ which http://automatedbuildings.com/ normally provides several education sessions for was canceled for 2021. The 2022 AHR Expo is headed to Las Vegas. This has left a large physical and emotional hole in the industry not to mention the devastating financial hit to ASHRAE and show event team.

The shift to online learning has the older demographic re-training themselves with mediums that they are not familiar with, which levels the playing field with the younger folks who know the medium well but not the industry. The message is we need to grown our industry younger rapidly together. We have as much or more to learn than the younger folks we are trying to attract.

We started the discussion here Online Education Anywhere - 'Edge-You-Cation'  Our education has moved from centralized gatherings to our online edge. This is all moving a warp speed. Ken Sinclair AUG 27, 2020

Another new word Covid-nerdy, OK I am. So incredibly Covid-nerdy Ken Sinclair!   Thanks for sharing.   This modeling fills a big hole in knowledge for infection control.  FaTIMA - The web-based tool Fate and Transport of Indoor Microbiological Aerosols (FaTIMA) allows for the determination of the indoor fate of microbiological aerosols associated with ventilation, filtration, deposition and inactivation mechanisms.

This is a feel good movement below by Johnson and The MKE Tech Hub Coalition inviting area companies, nonprofit organizations and schools to demonstrate a commitment to local talent development by spending an hour mentoring students on the future of work in a digital economy and/or to do a tech related activity during Computer Science Week:

Johnson Controls mentors students on the future of work in a digital economy  During the hour, students learned about the history of Johnson Controls and founder Warren Johnson's original patent for the thermostat. They also were introduced to an animation called “Mr. BAS,” who shared his thoughts about building automation systems. The fifth graders showed their creativity by designing their own “smart bedrooms” and building 3D models of Johnson Controls vans.

As an industry we all need to reach out to the younger of all ages to improve, no, actually create knowledge of the existences and the excitement of our industry. We need to re-brand industry as a new exciting Industry that todays' gamers want to job craft into their future.

Are you ready for Our Covid-ized Future Reality?

Control Solutions, Inc


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