May 2020

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Adopting Adaption - Achieving Antifragility

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It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, it is the one that is most adaptable to change.

Ken Sinclair
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In our last chapter Talking Today's Tools we state,  It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, it is the one that is most adaptable to change.

The last month's global pandemic has shown us all how fast we can adapt for survival. We have been forced to change everything and adapt to basic survival. Moving forward we all need to reset our minds to the tasks at hand. Adopting Adaption as a way of life in our next transformation. Everything is on the table for new discussions and change.

The COVID-19 pandemic may be an opportunity to transform the way we live  The challenge is learning to see our place in the world differently so we can make changes in our behaviour David Suzuki Posted: Mar 27, 2020

Difficult as it is now, this pandemic will subside and we will learn some profound lessons from the experience. It may provide a chance to reset priorities and direction for ourselves and society.  It is a universal challenge for all human beings.

"In this disaster lies an opportunity to reflect and change direction in the hope that if we do, nature will be far more generous than we deserve." - David Suzuki

When we started to write this chapter it was just called "Adopting Adaption" but then this post remins us we need to achieve more

James Dice uses the word "Antifragility" in his Nexus newsletter.

Antifragility is a property of systems that increase in capability to thrive as a result of stressors, shocks, volatility, noise, mistakes, faults, attacks, or failures. It is a concept developed by Professor Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book, Antifragile, and in technical papers.

🦠 Nexus Deep Dive on COVID-19 🦠  Why robustness and resilience are no longer enough; how smart building technology might helpdice

Robust is not enough.  As the impact of COVID-19 continues to unfold, I’ve been reflecting on one pertinent part of Episode 1 of the Nexus podcast. My guest Nicolas Waern shared the three Vitruvian virtues that all buildings need:

robustness (firmitas)  usefulness (utilitas)   beauty (venustas)

Hopefully, it’s obvious which virtue I’ve been pondering in the midst of this pandemic: robustness.

How robust have our buildings been in the face of COVID-19? Since they haven’t fallen down, it might seem like they’ve done a great job.
But not falling down doesn’t feel like nearly enough in the face of this pandemic, does it?

No. We need more. It’s time to consider the work of investor, mathematician, and author Nassim Nicholas Taleb. His books Black Swan and Antifragile are two of my favorites—I’ve been thumbing through them quite a bit this week.

A great lead of the discussion James, well done. We are quoting you and linking your Deep Dive in this chapter and adding "Antifragility" to make our title,  "Adopting Adaption - Achieving Antifragility"

Antifragility is when you stress and break down your muscles at the gym and they don’t just recover—they get stronger. Antifragility is when the whole economy crashes and yet companies like Zoom, Microsoft, and Google are more essential to our lives, not less. The pursuit of Antifragility is the acknowledgment that returning to baseline is not good enough in a world full of disorder and constant change.

Here are a few examples of calls to action that may lead us to Antifragile-ness

This interview
The Road to Future Ready Facilities and Digital Twin Thinking  The podcast with James was a great discussion between him and me about our past, what we think about the future, and the whole idea of decoupling hardware and software.  - Nicolas Waern "The Building Whisperer"

Corona-fighting through a Digital Twin -
Combating future pandemics through a European Digital Twin initiative regarding a Pan-European National database. I helped a Digital Twin-company with a Euro Horizon2020 Granting proposal, with ecosystems thinking, overall value proposition and getting a consortium together based on my network and knowledge of cutting-edge technology with a benefits-driven approach.

Basically how 200 databases could be ingested and indexed into a Digital Twin database, being able to trust that data, harmonize it, tied to a real use-case utilizing edge thermal imaging, crowd analytics, scalable mesh sensoring to help curb existing and future outbreaks based on heat, movement, air pressure and humidity factors in and around smart buildings and smart cities. This is a combination play with SEKAI, Natix, Bumbeelabs, Conectric and Platform of Trust also with Winniio partner company Wiredhut.

Will Mass Surveillance Become a Leading Epidemic Control Technology?  Published: April 1st, 2020 In China, hospitals that were overflowing a few weeks ago now have an abundance of empty beds, huge makeshift hospitals built for the coronavirus patients are being disassembled, and there is now a little more certainty about the projected end of the lockdown measures. The reduction of COVID-19 cases in the country where they first emerged offers hope for all nations, as they deal with their own outbreaks

While China has been heavily criticized for its use of surveillance in everyday life, the technical infrastructure they have created and the expertise they have developed over years of mass surveillance now forms the basis of the most advanced epidemic control system ever attempted. When a Chinese citizen arrives at a hospital with symptoms, the hospital staff will register their name with the central database, which will inform the healthcare system of everywhere that person has been in the last 14-days and every person they have interacted with. Those places can then be targeted for disinfection and those potentially infected people can be ordered to isolate, the people and places they encountered can also be identified.

contemporary We don’t have to choose between the pandemic and privacy  MARCH 30, 2020 BY STACEY HIGGINBOTHAM

Given the rapid spread of COVID-19, governments around the world are trying out an array of new tracking technologies in an effort to identify where a sick person might have been and who they may have crossed paths with. Certain countries are using facial and temperature detection tools to determine if an individual is ill so they can monitor them or bar them from traveling.

In the U.S., the FDA has announced it will relax rules around health care privacy to let patients use telemedicine. It’s also broadening the number of approved devices that can be used to remotely monitor patients. What’s less clear is how long such tracking might take place, where the data goes, and how long it will be stored.


We want to hear about what people are working on combating COVID19. As people stay home practicing social distancing, we are going through a huge shift in three key areas. So we should invite people to share how IoT, AI, data, Blockchain are affecting these:

1. Mobility: We are redefining mobility now when are asked to stay put. We don't have AVs yet but have telematics in managing fleets, public transport and rerouting of planes etc and data and AI associated with it.
2. Healthcare: Medical devices, supply chain of healthcare PPE, healthcare data sharing with blockchain etc.
3. Sustainability: Food production, supply chain, logistics to adapt to demand shifts as people buy in panic, delivery of goods with minimum human contact, indoor agriculture production.

Unified, Intelligent, and Open for Business Published on April 1, 2020 Toby Ruckert Innovationist, Polymath, Founder/CEO UIB

I’ve been a strong advocate of remote working policies (see here, here, here, and here) for many years. To me, the best people always were everywhere and a team member’s value (and productivity) has never depended on their screen being near mine, or other team members’.

The best people are everywhere.

While UIB has a traditional headquarters office in a shiny Singapore CBD tower, up until two months ago, our globally distributed team had often been considered a disadvantage — a “mark” against us cited by potential investors, clients, and, surprisingly, new hires, who at times expressed concerns about not being “close enough” to each other.

In the chaos still opportunities exists  COVID 19 and the BAS Systems Integrators  HVAC/electrical tradesmen are essential according to the federal guidelines that many states are following.  Which means we as an industry are allowed to operate during these uncertain times. - Scott Cochrane, President, CEO, Cochrane Supply & Engineering

We are hearing all sorts of stories from different buildings from hospitals to warehouses—there is some important activity keeping our services viable during the epidemic.  While this is important and prioritized, there are many other ways to keep the rest of the team working effectively, still billing for hours. 

I asked Chris Bonzheim from ControlNET in Grand rapids Michigan about if he would need to do any staffing cutbacks.  His response? “Absolutely not!  We had a six-month backlog, of which about 30% can be done remote. So, we are just re-prioritizing our plans to complete that work while working from our homes.”  Chris added, “I am still looking to hire good people during these times.”

Scott Papay, Sales Manager at LONG Building Technologies in Denver, has a very proactive approach to the situation as well.  They are calling their customers and offering to put their unoccupied buildings in a setback mode to save energy while they are not using the building.  In most cases, they are doing this for free as a public service and a good steward of the industry.  These conversations have led to new opportunities to do work while the buildings are empty.  So as they see projects/buildings shut down, new opportunities open up in buildings that had too much going on in them to allow for BAS services prior to the pandemic. 

Scott is not alone. We have heard from many integrators in a variety of areas that some school districts, universities, stadiums, factories and many more have opened up summer work early or started new projects to take advantage of the empty buildings. 

Another observation during the pandemic? More time for training! Given our current state of events, virtual training has exploded as a go-to means for not just kids, but for professionals and tradesmen to take this time to catch up on long overdue training.

Only 48 hours ago I had never heard of an airborne infection isolation room (AIIR). Now we are working to help mechanical engineers and BAS contractors rapidly recommission hospital rooms (and even existing non-medical and temporary facilities) into temporary AIIRs.  Here's what we were able to do in less than 24 hours, to help

The IoT of everything is rapidly changing our tools as we struggle to navigate this new environment. With billions of connected devices driving trillions of interactions between humans and machines, UIB uses #NaturalLanguageUnderstanding #NLU) to make human to machine communication as simple and as natural as human to human communication. With UIB’s #technology, people can use natural language text and voice #messaging to talk in any language to any cloud-connected software, service, #ERP, #chatbot, #robot, building, or device on over 30 of the world’s most popular communications channels.

The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI)  Assembles Task Force on Role Buildings Can Play in Reducing Health Burden of COVID-19 and other Respiratory Infections  Former RWJF President and CEO Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, UCLA’s Dr. Jonathan Fielding, 17th Surgeon General of the United States Richard Carmona, Harvard School of Public Health’s Joseph Allen to co-chair the effort to advance the role of buildings in protecting and enhancing health

The Smartest Buildings to Survive Lockdown Will Be Those Most Adaptable to Change Today, you don’t need occupancy analytics to know that your building is empty.   Currently, there are approximately three billion people under lockdown across the world and the key business hubs of Asia, Europe, and North America are at the center of the crisis. Despite a few comments from overly-optimistic world leaders, no one knows how long these measures will have to be in place as the global and national health authorities continue to assess the rapidly evolving situation.
Eventually, however, the political tug-of-war between health and economics will start to shift as the pressure of collapsing markets forces world leaders to ease lockdown measures, probably against the most prudent health advice.

Episode 357 ControlTalk NOW April Edition interview with Automated Buildings’ Ken Sinclair: Wake up to Wireless! and What’s in Your Toolbox?  April 5, 2020

What’s in your toolbox? Ken Sinclair is asking us in his April edition of Automated Buildings. The advances and advantages in the AI-driven technology wireless networks are so compelling that our wired and IP approach to building networks may soon be the wrong tools for the job.  We also discuss the power of online education plus lasting effect of COVID 19 sending us home to work and if and when we will come back while providing an introduction to Adopting Adaption.

We need to be the most adaptable to change and be,

Adopting Adaption - Achieving Antifragility


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