September 2018

Innovations in Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety Solutions.

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Building Better Building Bots Mindfully

These bots will be the interface to our valuable cargo "the housed humans" in our buildings.

Ken Sinclair
Founder, Owner, Publisher

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Why are we talking about Building Bots and not Building Controls?  Because the Building Automation industry is rapidly becoming the voice, eyes, arms, and legs that is sensing, listening, seeing, and carrying out the commands of self-learning and AI thought bots. Lower the temperature, open the window shade, change the color of the light, make me happy ;-0.  Our future is that all our inputs and outputs will evolve to be bots, or be commanded by bots.  A bot (short for "robot") is an automated program.

These bots will be the interface to our valuable cargo "the housed humans" in our buildings. Bots cannot be rude or attention hijacking, they are our ambassadors, and they need to be diplomatic and practice mindfulness and evolve to have empathy while providing time well spent digital experiences.
We are all struggling to understand better how mindfulness and time well spent digitized experiences will occur on our watch, but as quickly as we grasp the concepts of digital mindfulness and its overall impact we need to use that understanding for Building Better Bots Mindfully.

In our last issue the Building Whisperers  I define that that Whisperers are people who have empathy for what's going on in the building and they can bring out the humanistic relationship between people and building, something we all have to work on. The reality is that we must keep all of our technology in the background. I think we originally looked to the cell phone to be the universal device that we all carry to be the interface but evolving everywhere voice bots reduces concerns of personal security and the friction of using several apps. The voice as an interface leaped out because it doesn't require us to touch any device. This solves the problem that anytime we touch a physical device or look at a physical screen our attention is hijacked, so any kind of interaction that we can have that does not command complete attention and can be multitasked is essential. Voice interface is such a thing; we're used to talking to people as we continue on with our lives.  Video coupled with AI has similar freedom from attention hijacking. As we build better bots, we need to make mindfulness part of them all. Please listen to what Lawrence is saying about mindfulness to help us all design our future bots.

This is likely a hard read if you have not been following our Building Emotion, Building Whisperers and Building Edge-Bots That Will Learn Emotion series of articles all part of our never-ending digital transformation story.

The business case for mindfulness is to eliminate attention hijacking experiences from the employee. This will improve attention flow, increasing their ability to focus on their purpose as they are relieved of mundane interactions with well spend digital experiences. Hear more in this interview,

This Control Talk video and podcast will help you understand Digital Mindfulness and why it is important.

Lawrence Ampofo PH.D. is the founder of Digital Mindfulness, a global community of companies and professionals uncovering the value of creating time well spent digital experiences, He is at the forefront of the group of companies and thought leaders around the world that are raising awareness of the potential of humane technologies. He works with enterprises, startups and developers to build time well spent digital experience for users, and meaningful engagement for businesses across a range of channels (mobile, IoT, social media, digital transformation). He has presented his work on social media intelligence at Oxford University, NATO, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as well as global marketing conferences and private events. He has given keynote speeches on behaviour design, time well-spent experiences and digital wellness at such places as Google, Spredfast Smart Social, and The Guardian.

From the interview Lawrence stated, Soft skills are critical for a function in a well-functioning society the air B&B; example is really useful because they were focused initially on having the whole experience be as seamless as possible for the guests and for the host but what they found was that by measures of time well spent from both the guest and the host, there was greater friction so when the host and the guests were kind of moved to ask more questions or to interact with each other more on the journey then the relationship was strengthened and both parties ended up having a much better experience, so the trust factor was increased all of these things which lead to the strengthening of the platform as a whole.

I added this,

There's another concern that robots and BOTS will take over from us but this is so far from the truth, the arena that is developing is the "bridge between" and that's where we all have to get involved. That's why we're having these kinds of discussions because this is not a bridge that building automation folks have crossed, but need to because we know how these technologies work we know how we can make them invisible, but how do we make them mindful, empathetic, humanistic?

And this response to Lawrence's further comments.

The point you just made that I completely missed is the virtual reality building. I love that, and it's not so hard for us to imagine it as we're sitting here in Atlanta, London, England, and the West Coast of Canada talking mindfully in this interview. We have created a virtual building on our screens, and in our minds, such will be our future.

An interesting discussion for sure give the podcast a listen to a mindful way to learn more,

In the interview, we also talk about how do we measure mindfulness?  The success of the bot reducing friction while creating an improved time well spent digital experiences will be rated by the number of times the bot is used, much the way we now rate the success of Apps.
Bots can do this task very well so they will tell you of their success or failure with immediate feedback. This will be brutal as we seek acceptance of our newly created bot babies. We will need to hone our User Experience "UX" skills quickly while educating users of the improved well-spent experience. This will be a new arena for us all selling the advantages of our bots while understanding that one bot does not fit all.

You can create as many building bots as your wish but only those adding frictionless mindful well spent digital experiences will be used. The amount they are used will be the measure of their success.

Please join our discussion with Lawrence and others Building Emotion @ Atlanta. We have added the times for each session and more sessions.

contemporary This sneak preview of a next month article on our website states,

We've Got It Backwards: The Future Needs to Be More Human (and Less Machine)

We have succeeded beyond our wildest dreams (we’ve created machines that can now learn on their own), and we have failed beyond our worst nightmares (we’ve created “black box” Artificial Intelligence (AI) which we don’t — and can’t — understand).

It’s time for us to rethink the future we’re so effectively creating. I’m concerned by this trend, where we focus our mental energy into machines, rather than having them understand us more.

Smart devices and AI are increasingly taking a critical role in our lives. It’s up to us to decide whether we want a future to be more human or more machine. What makes us humans are our languages, and the cultures and thinking patterns that come with them.

Therefore, it is my wish that for this and future generations, we not just teach ourselves to code or understand machines, but rather focus on teaching ourselves how to think, and our machines to learn and understand our culture better.

This article suggests similar concerns, AI in Building Management: Here Come the Smart Buildings

THE RISE OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE  Recently, I’ve started to think more about artificial intelligence (AI) as new developments catch my eye. For example, Facebook recently confirmed reports that bots in their AI projects have consistently drifted away from English as they talk to each other, instead, creating their own unique languages on the fly. They aren’t rewarded for sticking to human language, so they gravitate towards the most efficient means of communication, which is usually a symbolic expression to describe complex concepts.

Some random shared thoughts from Sjoerd Postema in the Nordics more from my Helsinki Head Shake.

Following up on this and some discussions we have been having here the last week in the Nordics.

To opt in or opt out? That is the question...

Do you opt in when entering a building and get all the services and what happens when you opt out? If the building is empathic when I opt in how will the building behave, will the building become apathetic and indifferent? This same question applies when I enter a smart city, will I still be able to have the same UX or will I lose out? Will I have to read and agree to terms and agreements for every space I enter?

Our phones can be seen as our Tech PA that could render me visible or completely invisible. My tech PA holds my tech passport and communicates with the edge bots so they know my preferences and I don't have to worry about how my data is used. Similar to an RFID blocking wallet my cards can only be read once I pull them out to pay.

The idea of physical objects having emotions is a bit deceiving and might be misunderstood by the general public. When talking about the emotional intelligence of a building we can think about different levels(emotional scale) 0 = the building is apathetic, 10 = the building has a full understanding of our needs and functions as a host to serve and accommodate us in everything we might need. Can the Turing test be used to score the buildings emotional intelligence?

Anyway these are just some random thoughts, not sure where i'm heading with this...

Editor note,
"The Turing test, developed by Alan Turing in 1950, is a test of a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human."

These now dated articles contain today's wisdom, I have pulled some quotes to help you speed read the concepts we need to know to build mindful bots.

Global Workplace Trends: 5 Shifts Companies Must Make in the Next 5 Years

Make employee experience a core part of business strategy
Drive engagement and productivity by creating true ownership of the employee experience and bringing the service-oriented hospitality mindset into the workplace. On average, happy employees have 31% higher productivity, 37% higher sales performance and a level of creativity three times higher than their unhappy counterparts. Research also shows the direct impact that engagement and productivity can have on the bottom line: Public companies with engaged workforces report higher earnings per share.

Build the “Internet of Workplace”
Shift your strategy on digital integration in the workplace from nice-to-have amenities to core functionalities that make the workplace reactive and proactive, and that get ahead of the automation impact.

Create a workplace that makes people healthier
Ensure that employees are healthier when they leave the workplace than when they arrive by “leading” employees to wellness, making technology a wellness-enabler and taking designing for wellness to the next level.

Ingrain the co-working mentality in real estate strategy
Change the way you think about space needs to focus more on the categories of “core” and “flexible.” Doing so can help you realize the true impact of flexibility on your bottom line and business strategy.
Enable the agile organization
Align your work environment with the agile organization model, and you will be better placed to adapt to the changing needs of your clients and the marketplace — and stay one step ahead.

Build the “Internet of Workplace”

From the way we consume media to the way we order food, every aspect of our lives is becoming customizable — a factor that is particularly important to the millennial and Generation Z cohorts. This is one area where it’s imperative to remember that by 2022, Gen Z will be your entry-level employees and millennials will make up a significant portion of your managers and key decision-makers — and their expectations for the workplace will hold even more important than today.

But the workplace is drastically lagging in terms of opportunities for customization, and this must change. People should be able to design their workdays not only in terms of where and when they work but also in terms of the temperature, lighting, arrangement and overall look and feel of their environments. The “workstation” is already highly mobile, but this will continue to evolve, which means that many areas throughout the office must become adaptable to different employee preferences.

Beyond reactively adjusting to preferences, the work environment will increasingly be able to recognize people, anticipate their needs and adapt proactively. Imagine a chair that automatically rises to your preferred seat height. A lighting scheme that prevents the headaches you’re prone to. A program that suggests the best place to work based on your current location and the locations of colleagues you need to collaborate with.

This will have important implications for wellness in the workplace as well. One day, perhaps your work environment will “talk” directly to your fitness wearable and other technologies to adjust workplace settings based on how much sleep you got last night or your current stress level.

One of the new frontiers for workplace technology is facial recognition. The technology is already being used for security and building access, but think about the opportunities for the workplace environment to recognize and respond to employees’ emotional expressions.

Advertisers and retailers are already using technologies like Affdex and Emotient to test emotional reactions to concepts and offerings. What if technology built into a workstation could recognize an employee’s souring mood and generate a pop-up message suggesting a coffee break or a walk around the block — or even automatically adjust the lighting to a calming scheme? The possibilities for emerging digital technologies in the workplace are endless.

Source: “Computers Can’t Read Your Mind Yet, But They’re Getting Closer,” Fortune

This post speaks to our developing mindful eyes and their ability to recall what they saw,

Ella uses both algorithmic and deep learning tools to give any surveillance or security camera the ability to recognize objects, colors, people, vehicles, animals and more. Ella was designed with the technology backbone of Camio, a startup founded by ex-Googlers who realized there could be a way to apply search to streaming video feeds. Ella makes every nanosecond of video searchable instantly, letting users type in queries like “white truck” to find every relevant clip instead of searching through hours of footage. Ella quite simply creates a Google for video.

Global Workplace Trends: Make Employee Experience a Core Part of Business Strategy

Employee engagement often falls into a corporate no man’s land. Is it Human Resources’ responsibility? Corporate Communications’ responsibility? Management’s responsibility? While each of these teams and more should play a role, in the coming years, we expect a greater focus on designating an “owner” of employee experience: the “CXO” or Chief Experience Officer.

This role or team will function as the company “cruise director,” focused on engagement, productivity and curating experiences that make the workplace attractive and “sticky.” Think about what it would mean to your employees to have access to interesting speakers, inspiring exhibits and fitness activities, let alone moments of spontaneity that create delight and drive innovation throughout the workday.

Remember that old adage, “what gets measured gets done”? By dedicating a person or team to creating a rewarding employee experience and establishing metrics for accountability, businesses can make significant progress in this area.

There are many lessons to be learned from co-working companies like WeWork. One is the “community manager” role WeWork has created at every location — a person who coordinates everything from book clubs to technology seminars to Easter egg hunts.

These types of activities can encourage connection, relationship-building and even help uncover new business opportunities. WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann calls it the creation of a “physical, social network,” or a place where authentic interactions happen.
Source: “WeWork cultivating ‘physical, social network,’” Financial Times

Are you ready for the disruption of the electronics industry? Five forces you need to understand

Without standardization and virtualization of the computing hardware there would not be cloud computing which is disrupting so many industries, from retail to telecommunication… Without smart phones, sensors and small form factor edge devices there would not be consumer and industrial IoT nor the disruption of traditional industries like transportation, broadcasting, payment and manufacturing.

But while electronics companies were hard at work creating the next generation of computing, communication, medical and industrial automation solutions which are transforming all industries, they are themselves facing disruptive forces that will challenge their business model and ability to survive and thrive.

1.  Platforms transform industry design

2.  Virtualization and the AI revolution change the value equation

3.  There is an unmanageable tsunami of IoT devices and data

4.  The breakneck speed of invention, adoption and optimization

5.  A shifting composition of markets and workers

We need to stand on the shoulders of the giants who understand the critical balance of bots and bodies to create a new humanistic friction reduced future while increasing the level of value creation using mindfulness in all we do. We need to use our new found understandings to Building Better Bots Mindfully.

Next column will be "Open Software, Open Hardware, and Open Mind"


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