September 2018

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"Building Whisperers"

Those who adopt a sympathetic view of the motives, needs, and desires of the Building's relationship with its humanistic purpose based on rapidly evolving views and understandings.

Ken Sinclair
Founder, Owner, Publisher

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What are Building Whisperers?  Those who adopt a sympathetic view of the motives, needs, and desires of the Building's relationship with its humanistic purpose based on rapidly evolving views and understandings. What is the process of creating or Building Whisperers? We need to clearly educated and inform our industry practitioners of the art of humanizing our building relationships. We all need to engage in the discussion of change while learning how to whisper building emotion.

Those that well understand what I am talking about are younger, we all need to grow younger to understand. We all need to engage with their digitally raised thoughts to help us understand new ways of thinking and doing old things.  The complete industry needs to grow younger while engaging in the discussion of digital disruption. 

It is happening and the only thing slowing and sometimes preventing the necessary radical change is our existing mindset and fear of the unknown. Yet daily we take giant leaps of faith towards digital transformation in our personal lives.

This interview inspired our August theme as Nicolas identified himself as

“The Building Whisperer” – Making buildings talk to people.

He states, 'All the technology is here. It is just us people that need to start implementing."

Changing the way we think about buildings, making them more attractive and useful, focusing more on the well-being aspects, that’s where I want to see more things happening. Urbanization is a global mega trend and more focus has to be put on the well-being and productivity aspects. But at the same time, doing this at scale, in robust and useful ways, requires roots that are firm and strategically placed in order to get the juiciest fruit in the long run. Wireless is by no means the answer to everything. But it is growing and it will take a bigger place moving forwards. And that is why this industry is so fun to be in. It always depends and there’s no silver bullet.

Several Budding Building Whispers shout their questions, thoughts, and opinions in the following articles,

When Will Smart Buildings Make Hearts Sing? - Therese Sullivan, BuildingContext Ltd

The world is awaiting the Smart Building that can make an emotional connection to those living and working inside, akin to how the iPhone made the emotional connection to cell phone users worldwide.

“Occupant satisfaction is not quantified. It’s intuitively obvious (and proven in numerous peer-reviewed studies) that more comfortable occupants make for more productive employees, but we never followed up. We never created the mechanism to take occupant feedback and quantify how comfortable a tenant is and how that directly affects their productivity. Without a known value to a problem, no solution gets proposed.”

Is our industry Building-IoT ready?  How Amazon, Google, and Apple will change building automation for years to come. Give this a read scary but true. I’m coming into the world of OT from an IT perspective. I’m in the middle, and I can see the industry is coming from behind. If these big companies don’t respond and fundamentally change the way they do business, soon they won’t be industry leaders anymore. Instead, they’ll be replaced by companies from the digital age. Companies that built themselves around the cloud, data, web, and consumer electronics; companies that built themselves around change.

Google finally approaches the edge! JULY 30, 2018 BY STACEY HIGGINBOTHAM

Clearly edge computing has hit the mainstream, as both Google and Microsoft devoted a lot of attention to the concept at their recent respective developer events. Google shared several announcements at its Cloud Next conference last week, including the development of a machine learning processor for edge devices, a version of its IoT Core device management software for edge devices, and news that its Google Functions service is now out of beta.

This article provides the answer plus a direct path to Building Whispering,

 The answer is voice. It all comes down to one word: friction. People will rely on voice for more tasks throughout their day because voice removes friction. As the builders of tomorrow, I urge you to consider daily routines, from the memorable to the mundane, and those moments when you want to take action right now. Which tasks can you make faster, easier, and more delightful with voice?

Others agree watch video Talkamatic develops conversational interfaces integrating voice, chat-bots, GUI, or any other sensory system or IoT input and output.

By incorporating “analytics at the edge,” facility management operations can rapidly accelerate processes, reduce data storage and data transfer costs and improve system resilience and performance

In conclusion, we can expect more analytics to move even closer to the edge and become ingrained in the same devices that are generating the data, creating even greater possibilities for inter-device intelligence and interactions and better-optimized user experiences. As access to data and the use of analytics becomes mandatory, not optional, demand increases to make computing and analytics availability at the edge as non-negotiable.

This article shows strong support for building emotion. Solving the Smart Building Problem  We need to find a way to make an emotional connection between a building and its occupants.

If you can revolutionize a boring industry like the taxi industry, then surely you can find the HVAC industry interesting enough! Jokes aside, there is a burgeoning “Smart Building” industry that is showing a lot of potential. The first major Smart Building / Real Estate Tech focused VC firms were created in the past 2-3 years (Fifth Wall Ventures, MetaProp, BuiltTech, etc) The big property managers (JLL, CBRE, C&W, etc) are building out a Smart Building teams  The application of new software (occupant experience, applying analytics to building data, etc) has exploded in the recent years. For example, building analytics company SkyFoundry has its software installed in over 1 billion sqft of real estate

The way we construct the physical world around us, will change because of digital technology while not necessarily through digital technology.  To help understand what we are talking about this analogy seems to describe both my unreal worlds of Building Emotion and Building Whisperers.  Are we looking for the fourth wall?

fourth wallThe fourth wall is the imaginary "wall" at the front of the stage in a traditional three-walled box set in a proscenium theatre, through which the audience sees the action in the world of the play. The idea of the fourth wall was made explicit by philosopher and critic Denis Diderot and spread in 19th-century theatre with the advent of theatrical realism, which extended the idea to the imaginary boundary between any fictional work and its audience.

In my mind, the building is our fictional

Toby as always is deeper in thought Last month, in the July issue, Ken Sinclair called for smart buildings to spearhead an improved relationship between the physical, the virtual and the emotional world. Relationships go two ways. When we consider how buildings can manipulate our emotions, we also are considering how our emotions can manipulate buildings.

Tried of reading give this a listen ControlTalk Now The Smart Buildings Video Cast Thanks for the kind words about Building Whisperers Jump in at the 20;20 minute mark to catch up quickly

Where will our feedstock come from to help us grow younger?

How does one start in our industry and share their digitally raised thoughts while joining the fun and the profitable future our industry can provide?   This article helps define a few paths for formal education. Our industry is a mosaic of thinkers and doers allowing new autodidact makers and shakers to burst into our industry daily turn their hobbies into realities without formal training. Folks working on new concepts not yet well understood by traditional educators often find the open window into our industry and we welcome them on our journey to grow younger.

Where to Get a Building Automation Degree In this article, we highlight a select few universities that are at the forefront of building automation system (BAS) curriculum.. - Scott Holstein,  Marketing Manager, Computrols

contemporary Also you could come to this session in Atlanta to listing to these young folks working on new concepts not yet well understood by traditional educators or industry.

Nicolas our interviewed Building Whisperer has agreed to join this newly evolved panel of young open everything zealots in Building Emotion @ Atlanta  This session has been added since last months post

7th Session,   Next Generation HVAC Controls: Open Hardware – Open Software.

Session Description    Truly open hardware and software is common in many industries but has only made relatively small inroads in the world of building automation where proprietary solutions still reign supreme. Open standards like BACnet enabled a revolution in open communications, but the vast majority of building automation software and hardware is still closed.

“The mass marketing of powerful micro PCs such as the Raspberry Pi brings low-cost computing power to technical professionals and hobbyists alike. Suitable for most field installations, they also provide an excellent training and experimental platform for individuals interested in controls and automation. Coupled with an open protocol in BACnet and an open programming language in Sedona, it only takes the imagination of the systems integrator to define the next generation controller.”

The rise of software focused building analytics solutions is shaping up to be a key driver of a shift to open source. Tools such as Volttron, UT3, ECAM+, and Grafana, just to name a few, are already making data much more accessible. These tools will start to become the basis for commercial products and services in much the same way that software like Linux and mySQL now provide the basis for many traditional IT systems.

There is a need to have low-cost access to BAS data to help engineers with building optimization. Having open source software with the core functionality we need has proven to be a more cost-effective and durable solution to our problems. This is a game changer for our industry and we’re only starting to see how embracing open source can lead to a tremendous boost in innovation, especially among those organizations with only modest resources at their disposal.

The new rapidly evolving open standards when coupled with open tagging ( using one API, and getting the data to and from the building in a standardized way will be discussed

The range of available today's (micro PCs) Raspberry, beagle boards, Dingo etc their potential for doing BAS control and deeper self-discovery mixing existing open standards together towards the goal of hardware agnostic controllers will be some of the evolving thoughts. The Project-Haystack Sandstar solution will be discussed.

A look into how open programming languages like Python, C, and Java are opening our world.

Evolving IoT trends like Voice and Video analytics will be mentioned. Although Amazon and Google are not open standards their open services are shaping our future. is very pleased to introduce this amazing panel of less that forty-year-olds for this new first ever education session for Atlanta a very interesting perspective on our future by those that are now creating it.


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