Episode 305: ControlTalk NOW — Smart Buildings VideoCast and PodCast for Week Ending Mar 3, 2019

How will Artificial Intelligence Change the Smart Buildings Industry? Dollar Driven Decision-Makers want Data into Insights, Insights into Action, and Action into Revenue. Will AI Deliver?

CTN 305 Interviews: Ken Sinclair and Ruairi Barnwell

Show Notes

Eric Stromquist: 00:00:00 Hi. Welcome to Control Talk Now, you’re Smart. Buildings video cast and podcast for the weekend in March 3rd., 2019 . We give you all the Smart Building and HVAC Controls News of the Week. and That’s right. Folks marches here. Episode 305 I am Eric Stromquist. , I am joined as usual by your co host and mine The Man, The Myth, the legend the one, the only Kenny Smyers the control man from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Kenny. you’ve been out sunbathing today, right?

Ken Smyers: 00:00:26 No, I have not been sounds good. We got another two to four inches of snow again last night. And, February beat us up pretty bad, but we’re looking forward to the break in the weather.

Eric Stromquist: 00:00:52 well, listen dude, we don’t have time to talk about that. We don’t have time to talk about much of anything. You know why we got two fabulous guests lined up. So, let’s get right to that. But before we do check out the post on controlled trends this week a big one, our friend Aaron Gorka, another next generation innovation podcasts dropped on Friday,, so be sure to check that out. Alot of good stuff on the on that which we’ll come to. Well you just have to go to the site to read it at Kenny with that, let’s introduce our first guest

Ken Smyers: 00:01:27 Our next guest is the one and only Ken Sinclair, owner editor of automated buildings. And this month we’ve got something really interesting because I think Ken is going to help us differentiate between artificial intelligence and automated intelligence. Welcome to the show. Ken Sinclair.

Ken Sinclair: 00:01:45 Welcome Ken! Thank you very much. ControllTrends. Always a pleasure to be here I appreciate it.

Eric Stromquist: 00:01:51 I guess we should just start with you have to be intelligent before any of that’s relevant.

Ken Sinclair: 00:01:59 Actually. Actually you’re quite right on, I’m one of the tweets. They actually picked that up and uh, they just pointed out that the, the, the intelligent part is us. We keep forgetting that we, I think we tried to imitate the artificial piece of artificial intelligence rather than the intelligent part. Uh, and it’s hard. It’s harder to be the intelligence.

Ken Smyers: 00:02:20 No, I guess just going to say Ken, you know, it’s another great addition. Uh, just, uh, keep a common and is an amazing benefit to our industry that you’re, you’re able to grab all this new stuff coming out and start to make sense of it because when I read, whereas reading some of your, your, uh, entry, sir, in your first, uh, your editorial, when will we ever see a artificial or automated intelligence come into being? I mean, we close. I mean like when you didn’t have, are like, say Scown foundry and I had mentioned, you know, you know, you got, uh, somebody collecting information data. So we wrote a program, so you’re autonomize or automate the collection data, sends it somewhere

Ken Smyers: 00:03:00 where it’s being processed by another basically program. So we took the humans out of the elements is going from, you know, machine information, but that back to computer machine information and it completes it. In your opinion, artificial intelligence or what does that sort of striving for is that we maybe try and redefine that a little better once it’s done and once it works and once it’s successful, I believe what it is is automated intelligence, right? And what we’ve done is we’ve learned how, and we probably did that through augmented intelligence and we may have used a artificial intelligence from computers to create that. But in the final analysis, it’s when it’s done, it’s actually a couple of lines of code in this machine and a couple of lines of code and that machine pushing information back and forth. So really all we’ve done is does that look any different than the DDC?

Ken Sinclair: 00:03:59 Looper you know, it’s just, it’s just artificial or pardon me, automated intelligence. I keep getting my words mixed up here. The other thing is, uh, took a look at Wikipedia unwell. They define artificial intelligence and it’s totally clear that they’re confused as well. One of their, one of their best definitions is that they like is that artificial intelligence is what hasn’t been done. And I kind of liked that definition too, is every once in a while we hear somebody thinking about something that’s never been done and they actually believe that they can do it. And uh, once they do it, I think it changes. I think it is no longer artificial. I think it’s either automated and it’s either augmented, uh, it’s uh, you

Eric Stromquist: 00:04:49 Ken, you’re going to go down in the history books for this cause Descartes said, I think therefore I am. And now I think you’ve just rephrase that to I think therefore I am artificial.

Ken Sinclair: 00:05:00 Well actually there’s a good one. Whoever, whoever chose the acronym for for this, this broad method of having machines out think us and they called it artificial, you know, and it’s like wow, artificial has never been a positive word. I don’t think. I don’t think it’s a, it’s an adjective that we, you know, you look real artificial. I think it’s optimistic thinking on our part. But you’ve told us a story right before we turned the recorder on about the, the two machines and the camera. Will you tell our audience that story? Cause I think that is very interesting now. Okay. What kind of goes along like this is a, as we start to automate intelligence, we, we have two machines. The first machine, uh, is, uh, is uh, a ring. Somebody’s doorbell and it, it sees the person walking up and re prerecorded it. And when they push the button and it sends that prerecording to another machine than the other machine determines whether it’s going to allow that person in.

Ken Sinclair: 00:06:02 And there’s all this data going back and forth. But when the artificial intelligence machines, uh, they start to, so the decisions are no longer made by people. The two machines, they get together and they say, these people are so dumb. Why did they bother generating a picture and sending the file when in fact, all we really need is the data. Because we don’t look at, we don’t know what a picture looks like, getting way, we just know what the data looks like. So we see that face. There’s a Pi data pattern. When we see that data pattern, that’s what we let the person in. So all of a sudden this gets really scary because they can do stuff faster, quicker and better than us. Uh, so that’s sort of getting into what I think artificial intelligence is, is when the machines start mocking us. What’s, I think they may be doing a bit now.

Eric Stromquist: 00:06:51 Well, but Ken, I mean this is what Ilan Musk and some others have really gotten up in arms about and concerned about and I, and he’s a hell of a lot smarter than I am, but okay, so let’s take that same conversation between the two machines and instead of, they’re so dumb. They got it. You know, why do we don’t need a picture too? They’re so dumb. Why do we need them? So let’s just, we got him in the building over there was talk to our friend, the building automation system and building x, and we’ll tell building automation says to lock all the doors and turn the heat on and override the bypass on the boiler. So blows up. That’s one where we could get rid of, right? I mean, this is

Ken Smyers: 00:07:25 Guys, you know, there’s several, there’s several books on this and I’ll tell you what, I’m reading one right now and it’s by a Daniel Sora as it is exactly that. It’s the Damon. So the guy passes away and as he leaves behind a, a giant Damon that runs and competes against the top minds in the world where it’s based on a game. So your concept, can I, I’m digging it and here’s why. I looked up their artificial intelligence and it basically just as anything that’s not human. So you have human intelligence that’s, that’s an eight to us that’s coming out of great minds like yours and Eric’s and, and some of mine. But the,

Eric Stromquist: 00:08:01 these are such thing as a dumb ass machine, right?

Ken Smyers: 00:08:05 When anything is not human is considered to be non human or artificial. So, but I think what we’re seeing, um, and, and again, I think we move into it because of exactly what you just said there. The data going on so fast with the recognition a week, last week, our big thrust, uh, on controlled trans was we did a shot, a recognition. So you had to ballistic sensors and things that could move so much faster. It makes so quick notifications. They can, human errors couldn’t differentiate between shot a gun or I’m sorry, a bullet being fired versus a backfire from a vehicle where the odd, the sensor could distinguish it immediately threw the ballistics through the, um, the sound acoustics and, and the, um, the flash she gives and notify something in three seconds, which takes a human that they’re not sure what they heard. They don’t know what to do, they’re stymied or whatever.

Ken Smyers: 00:08:56 So that disbenefit, uh, is, is exactly, I think too, it’s, it’s an artificially gained intelligence where we did, we don’t have the capabilities in Nate Dar, so I’ll, we, we turn it over to our, our algorithms that are powered by Ip conductivities and Zip. We, did we get the benefit of this artificially, uh, you know, provided intelligence that is, or isn’t the bad guy or is, or is it the good guy? Whatever. So anyhow, great, great, great subject.

Eric Stromquist: 00:09:26 No, no, no but, but, but I just want to get one step further. Kenny and Kevin Hart had a chance to listen to last week’s episode, but you know, Roger, even I can Honeywell come up with this sort of, you know, using those centers and then incorporating them so that if something does happen, you know, the first responders know exactly where, where to go and it can save a lot of lives. But Kenny, you know, the next step of this is they’re not going to send first responders. You can just send a drone in there. A drone is going to go into school and track those guys down or are bad people down just like that. So again, it’s very ironic that a one level we get very, very much, much safer and everything has a lot more convenient. But on another level, we’re really open ourselves up to some huge vulnerabilities here.

Eric Stromquist: 00:10:11 If Elon Musk and some of these other folks are right, it’s okay. I’m not worried about gas cause I’m already, you know, Elon Musk has got this deal. He’s already started this company where they got the chips for the brains. And I’ve already, I’m on the, I’m on the waiting list for that and if it gets too bad with the machines, I got a ticket tomorrow so I’ll be out of here. But maybe I’ll go back and spinning off of Ken’s comment is that his definition of artificial is anything that doesn’t involve us. And I think, uh, I’m not sure about you, but I’m not sure I want to talk about anything that doesn’t involve us. So that’s what happened back to automated intelligence and action camp. But the other component has to be the self learning aspect of it too, right? I mean that has to filter in whether it’s automated or harder official that he can begin to learn right. With the cell phone in Algorithms. That’s gotta be a piece of it.

Ken Sinclair: 00:11:02 Thanks Ken. But I’m not sure that, I don’t see that as a, that’s again, as an automated intelligence is basically, it’s just learning, learning how to better automate cause another perception, the way you look at that. Anyway, it’s early days. Um, the, uh, I don’t know if you caught the end of one of my articles there and then I talked about awful made it buildings and uh, uh, we were, we went through eight, we went through a period, it’s actually a 2002 article that I included a linking to. And uh, what happened with, uh, this was as we hit the web. So we went through the DDS, we went through awful, made it building several times. We went through awful, made it buildings. In the early days of DDC we had all these DDC systems that didn’t really work, but there so exciting that we kept on pursuing the, we actually figured out how to make those things work. And then we hit the web and we started getting a whole bunch of stuff as a web controlling MREs, the DDC controller. We have those. And I don’t see this as any different. We’re exactly in the same spot, except we’ve got this intelligence automation that’s Kinda falling from the sky on us. And, uh, we’re, we’re into another period of awful made it buildings until we get this straightened out.

Eric Stromquist: 00:12:21 Hmm. What do you see some of the possible headwinds? I mean in terms of the problems, when you say awful, awful, made it, I mean obviously we went from pneumatics to DDC, there was a learning curve and things sorta had to, to get worked out. Do you see anything different with on the automated

Ken Sinclair: 00:12:38 controls now it’s going to go faster if there’s going to be more people involved in it because of the iot industry. And ultimately I think, I think, but the problem is, is the uh, uh, Ben Ben, back to what Ken said, is it artificial is defined as things that don’t involve us. And I think if somebody, if we turn loose a machine, it’s not going to run the building the way we want, whether it, whether it attacks us or, uh, even if it doesn’t attack this as even tries to run it to the best of it’s knowledge, it’s going to need some guidance and what we need to learn. So what I see the, uh, intelligent automation phase era, that’s the year I think we’re in right now is we need to learn more about what we can do with this technology. How much should we can machine learn, uh, because we got to learn how to walk before we can allow AI to run our buildings.

Ken Smyers: 00:13:42 Well, I, I agree with you and again, it’s always fun to take things to a, you know, an immediate, uh, you know, the word, the farthest point from, from reality, you know, or likelihood. But, um, in the, um, in your march edition, you also, we have another, a great article and great background to some really heady thought, but actually it gives us the, the nuts and bolts of it from a sit. How young thing again and, and, and how, you know, she takes the example of autonomous vehicle and how it would, it does, it reduces the risk of life. It reduces, you know, allows, it frees humans to do more things. Uh, you know, that the car can do that. It alleviates you from doing work. It’s, you know, it’s like a, the amazing thing the locomotive did versus the horse and buggy thing. So she has a great article in there. Um, what, what, what did she bring to you as far as the, you know, her insight using the autonomous vehicle? A analogy to our buildings. I mean, it’s a great article, but I thought, you know, what was your synopsis of that?

Ken Sinclair: 00:14:42 I summarize, summarized it in a, in a tweet this morning and the fact that we were pushing back and forth some stuff and it, uh, I said that, uh, you know, the having your driverless vehicles running into our buildings I think is really good stuff because this whole atonomous side of the automated vehicle has whole bunch of social issues. It has a whole bunch of quick control things you were talking about. There’s no way that you know, that some of this stuff can be controlled so quick, but, and that’s of course, the second part of our theme that we were talking a theme is the automated intelligence with autonomous interactions. I don’t know that we’ve really thought of of it in two pieces like that. Here’s the intelligence of what it is we’re going to do. And then as soon as we do it, there’s a reaction, let’s put in another control loop to control the reaction.

Ken Sinclair: 00:15:38 And I think if we look at the auto industry, they’ve got their spending scabs of bucks on this and they’re moving through. So I think we need to kind of try and understand better what they’re doing. Ironically enough for articles this month or right on our nose talking about, uh, what they’re doing in Stanford there. And, uh, the young girl on energy prediction is amazing. It picks up on last month and fills right in and she’s particularly well spoken and she’s speaks to it. I think what we also have to, you know, get used to, as people are going to call it artificial intelligence or call it augmented intelligence or automated intelligence and, uh, we’re going to be getting used to the fact that maybe it’s just best we call it AI and then substitute our own, uh, uh, okay. Okay. Different definition of that connotative definition. Yeah, that’s, that’s, yeah, I think you’re right. Yeah. Well, okay. Got It. Cool.

Eric Stromquist: 00:16:41 Let me hop in real quick, if you don’t mind, Kenny, before we get to the next article, I think one of your buddies is responsible for all these annoying phone calls I’m getting from these chat bots. Oh those damn things are talkative as hell. But uh, but speak a bit if you would, because it seems like we might be going from a Gui graphical user interface, you s C U I, which you’ve been talking about for a while. But now I see it in black and white and I connecting the dots are going inadvertently can you’re responsible for all these damn calls. I’m getting

Ken Sinclair: 00:17:19 no doubt, no doubt. My only defense is as they all, they all sit that they all come with an autonomous interaction. And the autonomous interaction is as if you don’t ever answer the phone or say hello. They won’t, they don’t do anything. So if you actually can out think them. So if you, uh, when it comes, you get one of these chat bot calls. If you don’t say anything and nobody says anything for about a half minute or something, you can just hang up cause it’s no person. So anyway, uh, the, yeah, the, you see, what do we call it? User interface, text voice. The more, so we’re seeing this, I mean it’s running rampant now with the speakers and all kinds of devices that actually have, uh, these,

Ken Sinclair: 00:18:08 the Hay googles and the Alexa’s built right into them. And I think we’re going to see more and more of that. And now what I think the, the, the conversational user interfaces is that now devices, we’ll start talking like that and we can start using whatsapp, WeChat, uh, ims soldier and in some of these things. And actually, uh, the very quick segue is that we could actually, uh, you know, text to turn the lights on. The big advantage of that is it keeps a record of all of the commands you can, you can, you can say to your wife, you turned the heat up. And she said, no, she didn’t. And she says, it shows that Santa Time you put it up five degrees. So how that conversation goes, that damn machine is obviously wrong. Ken, you’re not going to win that argument or call my lawyer. Actually, I was going to bring that up. I was going to bring that up early when, when Ken was talking about how, how carefree these machines, good thinking. I think that was the biggest single thing is that the machines can move without lawyers. So that’s the thing that mobilizes us all. Well there then, you know what, there might be a silver lining after all I’m ever my friend.

Eric Stromquist: 00:19:27 Ken do you have any more question for Ken?

Ken Smyers: 00:19:30 No, no, no. I just, again, that does so much to talk about every time we were bringing something up. So again, it’s a collection of jewels I think, you know, because uh, you know, going over the march articles and how they come together, like you say, it’s like a phenomenon. You started at subject and all of a sudden something provides, you know, it’s like willing it into being like you get this critical mass and all of a sudden people were also thinking that way and just that part from Sydney. Uh, the article from us sit on a jump. The, that contributions inside that article or immense because it talks about, you know, the, you know, the energy, the automatic provisioning of, of, of, you know, in other words, if we had a limited amount of energy on the grid and we had sustained the most important critical buildings and whatever, uh, you know, we’re going to one day rely on that to be done, you know, through uh, I just watched a presentation on, on a new drive coming from Siemens and this drive is already smart grid ready.

Ken Smyers: 00:20:29 In other words, it’s ready to go to the next level, uh, and not go into the network would go right to the cloud and put VFDs on, on an application, uh, and it can alleviate a btu meters because the, the VFD can calculate the flow and see how many BTUs you’re using saving of Dagon. Holy Moly. This is, this is another thing that you were talking about right before we have our session here. I listened to this and I’m thinking this is getting really, really interesting because if you could put this artificial intelligence or augmented intelligence or automated intelligence to work, we are going to become a greener planet quicker. We’re going to be able to use this to make our take the best steps forward. But you know, I think would you said true that if somebody doesn’t answer the phone, guess what? Nothing happens. No, no artificial or augmented intelligence occurs because people don’t start using this technology in buildings. We’re not getting anything done.

Eric Stromquist: 00:21:31 Well yeah, but you’re saying it’s reactive now, meaning you have to initiate this step, but

Ken Smyers: 00:21:36 pretty easy. Did you have to make this step, you have to take the investment, you have to invest, you have to invest in technology,

Eric Stromquist: 00:21:40 right? No, you have to invest in technologies. But would your, your point, which is a very valid one. We like your, Ken’s point about the following. If you just don’t say anything, right, it doesn’t, it doesn’t activate, you know, the program. Yeah. But, and I think that’s kind of a very calm, you know, good thought. But then eventually it will be where they’ll just be proactive. They’ll figure it out, west cans and clear again. I’m just going to start damn talking cause I know he’s not going to answer first and then, uh, then we’ll start sending pictures or something to you. That’d be crazy. But

Ken Sinclair: 00:22:13 I think this might be the, the edge of the automated automated buildings and automated interfaces and stuff that we need to work out. And I think that’s why we have to be involved in this too, as I, yeah, I’m not sure that artificial intelligence is going to be able to figure that out and come up with any better solution. Uh, what it would say is it’s a solution we don’t want to hear is don’t ever talk to a human. They’re just, they’re just impossible. Only talk to machines. You know? It’s funny you say that because,

Eric Stromquist: 00:22:45 you know, I was thinking while you were talking about what’s the definition of artificial intelligence, you know, Kenny had a good one. You had a good one. And I was going to say that, well, uh, you’d have to have an original thought to not be artificial intelligence, but then I think about it, I’m not sure. Most humans have many original thoughts either. You know, there’s some of us who do, but it’s a, it really is fascinating. And then what I’m really interested, forget the buildings. I am serious about this, putting the brain, the chip and the brain. I mean, have an augmented intelligence on board connected to your mind. And Musk has been working on that. So it’s literally, you know, you’re not gonna have to go to school and, and what are you just going to buy the, uh, the chip for American history and you’ll know everything you need to know about it?

Ken Sinclair: 00:23:30 Actually, uh, I think, uh, as, I was really pleased with Theresa’s article this month, and, uh, I think it came partly from her going up and spending some time with the folks at bedrock and in Detroit and watching what they’re doing up there. She, she came out and she’s picked up on this theme and she calls it the community of practice in building automation. Uh, you can actually even drop the building automation because it’s basically, I hadn’t seen it so clearly as she depicts it, that we all belong to a community of practice and both of your supply companies are, they are communities of practice and basically that’s what you’re selling. Then that’s your, you’re really your value and automated buildings is a community of practice. People who actually believe in somewhat a common belief of, you know, of how we might automate buildings. We also have things like backnet, which is a community of practice.

Ken Sinclair: 00:24:27 We have Niagra and basically what’s happening is they’re becoming the building blocks of our industry. And this is how we build stuff is uh, when you find a community of practice that you haven’t, haven’t been exposed to, you guys are all excited and then you figure out how can we make that community of practice part of our community of practice and that increases your value. That’s a lot of what I, I think we all do is, is basically share this information. The advantage of attaching yourself to a community of practice is it comes complete with resources. People, people who understand that and we need to keep creating those and, and basically distributing that information. So anyway, I think that’s going to be our next direction. That’ll not, that won’t be the theme for, um, April because the theme for April is going to be cybersecurity.

Speaker 4: 00:25:25 But halfway through it I’m going to write an article on the community of practice and just kind of tie all of these communities together. And if you just let your mind role and think how important, how important are all those things to your business, your everyday business. I mean, you could say you could, you could almost go down your drawers there, your La Aisles, and you say this belongs in the back net. This is a Nagra. This is a Johnson. This is a, you know, all of them are communities of practice that you’re doing it. What’s your big claim to fame? One of your big claims to fame is that you crossover many lines of a communities of practice.

Ken Smyers: 00:26:04 Hmm. Not sure when I read that I had this word Papa, they kept coming up with that was, or your collaboratorium. In other words, you know, the, the thing that I think I’ve witnessed or we’ve all witnessed, but in particular is how quickly certain things get done when there’s that collaboration or does community of practice where you overlay all these experts and all this, all these, you know, leading, uh, you know, uh, pioneers because we’re talking about three things right there that we’re are all articles, project haystack, biennial, haystack connects conferences coming up from San Diego, mid May, uh, Co controls con con a skull, Scott Cochran. He’s got a great spring

Ken Smyers: 00:26:44 conference coming up where the, uh, you know, Cochran is going to share a great deal of information, um, you know, regarding new technologies and things that the, uh, you know, it’s very important. So yeah, I did that community practice. It makes total sense what you’re saying would tree says, but um, can you see it? I’ve shared it that she went back to this Nydia and got approval to reproduce this graphic. But if you Kinda, if you kind of just read all the little, uh, you know, things that are written around there, that’s what you do every day, right? Listening, challenging buildings, sharing everything that’s on that thing is basically what your companies do to pull together your community, give and get support. Yup. Yup. So, uh, you know, just it’s, it’s kind of, I dunno, we used to, you know how you have to filter because there’s so much out there. Uh, the malty general generational engagement. So there’s our young guns. Yeah. Yeah. So it’s kind of amazing that, that this is kind of a map of who we are and where we came from. Um, and I think we need to work more on this map so we can better understand what I might be talking about. Cause I probably don’t understand what automated intelligence might be. I think what we have to do is kind of maybe do an intelligence inventory.

Eric Stromquist: 00:28:14 You know, Ken, listen, listen, you’re missing the whole point here. Look, I’ll have my machine, my machine call, uterine machine and they a lunch and figure all this stuff out. We’re not going to have to communicate anymore. We just have the machines. We’ll have the community of practice. That’s, that’s where you’re going with this, right?

Ken Sinclair: 00:28:30 Uh, well I dunno, look, look at, look at all the touchy feely things on the, on the docket there. Yeah. That’s one thing that machines aren’t y’all like, you know, like you’re saying caring, healing and listening or new superpowers. Yeah.

Eric Stromquist: 00:28:46 I’m going to tell you some, most of it you have to ask yourself a question is empathy, which is what all those things are. Is that a learned skill? Cause I told you this on a show before when I was in southern California about two years ago, the debate on the radio, because they just come out with the sex Bot and they were teaching them artificial intelligence that can be more empathetic and the debate on the radio as a view if you had sex with the sex bot where you cheating and so it’s, you know, it’s, I maybe you think about it. I think empathy is learned. We teach our children how to be empathetic. I think I’m at least, I think that we could debate that. Whether that’s an innate human quality or dress up. We just learn when we get culturized by growing up by our parents and going to school. It is the question, then we’ll be able to program it into the machines and there’ll be more empathetic than we are.

Ken Smyers: 00:29:36 Well, to Ken’s point, I think that’s both. I think that’s what you can’t put inside the artificial intelligence or machines is you can’t put

Ken Smyers: 00:29:42 that inate stuff. And you know, you have different psychologists saying different things, but we all come from the same well of consciousness. You know, we pass through a w what’s his name, your different Freud. Another colleague came through with young where we all with this guy, Joe Campbell travels the world, hundred 50 countries and how 150 different countries come with the same basic belief system. You know, about how you got here and where you’re going afterwards, you know. But to your point, I think, um, the, uh, subjects that we’re talking about is, is that this thing almost looks like a 1970. Remember how we did the we generation iGeneration we generation or the me Generation Innovation is almost looks like our whole concepts or taken a different direction where it used to be individuals, there were the major players in the industry and they dictated science stuff and now we’re seeing all this technology come in and it’s just dumping all these new possibilities.

Ken Smyers: 00:30:41 And so this community of practice to me is an extension of of basically the thing you did with the collaboratorium. I’ve never seen so many people be willing to share so much what used to be like a sensitive information or proprietary information, but they want to get something done in order for them to get their agenda done quicker. They collaborate with somebody that’s also doing something better than they are and instead of each trying to create your own wheel, they’re putting together a, you know, this, this, this community and it’s an amazing thing because Hastac is it? We’re going to talk about haystack some at some point and, and we just have to celebrate what they did because that’s what they did. They did this, this amazing linkage of, of a lot of people that couldn’t really define how they were going to get there. Somebody laid down a map and then people contributed to it. And next thing you know, you’ve got a yellow brick road.

Eric Stromquist: 00:31:29 Well listen, I want to, Ken, I want to follow up, uh, on your last episode, uh, El or semi last, last month’s edition because you know what, you had become quite a cult hero amongst the young young guns in our industry for, for numerous reasons. But the big one is a, and I’m going to ask you to expand on this is, you know, when you become, when you’re disrupted disruption. And so one of the questions we got from our community has asked, can you know, talk about the process of disrupting disruption. I mean, how would I do that? Because you know, you’ve seriously the young, I mean we were bringing in it kind of like a hero to these folks. Now again, how do we disrupt disruption? Well, I think it’s interesting once you learn how to grow younger, which is a, is a skill that takes a bit and you basically,

Ken Sinclair: 00:32:27 yeah,

Ken Sinclair: 00:32:27 bring these guys on his trusted advisors and start to understand and try to get inside their heads are at least closer to it. You understand this whole what the significance

Ken Sinclair: 00:32:40 of being a digital native is. I mean, we’re looking at this from such a wrong way. You know, all our, we keep going off on these tangents. They don’t even think about that. They grew up with all this stuff falling on them and they understand they had been, don’t have the fear of the machine that we do because they understand the machine, they understand data that give it the data. We take the data away, you know, and uh, I think they just see it in a completely different light. So for them disrupting disruption, although they do it to themselves as well because they’re there a way ahead on the front. Some of the stuff they’re disrupting is totally amazing. I barely understand. But our disruption is easy. It’s easy to disrupt us and to disrupt the disruption is, is uh, is easy as well because our industry is slow to move.

Ken Sinclair: 00:33:32 And, uh, we’re actually starting to see some of this stuff coming. We’re actually seeing, uh, you know, wifi sensors. We’re seeing the wire disappearing in our buildings and more, more devices, more it devices starting to appear. So that’s, that’s very disruptive. But it inside of it comes a gazillion opportunities and we’re getting where we had a, like a very small slice of the industry, things that were involving, now we’re involving integrator piece of the industry. So yeah, I don’t know. That answer wasn’t very good answer. I was kinda hoping you’d say something like, we know we got to kill the machines or something like that. You know, that’s what I was going for, Matt.

Ken Smyers: 00:34:20 Well, I’ll tell you that again. You got an amazing job to kill the kids first day. Cause that’s the, they’re, they’re, they’re becoming closer and closer to these machines and they’d rather talk to the machines and us. I saw somebody put a, uh, I don’t know where it was, linkedin or somewhere, but it had all these kids in this beautiful museum in front of one of the most classic art and they’re all single child was looking up at the art, uh, and they were on their phones, iPhones or smart devices or whatever. And it just really caught it. Oh know to be in the middle of it, you know, our world thinking that we had, we had put these things on the wall to the epitomize the highlights of humankind and our loftiest, you know, artists and these kids just totally not interested. And so we’ll accept it. It’s funny cause sometimes the guys looking at it and what they’ll tell you is that’s not really the original. The original is in Spain, in the small town, this is a copy.

Ken Sinclair: 00:35:21 We’re always checking facts. You assume that sometimes they’re, you know, they’re doing something different, but sometimes they’re just, they’re just way ahead of you. And lucky. Now, I’ll tell you what I learned my lesson and I, when we were talking about an old timer, walks into the office, a Johnson controls had a uh, a, a couple years ago, Eric and I were at it and they explained the mistake. They’d invested so much money in recruiting the top a young guns that could possibly get their hands on. Uh, and, and then they were losing them after the second year and it all boiled down to their boss and, and the one classic example they gave through where they had the outbrief thing and the people had to, could, could hear what they were being accused of or the bosses criticism from the young person’s perspective. And here it was that the guy who thought they were all screwing around on their smartphones and they were actually doing work and research because the companies that their, their, their, their computer system was so slow and lagging and they had so many security still at that they couldn’t get the information they needed to complete the project that was due.

Ken Smyers: 00:36:20 So they were actually doing double time using their own device to get some information that the computers that they were given to is their work. Computers couldn’t perform and be, he looked outside, he said, everybody’s playing with their phones or playing games. There was an assumption that they were screwing off and here they were very, you know, professionally you’re trying to get the Dang job done. And they were being, you know, uh, there were being hindered by, anyhow, we, you’ve got a couple of good articles, this thing by Marc p talk and it’s got a picture and it says, you know, the built environment has been changing drastically, but what, what does mark say he says is two nights, 2019 the year of truth for the built environment. And he has all these questions. He has, well, two nights, 2019 be the truth that our dialogue senators around the proven technologies. So what’d you think about that? And it’s like the 10 commandments of, of the built space.

Ken Smyers: 00:37:14 Yeah, that’s good. I’ve been, I’ve included in my article a link to it. Uh, it’s super mark. Mark always is very succinct and being able to kind of pull out around, uh, and it’s okay. So maybe this is the truth of artificial intelligence that I’m talking about is that I’m saying maybe, maybe we don’t want to call it that. Maybe we want to call it art or a automated intelligence. And I don’t know, sometimes by just calling something different, you start to discussions and I think that’s what I really want to do is start the discussion. We can, I think you’ve got an add on. Your name needs to be automated buildings and intelligence. How’s that? That’s right. Well the other problem is if I didn’t call it automated intelligence yeah then that’d be obsolete. I’d have to, I’d have to, how I got it. There was two choices. I either had to change automated artificial and I don’t think I would’ve sold with it after 20 years. Automated building Sterns to artificial buildings. So we had to, had to go to automated intelligence. I like that. I do automated versus our, I don’t like artificial either. Not to think about it cause you know, it always meant something unnecessarily sinister but not necessarily

Ken Smyers: 00:38:31 as, as as you know, as firing as it could be. Artificial means that’s made up and, and, and not genuine. And so maybe we will help the mate, the next group of solution providers change it from artificial intelligence to automated intelligence.

Eric Stromquist: 00:38:46 So Ken, uh, listen to about march of March issue is out, be sure to check the I can, would you be able to hang around a bit longer and talk with us with our next guest?. Okay. Ken. So where are you going to be traveling this spring where it looks like we might be crossing paths a little bit. Okay. Well we’re off to Detroit and early May to control con we was just before this conference call, I was talking with Scott and the bedrock, a Joe from bedrock and uh, exciting stuff happening there. Actually. He, he just come back from Korea and some going to be some amazing stuff. I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you, but don’t, don’t, don’t do that. We’re going to be there too. So it’s going to, okay, I told you today I’d have to kill you. But Scott was Scott.

Speaker 4: 00:39:32 It was Scott in Korea or a the gift. Actually, Scott Scott was a fighting icebergs and a theory coming out of the lake or something like that. He was driving in his car, asked for video, and he took his phone and held it up against the windshield and told me I was driving. So, so listen to, you can still go there. Are there links both on automated site and control trends, uh, hey, be get a chance to go to this conference is fantastic. And uh, the next big conference had coming up is haystack and our next guest is going to be able to talk a bit about that, Kenny. So how about introducing him?

Ken Smyers: 00:40:07 I’d love to, in fact, um, I’d like to introduce Ruairi Barnwell. He is a group principal at d l r and the DLR group, uh, was recently recognized that the controlled trends awards because they won the project haystack award. And that’s a very, very exciting thing. And, uh, we’re very happy to welcome to the show, Rory Barnwell. Welcome to show Roy everyone. Good to see you again, buddy.

Ruairi Barwell: 00:40:32 Hey guys, how’s it going? Great to be here.

Eric Stromquist: 00:40:34 Good to see you too. You were on episode 222 and uh, I’ll always remember that it was great, lively conversation and, uh, could you give a sort of a refresher and an update on what’s going on with DLR group?

Ruairi Barwell: 00:40:48 Sure. Well, thanks again guys. Really excited to be back on again. Um, I guess just to recap on DLR group who we are and what we do. And so we’re a large design firm. Um, you know, 1200 people, 30 offices around the, around the globe, um, architects and engineers, um, you know, our core American sectors or education, workplace justice and civic, uh, hospitality. We’re actually the largest education design firm in the world. So that leads us down some pretty interesting paths. Um, so yeah, that’s kind of a, we’re busy. I’m sitting here in Chicago right now and looking out the window and, uh, all the cranes and all new construction going on. So, yeah,

Ruairi Barwell: 00:41:32 we’re trying to make it,

Ken Smyers: 00:41:36 yeah. Good stuff. All right, well, we’re really happy to see you down in Atlanta and, uh, recognize you right away. And we have to say hello before the show actually gotten underway. But, uh, you wonder, pretty impressive. Tell us about the project Haystack Award and how you guys won that.

Ruairi Barwell: 00:41:54 Well, it was quite an honor. We’ve obviously been big believers in haystack and you know, practitioners, the haystack methodology and what we do and how we, you know, collect and, uh, organize and analyze data to our, our smart building a praxis are amongst monitoring based commissioning. Uh, you know, how we, what we call building optimization. That’s the practice I lead. Um, so yeah, it was quite an honor, right? I mean, well, the night that was a controlled times Lord.

Eric Stromquist: 00:42:36 Yeah. So an engineer and designer standpoint as well as a, you know, an energy optimizer and buildings for our community might not know. What do you see the advantage is to project haystack?

Ruairi Barwell: 00:42:49 Um, well, again, for us, you know, a large part of what we do within DLR group, uh, our building optimization practice is, I mean, it’s just dealing with data and at the end of the day, um, we’re answering the try to answer the same questions as everyone else in our community is what do we do with that data? How do we make it actionable? How do we organize it, you know, create some actionable insights from that data. So what are, we’re trying to optimize the energy use of a million square foot commercial office in downtown Chicago or, you know, a college campus in the suburbs. MMM. It’s, you know, it’s the same drive trying to answer the same questions as everyone else.

Ken Smyers: 00:43:35 What are your clients asking for now? What are your types of clients and what do they ask? So you’re the largest provider of services to the education world. What are they asking for?

Ruairi Barwell: 00:43:46 Yeah, I mean, as an example, you know, we’re working with large school districts here in Chicago across the country. Um, you know, going and getting ready to go out for a large bond referendums, you know, they’re trying to answer some big questions like, are we, uh, you know, how are we, you know, here in Chicago, we’ve got a couple of districts going out for $180 million contract for, and then down in Texas, they don’t, they’re close to a billion. I mean, figuring out Texas, right? But we’re all trying to answer the same questions. You know, are we, should we build new versus renovation, throwing good money after bad, you know, how are the buildings performing and should we invest in these existing buildings? Should we decommission them, build a new, know you were high performing buildings and, um, you know, they’re, they’re asking the same questions. You know, how, you know, how do we benchmark buildings?

Ruairi Barwell: 00:44:40 You know, I think we’re, we’re recognized as a, as an industry and this community in particular that, you know, energy benchmarking alone. There’s not a, it’s not a good indicator of how well, or poorly performing. So we’re starting to look at the other key performance indicators that, you know, how is, how, how, how well a building is performing. I in indoor environmental quality tracking, indoor air quality and thermal comfort of occupants, Acoustic Comfort, visual comfort, your user functionality. Now these are, these are things that we’re trying to tie real data to versus, you know, we’ve, we’ve talked about him, I think this conversation has been pretty mainstream for the last couple of

Ken Smyers: 00:45:22 the metrics. Are you able to provide additional metrics to improve the understanding of how important those, those things that you had mentioned, lighting, acoustics, I mean, does that, does that really have a profound impact on the educational environment or is that more, is that hard?

Ruairi Barwell: 00:45:38 No, no, absolutely. I think we’re getting past, we’ve made a very focused decision to kind of try and there’s so much noise and marketing, you know, yeah. Spills everyone to call them. Um, we’ve already focused on trying to get some good case studies and trying to, you know, for example, in a couple of cool projects you’re working on right now we’re doing a large project with the GSA. We’re part of the Harvard School of Public Health. Um, it’s doctor Joe Allen’s group, um, where we’re trying to evolve their post occupancy evaluation process. Um, really tried to add another dimension to, um, to their, you know, what they’re, they’re trying to fill it up and evidence based design library so they can continually iterate there. We’re working directly with their workplace, um, uh, workplace global workspace leader and um, you know, adding in that realtime indoor air quality, indoor environmental quality is more than just the air quality and all the occupants satisfaction.

Ruairi Barwell: 00:46:44 Um, putting real metrics to that and tying that back to work or productivity. So that’s again, I think that’s been a manager in conversation now for, for a couple of years where I’m, I’m pretty excited with the crossover between, you know, worker productivity, the workplace, um, you know, getting some proper metrics for that to education. So now we’re starting to see equal amounts of research being done and if not a little more now at the moment with, um, you know, students, you know, student achievement, you know, how does the, out of the class, how did the before, how does the performance of the built environment, the classroom impacts a student’s learning ability, you know, the cognitive of a, of a child brain. How that, um, how, you know, is is the classroom ventilated enough? Is it too hot, too cold or the acoustics poor, the lights too harsh or too damn, you know, we’re working in a school districts that have, you know, kind of okay lighting retrofits that were driven by energy, not so much the, you know, the function of the classroom. Um, and, and again, and try and tie that back to, you know, how engaged the student is and ultimately student achievement. And I think we’re looking at more or less the same ties as a, as far as on the workplace side and an office and productivity.

Ruairi Barwell: 00:48:11 Okay. Well, uh, honestly we’re in the middle of, uh, of working on this GSA project is ongoing. It’s on the boards right now. That’s why it’s top of my mind. But he’s kind of, well, I’m, I’m excited about. Um, so I would say look for the, I think this would be the third iteration of the cog effect study from Harvard School of Public Health. Um, and so that, you know, that’s only going to get, there’s just going to be more iterations of that until, you know, I think, okay, we’ve withdrawn it’s common sense, you know. Um, I think that we’re just trying to put real data to it. Um, you know, another project I’m really excited about, we’re working with Chicago public schools and the third largest school district in the country where, you know, there, uh, there, uh, exploring an initiative for a lot of textile and that’s zero school and you know, we can have a, it’s really easy. You haven’t that Sarah School, right? Turn off the light board up the windows, tell the kids the worst, some colts and light some candles. You know, we want a second, but Marcy sophisticated approach than that. Um, so we’re, uh, you know, using the same data gathering, collecting, collecting data, organizing it, analyzing it, modeling it for future retrofits, you know, trying to show, uh, I’m not, uh, basically a roadmap for how can we get to the zero? What is it feasible? I mean, that’s the question we’re trying to answer.

Ken Smyers: 00:49:51 Amazing work bringing our, bringing emotions to buildings. In other words, we’re taking the things like comfy that began way back when, where it was giving people with smart devices the opportunity to interface with building automation system to get some kind of an immediate response if they needed air conditioning or heating, whatever. And as soon as they were company, they hit a button, say coffee. So Ken has done a lot of studies and a lot of work on it. Can, I know you got to have a good question for Rory regarding these, these exact studies because isn’t this the chance that they, the, the emotional side of a building can be exposed through these new retrofit new programs?

Ken Sinclair: 00:50:29 I think he has an excellent start. And actually I’d like to start by applauding what, uh, what he’s doing. And his company is certainly for a major consultant to embrace haystack and, uh, the other health parameters of buildings and put them in their lead is, is significant than I think he is definitely an example to, oh, a lot of consultants who are, are kind of hiding, hiding their head from all of this. And uh, so he’s well on his way and as the exposes all his data, he is going to be able to interpret the emotion of a building. I’ll be better than anybody. And uh, the fact it’s going to be in haystack standards, uh, is also exciting, uh, because that means that when we do analytics and we start to use a voice interface and device lifts interfaces and the autonomous interactions, uh, I think he’s ahead of the game and even even to speak to our, uh, our march theme, the Automated Intelligence, uh, I think he’s well on his way to achieving that as well. So I would probably just start with a whole bunch of Kudos.

Ruairi Barwell: 00:51:51 Thank you.

Ken Sinclair: 00:51:54 No, actually the question I would like to ask you is how do we get a string of consultants like you? I mean that’s our problem as an industry is really have traditional consultants that are controlled by lawyers that are immobilized and they’re putting in their 1956 system because they worried that they’re going to get sued if they try anything new. So you guys somehow, uh, moved over into risk management. They’re looking at changing world. How’d you do that?

Ruairi Barwell: 00:52:31 We’re talking about energy or whatever we’re talking about indoor air quality, indoor environmental quality in general. The level of transparency. We’re at the tip of the iceberg there. Um, you know, the sensors are becoming cheaper and more available. You know, we can, where we can practically do realtime indoor air quality monitoring. We’re working because you know, a friend of the show, Albert, he’s on it, you know, how is already working on a real time. We’re going to be using his sensors for, to, to track this real time. It’s very affordable sensors that are high quality that are going to still meet the well building standards for accuracy. The problem with answers as you got what you pay for. So if you can get, you know, the correct, mmm,

Ruairi Barwell: 00:53:26 nope. We’re tracking typically CO2, that’s the one we all kind of default to, but also PLCs, how the material selection impacts the environments. Um, pm 2.5, you know, how the, how to particulate matter in the air stream, you know, how well are we still trading the air, how clean was the air. A lot of this technology comes from China, I believe it or not because the outdoor air so poor over there. This is kind of initiatives, you know, the badge of honor in China is to show that, hey, it’s not necessarily I got to lead platinum building , I’ve got to building with clean air.. You start to see initiatives like, uh, you know, the recess, uh, certification reset in the certification. That’s primarily based on just, uh, it’s only based on indoor air quality, you know, so,

Speaker 6: 00:54:19 right.

Ruairi Barwell: 00:54:25 Well, you know, it, it’s, it’s, it’s a fun vibe, you know, practice a little bit. You know, scary time, you know, for, for uh, when we disclosed this amount of information to a building operators, we work with property management firms. We work with a nutshell reads, um, ourselves as a design firm. Now our level of transparency, our post postdoc, the evaluation for our own designs, it’s become a lot more rigorous. So, you know, not only are we focused on energy and the outcomes and okay, are we know we got to hit this Gui for the building. What now? What are we going to hit this threshold for co two levels for particulate matter or you know, for um, the materials that were, that, you know, everything from them at the carpet that’s been selected impacts the indoor air quality impacts.

Ken Sinclair: 00:55:16 Go ahead. No, I was just wanting to pick, pick up on that. That’s another interesting side of it is as the devices and the things are starting to talk to us, I just came off a conference call with getting ready for the control con event in Detroit and Joe from bedrock had just come back from Korea and he’d been talking to the LG folks and the LG folks on their units are absolutely prepared to provide complete open all of the information they have internal to their units and so all of a sudden pick up. That’s like a whole new world to us was where the OEM always kind of kept everything and you bought it and you know he never really knew what it does now into your transparency of data. You’re having this, these machines and as a consultant you can control that in the fact that you say, I want devices that are more transparent and that they give me new data. If they don’t give me my data, I’m going to buy product B, not product day because

Ken Sinclair: 00:56:24 this guy gives me more data every week. Gives me the most data, maybe the product as long as it gets

Ruairi Barwell: 00:56:32 after your original question. And how do we get more people on board? I think the really nice thing about working with an entity like the GSA is that they’re doing this to be the, to be a leader. Everything we’re doing is going to be published publicly available. There’s no secret there. You know, everything. We’re going to be doing this completely open and we’re kind of share best practices super. And that’s why, you know, so we’ve teamed with Harvard, uh, there they’re just going to continue to do great things and change the industry. Um, uh, we’re starting to see, you know, Lawrence Berkeley national labs and the Department of Energy got on board with these, you know, these same metrics and uh, um, ourselves and, uh, four or five or order pure group, uh, your, um, companies are, are currently work in the early stages with the national labs and Department of Energy to, to kind of just a roadmap out how prevalent types of analytics that we’re doing.

Ken Smyers: 00:57:34 A couple of things, you just came back from an important trip this morning, didn’t you? You were in Minneapolis, Minnesota this morning and you came back.

Ruairi Barwell: 00:57:41 Yeah. Minneapolis is a near and dear to my heart. That’s where if my second city, so I grew up in Ireland. If you can’t tell from my accent, cargo is my city. Been here for 20 years now, but my wife is from Minneapolis, are on Minneapolis office. Nope. We’re kind of tied at the hip with, with, uh, with them how we’re structured regionally, our CEO, it’s up there. Um, so yeah, I came back from probably the only place right now do any major city that’s colored in Chicago at the mall. I didn’t, I wasn’t very sure if I’d make it out with the smell. Um, but I was up there. Yeah. For a, a very special read them. We were actually taken off, well, don’t kick it off. My good friend, uh, broad culture over at Hga, uh, has, uh, has over the past a year, 18 months. It’s been very successful with a couple of more teammates that heads up there and getting the big TC, uh, group going up at the building intelligence group, twin cities. And um, so we had a great, uh, meeting. We thought I had some great meetings over the past couple of months and that’s really, uh, so last night there was maybe 60, 70 people. Um, kind of the same cross section of card that you’d see at real calm. I’d be gone, you know, systems integrators, vendors, you know, some more proactive, um, design consultants, you know. MMM. Usual Xbox, you know. Um,

Ruairi Barwell: 00:59:22 but everyone comment that, um, there’s really no outlet for smart. There’s really no smoking. We got USG, we see receive, got Ashrae for the engineers, but there’s really no local connection point or you know, people in the smart building industry. I was amazed. I had done a fantastic job up there. In fact, I should probably got him on

Eric Stromquist: 00:59:46 right. It’s very dynamic individual.

Ruairi Barwell: 00:59:50 Oh yeah. It’s fantastic. And uh, he’s done a great job with that. So, um, as a result of the success of a big building intelligence group, twin cities, we’re going to start a big shy here, April. So we’re saying we’re going to basically start the Chicago franchise here for anyone out there that’s in the Chicago area. Hit me up and I’ll give you the details on the first meeting. It’s going to be on April 11th year. We’re going to host the first one at our office, uh, looking for volunteers and Geneva, our committee members and everything else. So we’re looking to get a good group here. It’s a kickoff. The, uh, the first one,

Ken Smyers: 01:00:30 critical. How’s the soccer program going? I understand. Last time we talked to you, you are, and your soccer outfit because you were heading down practice,

Ruairi Barwell: 01:00:39 right? You know, uh, I got one thing I have in mind for soccer. I have plenty of sad.

Ken Smyers: 01:00:45 Yeah.

Ruairi Barwell: 01:00:47 Liverpool happened to have my liver big Liverpool Fan, so nervous times at the moment that we got them to every run in here for the Premiere League. Hopefully. Uh, the first year [inaudible] 92 I think so,

Eric Stromquist: 01:01:07 yeah. We’ve got a pretty good soccer team down in Atlanta now that make us do

Ruairi Barwell: 01:01:12 awesome. Yeah, no, I’m a, I’m a big Chicago fire power as well. They were doing nearly as good as your guys are doing.

Ken Smyers: 01:01:21 Yeah, you can pay more money.

Eric Stromquist: 01:01:31 You know, I wanted to sort of ask and sort of cycled back around to, it seems like you’re doing things and getting things done that, you know, we treat very few consultants sort of getting the traction. You aren’t terms of changing how people are doing, building automation controls and, and making a more emotional and all that stuff. You know, for our audience in mind, I know you guys have all of the offices I think in 30 countries or there abouts.

Ruairi Barwell: 01:01:57 Well it’s, it’s 30 location. The majority of those are in the Norton in North America. We’ve got an office in Shanghai, Dubai in Nairobi stuff. The kind of global reach it. Yeah. Yeah.

Ken Smyers: 01:02:09 So I was just curious if, if you see things differently or done differently in different countries and is it part of how you guys are sort of being innovative, the fact that you sort of have a global perspective instead of a just a North American history

Ruairi Barwell: 01:02:23 perspective? I think it’s definitely an advantage. You know, I think myself personally, we have a lot of interactions with my, my old college buddies are working across the world and uh, your fellows kind of been a front runner, but I truly believe we’re in the right place here and not there. There’s so much exciting things going on here in North America. I think the change that’s going to happen from here, there’s so much innovation, so much, uh, so much, okay, it’s mainstream now. You know, we’re not talking about someone, not something on the periphery. You know, when you see big players like the GSA, you know, when you see people like Chicago public schools, you know, I’ve mentioned there their public sector. I think I actually Ma personally got most enjoyable working with developers that I, you know, I enjoy the fast paced nature of a working with developers.

Ruairi Barwell: 01:03:16 And you know, when you start to see, you know, the people who are typically focused on dollars and cents and bottom line and that’s it gotta be like that when they start to focus on wellness and amenities. But you know, again, it’s still dollars and cents. Attracting and retaining the best tenants in your building is still attracting and retaining the best talent for those tenants. So when you start to see, you know, a smart building, uh, strategies start to filtrate into the, into the mainstream because it makes sense for these dollars are the developers to do it. You know, that that’s a woodwind.

Eric Stromquist: 01:03:55 Yeah. Cause it seems like the buildings are going to be more competitive as Ken Saint Claire, who’s our resident millennial here has pointed out that, uh, you know, you better have a nice space if you want me to come into the office and work. So, so I think, you know, there’s a lot of awareness about wanting to have a great space and energy efficient space and obviously a space that leads to productivity. So it seems like that conversation is shifting. Where will you say developers and owners are more open to having that versus just being driven by energy or low cost when so hopefully that trend will

Ruairi Barwell: 01:04:25 absolutely. Yeah. I mean one of the most progressive developers we’re working with here locally in Chicago, Sterling Bay, you know, they uh, they, uh, Google’s Midwest headquarters, Mcdonald’s global headquarters, moved downtown from suburbs group on Gogo, go down the list. And uh, you know, we’re doing a lot of work with them on their existing building side. But also we’re, we’re really lucky in Chicago. We’ve got a very progressive utility as well. So we’ve got combat in Chicago and we’ve got some legislation at the state level, like the future and jobs act, that kind of mine bass. But these guys have to invest in energy efficiency programs. But we’ve got the monitoring based commissioning program here in Chicago, which is really a, you know, it’s a fantastic deal for, for the [inaudible], for any owner operator, a building, you know, where you know, we can get all Texans agnostic platforms that we all know and love, uh, integrated, uh, you know, get that done at data analytics integrated pretty much for free for the, for the operator, the utility incentive programs, paying for that.

Ken Smyers: 01:05:34 And then there’s an incentive on the, uh, energy savings after that, you know, so that’s great. That’s a, you know, it’s energy driven. But I think now we’re starting to see owners see the value of scrubbing that data, organizing not data habit, you know, following the haystack methodology and now start to leverage that into you are smiling. Okay, well now we have the state, or what else can we ever got? The belly automation system data, a lighting control system some better. You know, from across Europe and thought what are, you know, conference room, uh, management, you know, conference room booking system and how can we optimize the workflow? How could we optimize the workspace?

Ken Sinclair: 01:06:18 Before you came on, we were talking about the community of practice. We were talking about Terese Sullivan But anyway, uh, this what I just heard you saying is you are a big embracer of communities of practice and I’ll call haystack a community of practice as possibly, uh, uh, back net than many others. But what you’re doing is you’re using these communities of practice too as building blocks in your consulting firm. And then the thing that I was impressed with is you were now creating a new smart building community of practice and bringing that to Chicago. So that was kind of an interesting, what I heard you say. So

Ruairi Barwell: 01:07:08 absolutely.

Ken Smyers: 01:07:08 It’s interesting that we use these things as building blocks to build a better community of, uh, of a particular practice. And it’s, it’s kind of interesting how that that does it. And we were talking before, we were talking about when you actually adopt, maybe that’s a good word, adopt a community of practice with it comes all of its resources and people and this allows us to grow I think quickly. And to make the radical changes we have to make

Ken Smyers: 01:07:43 building blocks is a great analogy for what’s happening here in Chicago. We’ve got, these are kind of, you know, fostering are enhancing best practices, you know, so now owners are starting to see the benefits of, of interoperable, you know, using data for, for something other than that. Okay. The base level of saving energy, right? And optimizing systems. But now, well, wow, now it’s done that, where can we go from here? You know? So, um, yeah, it’s, it’s really exciting.

Ruairi Barwell: 01:08:18 Well, just keeps growing. It grows on itself. And the biggest thing is I find is the communities within that community, they will have found another community of practice that will ultimately become important to us.

Ruairi Barwell: 01:08:37 Yeah. We got to keep the lifetime. But you know, having a program like that allows us to generate the revenue to hire another engineer who’s done getting nothing but write algorithms and write rules. So we continue to grow and we continue to evolve our practice. You know, so our north star at the end of the day, no for us, uh, optimizing, building optimization, that’s what we call it, you know, so how, you know, how can we leverage into a, you know, one of the world’s largest design firms and start to impact impact.

Ken Smyers: 01:09:16 No bright lights.

Ken Sinclair: 01:09:25 I don’t know. I heard a good cook and fed. We’ve never moved as fast as we have right now today, but we’ll never move as slow again in the future credit for that one. But um,

Eric Stromquist: 01:09:40 well Kenny, will take credit before. Don’t worry here is, we sort of wind it down here and thank you so much. Uh, I want to ask you a kind of a final question here and then also I want to make sure that our controlled trans community knows how to get hold of you and your firm. We have a lot of buildings as well as integrators. And school boards and all that stuff. So they’re going to want to know how to get hold of you. But, uh, what, what are one or two mistakes you see a building owners and they could be school boards, it could be you know, your other clients that, that if you were going to talk to them just sort of as a friend and say, hey, whatever you do, make sure you do this or don’t do that.

Ruairi Barwell: 01:10:25 I mean, honestly I’d say just have a plan, you know, start, you know, look to the future. So, you know, I mean it’s pretty obvious already, but, um, we’re also focused on the short term quick fix and uh, you know, let’s take a step back for a moment. In fact in master plan out what we want to do at our building stock, you know, whether it’s a school district, that college campus,

Ken Sinclair: 01:10:47 okay.

Ruairi Barwell: 01:10:48 Large real estate investment trust. You know, I think, um, you know, there’s front runners leading the way here and it’s going to lead to some really exciting case there. I’m so excited about the case studies that were flip out words there. And you know, maybe

Ruairi Barwell: 01:11:06 cause we’re excited, we’ve tracked at Harvard, all these stuff we’re starting to, it’s like concentric circles. It’s like their critical mass is getting, you know, it’s condensing smaller, smaller, but it was more incredible gravitational pull and importance, you know, so it’s uh, it’s just exciting super stuff.

Ken Smyers: 01:11:22 Yup.

Eric Stromquist: 01:11:24 Always, always welcome to come back on the show. Hopefully get you back on. What do you said we touch base with you? Maybe once a quarter or at least at least two times a month

Ruairi Barwell: 01:11:31 times a year. You guys, I’ll try and touch base before that maybe. But yeah, we’d love to come back on and giving updates

Ken Smyers: 01:11:45 and give us the website, the website for you guys too, for our community.

Ruairi Barwell: 01:11:49 Um, so you can find the, you can catch Um, again, if you’re in the Chicago area and are interested in taking part in the building intelligence group, uh, that we got going, he hit me up on Linkedin or are I have to set up fee or Yeah, looking forward to, uh, looking forward to what lies ahead or,

Eric Stromquist: 01:12:14 okay. Guys, the clock’s running down. Uh, Kenny,

Ken Smyers: 01:12:20 thank you both for being a very, very well done. And you know, I think it’s the way you’re so articulate the way you really big bringing all those issues together. Again, it’s exciting because we’ve seen, we’ve seen the needle move, we’re seeing progress. I wish our area of the country was as advanced and adept at taking on changes and bringing it, bringing it home into the school classrooms as quickly as possible at every opportunity. Uh, but um, any final thoughts?

Ruairi Barwell: 01:12:47 Yeah, no, I mean gets me all about it in the morning and team. You know, we’re, we’re, we are moving the needle, we’re able to impact an industry and not just the Auger on top of our community in general. You know, the sky’s the limit. Thanks very much guys for helping me on. Look forward to connecting again in the future.

Ken Smyers: 01:13:18 Well, we’ll definitely have you back on and Ken Sinclair and we’re going to bid you adieu to, thank you so much again. The automated buildings March issue is out. And I tell you what between these two guys right here, I mean you don’t have to worry about anything the rest of the month cause you’re covered guys. Thanks so much man. Great stuff from those two guys. What, what great stuff and a, hey we’ve got a birthday girl today, don’t we?

Ken Smyers: 01:13:41 A very special birthday girl. We have Andy Jarvis is turning 22 years old when she turned 22 years old on Friday. So you got younger. She has set special functional devices capability to not get older but get better and congratulations and happy birthday Angie Jarvis.

Ken Smyers: 01:13:57 And if you have not been lucky enough to meet Angie Jarvis call function, do yourself a favor. Call functional devices or call your local distributor. Spend $8 get a rib relay and say I want to meet Hangi. We have a, she is one of the all time greats, her and Sarah Maloney from connector and wire or two of the all time rate. Great people in our industry. Love both of them. So Angie, happy, happy birthday too. And what that can Kenny smile. We have a one or two other shots real quick. We got, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Angie does not share. Shoutouts Angie is the most generous woman I’ve ever met. All right, go ahead. Who else has James Workman? Happy Birthday. Uh, Travis Russell. He, he gave us a like, uh, patrol trans people that are giving us good comments and supporting our linkedin efforts. Uh, Phil Smith again, another like rocky, more celebrating two years.

Ken Smyers: 01:14:53 Automated logic. He used to be a local guy who worked for big American, our matrix and then he went to, was at Blue Ridge technologies, worked for technologies. Boy, you got a great memory. How are you doing? Are you taking special medicines or whatever? It’s supposed to make me more attracted to my wife and when an artificial intelligence smarter, yeah, it makes you smarter. Okay. All right, well there you go. Anyway, says from Siemens, he gave us a lot. A lot of folks are, are commenting on some of the, uh, the posts videos coming up. Uh, uh, Dylan Roci mentioned that, that he wrote back and said, thank you the marketing and the last one. Then we’ve stopped Bush. He’s a seven years at Ferris St Louis, and congratulations to Scott Cross for 25 years at temperature control systems in Texas. Where did it go? Scott Cross, if you’re down in Texas, you better buy your controls from Scott Cross or he’ll hunt you down. But the boy dog did. He is all right, Kenny Smyres. Well, that a very special thanks to our two guests today, Roy Barnwell and the one and only hot dough and didactic, a disruptive Sinclair. So with that, have a great week. Remember, be bold, stay in control, stay relevant, and be a little bit disruptive.

Roger Rebennack of Jackson Control: Active Shooter Solutions with Honeywell and Shooter Detection Systems

Jackson Control leading the way. Integrating Milestone (with Bacnet driver), Honeywell Video, Niagara and Shooter Detection System into one streamlined and functioning threat level management system. Seen here first!

An Inside Look at Open Protocols, Open Procurement, and Open Systems — Comparing and Contrasting Open Protocols, Open Procurement, and Open Systems

Source: Engineered Systems, February 8th Magazine

In last month’s article, we discussed the topic of technology — when to use it and when not to. When we start to utilize technology on our projects, we tend to run into the concept of openness.

During my time working in this industry, the word openness has been discussed in depth. Yet, it seems, still to this day, that there is no consensus around openness. Depending on the audience, openness could mean one of three things: open protocols, open procurement, or open systems. As a specifying engineer, each of these forms of openness have different ramifications on the design of your projects.

This will be part one of a two-part article where we discuss the three different kinds of openness and the specific specification language for achieving openness on projects.


Topic No. 1, open protocols

When folks want systems to communicate, they enter the design process with a sense of blind trust that the manufacturers will get it right. They assume that all systems will work together, and by the time the project’s finished, everything will talk with one another.

The reality is, this almost never seems to be the case. Some piece of hardware, protocol gateway, license, or form of technology is missed. And when this happens, the finger-pointing starts, and everyone gets irritated with one another. When approaching openness, you need to consider that open communication between two systems depends on those systems being able to communicate with one another. On the surface, that seems like a really obvious statement; however, the reality is a lot of folks don’t realize the ramifications of open protocols.

Protocols, quite simply, are a way of formatting communication. A sentence such as, “The dog bit Johnny,” follows a specific structure. An object — in this case a dog — performs an action. It bites, and it performs that action against someone, Johnny. Now, if we fail to follow the normal grammatical structure of a sentence, and we said, “Johnny bit the dog,” the sentence takes on a completely different meaning even though we’re using the same words in the sentence.


So, how do we resolve this?

Today’s technology systems communicate with one another; yet, in many cases, they’re doing so by utilizing different communication formats. This is where protocols come in handy. The problem with protocols is that some are not deemed open protocols. Now, this is becoming less and less of an issue as our industry continues to evolve, but in the early 21st century, right around 2000-2002, the forms of communication that would enable interoperability between systems and their availability was very limited.

Nowadays, we have LON, Modbus, and BACnet, each of which have their strengths and weaknesses. As a specifying engineer, it’s important for you to understand the capabilities of these protocols and what they enable you to do from an integration perspective. I’m not saying engineers need to be experts on these protocols; however, they do need to realize that BACnet/IP is not going to seamlessly integrate with LON/IP or Modbus/IP. Those three protocols will not seamlessly talk to one another. This point seems to be missed on many project designs and specifications.

We address this in our online course, BAS Protocol Fundamentals, and, unfortunately, not a lot of folks are talking about this. Despite this, protocols are still an incredibly important topic for specifying engineers who want to ensure that their systems are interoperable.

Next comes open procurement. As I mentioned, the word openness means different things to different folks. From a technologist perspective, I’m thinking about open protocols or open systems, but from a procurement perspective, my mind focuses on open procurement models. You see, one of the exciting things that is happening in our industry right now is the availability of control products lines that are independent of OEM requirements. What do I mean by that? In the past, there were some robust OEM product lines for control systems. The problem was that no one could actually procure these systems unless they were the OEMs.

Nowadays, we have systems that can be procured directly through distribution and supply channels that are open to pretty much anyone. Because of this, these products, when selected for a project, can provide multiple service options. This reduces both installed costs as well as life cycle costs. They give the owner a greater level of independence from a specific manufacturer. A lot of owners find this very attractive in that it enables them to avoid the dreaded 40-50 percent margin for post-installation service calls because there is more competition, and this has the effect of driving down the cost of service. We address this in our article, “How to Evaluate a Building Automation System.”

It’s important to remember to define what openness means to your end customers. In next month’s article, we will be discussing open systems and how to specify openness in your projects.

Project Haystack Organization Launches New Marketing Website

The Project Haystack Organization (, a collaborative community addressing the challenge of utilizing semantic modeling and tagging to streamline the interchange of data among different systems, devices, equipment and software applications, today announced the launch of its new marketing website The new site, which went live on March 1st, features a modern and sophisticated design to promote the vast marketing activities driven by the growing Haystack community and focused on promoting the value of smart data and semantic tagging.

To date, the website of the Project Haystack Organization has been solely for the developer community, featuring updates on semantic tagging, forum discussions and activities of the Working Groups.

“Given the growing amount of marketing activities our community has been initiating in the past few years, such as our up-coming 4th biennial Haystack Connect Conference, our 5th bi-annual issue of Connections Magazine, numerous webinars, exhibits and guest speaking opportunities at industry events, it was easily decided that we needed to provide end-user’s and new developers one place where they could learn more and find out how they can get involved in our organization,” said John Petze, Executive Director of Project Haystack. “It was important that our developer site remain just that.”

While establishing the value of smart data for building systems is where Project Haystack gained its traction and adoption, the Haystack methodology is not just about HVAC, temperature sensors, fans, meters, and building systems. The IoT, BIoT and the IIoT are bringing diverse smart devices into homes, high-rise commercial buildings, industrial facilities, factories and agriculture. The goal of the new marketing website is to help these markets see the potential as smart devices proliferate into solutions no one could have ever imagined even a few years ago, to learn who the suppliers and end-users are from around the world, and why implementing a data management strategy that includes tagging, has become so critical.

“This new website demonstrates the growing acceptance of the value of the Haystack methodology,” added Marc Petock, Executive Secretary of the Project Haystack Organization. “We had a record number of contributed articles featured in our latest Connections Magazine Winter 2019 issue. Now we have expanded the opportunity for the community to contribute articles, videos, promote webinars and events all related to Project Haystack and the value gained from this new abundance of semantic data.”


The new marketing website is at: The Developer Site, with information about the Haystack methodology is available at: The Discussion Forums can be found at:


Robin Bestel

Marketing Manager

Next Generation Innovation Episode 6: Let’s Talk HVAC Software Hacks Young Gun Style

On this podcast, I talk HVAC software and controls with the great young minds ( young guns) in the HVAC Industry.

Ok, I know what you industry veterans are probably thinking, why should I listen to a bunch of youngsters? What could they possibly teach me? Maybe nothing… but face it, like it or not , we are here to stay, and you are lucky we have chosen the HVAC profession.

If you are paying attention you know that finding good, young talent is hard. Between the labor shortage and the millennials who think HVAC is a four letter word and Tim Ferriss’s book The Four Hour Work Week is an unalienable right not a concept, it is a wonder we have so many hard working, young professionals at all. So listen up, take notes and learn how YOUNG GUNS ROLL.

This is an interview series from AHR on Software Ally.  Sadly, three interviews didn’t come through with good sound (I will catch-up with Jeff Crandall @ Profit Rhino, James Whatmore @ JobLogic, and Bill Smith @ Elite Software to re-kindle and get-them-up).

However, we DO HAVE Tim Smith @ HVAC Marketing, Michael Martin @ XREF Publishing, David & Sarah from Product and Customer Success Team @ Jobber  …  AND I’ve included from Canada’s CMPX Show: Lawrence Beauchamp @ Arrow Electronics, and Mark Reilly @ TrackEm.

If you have not already, be sure to check out Episode 4: Future Proof Your Business and  Episode 5: The Importance of Team WorkYoung Gun Style

Ken Sinclair’s Automated Buildings’ March, 2019 Editorial Theme: “Automated Intelligence with Autonomous Interactions”

“The term “AI” “Artificial Intelligence” seems to be troweled on top of everything these days. But I feel we all are a long way from its true definition.

In his March edition of Automated Buildings, owner and editor, Ken Sinclair asks the question, “Is it Artificial Intelligence or Automated Intelligence?” There is an important distinction between the two.

Excerpt from Ken’s March editorial: “Our industry is on a journey towards Automated Intelligence and that for now is the “AI” we are talking about. The interlocking “AI” Autonomous Interaction occurs when we start Automating Intelligence. It is early days but we need to learn how to walk before we can allow true “AI” to run our buildings.” Read more.

More Great March Articles:

Artificial Intelligence for Smart Buildings, Sudha Jamthe, IoTDisruptions

Messaging as a Platform: Human to Machine, Toby Ruckert, UIB

Communities of Practice in Building Automation, Therese Sullivan, Tridium

Beyond BAS – The Anatomy of Disruption, Brad White, SES Consulting Inc.

Smoothing the Bumps, Dave Lapsley, Econowise Group of Companies 

The Most Affordable Energy Monitoring, Michał Bugajski, Global Control 5

Is 2019 Year of Truth for the Built Environment? Marc Petock, Lynxspring, Inc.

Controls-Con 2019 Program Details Released! Kristina Reid, Cochrane Supply & Engineering

The Anatomy of an Edge Controller Part 4 of 4, Calvin Slater, Climatic

The OT vs. IT Debate, Scott Cochrane, Cochrane Supply & Engineering

Integrating Automation, and Helping it Scale, Prabhu Ramachandran, Facilio Inc.

Project Haystack Launches New Marketing Website, Robin Bestel, Project Haystack 

Cutting Through the Hype Surrounding Al, James McHale, Memoori  


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