Thursday, April 30, 2009

Saving Energy Through Building Automation

I read a great article from Neil Gifford at Smart Buildings this morning. I always enjoy reading what he has to say about how technology is making buildings smart. When you really start to get in to this stuff like I am, you start to see how the future of green and sustainability has a lot to do with our adoption of technology in our buildings. This goes far beyond just automation for lighting and HVAC systems – even though simple automation helps a lot (I leave the room and the lights automatically turn off after 5 minutes). Neil talks more about how an intelligent building wide automation system should start to take data in real time by monitoring building loads and usage in real time and reporting that information back to facilities managers to act upon. Based upon specific data and parameters set, the system could automatically adjust heating and cooling loads based on occupancy data and similar factors.

Check out the article for all you designers, builders and facilities managers. Looking forward to getting more of these types of systems in our buildings!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A slight change in approach - sometimes little things make all the difference

So I've been struggling to explain the value of using a blog and other social networking tools in the business I work for.  It isn't that my company isn't forward thinking - we are - it is just that the idea of "jumping in" without some type of long thought out plan or implementation strategy is somewhat frightening.  I've grown up in the age of digital communication so using things like this are not scary or wierd to me.  In fact, trying to get by without them in my day to day business seems much more strange.  

Today I am announcing the migration of this blog from an "under the radar" company focused blog, to a blog about me.  How I personally use technology and systems to help my clients and partners achieve their goals.   All in all this is about networking and helping the people that I'm connected with.  I think by using the blog as my own personal platform - not a platform of the company I work for - it will be more effective.  

I would be interested to hear if anyone else has had the same experience and what conclusions you have come to?  Does your company have a blog or do you have one personally?  I know I personally feel a bit liberated to know that I can speak my mind how I choose and that my opinion is in no way the exact opinion of the company I work for as a whole.    It will help everyone stay in their comfort zone.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Future of Travel = No Travel at all

Wow. All I can say is wow. Ray Kurtzweil is a crazy guy, but probably a genius as well. Many people probably either don't agree with his ideas or are just too darn scared of them to admit it. I've read a lot about his ideas, and just came across this interesting article that touches on the future of travel and conferencing. While videoconferencing and telepresence is a cool thing right now, advances in technology are going to exponentially change the way in which we communicate. Take this article with Mr. Kurtzweil for example. Here he talks about how advances in nanobots and 3D technology will actually create virtual reality enviornments that seem completely real to us. I like the idea of "traveling" in 3D to a remote location where my image is projected just like I'm really there. I'm not so sure about nanobots taking over my body to induce a VR environment!

What do you think about Ray's ideas? Is he crazy or does he really have some good points? If the world really came to this, how do you see yourself reacting? After all, 2030 really isn't that far away!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bear Creek High School - Interview with MediaLogix Lead Tech

It is always nice to get an (unintentional) mention in the media about your company. While MediaLogix isn’t specifically mentioned in this article, one of our Lead Technicians, Chad Scholtec is. A reporter from Mile High News was recently at Bear Creek High School, one of the projects or firm is currently wrapping up. In the article Chad answers some questions about technology systems (Interactive Whiteboards specifically) and how they are being utilized at Bear Creek. Good stuff!
Click here for the Article:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Construction Industry & Investing In Technology

After reading a recent article in ConstrucTech magazine, a few thoughts came to my mind that have been brewing for quite some time. The article focuses on how construction firms are being forced to look more towards technology solutions to help improve efficiencies in their organizations. It talks about how technology can really help contractors to be better at estimating and project management efforts if they would just use the tools they already have better, and start taking things like BIM (Building Information Modeling) seriously.

While I agree that technology can really help any organization who is serious about improving, I have a little bit of a different approach than most. Just as the article says that builders are on average using only 20-30% of the capabilities of their current software systems, I think there is a reason for that. Software and technology is only good to a company if it is easy to use and manage. You can have all the features in the world but if the system isn't easy to use, it is for nothing.

My suggestion to the construction industry is this:

Start focusing on ease of use, and improving communications. This doesn't mean having more meetings or sending out more articulated addendums (althought that couldn't hurt). It means taking a fresh approach to how builders communicate internally and externally on projects. Why not start using new (and sometimes free) communications tools such as Blogs, Twitter & LinkedIn groups? Instead of sending out individual emails to every sub contractor on your project, setup a blog and give subcontractors access to that blog. All new status updates can be posted here such as RFP's, RFI's, addendums, project drawings, etc....

Why not setup a private Twitter group for your internal project teams and use if for sending out frequent, up to the minute updates to your team? Everyone has cell phones right? By communicating things in real time, you can save precious money & resources.


Something very cool to look in to is a product called BaseCamp created by a company called 37Signals. This product is an EXTREMELY easy to use Project Management tool that focuses on the communication aspect of projects. By using a Blog type format for organization, a new project can be setup online where files can be stored & shared, all communications can be centralized, and things like project calendars and the like can all be centralized. Finally all communications with all team members can be kept in one place. It plays very nice with email as well.

In closing, I really just want to drive the point home that technology shouldn't be about more and more features. Technology should help enable. Enable better communcations. Enable better efficiencies. Enable people to do their job and only their job.

How does your organization rate when it comes to this simple concept? Does the technology you use empower or slow down your employees? Take a really close look and answer honestly.....

Customer Loyalty Programs - The Next Frontier

I've written a lot about RFID and it's applications for businesses. There are tons of new applications and solutions being developed that I can't even begin to keep up with them. I talked a couple weeks ago how car dealerships are starting to use the technology. Today I read about a new solution that can be deployed in a number of different enviornments including retail and restrurants - particularly fast food restaurants.

Check out this article for complete details. The idea is that a customer can get and RFID enabled "customer loyalty card" that is linked to personal details via a customer focused web site. Every time the customer comes to the store, a RFID reader picks up the customer information and can display certain information to the store employee. Information such as "this customer always orders chicken sandwiches without pickles". This enables the employee to offer a better customer experience by automatically alerting the customer that they will make the sandwich without pickles.

Over time, the data is recoreded and stored under the customer profile. You can see how this information can become extremely valuable to the store owner.

When integrated with Digital Signage and possibly even video communications, there are all sorts of cool things you can start to do with this technology. I can think of a number of ideas. What about you? What could we build using this technology to help you and your organization?
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