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Daedalus was the mythical great architect and artificer of the classical world. Today, embedded intelligence is enabling the most profound changes in the way we create and use buildings since his day.

Building Intelligence meets the Intelligent Building. The Intelligent Building negotiates with the Intelligent Grid. How will this transform how we interact with the physical world?

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« Ambient Information and Behavior Changes | Changes in State »
Tuesday
Aug212007

Managing the Impulse for Control

Monday’s Wall Street Journal included an article on how technology has reduced the impulse control of top executives. Empowered by cell phones and Blackberries, they can no long control the impulse to reach out and touch their staff. The electronic tether means these executives are always on, unable to go on vacation, to really take time off. This poses two classes of risk. The executive experiences a loss of recovery time and narrowing of interests that hurts his long-effective. The more insidious problem is that his staff and top managers are unable to take responsibility for their jobs. Constant micromanagement enervates most staff and alienates the best. The interference and implied lack of trust was cited as a significant cause of turnover among the hardest to replace staff.

The same issue included an editorial by Dick Armey on the FAA and Air Traffic Control. He recommends closing down large portions of the current system and moving to one based upon a pervasive GPS. He described this process as moving from Flight Control to Air Traffic Management. A significant barrier to progress is the desire of Congress to preserve control and patronage in each and every district. The delays caused by the inability of the current Air Traffic Control to handle the current volume of flights are a significant cause of the frustrations of flying this summer.

In oBIX, if we do our work right, we will significantly reduce the span of control in today’s over-integrated systems. Individual systems and their control systems will be isolated with their own interfaces. To the extent the interfaces become service oriented, they will eliminate central system micromanagement of control, to be replaced with coordination of services. As in business, this will allow the systems with better service agents to flourish. A significant difference is that in building systems, the best agents can be replicated, extending the benefits of their superior performance.

As the GridWise Architectural Council defines the Service Oriented Grid, demand/response and site generation will be additional services proffered to the market by building-based agents. These autonomous agents will negotiate with the site-based system services, in response to the goals of the local enterprises, and with the awareness of live electricity pricing to offer load management services to the grid. These agents will manage the economical production of heightened amenities to the building occupants. This will be far more effective, and far better accepted than is central control of water heaters and building chillers by the grid.

It’s hard to give up control. Giving up control means giving up cherished perquisites of authority and the comfort well-worm processes. Giving up control means establishing objectives and letting others perform. But giving up control means the best and the brightest will work with you. Giving up control means that that your organization will be as intelligent as the sum of your staff, and not just as limited as you are. Giving up controls lets individual agents compete on the most economical provision of the best benefits. Giving up control increases the intelligence of any service, human or machine, as the creativity and skills of all our allowed to compete.

If we could only manage the impulse for control…

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    Response: New Daedalus Blog
    Lynne Kiesling I have been remiss in not recommending to you the New Daedalus blog by Toby Considine, one of the most visionary folks I know in the intelligent buildings and IT space. His post about information and behavior changes...
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