New model delivers fresh solutions

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Totally integrated: a new wave.

Siemens has long been recognised for its high-quality building automation product portfolio. Our building control products of lighting systems, HVAC, fire and security have been installed in thousands of new and existing buildings and we’re proud of the technological achievements we’ve reached in their development.

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Now, we’re pleased to bring a new service to our customers that integrates our high-tech products with a brand-new bespoke building management system design service, that work in combination to deliver an optimal solution every time.

We believe that a detailed knowledge of the different elements that comprise a building’s digital systems is required so that a first-class design and build can be delivered. This knowledge, when joined with a ready understanding of how these systems can be integrated provides a seamless user experience, and significant cost savings in the design, installation, commissioning and lifetime maintenance of the system.

Our new, multidisciplinary team of operations and design experts is uniquely placed to provide proven technical expertise on the products used to automate buildings and how we can use them to provide safe and efficient building designs. We are now leveraging our technical expertise and coupling it with our project delivery capabilities, to provide integrated, turnkey building automation solutions, across all building digital systems.

Slide3 Powered by partnerships.

So, how does it work? We believe in working closely with both our customers and our trusted partners to make sure the design is perfect and the installation of the highest standard. The process starts with one of our expert consultants technically assessing the requirements through detailed discussions with our customer before producing a design for fire, security and building management systems.

Then comes the conversation about maximising efficiencies and how those systems can be designed to make sure our customer benefits from the cost savings gained from increased functionality.

Next we introduce one of our principal partners to deliver the design through the installation and commissioning of the systems. We have developed excellent partnerships with installation contractors and trust that their skills and expertise complement our products and design.

We’re excited about this new model which perfectly combines our technological expertise and finest products with expert partners to provide our customers with the ultimate solution for their building. A fully integrated service = a full integrated solution.

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There for a lifetime.

We believe that we’re ahead of the game in terms of our product and systems development and technological advances. It’s our focus to continue to spearhead the move towards totally digitalised buildings and, in that respect, we will continue to innovate to make sure we bring the best products and solutions to market. However, we also appreciate we need to be a safe pair of hands when it comes to the through-life maintenance of our systems. Our designs and solutions will only continue to bring efficiencies to our customers if they are well maintained. This is why we have a full-service department with a long-established and knowledgeable team that delivers lifetime support and maintenance: a function that neatly closes the loop on our design, build, deliver model.

 

Efficient, effective, smart.

It is clear there is potential for huge efficiencies from delivering an effective technical solution that unifies the elements of fire, security and business management systems. We have shown that there is a distinct cost benefit to working with us to deliver all three. Added to that bundle the through-life management and upgrades, then we have ‘efficient’ and ‘effective’. But what about ‘smart’?

To bring the ultimate in optimisation, we are using digitalisation and digitised systems to analyse a building’s performance. We are recording all the activities that our systems undertake, such as, how the HVAC is operating: what are the water temperatures and air temperatures during certain points during the day? From the fire system: what detectors have been triggered, what have they detected? Security: where are people moving and how are they getting there?

We then harvest this data, record it and analyse it, and when there is sufficient information we examine the trends and review what that tells us about how the building is being used and how it is operating. This process and detailed analysis will inform future designs and provide us with the opportunity to optimise them which, in turn, will delivers the potential for our customers to operate a truly smart building.

 

The sky’s the limit.

Are there any limits to what our model can achieve? Not really! Our focus is on our customer’s requirements and the purpose of their building – this is what informs our bespoke designs. It makes no difference if the building is new or existing, it all depends on its function; a factory will have very different ambient needs to a clean and sterile pharmaceutical facility.

Designs can range from a simple building that turns on its air-conditioning when the offices are occupied, to a building that understands where its people are, what they are doing, how they got there and what their needs are.

We believe that if you can dream it, we can do it.

Find out more how to digitize your building at siemens.co.uk/buildingtechnologies or contact us

 

I am a Cyborg – are you?

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Photo credit: Chile Turismo

 

I’m sure like many of you, I had a really busy 2016, both at work and at home, and so it was wonderful to have the Christmas break to rest and recharge. This year we decided to do something to celebrate New Year and so we booked a small cottage in Kielder Forest in Northumberland to get away as a family. The idea had been to get back to the great outdoors and, given that Kielder Forest has the darkest skies in England, we thought we’d take the opportunity to do some star gazing.

Given the remoteness of where we were in Northumberland, one added bonus was that we all had to unplug from our tech gadgets. Fortunately the cottage was well stocked with board games and we all thoroughly enjoyed playing board games after dinner (especially Cluedo!)

With the extra time to reflect, I started to think about the pace of change in 2016 and particularly how technology had accelerated yet again. I was drawn to the question whether this pace of technological changes is a good thing or bad thing? Although I could find lots of articles on exciting new technologies coming in 2017, I found it harder to find articles on finding a healthy balance with technology. I did however read an interesting article from Grant Feller, which gave me a useful lens to see this technology change through.

But as I read more, a voice in my loud became louder and louder. A voice reminding me of a presentation I’d had the pleasure of listening to back in February. The voice I could hear in my head was someone saying “I’m a cyborg and I’m going to convince you all that you are cyborgs too” and it was the opening lines from a presentation that Tom Cheesewright gave at HOME in Manchester – a presentation about the future of technology.

This presentation had a huge impact on me in 2016. It was powerful as I had a really strong reaction to the opening statement – I remember thinking, “I’m not a cyborg and actually I don’t want you to convince me that I am”. From my point of view the term Cyborg was a scary term and it brought back all the memories of hiding behind the sofa when I was a kid watching Doctor Who.

However 15 minutes later I was converted.

Within those 15 minutes, Tom explained the original definition of a cyborg from the 1950s and used a wonderful lens to view the technology changes we are going through. So much has changed in the last 25 years such as processing speed, communication power, cost of electronics and we all now carry around super computers in our pockets.

The message was clear – the term cyborg tends to imply some element of subordination but in reality it gives us extra abilities. Being a cyborg means using technology as a prosthetic extension of our bodies to do things quicker and more efficiently than we could alone. When you stop to think about that message, there are so many examples of how our phones, our tablets as prosthetic extensions of our bodies can give us “special abilities.”

So 15 minutes later, I was converted. I wanted to be a Cyborg!

And that was the reminder I needed about where the healthy balance lies with this incredible pace of technology change. I remind myself that technology is there to give me “special abilities” and that if there’s ever an element of subordination, such as regularly checking the number of Twitter followers I’ve got or LinkedIn profile views I’ve had this week, I should switch it off J

In January I’ve already had a couple of great examples where technology has given me special powers. The first actually occurred whilst we were at Kielder. Now I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t know a lot about star gazing and so in expectation of lots of questions from the children, I downloaded an App in advance. It’s an App that if you point your phone in the direction of the stars, it tells you what the constellation is and helps to visualize it. It made the experience so much more enjoyable to be able to clearly see and name the constellations, that my phone was constantly being passed between our family as we lay in a field watching the night sky.

The second example was on Monday the 9th of January 2017, when we had the tube strikes in London. What could have been a stressful disruption to the journey from Manchester to London, actually turned into an amazing walk across the City. I’d always used the tube to get around London, but with that option removed I learnt the journey I took by tube was actually only a 2 mile walk. With the help of Google Maps giving me directions through my headphones, I was able to take in the amazing scenery as I walked across the City. Something that I’ve been doing more often when the weather allows.

I think 2017 is going to be an incredibly exciting year again for technology. However I’m sure that at times I’ll feel that the pace is going too fast and will be questioning have we got the balance right. But with my Cyborg lens in place, I feel I’ve got better checks and balances in place for 2017 and am thoroughly looking forward to making the most of the technology changes this year!

The real power of #storytelling

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I’ve always been fascinated about storytelling and on a couple of occasions over the past few years, I’ve taken the nerve-racking step out of my comfort zone to see if I can develop into a good storyteller. But what makes a good storyteller? My expectation was that a good storyteller would be someone who could put together a compelling story, deliver it with passion and keep an audience engaged and interested. But is it just this?

Last month, I had the pleasure of being asked to present a best practice example in a European annual conference on Building Technologies. This was a great honour and so I jumped at the chance.

The brief was clear: “share a best practice example from the UK. We want to make the conference as interesting and interactive so please try to use a different approach than the usual presentation and if possible use as little PowerPoint as possible.”

So I decided to tell a story.

But where to start from? Before getting into the details, I decided to indulge myself a little and find some inspiration from some great story telling resources. I love listening to great stories – so out came the Story Teller DVD with John Hurt (watched all 8 episodes!) and my favourite ever TED talk (We need to talk about an injustice by Bryan Stevenson). Brilliant examples of how to tell a story and keep the audience hooked. So feeling inspired and with a few tips captured on paper already I  moved onto the next phase.

I like structure so invested in an on line TED course run by Chris Anderson. Wonderful guidance on how to structure a compelling story: (i) identifying the key idea behind the story, (ii) crafting a common throughline (iii) using vulnerability, humour, strong characters and tension to bring the story to life and (iv) making sure I had a powerful start and end to the story.

So with the skeleton of a structure I set about writing the first draft. The story centred around an incredible journey we’d been on with one of our customers over the last four years. As I’d personally not been with the business during the majority of the four year period, I interviewed our Projects Director who had been through every day, week and year of this journey to capture the facts and his firsthand emotions.

The idea was simple – I wanted to share  the significance of having the ability to walk in our customer’s shoes and how this had been the key to our success. Empathy,  understanding and seeing the challenges from their point of view had helped our team find the right solutions and approach.

So I drafted the story and over the next few weeks, with input and feedback from a number of trusted colleagues, I went through nearly 7 different drafts. This feedback was invaluable. I felt that writing a compelling story was like whittling a piece of wood – I had to keep going back to the story, make small adjustments, get opinions and feedback from others and keep “whittling” away until the final story started to emerge.

Once complete, I sent a copy to our Projects Director for final comment and then set about rehearsal. And then it was off to the conference.

Until then, I was expecting that telling the story and watching people’s faces in the audience would be the highlight of this experience. The truth is that, although I thoroughly enjoyed telling the story and although I received lots of positive feedback and comments from the audience, these weren’t the highlights of this experience.

The highlights came from two unexpected sources.

I have two young sons who enjoy a story at bedtime so I used the three nights before the conference event to read this particular story to my kids and see if I could capture their attention. My seven-year-old son was so taken with the story during the rehearsals at home, that on the Sunday before I flew to the conference, he insisted that he wanted to read the story to me. Twice.

The excitement, the passion in which he read the story to me gave me all the energy and confidence I needed that this story had the power to capture imaginations! Also he made me promise that I’d give him a copy to take to school as he wanted to read the story to his teacher and class mates.

The second surprise was when I got back to the office and the Projects Director asked me how the event had gone. He shared with me that he’d printed the final draft of the story out, taken it home and let his wife read it. His wife had been through the real journey over the last four years and had watched and listened to her husband go through the emotional roller coaster over this period.

These two events outshone the actual experience of delivering the story at the conference in a way I couldn’t have imagined. And it brought home the real power of a story; it’s not just about watching the faces in the audience and capturing their imagination.

It’s about telling a story that others want to share.