June 2013
Interview

AutomatedBuildings.com

Babel Buster Network Gateways: Big Features. Small Price.
Control Solutions, Inc. - Minnesota

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Kerri Lee SinclairEMAIL INTERVIEW Kerri Lee Sinclair and Ken Sinclair

Kerri Lee Sinclair, Vice President, O&M Solutions, Aconex

Kerri Lee is currently Vice President, O&M Solutions for Aconex, the leading online document management and web collaboration system that uses the internet to manage information for projects of all sizes in construction, engineering and infrastructure.  Part of the company’s leadership team, she has been responsible for acquisition integration and currently heads up a new business unit formed through a recent acquisition in July 2012.

Kerri Lee’s previous experience includes co-founding AgentArts, a patented, end-to-end personalization solution for entertainment content and service providers acquired by Fast (a Microsoft subsidiary) in 2008.  Other professional experience includes working for a range of growth technology businesses including Telstra Wholesale, Intelematics, and LookSmart, as well as global management consultancy, McKinsey & Company.



The Glass Half-Full

This technology will change the industry. It won’t happen today, but it should provide a catalyst for both vendors and buyers to get really serious about the recommendations that are emerging around open standards.


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AB: I saw the Google Glass announcement, but I must admit I hadn’t seen the connection to our readership, and then I saw your A Heads-up on Heads-up Displays post where you saw great potential (with some delays). Explain? 

KLS:  I remember sitting through a product strategy course once, and the instructor said, “You never test your products on the average person – design for the person who has the real problem.” Everyone in the field has the same problem – getting access to the information they need when they’re in the field. Facility engineers often have the added complication of having their hands full while they’re in the field. There’s a lot of buzz around people walking into Starbucks with the Google Glass on, but I really think it needs to have a practical use – just like a pair of reading glasses do now. Most people don’t walk or drive around with reading glasses on. They read with them.

AB: So why aren’t you investing in building us some Google Glasses?

KLS:  Through my role at Aconex, I have done site tours of some of the newest and best-run facilities in the world. I have hundreds of photos of the rooms/areas/tunnels where operation and maintenance (O&M) information is currently stored – it is a lesson in chaos! I’m working on a major project now where the facilities staff can’t even find some of the structural engineering drawings and is paying thousands to have them replaced. In that sense, there isn’t much to view through the Google Glass(es) right now! They would be just a fashion accessory!

AB: Things are changing. What was great about the Haystack Connect event we just returned from was that it was organized by small, mid-sized and emerging companies, trying to get their heads around how attaching data models for self-discovery of their real time data could help them survive and bring value to an IT world.

KLS:  Definitely, and the point of my post was that this technology will change the industry. It won’t happen today, but it should provide a catalyst for both vendors and buyers to get really serious about the recommendations that are emerging around open standards. Until you have access to all of your building information electronically – complete, current and compliant, with relevant asset tagging, and in a form that you can use today – I don’t see the glasses adding any magic to the reality.

Control Solutions, Inc AB: You also mention BIM in your post as a future trend – I think most of my readers would say BIM is firmly here and part of their attempts to gather all of the information you suggest.

KLS:  BIM is definitely here, and there’s some amazing work being done around the world. However, an owner is still required to manage the process. I don’t see facility and operations managers owning the BIM process at the moment – it is owned by the architect or the contractor. Therefore, the information that will be captured and prioritized may not be the information that facility and operations managers want. We need to follow the advice for BIM that my product strategy instructor gave me years ago – “design for the person who has the real problem.”  While BIM is moving quickly to deliver operational efficiencies, many models are being used to solve the design or the construction problem – not the asset lifecycle problem.

AB: An article from our contributing editor Jim Sinopoli in this month's issue agrees; "The larger picture and the utilization of BIM should be an approach of a life-cycle asset management tool. Such a tool is used in creating and acquiring data during design and construction which is then delivered to facility management. It’s the building operations that will be 85 to 95 percent of a building’s lifecycle."

From another interview this month Marc’s words speak to your points as well;  "There needs to be a defined, machine readable methodology to be able to interpret the meaning of data so that applications can easily consume it without a lot of manual work."

All this fits well with our June theme; “Data Models Alter Industry Dynamics” plus the goals of the Aconex Smart Manuals.

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