June 2020

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COVID-19 New Normal Not Normal

As I started to research what the New Normal might look like it became very obvious that Not Normal will prevail.

Ken Sinclair
Founder, Owner, Publisher

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COVID-19 New Normal Not Normal

Unabridged version

The new normal will not be any normal we know. It is a complete global reboot of our existing way of life and organization, everything involved in purpose, process, work location, and local variations.  Our human social/physical distancing needs to be addressed in our cities, transportation, buildings, and our complete world.  The connected world is now physically apart but more virtually connected than ever.


Some have challenged my choice of the word reboot in the computer sense as it alway takes us back to the same place but I was thinking of it in the literal definition "When the holder of the intellectual property discards all existing continuity and starts from scratch it is known as rebooting."

As I started to research what the New Normal might look like it became very obvious that Not Normal will prevail. A quick summary follows but take a read of the quotes I have extracted and drill down to actually articles and links to form your own opinions.

Software companies are not returning to offices/campuses. Existing buildings will be faced with incredible challenges as the occupants will want to know the building is safe. Everything must be physical distanced, touch less and/or self cleaning. A scramble to get everything and everyone online. Will this lead to high rise offices being turned into vertical farms?

It is a time of a power shift in the industry in which we will grow younger, rapidly. Those that struggle with providing amazing value remotely will perish and those who were born connected, the Z - generation, lead by enlightened millennial's will flourish and provide the necessary not normal transition. Doors are now open for the young who were born connected to join the giants Amazon, Google, Microsoft or innovate with Millennial's start-ups. Their summer jobs will be wrangling data from home not waiting tables.

In our last chapter we speak to crafting our New Not Normal; good to review.
Research, Reinvent, Recreate, Reboot - Repeat if Necessary

Working online works so well for knowledge workers, will they ever come back to large buildings?

Twitter employees don’t ever have to go back to the office (unless they want to)  The company is letting any employees who want to work from home do it forever.

Shopify is a digital by default company. We will keep our offices closed until 2021
so that we can rework them for this new reality. And after that, most will permanently work remotely. Office centricity is over.

For the giants FAAAM  - Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, they will come out of COVID stronger than ever. This is the best of times they will be slow to move back to their campuses.  Why do big software companies have real estate? Because it is real and tangible, not soft and virtual like their businesses so it adds to their total value and helps to preserve their net worth and increase traditional investment. Will this trend continue? It will be interesting how they re-purpose these real assets. Live in learning?

Will the future of large buildings become a safe shelter, a place to live away from home for select employees in small numbers who are creating and augmenting their online offerings?

COVID-19 will accelerate digital adoption, investments in Cloud, AI and cybersecurity:  Aarthi Subramanian, Group Chief Digital Officer, Tata Sons
May 15, 2020 | Microsoft News Center India

Talking about the 25/25 announcement by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), which aims to have only 25% of the workforce in offices at any given time by 2025, Subramanian highlighted how the forced work from home resulted in new experiences for employees and work from home has become the new normal across the Tata group of companies.


MetaProp’s investor base represents 15+ billion square feet of owned and managed real estate.  In addition, we run the industry’s largest global PropTech startup portfolio.  So our world straddles broad cross-sections of both the global institutional real estate community and the PropTech startup ecosystem. This vantage point has offered a privileged perspective on current events, and their impacts on and implications for both the traditional real estate and PropTech communities.

During a disruptive event of this scale, no one’s crystal ball is completely clear. And the longer one extends the time horizon, the hazier the view becomes. However, in the near, and increasingly in the medium-term, the effects of the current crisis are beginning to come into sharper focus. As they do, we wanted to take a moment to share our frontline view, informed extensively by conversations with our network partners, on how the current dislocation is impacting the real estate and PropTech innovation communities.

As COVID-19 lockdowns lift, we’ll shift to a 'new normal' more hyper focused on the health and well-being of People Flow. Original post Maciej Kranz ttps://

In offices, malls, metro stations, and other places, Smart Buildings can offer contactless calls from mobile apps to elevators, which are fitted with the latest air-purifier and surface-sanitizer technologies, and escalators can feature self-disinfecting handrails.

What to expect on your first day back in a touch-free, socially distant office
As we return to work, companies will be using all kinds of new technology to help keep you safe—and track your every move.

When you arrive at work, you’re a little nervous about touching anything, since the virus can live for hours or even days outside a host. But you might find that it’s possible to do a growing number of tasks during the day without having to touch any public keypads. Instead, you can use your phone. “The phone now becomes your personal touch pad for things like elevators, or conference room technology,” says Doug Stewart, the head of smart building and workplace technology at the real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield.

Toby Ruckert Innovationist, Polymath, Founder/CEO UIB provides this quote but counters with While we're selling contactless technology solutions at UIB, I'm personally convinced that it's the warm welcomes and human touch which lights up our professional world.

"Seemingly overnight, our industry needed to make everything “touch-less.” The fastest way to scale this? Conversational AIoT. Chatbots, robots, digital humans, and voice interfaces — all powered by UIB’s Unified Intelligent Brain — use AI to let users talk and text in natural language in any language on all of their favorite channels (including WhatsApp!) to control connected systems and devices on the smartphones they already have in their pockets. As this new normal is anything but for everyone, users get what they’re already familiar with, their phone, their channel, and even their language. Property owners get safety, speed, security, and, of course, the extra bonus of users’ conversational data and analytics."  

Remote work forever, voice-controlled everything in the office, and other new normals of the future   Simon Pitt May 15

We are living in a world of division, bifurcated along so many lines: Those who want to return as quickly as possible and those who don’t. Those who oppose the lockdown and those who support it. Those who are thriving in this environment and those who are struggling. Companies like Deliveroo, Uber, and Amazon embody this split: part of their workforce are highly paid staff developers with pensions, sick pay, and benefits who work from home. The rest are casual “contractors” who the company argues are definitely not employees, and who have no benefits, are compensated in piecework hourly rates, and are forced to put themselves at risk working on the front lines of the pandemic. People who until a few months ago were awarded low wages because they were “unskilled” have been restyled as “critical” workers, forced to continue working.

Welcome to Nexus, a newsletter, podcast, and membership community for smart people applying smart building technology—written by James Dice. If you’re new to Nexus, you might want to start here.

Found this article from James Newsletter very interesting "Not Normal"

The office is dead (Medium)—“Get ready for the commercial real estate apocalypse”. Pair with Manhattan Faces a Reckoning if Working From Home Becomes the Norm (New York Times)

.”Sure, Levy says, we’re suddenly having a moment where people are realizing they might not need all this space, “but the reality is that you haven’t needed office space for at least the past 10 years, but people still want it

What next for the office in a post-COVID world? OMERS Ventures

Office barriers There are many challenges that must be overcome to open offices, some of which are out of companies and landlords’ control. These include:

Public transit — for employees who have to take the train, bus or subway to work, the commute is more of a risk than the office environment;

Common spaces — landlords must manage common spaces in buildings including lobbies elevators and washrooms;

Inability to socially distance within the office — many offices are set up in a way where the spacing between work stations and common areas do not meet social distancing guidelines; and

Childcare — as schools are closed right now, parents must manage childcare at home which, depending on their situation could prevent them from being out of the house.

Post Pandemic Building Readiness - It won’t be back to ‘normal’  

Industry veteran Rick LeBlanc speaks about the post pandemic challenges for building owners and service providers when it is time for tenants and staff to return to work. When stay-at home orders are lifted and people want to return to their workplace, the buildings need to be back in full operation, ready for the occupants who will want to know the building is safe.

New Post-COVID Building IoT Report Reveals Scale of the Crisis & Opportunity Published: May 20th, 2020

The impact of COVID and the subsequent lockdowns on real estate is not purely in economic terms, however. The crisis will also change the way we use our buildings and spaces, creating unprecedented challenges in the post-COVID era. The earliest indicators of what a post-lockdown working world might look like are slowly emerging as France, Italy and others begin to tentatively ease their lockdown measures. This “new normal” that we hear so much about, looks very different, especially when it comes to commercial real estate.

The Virtual Reality of the Post-COVID “New Normal” Published: May 22nd, 2020

They should really call it physical distancing, not social distancing. It seems like the connected world has become even more connected through virtual face-to-face interactions

“The Covid-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. Yet the virus has initiated perhaps the first stage of a good behavioural change. The lockdown in place today is unprecedented, yet its timing is fortuitous. Work in technologies like AR/VR/MR allows people to shop, talk, and socialize using these immersive platforms. These technologies are affordable and readily available. Even after the lockdown ends, the behavioural change it instigated will last considerably longer if not forever,” says Nikhil Joshi, Co-founder at AR/VR specialists, Digital Jalebi.

Here is voice track from CABA presentation we start at 5:15 into the meeting

The CABA Intelligent Buildings Council works to strengthen the large building automation industry through innovative technology-driven research projects.


How Smart City Planning Could Slow Future Pandemics

The Covid-19 crisis is an opportunity to rethink how cities are designed—and make them better equipped to stop disease from spreading.

THE CITIES OF the world are sick. As the coronavirus pandemic continues, people living in metropolitan areas have been among the worst hit, unable to socially distance effectively and sometimes plagued with preexisting conditions that their cities helped create. Many municipalities weren’t built with highly transmissible infectious disease—or human health—in front of mind, and the toll of Covid-19 is making that oversight all too clear. “We’re on an urban planet. The global economy is living and dying by what happens in cities,” says Jason Corburn, who studies urban health at UC Berkeley. “We’ve got to pay attention.”

The Virtual Watercooler?

Clubhouse voice chat leads a wave of spontaneous social apps Josh Constine@joshconstine / 5:22 pm PDT•April 18, 2020

Sheltered From Surprise - What quarantine has revealed is that when you separate everyone, spontaneity is a big thing you miss. In your office, that could be having a random watercooler chat with a co-worker or commenting aloud about something funny you found on the internet. At a party, it could be wandering up to chat with group of people because you know one of them or overhear something interesting. That’s lacking while we’re stuck home since we’ve stigmatized randomly phoning a friend, differing to asynchronous text despite its lack of urgency.

This Not Normal big shift for is bad news for service workers/providers, unions and will provide a bigger gap in the digital divide.

Interesting times; travel, sports, entertainment and any human gatherings will never be the same. Also is this the end of cash?

Those that said they would never change are changing to survive.

Expect a scramble to get everything and everyone online to find how each can leverage their own purpose. Local services that we all use will be contacts on our mobile phone, as will the call for services and payment. From takeout to fine dinning, lawn mowing, even washing windows. All local services will be forced online and connected to the providers individual cell phone.

Humor me and let me in my mind take you on a short journey into how not normal this could get. Will this lead to high rise offices being turned into vertical farms? The buildings have power, natural light, water, and mostly location to the need.

"Reduced car use in Paris has meant underground car parks can be used for growing mushrooms instead"

There are huge, untapped areas in the centers of many cities that we could be using to make the food chain more resilient.

But there are countless ways that cities can feed themselves and create better linkages between rural and urban food systems.

As I started with this article we need to unhinge our mind and view a new very connected world because the,

New Normal Not Normal
We need to keep on the process of, Research, Reinvent, Recreate, Reboot - Repeat if Necessary

Follow my daily shares on LinkedIn to help feed the process

This Cartoon post is a scary view of Not Normal, but this is just the first wave

Wash your hands and grab a surfboard! 💦🏄🏽‍♀️

Just like surfing, it's better to learn with minor waves than the major ones. Because the latter could actually kill you.

Most of us do have a choice. You can either choose to ignore it (...and get hit hard), try to swim fast enough to avoid it OR you can learn how to ride it.

But first you need to learn how to surf. You need to understand where and when that wave is prepared and adapt.
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