Auckland w78 conference (day 3)ΒΆ

Tags: aec

The thirth and final (half)day of the conference. See 2nd or 1st or workshop day for the previous installments. Keynote by Mary Lou Maher - blurring the boundaries between physical and virtual

Her talk centered on three topics:

Virtual worlds
(Reinout: there were many presentations on this topic at this conference.) People from all over the world can now meet and co-operate in virtual worlds. She showed many examples.
Augmented reality
Basically the same things as shown in the workshop day, see the explanation there.
Pervasive computing
Computers, computers everywhere. Where the digital meets the physical. From strange examples like fridges with internet or a browser in the cutting board to more building-oriented thought-experiments.

David Harrison - webservices in the building industry

"Web services enable the bridging of data islands" (reinout: fits well with a previous entry by me about information islands)

"We need open indexes built from closed valuable data".

"Context is important in the dissemination of knowledge".

In New Zealand builders are among the first to use all the possibilities of mobile phones. So if there's a real and tangible benefit in using web services, they'll be very quick in adopting it.

Robin Drogemuller

You can do a lot of nice things when your drawing is stored in an accessible database (accessible by other applications) compared to stored just where your CAD package can reach it. There are some issues though:

  • ownership
  • trust
  • access control
  • versioning

Angela Lee

Crime is a problem. In Manchester (UK) the idea cropped up to design security into the built environment. They try to analise all sorts of available ideas and try to find out whether and how to use them.

For example, you shouldn't place a tree close to a house. Fine, but: how close is close?

Per Christiansson - Next generation knowledge management systems for the construction industry

Very nice paper

Change of paradigm

The internet (http, xml, uri) changed everything. There is a change of paradigm: information containers dynamically composed and everything stored in a wide variety of formats.

All info is accessible. Good info. Bad info. (Reinout: just like "all news is good news" it seems like "any info is good info")

Per observed that we seemed to be aiming at a core model again.

Temporal databases

Didn't write anything down for this one.

Semantic web

Per expects the semantic web to take off in the forseable future. Everything of value in the building industry should be fitted out with a URI (http://www.example.com/buildingA/floor42). RDF, the semantic web's language (or a similar technology) is the metadata that describes those URIs.

Very important is the design of tools/methods/etc together with the industry.

John Kamara - knowledge management

Knowledge management can be done either within individual organisations or within a project. The latter is the subject of his presentation.

Knowledge management within a project has some challenges:

  • Live capture of project knowledge.
  • Knowledge reuse during and after the project's life
  • Reuse of collective learning (the things learned collectively by everybody in the project) by individual firms.

A couple of tools:

  • Project extranets, growing use in UK building industry.
  • Workflow management and other groupware applications.

[Then followed an explanation of his framework, I didn't write it down].

At the end of the presentation someone asked whether his tools intervened directly into the proces or if they silently gathered information. The answer was "both".

Benoit Otjacques - management of the information flow within companies

Appropriate management of information flows is a competetive advantage.

  1. User perspective: the right info for the the right person at the right moment.
  2. Tech perspective. smtp, http, etc.

Information exchange can be either "pull" (passive user) or "push" (active user). The definition of "push" being any information flow that occurs without explicit request by the person recieving it.

Actuall, a push at layer (n) may be implemented as a pull mode at layer (n-1), but that's a technicality. (You send (push) an email. But the recipient downloads the message from the server (pull)). You have to look at the level where there is the actual human/computer interaction.

There are two problems:

  • Information overload
  • Information assymmetry. Persons have access to the same object at different information levels. (Reinout: I guess it's something like this: someone may see a meeting scheduled in an calendar, a second person sees the meeting agenda of the same meeting and the thirth person has access to the detailed minutes of the meeting.)

Push can be advantageous for reminders, when a rapid answer is required or when an answer is mandatory. Possible information overload is the disadvantage.

Pull limits information overload and doesn't disturb the incoming flow. The disadvantage is that it depends on an initiative by the user. Also information might be hard to find.

In the building industry a combination of push and pull is normally found.

  • Project websites are "pull".
  • Reminders and notifications of changes on the project website are "push".

Angela Lee

Basic tenet: Try very hard to match the media richness to the task relevance.

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My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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