According to a recent survey, over a quarter of the nation has no idea what “the cloud” is or how “cloud storage” works, but they might be able to identify cumulostratus or cumulonimbus! The poll was undertaken by Currys PC World and is an example of a modern technology that is a mystery to a large percentage of the population, particularly those of a certain age…please don’t be offended, I am that certain age!

Speaking from my own personal experience, I have seen unbelievable advances in technology and I can happily admit that sometimes these concepts are beyond me and on occasion, I find myself resisting them before fully understanding them.

Although my children would no doubt question this, I consider myself reasonably savvy when it comes to new technology and my initial instinct is firstly to try and fully understand it, then process whether or not it is actually useful and adds any value. Without access to young minds be they my children or Young Engineers, I am absolutely certain that it wouldn’t be so easy for me to understand or evaluate these new concepts.

It simply is a different world for the young people of today whose baseline entry level for technology is high from a very early age. The majority of children are confident users of contemporary tablets & devices before they even start school. Touchscreens, swiping and double-clicking are now part of today’s language and key-skill expectation – young people are absorbing vast amounts of technological knowledge on a range of devices that even some adults around them have no idea how to fathom…

Intelligent controls and sophisticated technology are at the heart of the building controls sector and here is a challenge – there are many who understandably believe that the advance in technology happened so quickly that it obscured the physics and thermodynamics of basic HVAC control. “The computer shows that the valve is closed” is a common example given, and with further ‘basic knowledge’ investigation, the actuator might be closed but it is on the floor next to the valve which is fully open! Perhaps this is not the best example, but you get the point…

So, the golden opportunity for us is to realign this technology/experience imbalance and bring as many young engineers into our sector with their high-level technology skills and blend this with a solid foundation of training. From this, we will have innovative, problem solving engineers that we need to design and commission smart buildings that are super-sophisticated but never overlooking the basics.

Another of the many reasons for us to welcome young engineers to the workforce is their ability to easily decipher the latest technologies. For a large majority of young people, they may not even realise how technically gifted they are as they switch from watching films on their tablet, to listening to music on their wireless headphones, or chatting to their friends online while playing on their game console…
Young people are using a wide range of technologies every day whether it be in a wearable form such as a watch or downloading apps on a smartphone. These skills which have become second nature to the younger population can really benefit our industry. As a result, with an influx of skilled, tech-savvy and talented engineers, they can be part of the journey to maximise opportunities in commercial buildings and take the sector to the next level…

The next generation can help us future-proof buildings, promote wellbeing and be ready to address further technological challenges that we may face…time is not standing still, and neither must we. Innovation is continuing at lightning speed and as an industry we must be pro-active. New faces to the industry can give a fresh new perspective on tasks and help find new ways to problem solving. What’s more, they can share their expertise and suggestions with other colleagues to make us collectively stronger to deliver a sustainable future over the long term…

So, if you don’t know your cloud computing from your big data within a building, perhaps now is the time to bite the bullet and take a chance on a young talent who may just be the person to help boost the building controls industry. A final thought on young people; they think they are learning from us, but we are also learning from them…!

 


Category: President's Blog