Earlier this month while at AIA 2019, a few things stood out that you might consider in planning for 2020:
- Architect diversity and similarities coexist
- New realities are changing building strategies
- Building product manufacturers have to help connect the dots
While I’ll just briefly touch on each of these observations, I could easily go into depth on each one – maybe next time.
Diverse Architects. Singular Mission.
First – and this may seem like an overstatement of the obvious—despite the diversity of the architectural community it is unified by its singular goal: to create and build spaces that are secure, efficient, comfortable, sustainable and resilient.
While attending a CE course with about 300 architects, the wide variety of ages, genders, cultures, digital experiences, and uses of technology could not have been more extreme. However, everyone was there for the same purpose: to advance their knowledge in order to enhance their designs.
Watching and listening to the audience in attendance, it was clear that building product manufacturers’ marketing teams will have to think and act differently when determining the best manner to engage, educate and align this new audience behind their brand.
Designing for our new Reality
Morpheus, in The Matrix said it best: “What is real? How do you define 'real'? If you’re talking about what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then 'real' is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain." This leads me to my second take-away: New realities are driving shifts in building strategies and pushing product innovation.
In the building market today, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is using sensor technology that can be integrated into the Fire Alarm Control Unit (FACU) to provide real-time information for a designated area. Picture this: the AI unit scans the area and provides real-time information about what is happening. If there is something out of the norm, the unit will provide relevant information to the proper personnel for a quick, accurate response. In this way, AI can provide Life Safety Strategies from a “keep the danger out” all the way to a “protect and delay while first responders are notified” mentality.
On the sustainability front, Net Zero, whether energy or water, or, energy and water, is here to stay as demonstrated by the UK government’s commitment to Net Zero greenhouse emissions by 2050.** The interesting thing to note is that Net Zero is also being considered as a transition plan and not just for new build projects.
As building strategies evolve, building product manufacturers obviously will need to innovate products that meet the changing needs. At the same time, their marketing teams should assume the role of providing architects with insights into product development and product differentiation.
Connecting the Dots
And last, but certainly not least . . . building product marketing teams need to take an active role in helping architects, engineers and owners connect the dots. As architects move from the 40,000 ft. building’s purpose and vision to a 1 ft., very detailed view of an install, they will need help connecting the dots – learning how all the products work together to solve today’s building challenges – from life safety, to energy and water reclamation and reuse to affordable housing to migratory bird legislation. Building product manufacturers are part of the solution. To be a part of the solution, marketing teams should communicate not only their product attributes, but how their products fit within the larger building eco-structure.
AIA is always a bit of a wake-up call that this industry is ever evolving. This year’s take-aways of increasing architect diversity and evolving building strategies given new technology and environmental realities are continuing evidence of this ever-advancing nature. However, there is one constant – solving today’s building challenges requires a solid team working together. Building product manufacturers and their marketing teams are a key part of the solution.
*Morning Brew, Gaming – How Do Teens Spend Their Time, June 13, 2019
**BBC News: Science & Environment, Climate Change: UK government to commit to 2050 target. By Roger Harrabin, June 12, 2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-48596775