Wow, it is day 5 already. What have we been up to, and where has the time gone? For the past 3 days since the kickoff we have been conducting in depth interviews across a multitude of disciplines to understand the problem details, scope and background. We have talked to electrical engineers, facility engineers, billing, urban planners, educators, and policy makers. We have toured the municipal hospital to see how it could be a pilot for some of the energy conservation and renewable energy actions that are being suggested. We have compiled a large amount of data to help us understand the technical, financial and societal implications of moving San Isidro towards a leader in reduced energy consumption. The leaders we met are very passionate about finding cleaner sources of energy while reducing consumption, to lessen the impact on the environment. It is not a trivial task but they are determined, and uniteing across organizations to do it! We have been impressed and inspired with what they have researched so far — and their commitment to push forward.
Our task is to formulate actionable recommendations that will live up to San Isidro’s motto, “ we are different.” So no business as usual recommendations – what can really give San Isidro the capability to pilot and learn, and then replicate the pilot into a large scale deployment of generating and concurrently reducing energy consumption? A part of energy conservation is making sure the equipment using energy, like air conditioning units, are working properly. As an experiment while we are here, we are attaching listening devices to the air conditioners, to create machine learning models that will recognize when a machine is acting abnormally, and notify a technician immediately of the fail. We needed to attach our “stethoscope” to the air conditioners, so Anne, myself and a small team of engineers, and our translator, made our way to the roof top units. We were not expecting to have to crawl through a window to reach the roof – but with a little help, a little push and a little catch – we were on the roof !
We had to install hot spots to send the data to the cloud – and with 86 degree weather and full sun on the roof — we became hot spots too. And after fixing a network bandwidth issue, data was flowing ! Great teamwork !
And now the magic begins. No, not the analysis of the data and insights we get. Something more. Eight strangers becoming one unit, something far more than just a team. When you are immersed together in the same environment, tackling a tough problem in a limited amount of time – you have to depend on each other for the survival of the project. That heightens your awareness of each other’s skills and strengths, and heightens your own awareness of how to contribute. I am working with a very talented team and I have to bring my “A” game to the table…and at the same time I am learning a lot about different approaches in getting needed information from an organization, defining and scoping a problem and brainstorming to solve it.
And living with each other day after day, you know what other magic occurs? Friendships!!
All that, and it’s only day 5. Stay tuned.