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'BIG DATA' draws crowd, blows minds, feeds buzz

'BIG DATA' draws crowd, blows minds, feeds buzz

Lynn Osmond, CEO of CAF, introduces the event's speakers.

Lynn Osmond, CEO of CAF, introduces the event's speakers.

Reflecting on last week's successful joint program here, the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) and BuiltWorlds could hardly have been more pleased with the SRO turnout and content-rich environment created by 'The BIG Idea: Experience Data'

"This was our best event yet and we are thrilled to have been able to propel this conversation forward among technologists, architects, contractors, developers and researchers," said Matt Abeles, managing director of BuiltWorlds, the online industry forum which sees itself as an instigator of innovation and a promoter of best practices and collaborative problem-solving. "We are so grateful to CAF for agreeing to bring this fascinating program to our space, and we are excited to know that we will be working with them again in 2015 on more upcoming projects," he added.

For its part, CAF was equally enthused.

"Thank you for such a marvelous event!" tweeted CAF President & CEO Lynn Osmond last week. "We can't wait to share all your great photos!"

Well, the wait is over. Check out the event gallery below or click here.


After 100+ visitors filled our offices, networked with sponsors over cocktails and hors d'ouvres, and sampled gadgets like IrisVR visualizations and the Oculus Rift, the crowd moved upstairs to hear our featured speakers, led by JOHN TOLVA, the City of Chicago's first-ever chief technology officer and now president of locally based PositivEnergy Practice. Here's a sample of what our expert quartet had to share with our audience about the modern explosion of constantly updated data now available:

TOLVA:  The opportunity for our industry is to take advantage of all this information today... There's a difference between 'urban' and 'civic', and the AEC community can do a lot to improve our civic environment... The desirability of observability is really at the heart of the idea of a city. 

CHARLIE CATLETTDirector, Urban Center for Computation and Data, a joint initiative of the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory: In the next 20 years, more buildings will be built on the planet than currently exist... ENVIRONMENT - INFRASTRUCTURE - PEOPLE : We have to look at all three factors when we talk about cities...When we look at cities today, we actually don't have enough information available for us to monitor everything accurately. We need both spatial and temporal sensors... We have built a dozen boxes that we will deploy around the city in next few weeks to monitor air quality and other data, updated every 30 seconds. The information they gather is free and will be 'open sourced', but it will NOT be used for surveillance... (For an incredible look at some amazing numbers, go to: http://plenar.io, or;

EURO BEINATVice President, Platform Technologies at Zebra Technologies: Designing for the 'Internet of Things' will involve avatars and analytics that are real-time, descriptive and predictive... and require storage that is secure... Avatars for such things as industrial label printers... vending machines (with updated inventories)... bicycles... wine racks, for remote temperature control... iPhones... automobile engines, emissions, etc... And the information can be shared, updated in real-time... For instance, car speeds can even be shared with insurance companies to help lower premiums; 

PETRA STIENINGERDirector, Smart City Projects at  C.C. Johnson & Malhotra, P.C.In 1894, the Times of London predicted that in 50 years, cities would be buried under nine feet of horse manure!  In 1898, New York City hosted the first international urban planning conference... Sustainability is about changing behaviors. The problem is not all these emissions. It is the behaviors behind them... Data is the new planning tool. What we really need now are new tools and technologies to gather this data to make this information useful.

CAF and BuiltWorlds also expressed their special thanks to the event sponsors: The Graham FoundationBurnham Nationwide, Table XI, SoCore Energy, Ozinga, Master Graphics, the digit group, 1130 CommunityEngageCIVIL, Atco, and Hard Hat Hub.

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