Who controls buildings: the owner, the architect, the integrator? Ultimately, it’s the end-user. That’s the person who decides the success or failure of a project.
Nestor Infanzon, an architect with Jonathan Bailey Associates, gave an example at a panel discussion during the National Systems Contractors Association tradeshow in March: You design a multimillion dollar healthcare facility with all the bells and whistles - the latest technology and healthcare delivery systems. If the nurse call button, which costs less than 1/4 of 1 percent of the total budget, does not work and a patient dies as a result, the architect’s reputation can be destroyed.
The stakes are that high with every decision you make.
Even when lives are not on the line, businesses always are. As the article Lighting Performance (pages 46-54) points out, workers who have more control over their environments are happier, more productive employees who will stay with their companies long-term.
Tradeshow season, now in full swing, presents wonderful opportunities for design professionals to interact personally with the products they might specify. Technologies that give end-users control are not only aesthetic, innovative building features, they’re also fun to work at tradeshow booths. (Thank you, SMART Technologies, for patiently watching as a colleague and I “experimented” - i.e. played with - those colorful electronic markers on your whiteboards at NSCA.)
As you peruse the pages of this magazine and the aisles of the tradeshow floors, I’d encourage you to consider technologies that enhance the day-to-day lives of the end-users. Climate and lighting controls, integrated security systems, digital displays with easy-to-move wall mounts, conferencing equipment that anyone can operate: All enhance the end-user experience. All have the capacity to make you look really good or really bad.
And, as in the example above, sometimes they can be the sole factor in your success or failure.