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What Bangalore traffic taught my professional community (hopefully I resonate their views)

I must apologize, rather sheepishly, this article is relevant and only sensible for the privileged souls who hit the Bangalore roads each day, realizing that there is no tunnel and if there was one, there is no light – neither in the end nor beginning.

Any names, references made are not fictional, this is reality. But not intended to hurt sentiments or point fingers. References are made only for enhancing learning and make sense of what I have written.

Take a look around you, my fellow Bangaloreans, my rare community of communicators, who each day are figuring a way to make more sense of chaos, strategy, engagement, messaging, crisis, et all and yet stick to the KISS principle that we studied decades back in advertising.

So here is my take on communications as a profession, and hopefully it appeals to both aspiring communicators and those already sucked deep in it.

– Traffic only increases. So does the chaos and challenges associated. Way back when we started our loving communications careers, did we not enjoy the simplicity and creativity of advertising? Looking at the overall sex-appeal of an AD, the visual, tonality, headlines and try to make everything look clever? and years down the road, ha ha ha, how is life? more chaotic? mechanical? wonder what happened to our child-like innocence?

Catch the drift? As you move up your career ladder in communications, you are almost going with the flow, hardly able to pause and reflect (may be a few lucky ones may find this amusing 🙂 )

blr traffic-1

The above pic: Screenshot of a search from Google for “Most disorganized Bangalore traffic”

There will always be a lot happening around you. Have the courage to pause and reflect. Listen to your gut, think and act wisely (every choice you make has its consequence). Look at options, don’t jump to conclusions and base decisions on assumptions. Get the facts right. Ask, each time, “what does this mean? how will it pan out? is there a better way? What if we…How about…”

– Plenty of stakeholders to watch out for. You see, my life was simple when I started out. I would meet someone from the business, get a brief (=dump) and work with an agency to come up with a cleaner version of the dump. Mark my words…cleaner version of the dump. Not yet the best version. So as I moved up, I realized, I had more than one innocent colleague who would ask for help. And my work was judged by a zillion – HR, Finance, corporate, CEOs, CTOs, CSR, Company secretary, we could go on…

Just to bring more clarity – lets drive into Bangalore traffic. We have autowalas, taxis, 2-wheelers, cabs, Ubers, Olas, truckwalas, BTS, KSRTC, Intra and Inter city buses, Volvos, Vayu vajras, colorful loud looking buses, 3-wheelers, yeah lots more.

So each one of these stakeholders has his or her style of driving. Some who overtake from left, some from no where! There are others who use their skills to beat jams by maneuvering tricky moves over the footpath. Then the more honky ones (I wanted to use a more direct word, but for the sake of sensitivity, chose not to) who no matter what, just die to put all the pressure, for as long as our planet rotates, to get an extremely annoying sound energy. there is no respite.

One needs to adapt to a driving style depending on who the stakeholders are on the road. Know their style, their approach and attitude to life. What is more important is not to forget you need to reach your destination safely and tactfully and in time!

-Pressure never ceases. No point fretting and shouting. Has the traffic ever improved? The guy who just whizzed past you, was peaceful, even though he almost caused your heart to skip a beat. I have been through this a million times and my family always a spectator to my qualms and tribulations. I never have managed to beat the traffic woes by getting frustrated and screaming. But one good noble friend of mine – Cariappa! He is one super cool cucumber. Never in my 10 years of knowing him, has he ever lost his cool! and he never crosses 50 km/hr? So what did I learn?

Stay cool under pressure. Everything is temporary (A Buddha saying). No one has ever gained anything by getting flustered. Science has proven that the more you allow external factors affect you, the more unclear your thinking. So be it deadlines or the CEO’s mail that has to go out or a customer event that has to get kick-started, just chill maadi (stay cool).

-Wrong side + wrong direction + wrong side parking…and double parking. Yeah this is the most annoying part of Bangalore traffic. Is there respite? Try and tell someone (even respectfully) they are breaking the rules and causing inconvenience, what are the chances someone is going to acknowledge their mistake? Literally zero!

There is a “khao gali” (eating joints on the road) nearby where we live, and you will find hoards of traffic piled up. I valiantly have tried many times to sort this out, like a good Samaritan – I failed miserably! So what do we do? Join the bandwagon? Curse and fret that people will not care. to what end? In which case we are no different from the rule breakers

Despite what the situation, as communicators one should have poise, be respectful and empathize, no matter how hard and painful, your self esteem taking a beating. It will be worth it. Stand up for what is right and the right thing to do. You can agree to disagree and move on.

Following rules is important… Branding and messaging will otherwise not be consistent.

-No one uses indicators!! Frustrating isn’t it? the person ahead thinks of you as a mind reader. He can choose to go in any direction and you are expected to guess and tread accordingly. Never the less, I make it a point to use indicators, irrespective of traffic or time. The situation gets ever more deplorable when you go through the narrow streets of Chickpets, Sultanpalyas and even the affluent 100 feet road. you need to guess and literally foresee the future.

chickpet

A more saner picture of Chickpet, Bangalore

For a communications professional life is about living on the edge and more often than not everything almost comes together.

Expect the unexpected as our lives is full of surprises and challenges – from the vendor not delivering on time to the mic going off just as the CEO is about to address or for that matter a huge crisis that needs to be managed. Be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. Always think consequences. Plan-B is crucial.

Often longer routes are better to take than the shorter ones. I always have preferred to take the lengthier route. They are less traveled and easier to navigate – plus your mileage is better!

Try discovering new routes that help reduce the pressure of traffic and you will discover whole new world. Yeah as you drive, try and be a little curious about what you see around you, the way people drive, what they do on the footpaths, the occasional traffic cop too, is breaking rules! I’ve seen many come in the wrong direction, no helmets and just cruising without a care in the world.

As a communicator be open to change, be flexible, creative and curious. Never stop learning. Like Steve Jobs put it “Stay hungry. Stay foolish” Look outside your comfort zone, be externally focused, adapt and improvise best practices

Well that’s it for now. Let me know what you think, I’ll be eager to hear your view points.

And last but not the least – I salute each of the communications professional that exists on this planet. You are all doing an incredible job and make sense of everything that there is, there will be and not.

My next article would be on Buddhism and art of communications, so stay tuned!

Cheers!

Simplifying the buzz

There are just 2 types of organizations and people…. The quick or the dead.

Are we really ready to adopt or adapt; or ready to let go and stick to the core?

Here is a take on all the buzz around #Digitalization #IoT #Industry4.0 #digitaltwin after listening to some leading organizations and experts at the Instrumentation Experts Club 15 year anniversary event in Mumbai.

#Industry4.0

– Low productivity in manufacturing, especially when it comes to batch processing

– Lack of standards and Digitalization…We hardly export any kind of machinery out of India…how come … Taiwan and Korea… China are good at it…in India, there is no standard color in cabinet colors. Almost 80% is non standard.

– People to implement Digitalization is limited… Understanding both IT and OT that will determine the growth of Manufacturing economy. Digitalization can lower cost and improve quality and productivity can be optimised

– Digitalization can drive integration that customers will benefit from,from design to delivery. Mechanical and electrical drawings can be standardised making it easy for, engineering and purchasing departments. Layouts, design, drilling, wiring can all be seamlessly automated using computer aided engineering. Component layout, assembly and tested for thermal design included. All this improves productivity through better accuracy and faster assemblies and reduced engineering effort.

– Culture change is important for implementing Digital technology and reap the full benefits of Digitalisation.

#Digitalization
– Technology is not an issue. Computational power on the rise…Chips are more integrated and advanced…Challenge lies in leveraging these advances..

-Lot can be learned from discrete sector like automotive industry. Speed of adoption in process sector is slow on account of cultural challenges, standards, interoperability.

-Business challenges include ability to understand advantages of Digitalization…What are we trying to solve? and what is my ROI?

– There is a need to get into specific cases… Get into details across different sectors and dissect issues in diff areas of operations. Opportunity cost is what we need to look at.

– We need to move away from proof of concept to proof of value

– The more you sense the better the prediction

-Wireless tech is key to digitalization.

#IoT

– Connected smart platform..is nothing but a Collaborative platform…
– Traditionally large monolithic platforms were created and everyone was able to expected connect into it. This model delivers lower ROI. Today, So focus has shifted to connected processes. Using the concept of #digitaltwin, a mathematical replica of plant and its behaviour is developed in the cloud, using which the performance of an asset can monitored and predicted

– Connected assets…Working with OEMs to leverage their domain expertise and develop specific application of assets deployed

-People… They ought to be connected seamlessly (Like whatsapp). Keeping it simple and encouraging collaboration without much effort is crucial to make the collaborative ecosystem work and derive maximum benefits.

To conclude here are some questions I am baffled With… Got answers? Share your views!

#realitycheck

– How do you figure out if #Bigdata has the right data? Can we be sure the data analysed is correct so that we get information and not chunks of data
– What happens if the wireless network collapses?

– Is digitalization and the likes of it sustainable in a developing countries? If yes at what cost?

– Are we there yet to fully embrace the cloud? What about data security? Who is responsible for it?

– What happens when telecommunications breaks down?

– True, digitalization is evolving. Is it really possible to achieve 100% inter operability of protocols? When do we have a single standard?

Smart city: Let’s get basics right

ABB offers solutions that address some of the core issues of any city – power, water and gas, helping improve the quality of life while offering digitalization solutions to make livable cities smart.

Run through some headlines captured over time, and most likely your eyes will open wide and then ask the question, “Why is everyone pushing for smart cities and not addressing the core issues that need to be addressed with urgency?”

On water

How ‘Made in India’ technology can help save our water bodies

80% of India’s population faces severe water scarcity: study

22 of India’s 32 big cities face water crisis

Water scarcity could result in some regions losing 6% of their GDP: World Bank report

On Power

India Launches Massive Push for Clean Power, Lighting, and Cars

Many don’t have power in ‘power-surplus India’

Living in the Dark: 240 Million Indians Have No Electricity

Huge T&D losses will constrain efforts to provide electricity for all by …

On Gas

Cleaner, cheaper auto LPG may help improve air quality

India to import LPG from Iran to meet rising demand

State oil companies to add 4500 LPG distribution centers in FY18

At a recent forum on #Smart cities, I heard various policy and technology experts share their views and solutions to building #Smart cities, adding a flavor of Connected devices, #big data, #cloud, #digitalization.

Agreed we stay in a connected world with our heads perpetually bowed down (we no longer bow down to people but to our masters – the smartphone). Everything available at a click so much so we are creating digital walls (with wireless communication) between human communication.

Let’s skip the philosophy –  so smart cities? are we living in cities at all? At the least #livable cities?

Some trivia for thought (India): 100+ Smart cities on the anvil; 2$ trillion worth investments over 20 years; Currently 15+ public-pvt partnerships forged; Smart City Mission to impact urban population of 700 million plus

Let debate “Livable”. Livable according to Thesaurus, Webster, Merriam is around bearable, cozy, habitable, homey, sustainable, tolerable, worthwhile, comfortable…

Boiling down to brass-tacks, most of us would mean cleaner cities, less pollution, lot of greenery, clean water, reliable and dependable power, plentiful of clean air you can breathe, human well-being, safety…the list can be endless (the human race is only racing for “more”…try minimalism and your life is better sorted)

Coming to water…what better way of learning of we have misused this precious resource…check out the #NatGeo video here. Terrible, isn’t it? And worse? 60% of water consumed in homes is in the…you guessed it…bathrooms

Human behavior and technology to better manage water

We need to be humble, admit that we misuse water and most of us hardly want to do anything about it. We can longer find solace in blaming and complaining. So here is what can we done – lets break it up into two broad categories – human behavior and technology

Let’s ask ourselves each day these questions to improve our behavior that helps conserve water

  • Can I use less water in the bathroom? Take a shower maybe twice a week instead of all seven days and use a bucket and mug on other days?
  • May I will wash my vehicle twice or thrice a week instead of alternate days?
  • Do I ensure I don’t keep the tap running while washing utensils or brushing my teeth?
  • What have I done save more water today than I did yesterday?
  • Have I contributed in any way to conserve water in my locality?
  • Is there a way I can help to provide clean water to people deprived of it?

There can be an endless list of possibilities!

Coming to technology the questions and answers to them lie in better measurement, leakage detection, monitoring and management. While the behavior aspect is more an individual effort the use of technology is more on a collective basis.

These are severely dependent on regulations, Government policies, industry and municipal bodies.

To put things in perspective, see how ABB’s #measurement technology helps better measurement and management of water in urban cities and industry…an important aspect of #smart cities. Identifying leakage in water distribution systems is one of the top priorities cities need to address. Read about how ABB helps reduce water loss in Riyadh.

It’s extremely important to have a larger view of #smart cities. Only urban areas and high-density areas cannot be made smart. The entire ecosystem including manufacturing, transportation, consumption – the entire journey from raw material to processing, transportation and consumption needs to be made smart. That is when we humans will benefit from “Smart” else only the city will remain smart and we well…not that smart, but foolish.

So, adapting technology and solutions that help improve quality of life better – reflected in how well we conserve and consume this precious natural resource “Water” is key to smart cities and smarter living.

ABB has instrumentation solutions for #water and #municipal #waste water management through the entire water cycle from extraction, distribution, management and re-processing.

#Water and wastewater #measurement made easy

With global water and wastewater application expertise and knowledge, #ABB is the best partner throughout the entire water cycle. From abstraction to treatment, distribution and the management of the wastewater process, ABB supplies an extensive range of reliable measurement and analytical products, services and solutions meeting customers’ exact requirements.

Riyadh

To ensure the #power sector utilizes lesser water, ABB technologies like the continuous #water analyzer “Navigator” help determine accurately chemical properties of water used in #steam turbines (#boiler feed water). Incorrect values can result in incorrect actions resulting in lowering life of the turbine, reduce throughput and affect capacity utilization. In some cases, improper measurement of chemical properties in water can result in the power plant coming to a grinding halt. The accuracy of dissolved oxygen concentration by the Navigator is 20 in one million parts!

To get a full view of ABB’s solutions for better water measurement and management, click here

water management

This is all for now, in the next line up we will look at power and gas, two ingredients sacred to our lives.

In the next part of this article, we see how #digitalization can be leveraged to better measure, monitor, control and distribute water.