Re: Re: Architects use of technology

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Genetics, data and privacy run a lot deeper than what IBM has agreed. Most companies – including insurers – are afraid of what they could discover in this type of programme and the downside of legal action outweighs any knowledge benefit from the information. Consider the ethics of this, an actual case – a doctor in a small French village noticed a pattern in his patients – brothers, sisters, aunts, cousins – for a predisposition to glaucoma. This disease is carried through the female line , early diagnosis and treatment prevents blindness. Given the French penchant for bureaucracy, it was easy for him to trace ancestors to the woman who introduced that gene into the family – from memory she died c 1820 – and with that detail it was easy for him to identify her female line living descendants, most of whom lived outside his practice area and many outside France. Now, what right – if any – did he have to call and tell them that their sight was at risk? If he did not, what liability was he exposed to? Transfer that to the US and think of the lawsuits!

The build-online site mentioned by Ronan above is – from what I, a non-architect, can see- just a data management site, it does not do much else. Many eCommerce business aspects were grossly over-hyped in the dotcom boom (when he wrote this); most were only “first generation” sites that put buyers/sellers in contact. Second generation sites did that but also enabled them to complete a transaction. However, most buyers/sellers completed the transaction off-line – that is why most e-tailers folded. Today’s third generation sites – the very few that have survived -do all the foregoing but bring considerable added value, such as logistics, insurance, finance, etc., often at a better cost. That is why they have succeeded. But, worldwide, they number less than one hundred or so.

Architects have to decide what business they are in and design both sites and ecommunities accordingly – a supplier centric site e.g. like Dell, selling to many; a buyer centric site like Carrefour or Ford, a horizontal site – procurement, or a vertical site selling specific services or products.
Paul Clerkin’s comment from 1999 is in my view still accurate, as most architect’s websites are basically billboards, “see what nice buildings we do” and a bit of “see what nice awards we’ve won” ; architects will use email, will use CAD because it saves time, will browse the web, but will be slow to use IT beyond that. I recently built a house, got nothing high-tech from my architect but my local tile store was quite happy to run up 3D CAD images as part of their service. Building design is seen as “arty” , so the black polonecks will rule for a while, but they will succumb, or they will not survive. Think of voicemail when it was introduced; first fear, then acceptance, and now manipulation (come on, how many just push calls to it to complete a project/get some peace?) Ecommerce will go the same way, and architects will not escape.

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