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There used to be a time when Made in China used to be treated as a curse than a good thing, having said that Manufacturers still flocked to China due to its low production costs, low labour costs and an industry friendly government. The Government in China provided so many avenues for the manufacturers and industries that people will still flock there despite any bad image the cheaper Chinese products will have to offer. I guess being on a high profile project in the Middle East, the shift is quite certainly visible. On the Project that I am working on, the guidelines of the client are clear about the country of origin, manufacturers only from North America, Western Europe, Japan are allowed to provide products for the project.
However, in the last three years it is getting increasingly difficult to find reputed manufacturers that still procure, manufacture and ship their products from the mentioned countries. Almost all of them seem to have some part of the process in China. So much so, that companies like CISCO do not produce some key products in the United States, they are manufactured in China or Mexico. The centres of the world are changing. Adding to the woes of my client, new cutting edge technology is now coming out of China and that might not be available anywhere else in the world, like this, the Fully Solar Powered Air Conditioning.
For anyone that lives in a country with a warm climate, air conditioning is an essential piece of technology making the most stuffy home or office comfortable to work in. Unfortunately powering such units often causes large energy bills for consumers and companies and generates a sizable carbon footprint. Not cool! Luckily, China, who is rapidly becoming the world’s leader in renewable energy development and knows all about warmer summers and freezing winters, has just unveiled the world’s first air conditioned unit powered by solar energy.
Developed by a company called Shandong Vicot Air Conditioning Co., Ltd, the solar powered air-con unit could save companies and home owners not only masses of money but also reduce their carbon emissions, and we all know that China needs the later more, after the fogs during the Olympic Games. Showcased at the World Solar-Powered Air Conditioning Development Forum, the solar-powered air conditioning unit boasts an optimal 85% thermal cooling conversion efficiency, with an ability to utilize to 27 times the amount of solar power than the average water heating unit uses. The Shandong Vicot Air Conditioning unit also allows for 24-hour continuous cooling, heating, and supply of hot water, while natural gas can be used as a supplemental energy supply, so during periods of poor sunshine, heating and cooling can still be provided. This should be quite rare however as in terms of solar power.
India also has a similar geographic and can benefit from this Solar marvel. The biggest place it will make an impact is most certainly the middle east. Since I just read that people in the UAE have the highest carbon footprint in the world.
One of the biggest pains for passengers, airlines and airports alike is the baggage of people. It is unbelievable the amount of baggage that gets lost or misplaced in a single days operation. In fact this article in the telegraph puts the number at close to 2.5 Million a year. Considering the fact that all airlines have to pay an amount to people who miss or misplace baggage it is a major issue for everyone. A new startup Zero Baggage has come up with a system that allows travellers to fly without luggage.
Zero Baggage aims to change the travel experience by letting its users fly without checked luggage, borrowing items from local suppliers through the duration of their trips. Zero Baggage also has novel perks that come along with the service; users accrue carbon credits for traveling light, which can be reimbursed for various services such as a spa trip or dinner. Members of Zero Baggage can also opt to buy new items, or store personal effects at frequently visited places. The service also has a community feature, which enables travelers to connect with people at their destination. Zero Baggage will start its services in November 2010. I am really looking forward to seeing this work, should be one of those interesting technologies that may help revolutionize travel if it works, or just fail otherwise.
Here’s a video on how the service works:
You can also check out their service at : http://zerobaggage.com/index.html
Source via pfsk
From the time there have been engineers and architects there has always been an issue in trying to get solution that is acceptable to both the architects and the engineers. I am in the wonderful world of construction, management in particular and as an engineer it is always a loosing battle. Although the client wants to have a high tech facility, the requirement of the facility is nothing as compared to the aesthetics of what he requires.
A client may be trying to build a small shack or even an airport, the requirements are always aesthetics. But being an engineer I would disagree to that school of thought cos, although the aesthetic factor plays a part of first impression, the experience of being in the facility is delivered only by the services in there. Like the Air conditioning, the mood lighting, the plush interiors of the washrooms, Wi Fi Connectivity, High Speed Internet, ample Mobile Coverage etc.
The ultimate battle ground for the engineers vs architects battle is always a client mockup. The engineers trying to prove their point and the architects trying to destroy everything the engineers stand for. For example, CAT 6 cables (data wiring) are definitely the latest, and to work as one of the best wiring systems they need to follow certain guidelines. Some of them being strict segregation between Data and Power lines. But aesthetically the structure housing both the Data and Power lines, like for example a pole holding a IPCCTV camera, would need to be big enough for the data cables, the power cables, the segregation, the maintenance, the operational requirements etc. And since slim is in, all of it trying to be housed inside a very thin pole could be the fuel to the flame of the eternal battle of the architects vs engineers.
I do not think there would be a solution for the war, except if people crossover into each others territories. Like engineers turned to architects who understand the complexities of systems and services like wise more architects turned to engineers to define the aesthetic side of engineering. Until that day comes, daily battles will continue to rage in the battlefield of Mockups !!