IoT and the OODA loop

Written by Gayle Wooster

“Any powerful idea is absolutely fascinating and absolutely useless until we choose to use it.” – Richard Bach

Or how about the old adage, “Actions speak louder than words”?

The essential nugget here – clever clichés notwithstanding – is that our behaviors determine our success.

We can think long and hard about what we’re going to do, chart an appropriate path and stock ourselves with the necessities to get to our destination. But until we start putting one foot in front of the other, it’s all theoretical. And while we recognize how important a good game plan is, strategy alone does not win the race.

Thankfully, today IoT makes it easy to create a smart building or smart space. From gathering data to automating infrastructure, the benefits of IoT go beyond connectivity to getting things done.

The OODA loop is a tool developed by military strategist John Boyd to teach fighter pilots how to direct their energies to defeat enemies and survive, particularly in uncertain and chaotic environments. If you’re not familiar with OODA Loop – it stands for Observe, Orient, Decide and Act.

  • Observe the situation;
  • Orient oneself or unit appropriately;
  • Decide how best to maneuver; and
  • Take effective Action.

Each step feeds the next and the actions feed back to the observations at the beginning (debriefing).

This operational military concept can be applied as a general guide to decision making. Through research it was discovered that the faster one can process through the OODA loop, the better one could adapt to a changing environment.

But as with fighter pilots, it isn’t only about making decisions faster than the enemy. In the context of IoT, it’s about creating processes and implementing procedures that cycle through the loop quickly and ultimately lead us to action, whether it’s automated or not.

As an example, my smart watch gives me all kinds of activity data (observe): steps, heart beats per minute, miles, calories and so on. It tells me how many steps I’ve taken, but this single fact is not particularly compelling, especially without more context.

My activity app includes a number of data tables and visualizations (orient) such as a weekly steps report where I can see how many steps I completed each day.

When I analyze this information I can see my current course is ahead of what I accomplished the past few days and with some extra effort I can reach my daily target (insight/decide). I just need to lace up my shoes and make it happen. (act)

In the smart watch scenario, no one is going to lace up my shoes and walk for me. (I wish!) But I still benefit from monitoring and insights to inform the actions I ultimately take.

That’s why we often refer to Buddy Ohm as a ‘Fitbit for buildings.’ Our solution collects pertinent building utility data and serves it up in an easily digestible way (observe). We offer an operational portal and an external (tenant/guest) dashboard to review and compare data (orient). Buddy Ohm also helps provide insights so that you can determine (decide) what appropriate steps (action) to take in order to fulfill your particular goals within the context of your business.

Find out more about how Buddy can help you make data-driven decisions for bettering the health of your building and your business.