Al Gore Boosts IBM's 'Smarter' Strategy

IBM has launched a new phase of its Smarter Planet strategy - a renewed focus on smarter buildings, and former Vice President Al Gore was on hand to help.

LAS VEGAS-IBM has launched a new phase of its Smarter Planet strategy-a renewed focus on smarter buildings, and former Vice President Al Gore was on hand to help.

At the IBM Pulse 2010 conference of Tivoli software users here Feb. 22, IBM announced new partners and customers that are creating smarter buildings, offices and urban infrastructure.

As part of the event's opening keynote, Gore helped to set the tone for the news while spreading his own personal view of the environment, which played right into IBM's Smarter Planet strategy. Indeed, Gore even said the Smarter Planet play "feels right" to him.

Of course, Gore was not on hand to endorse IBM's technology or strategy. Ironically, he was in town on the same day that his former White House boss, President Bill Clinton, was in town. While Gore spent the morning at the MGM Grand speaking to the IBM faithful, Clinton spent the evening at Caesar's Palace talking about the challenges facing America both at home and abroad.

Meanwhile, during an often funny and inspiring speech, Gore stayed on point with his message on the challenges to the climate and what can be done to overcome the issues.

"We are in the presence of one of the greatest opportunities in the history of business to become much more efficient and eliminate waste, pollution and losses all at the same time," he said, totally speaking IBM's language.

The other big Al in the joint, IBM's Al Zollar, general manager of the IBM Tivoli business unit, said that with intelligence embedded into the physical assets of an organization via sensors and other technology, IBM is helping clients create a command center to manage not only their data center and IT design, but also the physical assets as diverse as water mains, office equipment, door locks, printers, heating systems and fire hydrants.

Indeed, IBM official after official touted that IBM's expertise in systems management, analytics and sensors is unmatched for bridging the physical and digital worlds and creating new intelligent infrastructures critical for buildings to operate more efficiently.

Something needs to be done, IBM officials said. For instance, buildings account for 80 percent of New York City's carbon emissions each year, and buildings emit more emissions into the environment than cars do, said Rich Lechner, vice president of energy and environment for IBM.

Moreover, a smarter building can quickly sense and respond at every system level possible. By joining its software, research and services expertise together with industry-leading partners, IBM is helping clients:

  • Manage energy use by monitoring and analyzing heat, air conditioning and power consumption so that they can lower costs and decrease emissions;
  • Identify security breaches;
  • Maintain equipment proactively and even predictively, preventing breakdowns and ensuring that critical assets such as fire systems, manufacturing equipment, HVAC systems, etc., will work when they're needed;
  • Locate assets across facilities including tools, equipment and machinery; and
  • Manage printing costs and usage in offices.