IBM Reloads for Smarter Buildings

IBM is taking buildings to school to make them smarter. The company discusses its Smarter Buildings initiative at the Pulse conference for IBM Tivoli users.

LAS VEGAS-IBM is taking buildings to school to make them smarter.

Well, IBM is not exactly taking the buildings themselves to school, but the company is adding smarts to buildings to help managers manage them better. Indeed, the "smarts" help make it so that the buildings can manage themselves. The company talked up Smarter Buildings here at its Pulse conference for IBM Tivoli users.

Rich Lechner, IBM's vice president of energy and environment, said, "Many of the systems that constitute a building-heat, water, sewage, electricity [and so on]-are managed independently and often inefficiently."

Indeed, Lechner said, "Buildings alone are a source of huge waste, accounting for 70 percent of all energy use and 38 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. That means each year buildings emit more harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the environment than our cars do."

However, "By adding a layer of intelligence, [IT can make it so the] elements of a building can now be integrated for better management and control. Thousands of sensors can monitor everything from motion and temperature to humidity, precipitation, occupancy and light," IBM said in its Smarter Buildings fact sheet.

"IBM is delivering technology that manages office buildings, warehouses, factories, power plants, laboratories, campuses, apartments, resorts and all types of buildings to save costs, better manage systems and reduce carbon emissions. A smarter building ... can quickly sense and respond at every system level possible."

At the core of IBM's Smarter Buildings and overall Smarter Planet strategy lies the company's IBM Maximo Asset Management and IBM Maximo Spatial Asset Management software. IBM said the software "delivers a geospatial view of work and assets such as electric gas and water infrastructures. Maximo Spatial Asset Management provides a map view from ESRI ArcGIS Server within Maximo which allows users to visualize assets and work in the context of their actual physical location and surroundings. This view streamlines maintenance activities and presents advanced real-time analytics to crews and planners understanding traffic and weather and other influencing factors."

Bill Cheng, vice president of Maximo asset management products at IBM, said, "Sustainable Asset Analytics draws on IBM's business analytics capabilities and consulting expertise to provide strategies and analysis for making real estate, facilities, capital projects and daily business activities sustainable for clients in the following areas: Property carbon footprinting; property carbon audit; travel carbon footprinting; project-based travel tracking and analysis; workplace transformation; consolidated real-time property-related data reporting; product and service life-cycle carbon analysis; [and] data center management."

Moreover, the fact sheet said:

""Sustainable Asset Analytics is supported by a number of key IBM offerings, services, software tools and products, including:IBM Maximo Property Performance Management Solution software, which is designed to extract and consolidate key property data from across all of a client's real estate to help assess and manage true total cost of ownership and environmental performance for buildings and other tangible assets;The Green Sigma consulting offering, which is based on Lean Six Sigma methods, tools and advanced analytics to help clients measure and reduce energy and water use, waste and greenhouse gas emissions. After the data are collected and analyzed, the information is presented on a dashboard that allows the client to understand where consumption and waste are occurring;Strategic Carbon Management, which uses a Component Business Model approach to help analyze CO2 emissions and energy use in any part of a client's business or an entire operation. This allows the client to prioritize where to make changes that will lower environmental impact and reduce costs.IBM's strategic information management and analytics tool, Cognos, which is being integrated with many of our offerings in the sustainability arena: notably with both IBM Maximo and Green Sigma. This will allow powerful, flexible, customizable queries across the entire set of asset-related sustainability data.""

Al Zollar, general manager of IBM's Tivoli unit, said, "Some buildings are already showing signs of intelligence by reducing energy use, improving operational efficiency and improving comfort and safety for occupants."

For instance, "IBM is developing an intelligent hotel management system for China's Hangzhou Dragon Hotel (Dragon Hotel), integrating all of the hotel's major systems-the management system, the communications system and the one-stop service center-which include the personal digital assistant (PDA) system, self check-in kiosk, interactive TV, radio-frequency identification (RFID) system, Internet telephony, cell phone system and room control system," IBM said.

In addition, IBM said, "The St. Regis Hotel in Shanghai is the only five-star hotel that is a Smarter Building in the Shanghai region in China. Working with IBM, the St. Regis integrated 12 subsystems to create one intelligent building, with a ratio of energy costs to revenue below 5 percent compared to 8 percent for other five-star hotels in the Shanghai region-a 40 percent improvement."