Posting in Design
More efficient energy management, better access control and proactive maintenance are just just three potential benefits of the latest smart buildings technology.
How much do operations and facilities managers care about using technology to run their buildings more efficiently? Companies like Cisco and IBM are hoping they care a lot, as they launch uber-initiatives intended to create Smarter Buildings (in the case of IBM) or Smart Connected Real Estate (in the case of Cisco Systems).
Now, IBM and Cisco are relatively close partners (at least last time I checked), but my guess is that all bets will be off as the real market for smart buildings projects emerges and the lines between where IT companies should play a role starts to blur. After all, Cisco and Hewlett-Packard were once close, too, and that relationship apparently has fallen to the wayside as the two huge technology companies duke it out for control of the communications heart of data centers.
Anyway, Cisco and IBM certainly are both circling the smart building space with keen interest. Right now, their efforts seem complementary rather than competitive.
For example, IBM is launching a new consulting and technology services offering focused on this market, in conjunction with Johnson Controls, a huge equipment provider in the energy management arena and also a strategic partner of Cisco in the smart buildings space.
The new service will combine the features of IBM's Tivoli systems and network management platform with various Johnson Control building technology solutions. The two are also working on technology for access control, space optimization, emissions reporting, and broader building lifecycle management issues (such as when you need more space).
So, for example, IBM's management software will integrate with Johnson Controls' own EnNet management technology, so that more information is visible to facilities managers. The two are also integrating the Johnson Controls Metasys Sustainability Manager, which is an energy management platform, with IBM analytics software so that metrics can be used to affect energy consumption.
IBM has been developing all sorts of Smarter Buildings reference accounts. Here's a video that it just did with the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, which certainly is a facility in need of close efficiency management.
Another example of a facility that is already using IBM to help make smarter decisions about how it uses it facility is the Galveston National Laboratory. The lab is a bio-containment facility, which means there are plenty of safety considerations that govern how it uses its space and the various equipment throughout its facility. So, for example, it needs to enforce the appropriate security levels on air-flow handlers, door seals and decontaminating showers. It uses IBM Maximo Asset Management Software to help in this quest. Maximo can help not only with access control and management, it can help alert when certain maintenance thresholds are reached/breached and it can help provide the reports that satisfy the compliance police.
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is another new IBM reference account for Maximo. The largest public power company in the United States is using the software to help keep tabs on assets across all of its power facilities and business units. This is a big project: TVA has access to up to 8,000 user licenses across sites including 29 hydroelectric dams, 11 coal-fired plants, 11 combustion-turbine facilities, three nuclear plants and three green-power projects. The company works with 158 local distributors to serve about 9 million customers.
Anyway, you get the idea. It's a massive project.
Image: Bentley/Generative Design
Feb 22, 2010
Titans or lumbering giants? This is nothing new. Companies such as METERology (www.meterology.co.uk) are already doing this. Does the facilities management/building services world really need and army of suited consultants to provide this service? Collecting energy data in real time is not difficult. Using a web page to display data from a SQL Server database is not difficult. Displaying that information in a user friendly manner (and even dividing consumption by building size) is not difficult. Is this a thick solution to a thin problem?
the technology for smart buildings already exists it's called knx you can use it in every building small or big www.knx.org
It should be noted that there are those who are ahead of the curve who don't need to partner with a current leader, like Johnson Controls, to catch up. I did design work for the Venetian (and Palazzo); the overall systems were well on their way to being integrated. It is good to see that they are using the facilities information to do their forecasting.