Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

Smarter Buildings refrigeration photo - 560

Instrumented and interconnected objects like refrigerators, freezers or even coffee bars are allowing building managers to operate profitably.

Following is a guest post from David Bartlett:

Companies can measure and control energy consumption in ways previously impossible, using the combination of low-cost sensors, controls, robust wireless mesh networks and ubiquitous access to the internet. That’s the gist of a deal IBM announced today with Tridium Corp., a division of Honeywell. Tridium makes sensors and the software found in a huge variety of commercial devices and structures.

Tridium’s products enable the control of virtually any device. Along with the typical HVAC and lighting systems in any office building, you’d also find Tridium’s gear in gas pumps, commercial ovens, retailers’ freezers and automated car washes. We plan to integrate our Tivoli Monitoring for Energy Management and Maximo Asset Management software into Tridium’s software to create secure, Internet-enabled networks that will allow for new levels of energy management, integrate hundreds of disparate systems and devices, and analyze vast streams of real-time data.

When the new solutions hit the market (stay tuned for more details on timing) building managers will be looking at technology that can slash energy use and waste by as much as 50%. Using this technology to trim energy costs can amount to big savings – if the five million commercial buildings and structures in the U.S. were able to improve energy efficiency just 10%, more than $20 billion in savings could flow back to owners and shareholders.

But cutting energy costs and curbing greenhouse gasses is only part of the picture.  As we fully integrate our solutions we’ll be able to apply the type of automation and analytics to the physical world that we take for granted in the digital world, making everyday tasks more efficient in the process. Think of the coffee bar at your local convenience store. Some of them brew a decent cup of java and need a fair amount of maintenance in the process. Today’s systems simply alert the clerk that there is a problem. Usually when it’s already broken. Instead of profits walking out the door with disappointed customers, our systems will automatically generate work orders and dispatch repairmen to the scene before the store manager is even aware that a problem is “brewing.”

David Bartlett is IBM’s vice president of Industry Software Solutions.

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I will add though (in reference to the comment above), that simple alerts don’t provide adequate information. If simple alerts are set up (for temperature, etc.), then the manager will receive many alerts if the temperature drops below a given number even for a second. It is important to have a chain of alerts set up. For example, an alert if temperature drops below a certain number for a certain amount of time, then process an alert.

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Building automation describes the functionality provided by the control system of a building. A building automation system (BAS) is an example of a distributed control system. The control system is a computerized, intelligent network of electronic devices, designed to monitor and control the mechanical and lighting systems in a building.

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