By Joe Phillips
As you sit in your office reading this story, consider this: you’re surrounded by data.
Computers, lights, power strips, air conditioning, elevators, alarms and meters – all of this is generating data inside the building. This data can reveal powerful information to make offices, campuses and large buildings work better.
While the Internet of Things has entered the building, this explosion of data constantly reports out on what’s going on, but often it’s not easy to use. Many organizations don’t see or take advantage of data as well as they could. They often operate on a system-by-system, building-by-building basis with little correlation to business outcomes.
A broader approach is necessary, one that integrates the facilities portfolio as closely as possible to the business needs. To tackle this problem and address the concern that by 2025 buildings will be the top consumers of energy worldwide, IBM is announcing an innovative project with Carnegie Mellon University to deliver a cloud-based analytics system for reducing energy and facility operating costs.
With 6.5 million square feet of infrastructure, miles of underground utilities, water lines, electrical systems, health facilities, restaurants and even its own police force, Carnegie Mellon is practically a city unto itself. In fact, it would be in the top five percent of municipalities in Pennsylvania if it were an incorporated town.
By harvesting intelligence, best practices and value from the big data of buildings, the university expects to save approximately 10 percent on utilities — nearly $2 million annually — when the IBM system is fully deployed across 36 buildings on its Pittsburgh campus. This is a campus where the first building was built in 1906, and the most recent building is under construction now. More than a hundred years of infrastructure can all be managed through a single system using the new IBM Building Management Center delivered on the IBM SoftLayer cloud to monitor thousands of data points from building automation and control systems to deliver better building performance, energy efficiency and space utilization.
Data and information management are the new tools of facility management. Once an organization has the right data in the right hands, it can enter a new era where managers learn things about buildings that couldn’t be seen before. Additionally, making buildings work better can lift the bottom line for businesses. Facilities operation and management is typically the second biggest cost center for most companies, after payroll.
Armed with powerful new information from Big Data and analytics, maybe one day buildings will no longer use 42 percent of our energy supply or be the number one contributor to CO2 emissions.
By the way, be sure to turn the lights off when you leave.