Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent
Smarter Buildings

By Ken Schwartz, Dean, Tulane School of Architecture and Fellow of the American Institute of Architects

Few places understand the concept of rebuilding as deeply as New Orleans does since Hurricane Katrina struck seven years ago this month. The tragedy generated an impressive rebuilding process in the City of New Orleans, leading to a more sustainable future environmentally, economically, and in terms of social equity.  This tragedy gave New Orleans the opportunity to rebuild a more sustainable, green city. As the city began to restore itself, great attention was given to listening to the community and the environment.

Although “being green” may be a priority for many cities, they often just don’t know where to start the journey. Transportation? Water? Energy? The process can be downright daunting.

At the Tulane School of Architecture, the choice of where to begin became quite clear: the historic building that comprises our school.

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Tulane estimates that the energy use of its buildings represents two-thirds of the university’s impact on its carbon emissions – even taking in account the fuel our employees and students use for commuting. As the School of Architecture contemplated a renovation and expansion of its signature building, we wanted to do so with a forward thinking approach to energy usage.

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Simon Parsons, IBM Global Business Services, addresses some of the key questions facing the AEC industry.

What’s the challenge with buildings today?
Buildings – from houses and flats, offices, manufacturing sites to sports facilities and retail outlets – are massive energy users. Experts estimate that commercial and residential buildings consume one third of the world’s energy. If worldwide energy-use trends continue, buildings will become the largest consumer of global energy by 2025, more than the transportation and industrial sectors combined. Massive urbanisation is driving this momentum. Continue Reading »

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In the same way that the Hubble telescope changed 400 years of thinking about the physical universe, today the infusion of intelligence into society’s systems is changing the way the world literally works.

And many of the conversations heard at this week’s Pulse event in Las Vegas are around how real-world infrastructure — from buildings, to water mains, to manholes, to streets — can become information systems with the help of sensors, analytics, cloud and mobile computing and other clever technologies that are at work in everything from the Louvre museum in Paris, to school campuses in Los Angeles, to cities like Rio de Janeiro.

Click on the image for a larger view:

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With the arrival of the affordable 52-inch, high-def TV, a diehard NFL football fan can’t be blamed if he or she opts to watch the game in the comfort of the home rather than in a stadium. That’s one of the reasons the Miami Dolphins organization is loading up on digital technologies to help transform the fan experience at Sun Life Stadium.

Here’s their vision of the future: The regular fan in the stadium gets many of the advantages of watching at home as well as the experience of attending a live event and soaking up the excitement of the crowd. Using a tablet computer or smartphone, you can view any stat you want, listen to your choice of play by play banter, Tweet with your pals, get snacks delivered, and choose from a variety of camera angles for instant replay.

This complete scenario is still a year or so away, but Tery Howard, the Dolphin’s chief information officer, is rapidly putting into place the digital building blocks that could turn the vision into reality. Her newest acquisition is a piece of software, the IBM Intelligent Operations Center, that makes it possible to integrate a wide variety of information streams and in-stadium service providers into a single info management system. “We’re creating a smarter stadium,” says Howard. “We want to make sure the fans leave with the ‘wow!’ feeling whether the team wins or loses.”

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By now, just about any city with a progressive outlook has conducted an open data apps contest–inviting hackers to create applications that make life better there. But Dublin, Ireland, is putting other places to shame. Next year, its HACK THE CITY exhibition and festival will present a slew of events, workshops, installations, and mass-participation experiments aimed at exploring ways to make cities work better. “We want to leave an imprint that inspires people to think differently about how we could an should live in cities,” says Teresa Dillon, curator for the festival at Science Gallery, an initiative of Trinity College Dublin.

The Galley has been gathering applications from software hackers, artists, community activists, engineers and urban planners who want to participate by producing installations, performances, workshops, apps, etc.  The call for proposals closes January 20, but Dillon says it’s not too late to get started on a proposal and urges people with innovative ideas to bring them forward. Find out more here.

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We have tallied your “Likes” and the results are in. The popular favorite among the IBM 5 in 5 predictions of technologies that will change the way we live and work over the next five years is Mind reading is no longer science fiction. There are some lively comments on that one, too.

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It’s not too late to weigh in with your opinion, however. Watch the videos and “Like” away!

People power will come to life 
Click here to view the video and vote for this as the coolest IBM 5 in 5 prediction by clicking the “Like” button below the video.

You will never need a password again
Click here to view the video and vote for this as the coolest IBM 5 in 5 prediction by clicking the “Like” button below the video.

Mind reading is no longer science fiction
Click here to view the video and vote for this as the coolest IBM 5 in 5 prediction by clicking the “Like” button below the video.

The digital divide will cease to exist
Click here to view the video and vote for this as the coolest IBM 5 in 5 prediction by clicking the “Like” button  below the video.

Junk mail will become priority mail
Click here to view the video and vote for this as the coolest IBM 5 in 5 prediction by clicking the “Like” button below the video.

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Recently, I traveled to Newfoundland, Canada, my first visit to this beautiful province.  Newfoundland is on the eastern most reaches of North America and from Cape Spear, where I am standing, you can truly be the first to watch the sunrise from the continent.

Dave Bartlett out on Cape Spear

Dave Bartlett out on Cape Spear

This province  learned a painful lesson on sustainability. Since the 1600’s Newfoundland was one of the worlds most plentiful fishing grounds, but overfishing in the 80’s resulted in a large scale cod fishing ban which has still been ineffective in reconstituting the population.

It therefore seemed appropriate for our first Green Sigma panel discussion on sustainability and energy management for buildings at BOMEX 2011.  Consider these sobering projections. Buildings are projected to be the biggest energy user and contributor to global warming by the year 2025 and Newfoundland is rapidly moving to energy exploration in these coastal waters as their key new industry to replace fishing.  The need for smarter buildings is clear.

Our topic at BOMEX was ‘Excellence through Innovation: Key Learning’s from the Green Sigma Coalition.’  This coalition represents a first for smarter buildings in bringing together many companies for the good of our collective customers and to tackle the sustainability challenge. Key members from the coalition joined Michael Hayes(IBM) and myself in St. John’s for a conversation that addressed the next stage in the evolution of smarter buildings in the context of our collaborative experiences. We discussed how our companies are enabling leading edge practices in building energy, space, and operations to meet key sustainability challenges that we have faced.

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Rio De Janeiro is a bustling metropolis in a booming country–and, increasingly, an example of how government and business leaders can cooperate to make cities work better. Join the live blog today for a second day of coverage of speeches, panels and hallway discussions.

Update:

Here’s Ginni Rometty, IBM’s senior vice president for Sales, Marketing and Strategy (and IBM’s next CEO) talking about how to build a smarter city.

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Rio De Janeiro is a bustling metropolis in a booming country–and, increasingly, an example of how government and business leaders can cooperate to make cities work better. Join the live blog today and tomorrow for coverage of speeches, panels and hallway discussions.

Here’s Sam Palmisano’s speech:

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Energy use in data centers accounts for 2% of electricity consumption in the United States and 1.2% worldwide,  according to a new report by Stanford University professor Jonathan Koomey. While that’s a relatively small slice of overall energy usage, it’s a lot of megawatts. So the pressure is on to come up with ways to make data centers less energy hungry.

A couple of IBM scientists think they’ve found a smart way to do that. Kota Murali and Roger Schmidt are the brains behind the Holistic Green Data Center–an integrated package of technologies designed to bring solar energy to data centers, avoid energy-sapping DC-to-AC power conversions and use water for cooling by running it directly under the microprocessors in server computers.

Each of the pieces by itself could create significant energy savings. Taken together, they offer the potential of transforming the way data centers are designed in sunny locations and greatly expanding the availability and lowering the cost of computing in developing countries in Africa, South Asia and the Middle East.

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