December 03, 2010, 4:55 PM — I recently toured IBM's headquarters in Armonk, NY. The 280,000 square foot facility that was built in 1997 during the Lou Gerstner era, is currently serving as a pilot project for IBM's soon-to-be launched Smart Building solution. For an investment of under $200,000 (plus many hours from IBM software engineers), IBM has transformed the building into a smart building.
IBM has partnered with Johnson Controls to bring together the physical and digital infrastructure in order to generate energy, operational, and space efficiencies. The scope of the Armonk project focused on drawing information from the building management system into a data warehouse where advanced analytics are applied, and key metrics are presented through a dashboard.In the Armonk building, the building management system monitors 7600 points of data about the performance of systems such as hot water, HVAC, and security. This information is presented in a series of role-based dashboards that provide metrics such as energy consumption and costs, energy conservation versus IBM's target goals, operations costs, work order analysis, facilities management supplier's performance, space utilization and costs. The system also provides energy and operational alerts. For example, as the system monitors the HVAC, if it detects a failure, it will automatically generate an alert and a work order. These proactive work orders allow IBM to detect problems sooner and to send technicians to the site with the appropriate information and tools to address the problem. IBM is also using information captured from security badge scans to determine occupancy rates of its Armonk building and to make long term planning decisions with respect to space utilization.This past year, IBM has also been transforming its Rochester, MN facility into a smart building. The Rochester project is a more significant undertaking as it encompasses 33 buildings that cover 3.3 million square feet. Although IBM is only one third of the way through the Rochester pilot, it is already realizing an 8% energy savings.As IBM converts more of its global sites into smart buildings, it will be using the command center of its solution to bring together information about the buildings' operations from around the world. The dashboard allows IBM's real estate planning department to more easily and effectively understand its energy consumption rates, in turn providing IBM with the information needed to set future energy reduction goals.The technology used for the Armonk building brings together multiple IBM products (e.g. Cognos, Tivoli Maximo and Netcool) and is currently available in piece parts. The Smart Building solution that will be released next year pre-integrates these components into a single offering.