IBM Unleashes Advanced Software Solution for Smarter Buildings

IBM formally introduces its Intelligent Building Management software today -- an advanced solution that's being put to work at Tulane University's School of Architecture, The Cloisters of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the company's 35-building facility in Minnesota.

The software is designed to be an analytics and automation powerhouse that can help ramp up the environmental performance of any building, even ones that are 100 years old or more.

The product is the latest in a steady stream of solutions that IBM has unleashed in recent months to make the management of buildings, the energy and resources they use, and the transportation and virtual networks that connect them more efficient, more effective and more intelligent.

The software and its applications, which are being detailed today in an IBM Smarter Buildings Forum in New York, also are the results of the company's steadily increasing collaborative projects, partnerships and acquisitions -- all of which are aimed at positioning IBM as a dominant player in a nascent field that brings together IT, the built environment, vehicles and energy.

GreenerBuildings.com Executive Editor Rob Watson is the kickoff speaker at the forum today and GreenBiz.com Senior Writer Adam Aston will provide on-scene coverage of the event.

Here is an early look at the projects that will be featured during the forum:

  • Tulane University in New Orleans is using the software to transform the historic century-old Richardson Memorial Hall (pictured above), home of the Tulane School of Architecture, into what IBM is calling a "smarter-building living laboratory." Johnson Controls is a partner in the project.
  • The Cloisters, the branch of the Metropolitan Museum that houses 3,000 works of European medieval art, is using IBM software and its wireless environmental sensor network called the Lower-Power Mote to preserve the collection.
  • IBM's facility in Rochester, Minn., is realizing further energy savings using the  Intelligent Building Management system. The complex of 35 interconnected buildings that make up the 3.2-million-square-foot manufacturing and development facility has undergone several waves of efficiency improvements since the site opened in 1956 with a half million square feet of workspace. The company said it's achieving further year-over-year incremental energy savings and as well as saving in equipment operating costs with the software.

Smarter buildings can help owners and operators cut energy use by as much as 40 percent and reduce maintenance costs by 10 to 30 percent, according to IBM.

While technology advancements in building management systems have made it possible to cull an immense amount of data on structures, the challenge has been to organize, analyze and present it swiftly to building owners and operators so they can proactively manage their properties -- as IBM Smarter Buildings Vice President David Bartlett said at GreenBiz Group's State of Green Business Forum this year.

The new software, which is supposed to be the most comprehensive product thus far in IBM's smarter buildings arsenal, is intended to address that need.

Earlier this week, IBM introduced its Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities. The plug-and-play, smarter-cities-in-a-box solution is expected to deliver high-powered systems and network management capabilities to communities without the high price tag that usually affixed to such technology.

Image Credits -- Top photo, Richardson Memorial Hall at Tulane University, CC licensed by Wikimedia Commons user Tony Vanky.