[Disclosure: IBM sponsored this interviews and paid T&E for this blogger to attend Pulse.]”
I had a chat with IBM’s Dave Bartlett while we were both at at Pulse 2011 about the state of Smarter Buildings and Smarter Cities today and their possibilities.
Here’s a transcription of our conversation:
Tom Raftery: Hi everyone! Welcome to GreenMonk TV. I am here with Dave Bartlett. We are at IBM’s Pulse 2011 event.
Dave, you have become known as the Building Whisperer. We are talking about smarter buildings at the event quite a lot. It seems to be one of the focuses that IBM is looking at very strongly.
Is it all science fiction or is this kind of stuff that we can do today, or are we talking a year or two years? What’s the kind of time scale that we are looking at for this kind of stuff?
Dave Bartlett: No, it’s today, a very present possibility. When we stepped back and looked at what’s happened in the last decade, there has just been a rapid acceleration and proliferation of smart sensors. Every appliance going into buildings now has smart technology into it. So they are all emitting all these digital feeds. So that’s where the Building Whisperer comes in. There is all this data. If someone just really listens to it end-to-end, it’s amazing the opportunity we have today just to integrate into those systems and save energy.
Tom Raftery: Sure. But these buildings are emitting data, but I mean, how long is it going to take to actually get something out there that will be able to integrate all these feeds and present it to somebody?
Dave Bartlett: Okay. So when you look at it, they are emitting a lot of data from different equipment types. So there is different protocols to deal with, different networks to deal with. It’s a lot of data. That’s a second thing.
Third, it really does need an IT focus in addition to the building management skills, and that’s what IBM does so well. I was able to find technology that exists today off the shelf in IBM to really do the monitoring connection to the equipment, to do the data warehousing, to do the analytics, to build the dashboard, that technology all exists today. So it’s just a matter of connecting it and connecting it turns out is not a big deal.
Tom Raftery: So we can do it today. You are going to market with products for building managers to run buildings and global facilities?
Dave Bartlett: Absolutely! In fact, when I presented it to our Chairman, he said, well, this is great, take it market, but I want to start within IBM, which I thought was some great leadership.
So just within the past year we have implemented it, not only in our headquarters building, but in one of our biggest energy using sites, and it has already exceeded the base case in terms of savings and given 200% return on the investment.
Tom Raftery: Wow! I mean, what’s the kind of global marketplace for this kind of stuff?
Dave Bartlett: I mean, there are lots of different estimates, but there has been a study done by a Climate Group called SMART 2020 that said, if we do exactly what we are doing, apply existing communication and IT technology to the space, that we could save hundreds of billions of dollars in energy between now and the year 2020.
Tom Raftery: Okay. Dave, that’s great! Thanks a million for coming on the show!
Dave Bartlett: Thank you!