An inside look at how IBM is using IoT in its buildings across the globe

By | 2 minute read | February 9, 2017

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Retail chains, universities, hoteliers – they all have complex real estate portfolios that they must manage, as well as multiple buildings across which they must provide a consistent occupant experience.

When we talk to companies like retail chains, universities and hoteliers about how to take an Internet of Things (IoT) approach to real estate and facilities management, we are speaking from our own experience at IBM. In fact, we often start by testing and deploying IoT solutions in our own facilities.  Here’s an inside look at how we’re deploying IoT in our own buildings.

A little bit about us

IBM Real Estate Strategy and Operations (RESO) manages the global IBM real estate portfolio, which includes 1,400 locations and 82 million square feet in over 150 countries. The portfolio is made up of a mix of office, data center, manufacturing, and development lab space. RESO manages the range of real estate disciplines including strategy, space management, workplace design, engineering and construction, leasing, real estate acquisitions and dispositions, facility operations, environmental and energy management.

Changes IBM has made in its own buildings

For the last few years, RESO has used the IBM TRIRIGA Energy Management Module (TREES) to gain a new level of visibility into what’s going on in our buildings. TREES is a higher level of software integrated with our building management system (BMS) and has been deployed at our highest energy consuming buildings. To date, our focus has been on generating alerts that help us predict and avoid data center failures or tell us where there are opportunities to save energy. These alerts often result in smarter ways to conduct equipment maintenance as well. The goal has been to optimize assets, lower costs, and identify comfort issues long before employees feel the impact.

Shifting our focus

While we continue to expand our focus on optimizing assets and efficiency, we are now expanding our coverage of building performance metrics. We are doing this in conjunction with our Watson ecosystem partners, deployment of sensor technology and IoT data integration technologies.

With IoT sensors, we are able to monitor building conditions at the point of use. We are also able to measure how our space is being utilized to inform better ways to conduct maintenance and improve upon future space designs. Our goal is to enrich the employee experience in our buildings making them more comfortable, aesthetically pleasing and technologically advanced.

Making sense of the data

IBM routinely aggregates vast amounts of data from our buildings and we are exponentially increasing the size of our data sets with sensors. With IBM Watson we are using advanced analytics and cognitive capabilities to analyze this data and create the ability to see things that today we cannot see.  Watson can help us figure out what matters most as well as patterns and anomalies making our analytics more predictive and moving us closer to a point of use / condition-based maintenance model.

These are just a few of the ways that IBM is taking advantage of the IoT to make our own buildings smarter and safer. How are you planning on using the Internet of Things to get the most out of your buildings? For more ideas to jump start your thinking, take a look at this slideshow presentation.