It is day break. From the view of my 36th floor hotel room, NYC looks a bit desolate and cold with snow scattered across the rooftops. I am here at the National Retail Federation’s 98th annual convention at the J.K. Javits Center. Retailers are amidst the most challenging environment experienced in decades. Macroeconomics, competitive and regulatory pressures, technology challenges, and conservative customers are among the many challenges facing the retail industry in 2009. Lee Scott, CEO,Wal-Mart, addressed over 3,000 retailers from around the world attending the event. He said " The next six months will be extraordinarily challenging. " It looks like winter will not end too soon.
To survive in this business climate, there is almost a mandate for adaptation to fundamental shifts in markets and consumer behavior and applying technology in new ways to drive growth and improve security all while reducing overall cost. Perhaps that is why there are so many retailers at this conference.
Our industry solutions team has been working on solutions that help retailers differentiate in the way they need to! ie: do more with less! On every continent, in practically every industry, IBM is helping organizations rethink the way the world works. Intelligent, dynamic infrastructures are key to staying competitive in today’s world. New services ( web channels, social networking, etc.) , new technologies (POS, global broadband, 3-D internet, Web 2.0, geo spatiality, etc.) , and converging operations & IT ( pervasive devices, RFID, business analytics, SOA) are among the way we help enable our customers. Fortunately our approach also addresses managing the integration of legacy systems, silo’ed business units, fragmented data, compliance and business regulations.
Our solution strategy provides an offering based on industry expertise and best practices. We provide a framework for transformation that can accelerate the deployment and integration of multiple retail solutions. Highlights of IBM’s Retail Integration Framework include: Integrated industry software platforms, pre-build solution accelerators, open standards, an ecosystem of business partner content, smart SOA foundation, and an information ‘agenda.’
In order for Retailers to deliver business services securely and efficiently, we provide the world’s leading service management capability. This capability includes visibility, control, and automation.
How can you manage what you can’t see? Our solution includes dashboards for business and IT events for monitoring the health of today’s multi-channel retailing business including the ability to drill down to underlying infrastructure. And we provide a single view for security, compliance, and governance.
Once you see it, you can control it! The ability to ensure secure transactions across multiple shopping channels while protecting data and customer privacy is key. Features include management of and access to information across the business.
Opportunities for automation are key to lowering cost and delivering a superior shopping experience. Problem determination and resolution, security, provisioning of new services and retail applications are a few examples of ways to really drive savings and productivity...for a little warmth this winter.
One of our industry solutions is around better oil field visibility and more efficient extraction that according to the
reference article can actually help offset global warming.
Real-time monitoring of oil reservoirs helps companies see how effective flooding is and whether there are still pockets of oil that engineers can go after. The technique is often called 4D, because it not only shows what the reservoir looks like in three dimensions but illustrates how it changes over time. One company noted for its successful use of 4D is Norway's StatoilHydro ASA. At its Norne field under the North Sea it has carried out repeated seismic surveys to discover changes in subsurface structures and to monitor flow rates of water, gas and oil in real time. Such techniques have helped lift the recovery factor at Norne to 52% from 40% and extend the field's life past 2015.
Advanced sensors that indicate pressure, temperature and flow rates in real time are increasingly being installed on equipment. This gives engineers a live view of how an oil well is performing, and more timely information about how productivity can be improved.
International Business Machines Corp. is one company at the forefront of such techniques. It integrates sensors, accesses and analyzes the information they provide and makes recommendations based on the data.The advanced sensors allow engineers to communicate with the reservoir in real time...so they can make the right decisions...One technique that can be applied based on realtime guidance, involves pumping carbon dioxide into reservoirs to flush more oil out of the ground. The technique could become increasingly attractive as the world seeks to reduce greenhouse gases.
Yesterday, the National Transportation Safety Board asked all rail operators to inspect and evaluate their control systems and install technology that could prevent the type of problem that caused fatalities in Washington, D.C. The NTSB stated that what the D.C. system essentially lacked was a real time monitoring system capable of correlating events with control of the asset or rail cars.
This is a huge focus for our team and a key enabler for numerous smarter planet initiatives. Maximo for Transportation is a complete solution for managing all transportation asset types, including locomotives and rail vehicles adding capabilities over Maximo Asset Management.
Leveraging Netcool technology for real-time monitoring and the rapidly accelerating pervasive instrumentation and interconnection of the world’s infrastructure, we are delivering entirely new ways for businesses to organize, operate and differentiate.
While the NTSB is still investigating, it seems apparent that the D.C. system simply failed to detect the presence of a stopped train and did not issue a command to slow which is quite basic functionality of many of our solutions. San Francisco, Miami, Philadelphia, are among the many other systems that rely on such automated systems and in need of immediate review.
have all seen the marketing ads:smarter health care, smarter traffic, smarter cities…On the one hand it's a cool marketing campaign, but it also speaks to desperately needed solutions in our world that has so many challenges.Personal expenditures on health care push millions below the poverty line each
year.1 in 5 people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water. Congested roadways in the US alone are
responsbile for 4.2 billion lost hours of productivity and 2.9 billion gallons of wasted fuel. But hold on, buildings, if uncorrected, will, by 2025, use more energy than any other category of "consumer!"
The work my black belt team of architects does, plays a key role in these Smarter plays. We have software frameworks for each smarter planet solution that provide architectural and
standards based guidance.These frameworks provide for a consistent, scalable , and repeatable
approach.Frameworks like Health
Integration Framework for smarter health care, or Solution Architecture for Energy
(SAFE) for smarter grids…
what does smarter really mean and how is Tivoli relevant?
now have the ability to measure, sense and monitor the condition of almost
everything. In this last decade, we have rapidly reached a tipping point, if you
will, of the proliferation of technology needed to do this and at the right
performance and price point.Have you have
heard the commercial' "it is , do you know where your children are? "
Well now it is 2010 and If you don’t know where they are , get a GPS tracker, they are inexpensive, prolific, and they work really well;)
is now a billion transistors for every human being on the planet.
Sensors are being embedded everywhere—across entire ecosystems—supply-chains,
health care networks, cities… even in livestock and natural systems like rivers. There
are 30 billion RFID tags already embedded into our world , and 85% of new
automobiles now contain event data records.
So what does smarter really mean?
leverages this instrumentation, these sensors, integrates, correlates, and
enriches it, and makes intelligent use of it. Smarter enables an industry's line of business to sense &
respond to opportunities and risks in ‘real time.’Smarter is a result of business process
management, event processing & business optimization capabilities…So you
can see why I might sayTivoli is the HEART of SMART.
is not just about managing IT anymore, it is about managing the world and we
have the technology to do it. Probing, Monitoring, event enrichment, asset
management, storage, secure access, dashboard views…these are the key . Oh yeah, and you need to scale to millions of end points and 10’s of millions ofevents and make sense of it in a timely
Ok ,so if TivoliIS the heart of smart what about an example?
Let's talk about Smarter Buildings. (Something you will hear more about this week at the global Pulse event in Las Vegas.)
The SmarterBuilding solution architecture
leverages the work we’ve done on ITM for Energy to add real time management of
building systems, along with the strength we have with Maximo in the facilities
management space.In addition the Tivoli
Data Warehouse provides a basis for doing advanced analytics.Let’s take a scenario so you can see how
these elements come together to help a facilities manager.
In this case a chiller in one of
the buildings on campus fails.The
building management system sends a notification to Omnibus, Impact enriches the
event with asset, location, contact information from Maximo and initiates a
work order in Maximo.Based on the
severity is also generates an urgent email to the Facilities Manager with the
work order that has automatically been created.The Fac Mgr uses his personalized dashboard containing KPIs and work
orders, checking to see if the chiller was due for preventive maintenance, and
then assigns to a technician to fix.The
technician received the work order, performs the work and records labor costs,
material costs etc. which are reflected in the asset lifecycle costs.The Chiller is now operational.
Ok, cool, but let's talk about this GHG problem from buildings, as they become the largest energy consumer on the planet. Let me again give an example. We have actually deployed chillers in IBM linked to hourly weather forecasting algorithms and samplings in order to leverage temperature and humidity change to lower operating costs and use of natural resources. And yes, in some cases we can even shut down chillers (as opposed to 24x7 operation.) This can be applied to many instances where we box in people and equipment , lock the windows, and run the boilers and chillers and hvacs, regardless of what mother nature is doing on the other side of that glass. We have the technology, it is just a matter of applying it. Fortunately there is a strong set of business partners and ibm technology that is available.
So that is what we are up to in Tivoli and will be talking about this week at Pulse.
From the gate at 37th and O
Street, across campus greens, stands Healy Hall,
flagship of Georgetown University.Up the wide stairs past the President's
office is Riggs Library, one of few extant cast iron libraries in the
nation.Multistoried shelves of leather
bound journals immediately draw your eyes up the 40 foot walls and windows with
3 dimensional Escher like creatures crawling out of the iron between the panes.This week I met with a Chinese Study Tour in
this National Historic Landmark to discuss how IT technology can help create
smarter buildings, smart grids, and smarter cities.
China is investing
significantly more in upgrading their infrastructure than the U.S. For
example, China is investing
five to six times more than the U.S.
in renewable energy projects($208B.)China is investing more than ten times what the U.S.
is on government sponsored stimulus packages for smart rail transportation
($100B.)And the Chinese have set timetables as well.For example, they have made smart grid construction a national priority,
setting 2020 as the target date to complete renovations. China's State Grid Corp., which controls
electricity distribution in nearly all of China will begin nationwide grid
upgrades next year.
rapid growth is becoming more and more dependent on technology and innovation.
The old resource intensive pattern is not sustainable.They are looking for new ideas and have
organized study tours composed of government leaders, policy makers, and
technologists from across China
to explore ways to move forward.
I met with the Chinese delegation at the Riggs Library on the Georgetown campus this
week.The room was packed and what was
scheduled as a 45 min presentation on smart grid, smarter buildings, smarter
cities turned into a three and one half hour interchange including an intensive
one on one with China’s
Ministry of Industry and IT.The study
group consisted of District Committee heads, City Mayors, Policy makers, and
Industry representation including; Finance, Banking, and Technology. Their
questions were thoughtful, probing, and focused on practical aspects of
The idea of the world reaching a tipping point generated much discussion. This
tipping point is supported by the number and price point of smart sensors and
the bandwidth and processing power of today’s computers and networks needed to
process this data. One of the delegates asked, "Could this in fact really signal a threshold of a new era of
computing?"We are fast approaching
the 1 Trillion mark of connected things in the world. By some estimates 6
Terabytes of information is exchanged on the internet every second and there
are 1 Billion transistors in the world now for every human on the planet. This inflection point is not so much a result of a recent
technology breakthrough but rather of a rapidly evolving acceleration and
adoption of technology, particularly in this last decade.
'Smarter' infrastructure leverages this instrumentation, these sensors,
integrates, correlates, and enriches it, and makes intelligent use of it.This provides the opportunity to sense &
respond to opportunities and risks in ‘real time’ and can drive industry transformation
when tied to business process management, event processing & business
optimization. So, it is this tipping point of number of smart sensors that now
instrument our world (beyond IT) and the processing power and bandwidth to
handle this enormous volume of data and turn it into meaningful information
that enables us to better manage our utilities, buildings andcities.
There was also a lot of discussion around the Climate Group’s Smart 2020 Studyfindings
that Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) could save 7.8 Gt CO2e
or 15% of global emissions by 2020. According to the Climate Group, energy
efficiency is an area where improved building-level service management can
deliver truly impressive results. Estimates are that smart buildings, in which
energy efficiency is managed intelligently, can reduce overall energy
consumption, as well as carbon dioxide generation, by 50 to 70 percent —yet
maintain all services and target service levels.This study projects a potential cost savings
of 341B in the next decade. But to achieve it, a new service management
solution will be required to successfully merge building management and IT
systems. It is not just about changing light bulbs and installing thermopanes,
although that is always a good place to start. This solution should be able to
converge traditional IT services such as data, voice and video along with
traditional facilities services such as security, space, cooling and lighting,
and then manage them on a single platform for an enhanced overall space
management & facilities management tied to energy management.
I presented the concept of Bright Green, a relatively new concept to the study
group that also drew much discussion.According to CABA (Continental Automated Building Association) bright
green buildings are ones that leverage intelligent technologies to support
environmental sustainability while providing a significant return on
investment. A bright green building is one that will leverage intelligent
building automation to not only control costs but reduce energy wastage.Bright Green buildings integrate disparate
building systems to enable control by a centralized common user interface for
single buildings or a set of buildings.High-performance buildings technology and strategies also add long-term,
sustainable value to the property.
The sociological implications surrounding smart grid was another big topic
of discussion.We discussed customer
fears about privacy, security, price control, and even harmful radiation from
the wireless transmission of smart meters. There has been some recent news in California around
consumer distrust and lack of confidence.Although the study tour had already talked to US energy companies they
were still debating the value to customers. We discussed customer advantages
such as: how increased visibility to the consumer can help drive lower prices,
how portal based interfaces can allow remote control by the owner and by the
power company for trouble shooting, and how this is an enabler for renewable
power sources and net metering.
We discussed how IT technology can make a building smarter.Examples included: Data modeling and
analytics tools which can be leveraged to suggest areas of possible improvement.
Asset management tools for assets of every class, at every stage in their
lifecycles. Data aggregation and warehousing for generating new classes of
performance reports that uncover emerging trends, and holistic monitoring tools
to track the status and performance of both IT assets and facilities assets,
and then drive a rapid and cost-efficient response.
In summary, China’s
growth has averaged 9% a year since 1978.To maintain growth and leadership there is a renewed emphasis on
technology and education. IBM has a history of working with China that dates back to 1934 when punch card
tabulators were provided to a Beijing
hospital.Today we are working on many
fronts within China
with a major research lab and innovations centersin the country. Earlier this year, IBM
announced its Energy & Utilities Solutions Lab in Beijing,
where IBM will bring together advanced analytics skills, industry-specific
offerings and best practices to help China achieve their goals. This
study tour was testament to the focus China's
leadership is placing on technology for a smarter China.
I have always loved museums.They provide
a wonderful, peaceful environment for the artwork to really speak to you.What feelings does the artwork evoke? What
inspiration does it (or does it not) provide? What does each piece convey to you?
Now, let’s think about the buildings that contain the
art.How do they speak to you? Do they
contribute to your total experience in a positive way or negative way?Examples
of negative aspects certainly could be un-sustainable practices or materials,
or wasting too much energy or water, or even safety issues.Well. we
are on a mission to create smarter buildings using IT and communication technology
to help buildings transform in a more positive way.
we held the first IBM's Smarter
Buildings Forum at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to announce new IBM Intelligent
Building Management that has incorporated over 2 years of development, research,
and best practices from internal and external customer pilots. Our first software solution designed for holistic
building management combines advanced analytics and automation software to
provide visibility of how buildings are operating including energy and space performance. We also highlighted three new
projects : Tulane University's School
of Architecture, IBM's campus in Minnesota and The
Metropolitan Museum of Art. For
details see museum news,
Metropolitan Museum of Art announced the successful installation of a new IBM wireless
environmental sensor network in the buildings called Low-Power Mote that will
help preserve the works of art in its world-renowned, encyclopedic collection. This
technology has recently been installed and is currently being tested at The
Cloisters museum and gardens, the branch of the Metropolitan
Museum devoted to the art and
architecture of medieval Europe.
Of course you do not have to go to a
museum to see smarter buildings in action.You can see it in IBM. From implementing this software within IBM Rochester we have already realized an additional 8 percent annual energy
savings. Our HQ building in Armonk, NY
has also become a showcase for smarter buildings.
is IBM focusing on making buildings more
energy efficient and smarter?
Buildings consume 42 percent of all energy
worldwide; energy costs represent about 30 percent of a building’s total
operating cost. By 2025, buildings will be the number one consumer of energy in
the world.IBM sees a tremendous
opportunity to help organizations transform their building into more energy
efficient structures. Smarter Buildings is easily a $3 billion extension for
IBM hardware, software and services. Some analysts see the market for
IT-enabled buildings automation at more than $30 billion by 2015. IBM sees
sustainable buildings and enterprises as a strong market expansion for our
company and is creating the partner ecosystem and product offerings to excel.
What IBM expertise can you apply to buildings?
IBM analytics and data automation
expertise can play a vital role in helping organizations “listen” and make
sense of the data being generated from a building’s operations such as
lighting, heating, air conditioning, manufacturing and computer usage.Analytics can flag outlying behavior such as
the concurrent use of heating and air conditioning, or the use of heat when the
external temperature was over 70 degrees.Analytics can even help pinpoint mechanical malfunctions causing
inefficiencies in equipment, such as an air handling unit working overtime,
which upon examination revealed a hole in a fan that needs to be replaced.
IBM’s business strategy in smarter
buildings has been to extend key partnerships with building automation vendors,
acquire needed IP and extend our analytics and data R&D into buildings. In
March 2011, IBM acquired privately-owned TRIRIGA to add real-estate portfolio
management and analysis of utility costs and carbon management.
Our team just returned from the SIBOS show in Boston this week. Thanks to all those that visited our Booth #F47, where we demonstrated a payment solutions framework, consisting of IBM and Business Partner components which allows customers to progressively transform their payments infrastructure. This accommodates change nondisruptively for regulatory demands, such as, SEPA or to enhance their business process for competitive advantage. The IBM Booth at Sibos introduced the elements which make up the IBM SOA Financial Services Payments Roadmap. These included our thought leadership, partner content and SOA foundation extended for payments which are part of the IBM SOA Financial Services Payments Framework.[Read More]
I’m in Washington, D.C., this week attending the annual smart grid conference along with a record number of energy companies, energy and environmental policy makers, regulatory,and technology leaders. It appears that this record attendance is driven in part by the current government stimulus funding now in place.
Topics under discussion include:grid security, reliability, accommodation of renewable power, emergence and adoption of grid standards, the business and consumer case for the smart grid, etc.; as well as reviewing the status of smart grid deployments across the country.
It was noted in this morning’s roundtable that this is the 217th day of the recovery act. So the obvious question is how well are we doing in allocation and application of smart grid stimulus funding across the country?The good news is there is an over subscription of compelling projects nominated for funding.The challenge is that only a small percentage of total funding has been allocated to date, as applications are scrutinized for being truly ‘shovel ready’ as well as demonstrating promise for a high level of innovation and rate of return.
There is lots of innovation and promise. The biggest challenge is finding what is truly ‘shovel ready.’ This is the challenge our industry solutions team faces every day. While we architect the future desired end state, it is equally important to architect next steps based on proven technology. I like to work our projects in 3 month deliverable segments that we can build on that clearly demonstrate incremental business benefits.
At home we have recently planed a lot of trees and one thing we have learned is when someone arrives with a shovel and a tree you better be ready to tell them exactly where to dig! It is amazing how quickly a 10 foot tree can take root and how incredibly difficult it is to move such a tree once established. As many smart grid projects begin to take root, I believe a more proactive and prescriptive leadership is currently what smart grid implementations can most benefit from today.Currently there are too many divergent technologies and approaches. What we most need is movement towards convergence on best practices, proven technologies, and proven approaches as a approaches as we begin to scale smart grid out on a global basis.
To this end, IBM unveiled this week a new standards-based industry leading software platform and business partner validation program that will enable utility companies to accelerate the development of their smart utility solutions. A part of the IBM Smarter Planet strategy, the new Solution Architecture for Energy and Utilities Framework (SAFE) brings the capabilities of IBM software to power solutions across all areas of a utility company, including plant operations, smart meters and personal utility management.
According to Centerpoint Energy, “The SAFE framework allows CenterPoint Energy to establish new capabilities while integrating and maintaining the existing functionality of its current IT investments." Dr. Steven Pratt, Chief Technologist, CenterPoint Energy.
partners such as: ESRI, SISCO, Retriever Communications and Trilliant are
on the SAFE framework and BPL Global, Coulomb Technologies, eMeter,
Enterprise Information Management, Itron, OSIsoft, and PowerSense have committed
to becoming SAFE-validated.
IBM’s new framework offers technologies and best
practices centered around seven key focus areas
faced by every utility:
Asset, device and
Informed decision making
and compliance management
Reflecting on some of the key points of Gridweeek, as we continue to develop ‘SAFE’ leadership, important points to consider include:
1)Understand and manage the utility’s customer expectations
2)Make data available for customer app exploitation to accelerate rate of buy-in and value realization
3)Accelerate the rate of technology integration for faster ROI
4)Education of smart grid constituents to widen collaborative opportunities
5)Continue to progress clearly defined and open standards which can accelerate progress towards smart grid goals for greater innovation and improved efficiency and robustness
As I sit on a cold, cramped, and aged 767 en route to speak at a Rail Conference in Europe,
I was reflecting on the importance of our many rail projects around the world (and thinking about how I prefer trains to planes.)
One of our projects is with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority which is expanding
its use of Tivoli Industry Solutions after the June 22 Red line crash that
killed 9 and injured over 70 riders.
Tivoli will help make the system smarter. It will be used as
part of a system that will not only predict and report future problems, but
also monitor tracks or linear assets and allow maintenance workers to have
mobile access to the system.
Proper maintenance will lead to peak performance, which
will, in turn, create safer rides, better attitudes toward the system and
higher ridership. The Washington Metro is using this software to manage its
more than 12,000 rail and bus stations, 106 miles of track, 1,144 rail cars and
1,500 buses. It also uses the software for its 594 escalators and 275
This brings us to IBM
Service Management for Rail.Simply
defined, Integrated Service Management is the combination of systems and
capabilities needed to provide customers with the services they need, when they
need them and at a competitive cost. In the case of rail transportation
companies, it allows them to efficiently and effectively provide services to
their travelers and customers in order to bring value to the business.
Service Management for rail transportation provides: Visibility, Control and
respond faster and make better decisions
We do this through role-based views and real-time, enterprise-wide
views of all asset types. This is meaningful because information that was once
only available by accessing multiple systems, with differing levels of detail,
is now available from a single view based on functional role.And visibility allows users to access details of transportation
assets(locomotives with sensors, linear assets
(track), wireless networks, depots, IT systems)
across the entire operation and freight across the supply
chain, all from the same system.
increase governance and reduce operational risk
Control is important to optimize asset management and to extend asset
life; reducing inventory costs by stocking only is needed, when it is needed,
and controlling fuel spend by maintaining assets to be more fuel efficient. Control
is also important to mitigate compliance because having better data lets
customers know their compliance status; and it mitigates security risk for better
control of systems and data reduces the risk of breaches.
Automation: To improve asset utilization with proactive
have managed our different assets like fleets, facilities and IT as siloed,
unconnected systems. But now, as the need for innovative change grows greater, companies need to manage IT and physical assets together within the same
management platform, where data, processes and workflows can be shared
seamlessly to be more effective, efficient and highly responsive.Automation also includes enhanced operational
capabilities utilizing automated work-flow to streamline work process, taking
advantage of standard reporting to conduct various analytics and working with
accurate inventory data to improve reliability.
So our challenge, as Industry Solution Developers, within
the context of rail services, is to enable better visualization, control, and
automation of the use rail assets relative to how they support rail business
services. In this context, we can’t just think of assets as a rail car or a
linear track. We need to also think about what those assets are really
providing to the business.Depending on
the asset, the service the asset provides will vary.For example, a key service that a rail
company provides is the improved delivery of passengers and goods - delivery
that is both on time, safe, and at the lowest cost possible.
It’s about what the assets do to deliver the best
possible services to their customer.And
by taking a more holistic approach, businesses can optimize and automate and
safely delivery these services to their end customers.
Strange looking ‘trees’ are popping up all around the world.
Towering above native pines, these scraggily ‘trees’ do not depend on sunlight
to survive and tend to prosper in dense human population areas.
Who has failed to notice the proliferation of these man-made
‘trees’, or cellular transmission towers, spreading across our cities? In the US alone, there
are well over 100,000 cell towers and thousands more are being added each
year.While some may debate the aesthetic nature of these towers,
there is little doubt that in the last decade we have become cellular addicts…as
dependent on them as we are to electricity in our homes.
We use these cell towers to virtually connect with the world, making them vital
to our 21st century every day life. How do they work? Whether you
are making a simple phone call or downloading the latest score in the Giant’s
game, these towers operate more or less the same:
Your cellphone radios to the nearest tower’s antenna that connects you to the cellular network in your area. Your call, along with many others, gets routed to a backhaul, usually an underground
wired T1 or T3 line.If there is no
ground connection your call goes back up the mast to a powerful line-of-sight
wireless microwave antenna. An incoming call similarly comes back from the
backhaul and up through the switch to the antenna, where it then hits your
phone wirelessly. If you are moving out
of your towers range, then there's a handoff to a different tower that
transmits a response back to you…and all of this happens in the blink of an
At the base of each tower you will find the tower’s brains
in a small fortified bunker to house the gear required for each station. This
equipment needs to run 7X24 with zero downtime… for obvious reasons. Since a 100% reliable source of energy does
not exist, batteries and generators are typically deployed as backup. And there
are safety regulations for example: The FAA requires constant red blinking lights
on each tower to identify it to low flying aircraft. This equipment also generates a great deal of
heat in these tiny enclosed spaces. Since many cell towers are remote, fuel
theft and security can be a problem as well.
While communities have gone to great lengths to blend the
towers into landscapes, there remains an opportunity to better manage these bases
and reduce their energy footprint.Considering the sheer number of towers, even the smallest improvement
can have a significant multiplicative affect.
Enter the IBM Intelligent Site Operations solution which was announced this year. The focus is on instrumenting the
management of a mobile network’s passive infrastructure and integrating it with
active network management.This solution
improves operations and reduces operating and energy costs, while improving
asset performance and management.
The solution architecture allows the carrier to
manage their passive assets (those not directly involved in delivering
communications service such as HVAC systems, generators, batteries, security
etc.)This includes monitoring,
maintaining and controlling these assets.For example temperature can be monitored inside and outside the
facility, and the thermostat can be changed remotely and you can take advantage
of free air cooling.Another feature is
that antennas can be remotely controlled to optimize coverage.
This solution also contains analytics that can
compare the most efficient sites to the least efficient sites in order to focus
energy improvement projects.By using
the same technologies to manage both active and passive systems we can increase
the effectiveness of the CSP in managing their overall operation and the
service that is being delivered.
We have completed Business Value Analysis (BVA)
at select Telecoms to quantify value, and ROI. The consensus is that this
solution can pay for itself while at the same time improving reliability. We
are working with partners such as Kentrox and Andrews as well as Johnson Controls.Not limited to North America,
we are also actively working with countries such as South
Brazil, Mexico, Eastern Europe and Europe.
Reduced Fuel Costs
Enhanced Site Security
Reduction in Truck Rolls
Reduction in Site Maintenance Visits
Reduced Dispatched Technician Costs
The bottom line is this solution can help improve operations and energy
use in near-real time; optimize operations that put towers, assets and people
where they are needed most; plan better, from budgeting to preventive
maintenance, and support security and regulatory compliance with reliable data.
Lower cost, greener tower!
The cars in the moving train were some of the oldest in the transit network...Federal officials had sought to phase out the aging fleet because of safety concerns...saying it lacked the money for new cars...
Hersman told The Associated Press that the NTSB had warned in 2006 that the old fleet should be replaced or retrofitted....
This isn't the first time that Metro's automated system has been called into question...In June 2005, Metro experienced a close call because of signal troubles in a tunnel under the Potomac River... Shortly after that incident, Metro attributed the problem to a defective communications cable...
some observations... It is not clear at this point if 1) a red signal for that block of the track was flagged because a train ahead was already on the track ahead and the train from behind violated that signal authority or if the red signal didn't go up to indicate a potential block ahead, which would indicate a signal system failure or 2) the signal system worked right but the computer system failed to apply the emergency brakes on time (since train was operating in automatic mode) and the operator pressed the mushroom button rather belatedly 3) if the train was traveling faster than the authorized speed on this track and hence not providing enough braking time.
As a FYI, WMATA already uses ATC (Automatic Train Control) which to me is a precursor to Positive Train Control (the new mandate).So I am sure the group that looking at PTC is looking at this incident very closely.
The premise before PTC is that locomotives (or any smart vehicle) can take decisions / actions independent of the central Dispatch center based on 1) the data it gets from the on-board sensors, way side sensors and GPS systems for locational awareness and 2) the policies / rules that have already been established on the on-board device. So it doesn't always (doesn't need to anyway) rely on commands from the dispatch center to act in cases like this. (point here is that a "headless system" is already a guiding principle for this architecture).
I can see where this peer to peer system can be an additional input data point in establishing the seriousness of the situation and need to act in this instance. Our work will allow that control to be distributed to the train, so that, should the situation require it, like loss of contact with the central system, the train could communicate with other trains and other signals and execute the central policies around train control without having to be in touch with the central control system.
With all the stimulus funding for infrastructure, there should be a focused effort on replacing or retrofitting these systems with current technology which would have helped to prevent this horrific accident. The technology and solutions exist today.
start with a definition. A smarter building:
lifecyclemanaged comprehensively, in a sustainable manner,
coordinating all aspects from design to
Holistically managed and optimized to integrate well
with other buildings, smarter cities, and smarter
systems(e.g., smart grid)
technology and process for a safer, more productive,
operationally efficient building
an improved set of user interface tools and sensors and actuators
that monitor everything to create buildings that are:
–Cost effective for their owners and tenants
energy and operational costs
high property value
–Comfortable and productive for their occupants
–Safer and more secure
–Environmentally responsible for the planet
are some of the challenges we must tackle to make a building smarter?
–Property typically 2nd largest item on the
–Operational expense – 50% of building life
cycle cost, 'retrofit' – 25%
–Pressure to reduce cost now exacerbated by
continued escalation of energy prices
–Building life cycles largely disjointed
–Siloed management of subsystems and assets
–Lacking end-to-end visualization, analytics
–Long term focus and flexibility
–New sustainability and carbon management
–Better social and commercial alignment –
cost, invest expectations, building function and flexibility, security,
occupant productivity and health, environment and social impacts, are all
considered collectively with a long-term focus
Globally, buildings consume 42% of all electricity, generating 15%
of electricity related green-house gases (USA equivalents are 72% & 38%)
The cost of buildings is a significant element of most
balance sheets, with property
management often being the second largest item after
staff.Fifty percent of a buildings
lifecycle cost is operational expense, with retrofitting buildings being the
second biggest expense.Contrast that
with constructionwhich accounts for
Life cycle cost plays a significant role as property owners
and operators address the long-term efficiency of operations, construction
processes and infrastructure. Too often we see companies invest in buildings,
equipment and systems that underperform in 2-5 yrs. Each stage has different
considerations when attempting to affect cost, which impacts overall building
and asset life cycle costs.
Sustainable Management is designed to improve life cycle
management, carbon data collection and analysis, ongoing asset maintenance, and
all processes and systems used to support these activities.
All of these can be areas of waste and unnecessary
greenhouse gas emissions because of poor planning and maintenance, inadequate
energy management, and inefficiencies such as heating or cooling unused or
underused space, lack of resources and technology, and inability to collect and
analyze operational information.
Challenges include: Property carbon footprinting and audit, Travel
travel, tracking and analysis; Sustainable property strategy; Workplace
transformation; Sustainable property data management;Sustainable capital program management;
Product and service lifecycle carbon analysis; Sustainable data center
Today there are a number of key IBM
offerings. coupled with our business partner offerings that can address these challenges.
This morning I walked along a stone wall circling a hill as
far as I could see.To my right was an
expanse of green fields, bordered by forests that framed the horizon.The path I took this morning was well traveled. It was, in fact, along an aisle of the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center. Many famous scientists,
dignitaries, and world leaders have walked these halls of local field stone and uninterrupted
Architected by Eero Saarinen over a half century ago, this
iconic structure is still the vibrant epicenter of the world’s largest
industrial research organization. Throughout the last five decades, this
building has facilitated famous achievements and longstanding worldwide patent
leadership. Saarinen believed that some
of our best thinking is done with nature as our inspiration. His design embraces the forested landscape and
natural stone with bold and sweeping lines that infer the endless possibilities
of the human mind. I settled into one of his womb chairs in the library looking
across a floating stone table into the green pasture to capture my thoughts for
this article on paper.
The TJ Watson Research Center is located in Yorktown
Heights, New York.It has played a lead pioneering
role in the evolution of IBM, but, like its location, maintains some distance
from the day-to-day operational units. Its shepherding, however, is felt around
the world with extended research facilities that have embraced the growing
global nature of our business.
The building and much of its furnishing, including the chair
I am sitting on, have remained relatively intact for the last five decades,
which is significant given the transformation of the IBM corporation since this
building’s capstone was put in place on April 25th, 1961.
That transformation has affected everything within and
without the structure itself while the foundational beliefs of IBM, like the
very foundation of this building, remain intact.
The building houses a vast collection of tools and
laboratories for close to six hundred PhD’s who work here. A formidable supply
of electrical power as well as over 15,000 different chemicals and toxic gases
are available.There is also an on-site nitrogen-generation
plant, a helium-delivery system, an oxygen system, and a wastewater-treatment plant.
How does a building, designed before the IBM 360 system, keep
up with the demands of bleeding edge science?I took a trip into the almost Harry Potter-like world of this building to
Between the numbered corridors and hidden behind almost-invisible
locked doors, another surprise awaited – the utility cores that efficiently
provide water and gases to the building’s many laboratories. This core is a
long and narrow alley with all manner of conduits and supply feeds. Who could
possibly work in such a space? Apparently there is a wizard called ‘the
plumber’ who has been tinkering in these spaces for longer than anyone in the
building can remember.
Behind the back of the building, I went through an accordion-style
access gate and down a set of steel steps into multiple large rooms that were filled
with massive equipment. The vibrations,
temperature, and sounds of these rooms let you know you are in the heart of the
It’s hard to appreciate boilers, chillers, condensers, fuel
tanks, and electric stations until you stand next to (or under) them.Back in the days of punched cards and
magnetic core memory, the chillers in this building were powered by steam and
massive amounts of air exhaust were drawn out of the building by belt fans. The
speed of the fans was adjusted by using different belts, each of which was
changed by hand. Waste was pulled from the building from large skips on a daily
Today the science and tools, which IBM is using for smarter planet
offerings, are also transforming buildings like this that we live and work in. Manual controls and gauges have largely been
replaced with digital switches and smart sensors. Energy management, sustainability,
grey water applications, and carbon foot printing have supplanted prior
practices that were based on the idea of unlimited resource. Recycling at this
site has reduced waste to the point that only one container for two weeks is
all that’s needed.
It takes good architectural “bones” to accommodate such
change with only minor surgery. Today boilers are run far more efficiently and
chiller towers are able to operate 3000 hours a year on free-air cooling.Research staff are working to further increase
the efficiency of free-air usage by using the BlueGene supercomputer for
weather prediction, while solar experiments are conducted on the building
grounds. Facility engineers have developed and acquired software to run every
aspect of the building inside control rooms that resemble computer-driven
IBM’s new smarterbuilding
solution leverages the experience gained from managing buildings like this
one.Coupled with the IBM software
stack, building management business partners, and global services, IBM is well
poised to continue this advance for the next 100 years. Operations, space, and
energy management are combining into one holistic, highly automated system. Building
data feeds are being aggregated, filtered, and correlated to produce work
orders and actions based on policies and rules that are programmed into the
system.Data from the buildings is being
captured in databases for analytics and mash-ups for different role-based
Smarter buildings will be holistically
managed and optimized to integrate well with other buildings, and withsmarter systems like smart grid and smart water.They leverage technology and processes to
create a safer, more productive, operationally efficient building that is also environmentally
responsible for the planet.
The very science and research that the TJ Watson Research
Center was designed to inspire and faithfully deliver over the last 50 years is
now being leveraged to make this building smarter.In turn, the smarter this building becomes,
the better job it will do facilitating the pioneering work which is conducted that
has been a hallmark of the IBM Corporation.
Last week, after a less than satisfying shower from a hotel
showerhead fitted with too many flow restrictors, I watched a breaking story
about a water main rupture that sent tens of thousands of gallons across a Bronx neighborhood affecting over 500 homes and
businesses. According to the New York City Department of Environmental
Protection, Cas Holloway, there was still no explanation for the break. This is
an event that happens too often. Recent advances in linear asset sensor
technology can detect pipe deterioration from variances in vibration in the
pressurized pipes. Deployment of these wireless sensors coupled with real time
monitoring can help us predict and prevent such massive failures.
Today we have a huge opportunity to apply IT and
communication technology to provide deeper insight on how we manage and
maintain energy and water.In the US alone there are
over 5 million buildings that have a combined energy cost of over 200 billion
and account for over 40% of the country’s green house gas emissions. It has
been estimated 30-50% of that energy and water is used inefficiently or wasted.
Focusing solely on alternative energy sources like solar,
wind, or geothermal or energy intensive desalination of water as the
answer is not only avoiding the root problem but is finding new ways to feed inefficient
practices. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for alternative renewable energy or new
breakthroughs in water sourcing, but my point is we should first take a deep
look at how we waste energy and water to insure we are being as efficient as
possible. Today, there is a huge
opportunity to eliminate wasteful practices while making our utilities more
IBM is a good example of many companies today that have been
searching relentlessly for efficiency gains. In just the last 2-3 years, IBM
was able to discover ways to conserve 523,000 megawatt hours of electricity,
enough to power 47,000 average U.S.
homes for a year!And we believe we can eliminate
as much as 1.1 million megawatt hours of
energy consumption by the end of 2012. See press release.
IBM started back in the 90’s with lighting, windows, and
insulation. (for eg: CFLs, efficient
windows, proper sealing and insulation) We
focused on space management, open offices, telecommuting, and teleconferencing
as well as waste management, supply chain management, and e-waste management.
Fast forward back to 2011 and, if you have done the
obvious, where do you go for the next turn of the crank? Enter the world of IBM Smarter Planet.IBM
is deploying its Smarter Building technologies
to drive energy efficiency to the next
level across IBM’s global portfolio of buildings. Though the use of data
monitoring and analytics, we are leveraging “plug-in” analytics to collect
sensor and operating data for analyzing both individual events and system
trends. This information is then used to optimize building energy use. Many
other companies are also working with IBM’s Intelligent Building Management to
see what efficiencies they can gain from the more holistic building
‘whispering’ enabled by insight derived from real time monitoring of building
sensors and advanced analytics.
This represents ‘a new way to think about how we manage
buildings’, according to our own site operations team who has been deploying
IBM Intelligent building management. As with any transformational journey, one
should start by going after the worst practices, the worst performers, and the
low cost opportunities (which smart sensors and software can help you identify
and prioritize. AOL Energy just published my top ten list of ways we waste energy and water in buildings. Let’s explore a couple of these in depth.
1) Simultaneous heating and cooling.For example, stores that prop their doors
open with the AC on max. This is reportedly even happening in energy challenged Tokyo this summer. Opening doors with the AC on can use as much
as 25 percent more electricity. Software can detect, alert, and report on such
conditions. In New York City this problem is so pervasive
that a law was passed to keep doors shut when the AC is on (which most shops still ignore.) Did you know that revolving doors, like those at IBM HQ and MIT, can save 85% more energy than swing doors ? Ever sit in a windowed office with the sun
streaming in? It can get very hot. Most buildings today have to cool down south
side facing space and heat interior and north side space, simultaneously.Overcooled offices even result in people
having to resort to space heaters to stay warm. Investing in passive solar
design, building orientation, landscaping, window coatings and overhangs can
help but the latest technology of thermal mapping provides greater
visualization of where hot and cold spot actually are (and why) in order to
adjust airflow for more even dissipation.It is even difficult to take advantage of those first cool autumn days
in these beautiful glass buildings with windows that don’t open! We
have created virtual ‘green houses’ that heat up from the sun even when it is
cool outside and thus need AC because there is no mechanism in place to bring
in the outside air. IBM implemented 16 free air cooling projects, which utilize
the temperature of the outside air rather than chiller systems to cool water,
saving more than 16,000 MWh of electricity use.Ok, now that we have shut the doors and
windows (or virtually ‘opened’ windows on a cool day) let’s look at some more hidden and pervasive reasons
for simultaneous heating and cooling that can be detected and prevented by
IBM’s Intelligent Building Management.These include dampers left open or out of adjustment, sensors out of
adjustment, units inadvertently left in override, independent uncoordinated
thermostats, discharge set points not properly adjusted for seasonal shifts, or
just incorrectly maintained equipment. Real time monitoring for these
conditions and applying rule based management systems have already resulted in significant efficiency gains in one of our biggest energy using plants. And we expect the maintenance bill to
also drop by the same percentage which is an added bonus.
2) Heating, cooling, and lighting unoccupied or
underutilized space. Motion detection,
timers, carbon dioxide monitoring, RFID, and security scanners are technologies
that can be leveraged more intelligently to match lighting and temperature with
the actual presence and concentration of humans. HVAC and lighting systems are
often found running beyond the scheduled operating hours like when someone manually
overrides set points or adjusts the schedule and doesn't restore it back to the
normal operating schedule. Set points are not always adjusted as the mission of
the building changes. Software that can perform near real time analytical forecasting
of use can help manage proactively instead of reactively and drive real
savings. This includes improving your
ratio of people to space.
spaces have all the lights on during the day even when the sunlight is more
than sufficient for the task. Ambient
lighting by harvesting daylight should be tied to the task of each particular workplace
and dynamically adjusted with control systems. Look for areas where you can
decrease lighting without compromising performance and consider task specific
lighting instead of lighting up an entire room or space. It is interesting to
note that today there is nearly 400 times as much artificial lighting in buildings than there was a century ago—and research is showing that the
standards of even ten (10) years ago put more light than we need in offices.
4) Water. Sprinklers that use ‘dumb’ timers turn on while
it is raining or when the sun is directly overhead and the evaporation rate is
at a high point
of the day. Potable water is used for
flushing toilets and watering landscapes.Most people think of water and energy as separate but in fact they are
inextricably linked. The California Energy Commission has documented that 19%
of the state’s electric energy load is related to the pumping, treatment and
distribution of drinking water and the collection and treatment of wastewater.
On the other hand hydroelectric power, a major source of California's electricity, provides
substantially less than 19% percent of the state’s electricity. So the state’s 400 hydro electric plants (14,000 MW) are insufficient to
transport water to and from the state’s cities and buildings. Not even a wash! Again we need to take a closer look at how we
are using water.Studies show that we easily
waste as much as 50% of the water in buildings. Water efficiency programs can vastly reduce the use of energy to pump, treat,
and pressurize water and increasing water efficiency can forestall the need for
energy required for intensive new water supply development.
Rain water (naturally distilled,
evaporated, and condensed) is mostly lost on buildings and their impervious parking
lots. This wash-off transports fertilizer, oil, and other contaminants into our
waterways. ( IBM is helping San Jose, California, monitor 30,000 storm drains that empty into
136 miles of creeks and streams.) Solutions
such as pervious parking pavers and rain water collection systems are economical
and a great environmental choice. In the past year IBM has built a rainwater collection system
in North Carolina
which generates non-potable water to be used in the facility. With the
annual rainfall in Raleigh
averaging around 41 inches, a 160,000 square foot roof area can collect
approximately 3.5 million gallons per year which can then be used for
landscaping and toilet flushing. In Burlington
Vermont, IBM was able to cut the
purified water bill in half with a water management initiative that includes a
data-rich system for managing all of the water used in the plant.Recycling gray water for landscaping and
flushing should also be part of the plan.
provided just a few examples of where do start leveraging technology to drive
more efficient delivery and use of our precious resources. The need for
efficiency is clear. By 2025, buildings will be the #1 consumer of energy. Up
to 50% of energy and water in buildings are often wasted. Real estate is the
2nd largest expense on the income statement. The good news is the benefits from
improving building efficiency are real.Energy
usage can be reduced by up to 40% and the associated maintenance cost by 10-30%.Studies have shown that more efficient,
smarter buildings have higher occupancy rates and higher productivity.The majorities of today’s workforce not only
appreciates but are willing to contribute to energy and water efficiency
programs. We can change by managing our buildings in a smarter way.Many of the ideas can be implemented at a
very low cost with an excellent payback and return on investment. The great
news is we are capturing all of these lessons and implementing them in a set of
preconfigured rules in our IBM Intelligent Building Management that is now
externally available. This solution takes a holistic approach always
considering the interactions among all system components.
This is only a start and there is much
to be done.Collaborative innovation can
help us to transform smarter, quicker, and more effectively. Working together
to make this happen is key.
Today, at the RSA Conference, IBM announced new security products and services, in response to recent studies from the IBM X-Force security research group revealing that criminal organizations around the globe are developing new attack techniques with alarming speed.
Today’s WSJ reported cyber attacks in the pentagon’s $300B Joint Strike Fighter project and the Air Force’s air traffic control system. The F35 Lightning II fighter program reportedly lost several TB of data (1 terabyte (TB) equals 1000000000000 bytes )related to design and electronics systems used for defense of the plane.
Today’s engineering projects are increasingly deploying more collaborative business models to drive innovation and cycle time. They take advantage of new infrastructures like cloud computing, virtualization and Web 2.0 which provide great advantage but also introduce new risk.
announcement at the RSA conference, coupled with an already strong security portfolio puts IBM in a unique position to protect the world’s critical assests.
Recently Judy Collins appeared at our local bookshop in Rhinebeck, NY that we frequently visit to promote a children's book. Gosh, how time flies! It was just yesterday that we were wearing out her LPs in the college dorms. One of my favorite Judy Colllins song was 'Both sides Now' which contains the line ' I've looked at clouds from both sides now, from win and lose , and still somehow, it's clouds illusions I recall...' So what are the real benefits of cloud? And what is just an illusion? Here are some cloud musings based on my experience in industry solutions for a smarter planet:
How can cloud be used in development for industry oriented applications?
Cloud computing can be used in development for intense simulations of assembly operations. These are the complex simulations of whole systems, as opposed to a single pump for example. Simulations generally require HPC (high performance computing) that can be cost prohibitive for anyone except the largest enterprises. One example is System Verification Management for the Electronic Design Automation Industry. Systems verification is the testing of integrated circuit hardware and embedded software to identify defects. Coverage verification is a type of systems verification using random testing of a chip design simulated in software. Because software simulations run extremely slowcompared to actual hardware, enough tests can never be run to completely verify a chip design. Therefore critical functions are chosen to be “covered” by simulation testing. Modern chip complexity is driving manufacturers to coverage verification to vet design before it hits the expensive silicon and to speed time to market. In fact, Coverage verification simulations approaching 1 million per day on an High Performance Computing (HPC) environment are now becoming the norm. The HPC environment must be utilized and maintained to the maximum extent possible to achieve quickest time to market and that can be achieved efficiently using cloud computing.
Another example is smart grid. One focus for smart grid is demand management or the ability, during brown outs for example, to dynamically deallocate power to nonessential devices like pool pumps and allocate power to schools, hospitals, or certain appliances in your home. This requires visibility up and down the chain of delivery to determine where and how the power is being used and whether its delivery is as efficient as possible. Dealing with a range of variable and unpredictable outages requires the ability to dynamically allocate the compute resources for the task and we have found cloud to be an efficient way to manage a smart grid.
And what about smarter cities? The city of Wuxi in southeastern China, developed a "cloud services factory" to provide computing resources to local companies. Software developers can access new resources in minutes, and new businesses can hit the ground running. Wuxi now has the potential to provide services to hundreds of small and medpium-sized companies, which represent the future of a city that sees itself as an engine for growth.
Are there economic, cultural or other trends that are driving the adoption of cloud computing?
Today, more than ever, the need to drive down the cost of computing while being fully prepared for variable and peak workloads. In addition, if a cloud can handle a mulit-tenent environment with 15, 50, 500 customers all with dynamic processing on the same infrastructure, and same support (monitoring, backup/restore) cost has to decrease due to economy of scale.
I think that the tough economy has definitely spurred interest in cost cutting measures and efficiency; but, I think the real drivers are the emergence and acceptance of virtualization and Service Oriented Architecture in companies. Companies are becoming more technically astute and see the advantages of subscribing to Web Services, applications, storage and services like SPAM filtering in a cloud. In addition, because many people's workstations are now on their phones, pda's and netbooks, it makes more sense to host the operating systems, applications and data on virtual servers in a cloud.
Another factor driving adoption is the need to stay competitive in today's markets. For most business the ability to deliver more applications and services without adding fixed costs helps improve focus on core business competencies. ie: Improve time to market, Increase Business Flexibility and shift from Fixed to Variable Costs. Also, the ability to monitor costs.
What are some of the perceptions or barriers that need to be overcome for cloud computing to gain the widest possible acceptance?
Perception of the lack of bulletproof Reliability,Performance and Security & Privacy. Performance concerns exist about throughput because computing is off-site. Concern exists that data will be secure from competitors eyes in a public cloud.
It’s clear that a variety of security technologies, processes, procedures, laws, and trust models are required to secure the cloud. There is no silver bullet for securing the cloud but who better than IBM with a full breadth and depth of solutions and services enable organizations to take a business-driven, holistic approach to securing the cloud. IBM capabilities empower organizations to dynamically monitor and quantify security risks, to better understand threats and vulnerabilities in terms of business impact, to better respond to security events with security controls that optimize business results, and to better prioritize and balance their security investments.
How will IT change over the next five years or so, because of the influence of cloud computing?
I think IT technologies will more and more be applied to real world (non-IT) assets as we transform utilities, transport, healthcare, buidlings, and cities to a smarter version. This will be made possible in many instances by the power of cloud computing.
An example of a specific opportunity is in the area of storage. As the world becomes smarter and, we are collecting more and more data, and storage requirements are skyrocketing. Today we are approaching a trillion connected sensors that are enabling smarter planet plays such as smarter transportation and smarter healthcare. Being able to farm out the management of the storage devices to experts and pay for what is actually used is already becoming very compelling.
I think 5 years from now we will see much of smarter planet plays being realized and powered by clouds. It will not be clouds illusions we recall but real leverage and value for our industry solutions.
By now you have probably heard that Ounce Labs was acquired by the Rational software division as part of IBM's cyber security solution build-out. This is great technology to insure software development and existing software is not the weakest link in the chain in our smarter planet projects.
For example, let's consider the 1,2,3's of how Ounce can help us in our work to secure the smart grid:
1) One of the key components of the Smart Grid is software
2) 99% of the software that powers energy-related applications and devices has been written with no attention to secure coding principles; hence, it is quite susceptible to attack
3) IBM/Ounce tools quickly scan large amounts of software to identify and help fix the most severe vulnerabilities in software
We have been developing an aviation solution that addresses some of the contributing problems in the Air France event. Our solution is call Advanced Aerospace Solution Environment or AASE.
The AASE was designed to send and receive real-time flight data from the engines, airframe, and other sensors on the aircraft during in-flight operation to ground operations. When one of the many sensors detects a fault, the information about the fault and other related data is sent real-time to the ground central system and recorded. This process also kicks-off a work flow process to have the problem investigated and replaced if needed when the aircraft lands at its destination.
According to media reports, the issue may have been caused by a air speed sensor reporting incorrect information - an event the AASE solution could have detected and addressed.
Right now the FAA and other foreign agencies are trying to locate the "Black Box" flight recorder to help determine the exact cause. Although the AASE solution does not capture the pilots communication and all the second by second sensor data, it could help with information on critical sensors where faults have occurred. This additional information could help crash investigators determine the cause in the event the black box is not found or damaged. It could also shed light on the maintenance history and the frequency the part in question may have been a problem and not replaced.
Some observations that lead me to believe that the airlines can do a better job managing the lifecycle, maintenance, and engineering changes...something our industry solutions addresses. I blogged about this in the past... Remember American Airlines (and others) having to ground their fleet to rush changes or risk compliance penalties?
Let's start with 2 observations:
1) Air France and Airbus apparently couldn't agree on what the maintenance changes should be
2) Airbus was forced to make changes to the pilots manual
Other data points:
The agency said the A330 had sent out 24 error messages in four minutes including one indicating a discrepancy in speed data. It said similar problems had happened before.
Air France said it had first noticed in May 2008 that ice in the sensors was causing lost data in planes like the A330, but that it failed to agree with Airbus on steps to take.
According to Air France, Airbus offered to carry out an in-flight test on new sensors this year but the airline decided to go ahead and started changing them anyway from April 27. It did not say whether the crashed plane had the new sensors but its last maintenance hangar visit was on April 16.
Some of the A330s 50 or so other operators defended the plane's safety record at an airlines meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, saying the crash was an isolated incident.
Airbus has faced problems with the speed sensors dating to at least 2001, forcing changes in equipment as well as the pilot's flight manual, according to online filings.
In 2001, France reported several cases of sudden fluctuation of A330 or A340 airspeed data during severe icing conditions and Airbus was ordered to change the cockpit manual, according to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
It is still early days, and we have to wait for final analysis but I believe there is room for improvement, given the data we have and the airlines should make steps towards improvement immediately to address these problems.
What weighs 35,000 lbs, rests 55 ft off the ground, and is can prevent 18 tons of carbon from being released into the air? A very green dragon that can hold it's breath?
Kind of...Ricoh has launched an eco-friendly billboard in Times Square. Instead of being connected to the electric grid, the 47x126 foot board is powered by 16 wind turbines and 64 solar panels. The billboard, will generate its own electricity, a first for Times Square.
When it comes to leadership by example, Ricoh is the real deal. Spend some time on their web site http://www.ricoh.com/environment/ to appreciate the extent of their commitment.