From the gate at 37th and
I met with the Chinese delegation at the Riggs Library on the
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 and cities.
There was also a lot of discussion around the Climate Group’s Smart 2020 Study findings 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.