LAS VEGAS -- IBM's VP of industry solutions, Dave Bartlett, speaks a language he wants everyone to learn: the language of infrastructure.
If you don't think infrastructure speaks, take it up with Bartlett, who is known around IBM as the "Building Whisperer." As Bartlett explained at the Pulse conference here in Las Vegas yesterday, your infrastructure is talking to you, and you'd better listen.
And don't just listen. You must also apply analytics to make sense of what you're hearing and act on what you find out.
Click below for a video blog from the Building Whisperer, Dave Bartlett:
During a session yesterday, Bartlett discussed three organizations that are learning to listen to their infrastructures and conserve energy as a result: the United States Air Force, the Louvre Museum in Paris, and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
While very different organizations, each has a physical infrastructure. As a result, notes Bartlett, they all face challenges for which technological solutions are needed.
Take the Air Force, for example, which has just partnered with IBM to use its TRIRIGA software to gain greater visibility into, and control over, its physical assets.
Those assets are many: They include buildings, vehicles, runways, and other infrastructure throughout 170 locations worldwide. In partnering with IBM, the Air Force is looking to satisfy an executive order for agencies to better use federal assets in a sustainable manner, to lower energy costs, and to reduce their carbon footprints.
Bartlett cited the Department of Defense as the largest energy user in the world, using $20 billion worth each year. Making note of its global assets, it's easy to see how that's the case.
Perhaps a less obvious example of an organization that uses -- and wastes -- a great deal of energy is the Louvre in Paris, home of the Mona Lisa (and other shiny objects).
But a museum with 2,500 doors, 650,000 square feet of art, different temperature requirements for different rooms, and a record-breaking 8.8 million visitors in 2011 alone is precisely the kind of complex organization that requires end-to-end visibility into energy use. With IBM's help, the Louvre is now adding monitoring processes throughout the museum in order to keep visitors coming while preventing energy and maintenance costs from growing. Among other benefits, this will help the organization gain insight on its assets and manage both planned and unplanned maintenance.
Technology on its own can't solve all the world's energy problems, though. As Bartlett described when discussing the Los Angeles Unified School District, making people part of the process is huge. With 800 campuses and 14,000 buildings, LAUSD spends a great deal of its time trying to locate problems, and not enough time trying to solve them.
Now, with mobile solutions from IBM business partners CitySourced and Esri, LAUSD is helping students and faculty identify maintenance issues and report them through their mobile phones.
"The best smart sensor is a person," says Bartlett. "It makes people part of the effort. Engaging students with smartphones using apps can employ things like crowdsourcing. The more people report on a problem, the higher the priority."
If it weren't clear by his nickname -- the Building Whisperer -- Bartlett takes energy efficiency seriously and believes we all have a role to play in using the technology we have to communicate with infrastructure.
If we don't, well... statistics suggest we're in for a dire future.
"Today in this country, buildings consume 70 percent of the energy... By 2025, on a global level, buildings will be the biggest source of carbon footprint on the planet. By connecting to physical infrastructure and better listening to it to get the data, and to run analytics on it for deeper insight, we can find more efficient ways to run what we do on a daily basis."
— Nicole Ferraro , Editor in Chief, Internet Evolution