What we THINK about: facilities management & smart buildings

With the new year in full swing, I have been getting many questions about our upcoming event, Think. Questions such as: Will there be a focus on facilities management and smarter buildings? Will there be real use cases around how IoT & AI make buildings smarter? Are there certification opportunities? Will the entertainment be magnificent? The answer to all of the above is, of course, yes.

Specifically, I have had several opportunities to speak with clients who are building the business case to head to IBM THINK for a week of networking, learning and sharing. I’ll share with you what I have shared with them.

40,000 new friends await you at Think

We are expecting 40,000 of the world’s most inspiring innovators, leaders, and thinkers in one place.  That’s a lot of brilliance under one roof. On top of that, Ginni Rometty and our newest IoT General Manager, Kareem Yusuf, will share their thoughts about the huge changes happening in facilities, factories and other asset-intensive businesses. 

A redesigned campus setting to help teach and inspire you

Buildings, asset management and industrial industries will take the center stage in the “Reimagine your Business” Campus. There will be 90+ campus theater sessions, 61 Watson IoT client & tech sessions and the Watson IoT keynote. There will also be 18+ Hands-on labs and Watson IoT certifications. So much to learn, so little time.    

A robust facilities management track to go deep

As track chair for IoT/ Facilities management, I have had the distinct honor of helping to curate a track that is intended to create deep insights into some innovative approaches to managing facilities.  Just a few of the great facilities management topics that our clients will spotlight during the event are:

· 
Smart buildings 101: How to use your buildings data to help you unlock value for your organization. This session, with the worldwide facilities leader for E&Y,  will be a good level-set for existing and prospective facilities management leaders.  Most importantly, we will be showcasing some of the newest investments made in Tririga. 

· Driving operational excellence through smarter buildings: This session expands on the strategy that asset-intensive industries and facilities leaders are employing to create and extract value from their investments.

· What CFOs and Financial Managers Don’t Know about Their Property, Plants and Equipment with Tony Bailey from Umpqua Bank will be a great session on how organizations are dealing with the FASB and IASB lease accounting changes, and how they are working to automate and analyze their way to compliance.

· Don’t Fear the Dark: Using Dark Data to Make Enlightened Facilities Management Decisions with UMass Amherst and their integration of IoT data as well as GIS and other data elements to “shine a light” on new insights about the way they manage their campus of buildings.

· The Future of Work and Its Impact on Workplace Management will showcase how next-generation technology is being put to work in the office today, and is featuring an update from ISS, as they continue to transform 25,000 buildings globally as they continue the journey to bring AI into play in their facilities, and predict and pre-empt technical issues, as well as create more engaging journeys for their occupants.

· In Buildings 2050: The Cognitive Building and Digital Twins. We will hear from Dr. Claire Penny on the use cases that are emerging today for digital twin. The groundwork for the buildings of tomorrow is being created today. If you don’t know about digital twin and how it relates to buildings, check out this webcast

· Lastly, Competing in retail with the “Connected Store” will showcase how the IoT is being used to improve the experiential, as well as operational environment in fast-moving retail environments, and what it might mean to the workplaces of the future as well.  

If you want to go deeper on facilities management or one of our other exciting tracks, click here and IBM Watson can help you build the perfect curriculum. 

Nobody gets bored in Vegas

I would be remiss if I did not mention the receptions and networking opportunities that run continuously through the event, and an entertainment line-up that continues to grow. There will be three (!) concerts featuring Train, the Bare Naked Ladies (BNL) and the Chainsmokers. Definitely something for everyone. There is more than enough excitement to leave everyone exhausted.

Register now

I hope that helps put some of the huge investment IBM is making for you into perspective. You should now have all the ammo you need to make the case to your leadership to attend Think. I look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas with me and 39,999 friends.

Register today: https://www.ibm.com/events/think/register/

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Australian smart buildings company Quantify raises $5M in capital

Quantify Technologies, a publicly traded IoT company that develops smart/intelligent building applications and solutions has raised $ 5M in new capital.

The company trades on the Australian stock exchange under the ticker QFY and raised the funds by issuing 83M new shares to new and existing investors at 6 cents a share. Quantify will use the funding proceeds for the testing of an integrated Amazon Alexa/Q Device product they are developing.

“These funds will also allow us to accelerate development of further enhancements and integrations of technologies such as Amazon Alexa to further redefine the IoT industry standard and to make our solution the platform of choice,” Mark Lapins, head of Quantify Technologies.

The Q Device by Quantify can be used to control multiple IoT-based in-home devices. The core solution can be deployed at the time of a building’s construction or retro-fitted later.

Rolling out IoT solutions across an enterprise is considered a tough ask, especially when organizations have heterogeneous system operating upon different standards. This is where Quantify makes a difference by eliminating the needs to install dedicated gateway devices or communications hubs. It offers a core control and reporting API for the purpose.


Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

It’s alive!! 5 ways buildings are taking advantage of the IoT

After spending a few days at TRIMax immersing myself in all things around facilities management and buildings of the future, one thing was clear. I need to take my building out for a coffee and pick its brain. Our buildings carry so much information about how they are used and we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of the possibilities of what we can do with that data. It’s time to bring our buildings alive!

For many years, we’ve relied on our own interpretations of our observations. As we walk around a building, we may notice that our co-worker, Johnny, doesn’t come into the office very often even though he has his own corner office. We may get annoyed when we go to book a conference room but everything is taken – though they all appear empty most of the time. The frustration is real when you drag yourself out of bed at 6am to hit the hotel gym only to find all three machines are taken. What if we could improve that visibility and get the most accurate data possible?

Bringing your buildings alive

As we saw in the Kone video, it is possible for our buildings to either interrupt or improve the flow of our days. The applications span far beyond elevators and doors. Sensors can be infused in ice cream coolers, coffee machines, bathrooms, conference rooms, parking lots, and much more. Using the ice cream cooler as an example, consider the impact on a retailer if their ice cream cooler goes down on a hot day in July. That’s going to be a bad day for that retailer. But had they used IoT sensors and capabilities, this breakdown could have been predicted and prevented. In essence, we want our buildings to speak to us and the technology exists to make this possible.

“My sole focus is to bring your buildings alive” – John Smart, Program Director, Cognitive Building & Retail Solutions, IBM

Voice is the next big thing for smart buildings

“What if your building could listen and respond to your needs and wants? Voice is the next big thing in smart buildings.”  – John Smart, Program Director, Cognitive Building & Retail Solutions, IBM

Not only can our buildings talk to us, but we will also be able to talk to our buildings. Using the power of voice, we develop a whole new set of experiences for the employee. Imagine if you need a whiteboard for your meeting. You will be able to simply ask for it, your voice will be captured, and a service request is automatically generated.

Putting Watson in the walls

To fully optimize the capabilities of Watson, he really needs a place to stay. Since you will be optimizing your unused space, the only place left will be the walls. When we say Watson in the walls, we’re not talking about a new blockbuster hit, but rather the partnership we are working on with HARMAN.  IBM is working with Harman on My Personal Concierge, powered by Watson assistant. This is intended to optimize hotel stays and follow you wherever you are on your journey. Need to check if that elliptical in the gym is free without walking down? Check. Ran out of towels? Watson has your back.  Want to make a reservation for dinner at 7pm at the hotel lounge? No problem.

Update room vacancies in real-time

We’ve all been there. We need a conference room but everything is booked. We’re also all guilty of booking a conference room and then not needing it or using it. Do we take the time to cancel the room reservation? If you do, you’re a better person than I am. Most often, there is just a big discrepancy between what rooms are on hold and which are actually being used.

Watson Workplace Concierge can help update room vacancies in real-time. It uses the power of the device and the power of the IoT with little needed involvement by the employee. If you don’t show up to the room, you will get a notification on your phone asking if you still need the room. If you say no, it will automatically unlock the room for others to use. Similarly, if you leave a room mid-way through your reservation, Watson will ask if your meeting is complete and will free up the room.

Space occupancy tracking saves major headaches

The world of commercial real estate is very complex. There is a vast amount of space. In fact, there is 12B square feet in the U.S. alone; but only 67 percent is utilized.  How do we address this gap?

According to Susan Chace from Fidelity, having a strong space assessment depends on mobile tools and the ability to compare physical space to space information with TRIRIGA and make real-time updates as you walk the floor. Just walking around the building and observing is not enough and it is not accurate. Space needs can change daily and having technology in place to capture those changes can make all the difference in whether your space allocations are accurate.

Are you bringing your buildings to life?

The ability to capture key information from our buildings and use that data to optimize customer experiences, employee engagement, and your bottom line are very real. It was a hot topic at TRIMax this year and I look forward to seeing where 2018 will take us.

Don’t forget to catch up on all the activities you missed at TRIMax this year.

To see what others are doing with smart buildings, visit our buildings zone and facilities management hub.

To learn more about IBM TRIRIGA, visit the IBM Marketplace.

 

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Australian Smart Buildings company Quantify raises $5M in venture funding

Quantify Technologies, an IoT company that develops smart/intelligent building applications and solutions raised $ 5M in venture capital. It was raised by placing 83M shares to new and existing investors at 6 cents a share. Quantify will use the funding proceeds for the testing of an integrated Amazon Alexa/Q Device product developed by Quantify.

“These funds will also allow us to accelerate development of further enhancements and integrations of technologies such as Amazon Alexa to further redefine the IoT industry standard and to make our solution the platform of choice,” Mark Lapins, head of Quantify Technologies.

The Q Device by Quantify can be used to control multiple IoT-based in-home devices. The core solution can be deployed at the time of a building’s construction or retro-fitted later.

Rolling out IoT solutions across an enterprise is considered a tough ask, especially when organizations have heterogeneous system operating upon different standards. This is where Quantify makes a difference by eliminating the needs to install dedicated gateway devices or communications hubs. It offers a core control and reporting API for the purpose.


Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

Candi opts for Google Cloud Platform to join up smart buildings

Candi deploys Google Cloud Platform to join up smart buildings

Candi and Google team up on solution to help companies develop smart building products and services faster. 

Smart buildings connectivity specialist Candi is deploying a new solution on Google Cloud Platform to help connect smart building devices and data with apps.

The solution integrates Google Pub/Sub, which ingests data streams, with Candi’s PowerTools software, which building managers can use to access and manage legacy and IoT devices. This, in turn, should enable IoT developers and service providers to more easily connect to edge data and link directly into Google’s Cloud Platform Toolset.

 

According to Candi executives, the Candi/Google solution offers “out-of-the-box support” for smart buildings, as it includes reference designs and sensor kits for energy and HVAC systems, as well as other equipment, using Intel BMP gateways.

Read more: Honeywell launches analytics hub to ‘listen’ to smart buildings

 

Different protocols

The company said that, by normalising edge data across different devices and protocols, and delivering that data through Google Pub/Sub’s central access point, the Candi/Google solution could reduce the cost and workload for providers of third-party software and services to compete in the IoT marketplace.

It added that companies that specialise in business intelligence, analytics, operations, and systems management could also deploy scalable products faster, without having to tackle the challenges of device-level communications or edge-to-cloud connectivity, which is managed by Candi’s software.

This is initially targeted at smart buildings, where data from equipment and sensors can improve operating efficiency. Legacy equipment and next-generation devices using BACnet, ZigBee, Modbus, IP/Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, powerline, and other protocols are all supported. End-to-end reference designs include sensor kits based on use cases such as energy monitoring, submetering, BMS and HVAC equipment monitoring, and thermostat and lighting control.

Read more: Survey: Facilities managers look to IoT for building performance boost

Gateways and analytics

At the edge, Candi-powered gateways – by Advantech, Logic Supply, Systech and others – will use PowerTools software to manage devices and normalise data. The gateways link to Google Cloud Platform, where Google Pub/Sub acts as the central access point for any IoT app or service to authenticate and connect to the devices and data. Google Cloud and software partners such as Leverege and Altair, for example, provide analytics, data visualisation, and business intelligence software to help facilities professionals, for example, monitor and manage building performance.

“We’re accelerating IoT market growth through our collaboration with Google Cloud by simplifying complex connections to devices and data,” said Steve Raschke, CEO of Candi. “Google Cloud Platform gives our customers a more secure, centralised channel for effortless access to their data, a pre-integrated suite of world-class analytics tools, and the solid foundation of Google’s global infrastructure.”

Read more: Tooshlights to bring new convenience to ‘comfort breaks’

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