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CMU and IBM are working on a cloud-based analytics platform the organisations say could help cut facilities' energy costs

CMU and IBM are working on a cloud-based analytics platform the organisations say could help cut facilities’ energy costs

IBM and Carnegie Mellon University are working on a cloud-based analytics platform the organisations say could help other firms significantly trim down their facilities management and utilities costs.

The companies said they are pioneering the use of an analytics platform based on IBM Building Management Center and deployed on SoftLayer infrastructure.

The platform will monitor thousands of data points from building automation and control systems, and can detect problems with heating and cooling systems; it will also be programmed to proactively trigger corrective actions in the event problems become more likely to occur.

Donald Coffelt, associate vice president for Carnegie Mellon University’s Facilities Management Services said: “On its own, the deployment of this technology will drive significant energy and operational savings with a very attractive return on investment. Just as important, improved building performance enhances the occupant experience and provides a much more effective education and research environment.”

“This technology offers us important gains in initiatives related to advanced infrastructure systems research, the Pittsburgh 2030 initiative and a more proactive building and infrastructure management model,” Coffelt said.

The university said it expects to save about 10 per cent on utilities, or nearly $2m annually, one the platform is fully deployed across its 36-building campus.

“IBM and Carnegie Mellon University share a commitment to innovation and a rich history of collaboration,” said Wayne Balta, vice president, IBM Corporate Environmental Affairs and Product Safety.

“Given CMU’s renown as a world leader in engineering and computer science, this new collaboration for smarter buildings is a natural fit. CMU recognized early on that a college campus shares several things in common with a city. Just as Smarter Cities are using data and analytics to improve diverse aspects of their operations, CMU will harness data and analytics delivered via cloud computing to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of building management across campus. We’ve done this within IBM and know it to be good for our business as well as the environment,” Balta said.

Carnegie Mellon has participated with a number of innovative cloud initiatives over the years. In 2013 the US Department of Education announced it would sponsor a five year $3.7 million project led by Carnegie Mellon University, Syracuse University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) to develop methods that participating researchers said will create a more inclusive user experience for cloud-based software. The project looks at how web-based software can be dynamically modified to meet the needs of people with disabilities.