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Radical Confidence From Information to Intelligence in Green Buildings


I'm gearing up for the IBM Smarter Buildings Forum today in New York City (disclosure: I am a paid speaker at the event) and I've just spent two days with some of the most brilliant people in the world of building diagnostics, so information and intelligence are on my mind.

I'm sure many of us have seen one of the online flash videos about the exponential explosion of information flow worldwide in the past decade. There is no doubt that the amount of information we absorb every day is orders of magnitude larger than what our forebears were required to process.


Rhetorical question: Does all of this extra information and make us smarter? Not-so-rhetorical answer: Not necessarily. As with any kind of simulation modeling exercise, the "garbage in, garbage out" problem exists. By itself, raw information serves to paralyze rather than empower.

To make good decisions in buildings, for example, could require processing gigabytes of information each day -- far more than a normal human being can process effectively.

Building automation/management systems (BAS/BMS) provide real-time data on a wide range of operational and environmental conditions inside modern buildings. Originally created to manage energy, these systems now track indoor environmental conditions -- CO2 levels, humidity, temperature, etc. -- as well as building security. As the number of desired metrics has expanded, so has the quantity of information, not all of it necessarily useful.

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