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Smart Systems: Using Data to Find New Space in an Old World

February 28th, 2011 02:45 admin Leave a comment Go to comments

#4 - Jenna Rose Mayle | Abraham LincolnThe water system that serves the U.S. capital city of Washington, D.C. dates back to the nation’s civil war. Just think – in the time of Lincoln people dug into the ground with hand-made shovels to lay a water system.

Today, that 19th century water system for the District of Columbia is now arguably one of the smartest in the world.

Why? Those water pipes are now fitted with sensors that analyze data on valves, storm drains, service vehicles and truck routes.

It’s representative of a trend we see in hosted environments everywhere. At the Parallels Summit last week, discussion centered on making the most of data centers. They discussed optimizing servers to provide more virtual space. That reflects on what we are hearing at IBM Pulse. And that’s finding new spaces in an old world. We can’t afford to replace our highways, airports and the buildings where we work and live. But we can optimize this physical infrastructure by creating a virtual space that gives us a view into how these aging systems can be improved.

This new space is a virtual one. But the data is also spreading deeper into new spaces that come with the ubiquity of sensors on physical objects, smart grid networks, RFID tags and 4G networks. And now we can more easily read this data, too. People have tablets and smartphones to manage the streams of data that comes from these various devices.

IBM is moving deep into this new data world. It announced software today from its Tivioli group that will do predictive monitoring and event management across complex networks and operations.

Some of the benefits to the D.C. water system that the technology is providing:

  • Field Services trucks can be automatically routed to optimize work management. They are seeing up to 20% reduction of fuel costs related to fewer truck rolls and reduced “windshield” time.
  • Cost savings will come from the analytics that will know if a water meter is degrading. They can identify and replace those meters far more effectively.
  • Predictive analytics helps schedule the replacement of aging infrastructure to prevent costly incidents that reduce service quality, such as outages and water main breaks.

We are seeing the optimization of the virtual and the physical space. And through it we are finding new spaces to make the systems better. That means we can keep systems as old as the Civil War by outfitting with data collection and analytics technology that will transform the way we view space and what it means.

Source: Smart Systems: Using Data to Find New Space in an Old World

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