For building owners, control is a top priority—control of energy management, assets, and service requests, among others. In order to gain this high level of control, sensors installed throughout a building can collect data, allowing operators to obtain visibility via a dashboard and ‘manage what gets measured.’

While this sounds good in theory, sadly this is not always the case. Take energy data collected from buildings, for example. It is not uncommon today for building owners to implement energy efficient controls and equipment within their facilities. However, the data collected from these measures isn’t always managed properly.

A common point of reference in the building controls market says that facilities consume a third of the world’s energy, and up to 50% of energy and water in buildings are often wasted. Could buildings one day become the largest consumer of global energy, outpacing things like transportation and the industrial sector? With population figures on a steady increase, and the trend towards urbanization, all signs point to such a trend coming to fruition in the not-too-distant future.

IBM,, has been on the smart buildings charge for many years. In fact, building control is a key component to IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative. Furthering its commitment to the space, the computing company unveiled three unique projects in New Orleans, New York, and Minnesota that emphasize the importance of that ability to manage what gets measured. IBM is showcasing the potential of applying advanced analytics and automation to buildings.

Officially, the initiative involves Intelligent Building Management software that applies IBM’s analytics and automation software to decipher data collected from buildings.

IBM says the software provides realtime energy management and performance optimization; insight to asset performance; has the ability to automate service requests; and notifications for critical events. The way it works is by tapping into sensors installed throughout a building in order to collect realtime data and events for the purposes of analysis.

Results are sent to a dashboard where an operator can view intricate details of a building’s microclimates and the functionality of specific boilers, for example. For a broader picture of events, the software allows users to scale out to see enterprise-wide metrics.

Overall, such software can make a big difference in helping building operators better manage their facilities and truly understand what it takes to produce a green building. Ensuring such technology ties in with existing systems and sensors deployed within the facility will be key for keeping costs down. In the case of IBM, the company says its software links to many of the leading systems on the market today.