Technical Peak behind the IBM and Johnson Controls Partnership for Smarter Buildings

IBM has a press release released today on its partnership with Johnson Controls for Smarter Buildings.  The partnership extends an effort started in 2007 in data centers to any buildings.

IBM and Johnson Controls Join Forces to Make Buildings Smarter

Combined Offering to Enhance Energy and Operational Efficiencies

LAS VEGAS, - 22 Feb 2010: IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI), today announced a new relationship to create a new era of smarter buildings.  Together, the companies will team to provide a Smart Building Solution that can improve operations and reduce energy and water consumption in buildings worldwide.

Building on an existing relationship formed between the two organizations in 2007 to create energy efficient datacenters, this new offering benefits any building or portfolio of buildings.  Johnson Controls will combine its global leadership in energy efficiency and sustainable services and technologies with IBM's global leadership in software, hardware and services.  The result will help clients address the growing pressure they face to improve energy and asset management performance across their enterprises.

I was in the press room when Al Zollar and Rich Lechner made the announcement.  I wasn’t that excited as I didn’t have enough details to write a blog entry.  But, It is interesting the way some press reported.

GreenTechMedia has this.

IBM and Johnson Controls Team Up: Bad News for Building Start-Ups?

The giant of computing and the giant of building management are pals.

It's one step closer to the merger of building systems and IT systems. But it could be scary for start-ups and others promoting building management software.

Steve Evans from Computer Business Review reports.

Rich Lechner, VP, energy and environment for IBM, said that more intelligent building management systems are vital to future growth as well as the environmental benefits.

"Smart buildings are the cornerstone of our strategy to deliver a smarter infrastructure. They are critical to the long-term environmental and economic sustainability of cities around the world," he said. "This is not just about reducing waste, it's about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enabling the infrastructure to support the dramatic growth in urbanisation that we're seeing."

This may seem scary for those like Hara Software. 

I had a chance to wander the showroom floor and asked more questions from the Johnson Controls group.  Did a little Google Searching, then found something that didn’t get reported in the IBM announcement.  The Johnson Controls solution is built on their Oct 2008 acquisition of GridLogix.


Gridlogix was acquired by Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) effective on October 16. We are now part of the largest global provider of integrated products, systems and services for commercial, industrial and residential buildings. With over 500 locations in more than 125 countries, Johnson Controls creates quality indoor environments that are energy efficient, safe and comfortable. To learn more about Johnson Controls, please visit

As one of the Johnson Controls explained they are working to abstracting all the building management systems with their offering and enabling fault detection in addition to data feeds.

Anyone who wants to work with John Controls building management solution can gain much of what IBM has from a technical standpoint.  Note this commitment from Johnson Controls to open standards.

Systems Integration

Building Image

Whether you need open systems protocol integration, propriety building automation integration or a custom integration solution, Johnson Controls has the technological depth and facilities management expertise to meet your business needs.

Open Systems Standards

The Metasys® building management system was designed from the ground up with open standards of communications in mind. Whether your needs demand BACnet, BACnet MSTP, LonWorks, Modbus, N2, XML, Web Services or OPC, Johnson Controls can provide you with a complete integrated solution.

Proprietary Standards
The Metasys platform provides a wide array of paths to integrate propriety protocols and systems from most major manufacturer’s equipment, including Honeywell, Siemens, Andover, CSI, Invensys, Trane, and others.

Some numbers quoted today by IBM sound just like GridLogix results from their 2008 website.

Information Management for Sustainability
Gridlogix provides your organization with the tools for sustaining your enterprise. More than going "Green", Gridlogix helps you continuously cut wasteful costs, prolong the life of your facilities’ equipment, and maintain a comfort level throughout your enterprise. With Gridlogix's Automated Enterprise Management solution, Gridlogix empowers anyone in your organization with the real time data that allows your organization to improve the efficiency of your facilities, typically reducing energy and maintenance costs by 10-20% with a payback of less than 18 months. Gridlogix delivers the best form of Green Energy, conservation.

Here is a video of GridLogix system.