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Smart buildings get smarter

Robert L. Mitchell | Oct. 23, 2012
Behind the glittering, sculpted glass skin of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission's new 13-story headquarters beats the heart of one of the most energy-efficient office buildings in the world.

Things aren't perfect, though. Microsoft still needs to automate reporting. For example, the process of reading more than 1,000 meters, normalizing that data and getting it into the database is still manual, and the tools for managing a smart building holistically are still evolving. But the industry may finally be at a turning point.

Ten years ago, building automation consisted of using dial-up connections into PCs, one for every system, Smith says. "But in the last couple of years, we've jumped the chasm," he says. "Leveraging IT to optimize smart buildings is here."

However, he adds, that level of "personal control" is still at least three to five years away from mainstream adoption.


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