88 Acres: Microsoft's foray into smart buildings and the future of energy management

Office buildings, hotels, stores, schools, hospitals, malls and other such commercial buildings are responsible for up to 40 percent of the world’s total energy consumption. In the U.S. alone, businesses spend about $100 billion on energy every year. With that in mind it's pretty obvious how important it is to measure, understand and optimize a building's energy profile. Until now that has been really hard to do unless the building was specifically designed with this in mind. Fortunately Microsoft has been on the job and they now have an easy to use, easy to implement, cost effective solution to transform any building into a "smart building".

The company details this project, called 88 Acres, that started from a desire to enhance and unify building management solutions across Microsoft's Redmond campus. This long but enjoyable article details how the project started and quickly evolved into what the company calls a revolutionary product.

According to Microsoft this integrated building management system was developed using "off the shelf" products such as Office and Azure. By adding an extra layer of hardware and software on top of existing systems the engineers were able to transform and unify the way they managed the 125 buildings on campus. This in turn leads to extraordinary data sets that lead to savings totaling millions of dollars every year.

The Redmond company believes that their solution is highly scalable and comes with low up-front costs and as such it's a perfect product that they intend to bring to market soon. According to them they now have some select clients that are interested in this system including the Pentagon and a number of real estate and Fortune 500 companies.

If you want to read more about Microsoft's efforts and smart building project you can read the original article as well as this white paper.

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