Thoughts on IBM’s Smarter Planet

Reading the information on the IBM website, I get a good sense of the incentives the company has with their ‘Smarter Planet’ concept. It seems like a plausible, well thought through and functioning solution tool to malfunctioning organizations of all kinds. The content of the website is mostly addressed to possible clients, which makes it somewhat awkward here and there. Skipping some parts which seems too specifically focused on a certain branch of business causes me to miss out on valuable information on their approach to the topic.
All in all it remains more interesting and credible than the Babcock Ranch pitch that was showed during the lecture of Tuesday 28th. In watching the information video on their plans for the area I got a surreal feeling, and as mentioned in class, an idea that the people behind the project do not have a realistic idea of what our future might look like. As it might have shown from my diary entries from the previous course, I do not so much believe in an approach in which we add to the existing building stock. However, in order to make proper change, you have to imagine the way things should ideally look, and try to achieve that goal, rather than looking at the current situation, and trying to improve it.
IBM seems to be going in between these two approaches, by taking the information and data the company currently has, and restructuring this in such a way that it transforms the system into a well-functioning one.
Coming to the ‘Smarter Buildings’ part of the website, I start questioning their viewpoints. It is mentioned that in the future our buildings will use more energy, including an increase in the use of water. I’m wondering in which ways buildings use water, and came to the conclusion that most of it will be used by the people inhabiting the building, and during the construction phase. It is of course possible that the construction materials we produce today require more water, although I haven’t found such developments. The other increase would come from the use of water by the people during the use phase. If we would all start to take good care of our bodies and drink 2 liters of water a day, this might cause an increase, plus the extra toilet flushings and washing hands, but I find it hard to imagine IBM is aiming at that. It is mentioned that 50% of the energy and water usage can be wasted. Looking at the current development in the usage of rain water, and purifying water within building systems I am confident that, although it is slow, there will be a turnaround in the way in which the water is supplied and used within buildings. In this era where we are mostly surrounded by electronica, it is important for people to stay in touch with the nature, and through that be able to keep a sense of self. Implementing natural water and vegetation systems in a building can perhaps be the easiest tool to achieve such a goal.


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