IBM continues to deliver on its Smarter Cities strategy with new smart solution implementations around the world.
IBM continues to deliver on its Smarter
Cities strategy by implementing smart solutions -- strategies for collecting,
sharing, analyzing and acting on data -- in cities around the world.
Most recently, IBM announced a Smarter
Cities partnership with Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,
but the company has also delivered smart solutions to cities such as Corpus
Christi, Texas, and Chesapeake,
Va., among others.
In a Dec. 27 press release, the company announced that the municipal government
of Rio de Janeiro and IBM
signed an agreement to build a public information management center for the
city. The Rio Operations
Center, which will be located in
Cidade Nova, will integrate and interconnect information from multiple
government departments and public agencies in the municipality to improve city
safety and responsiveness to various types of incidents, such as flash floods
and landslides, IBM officials said.
In addition, as part of the agreement, IBM
Research scientists will develop for the city a high-resolution weather
forecasting and hydrological modeling system, called PMAR, that can predict
heavy rains up to 48 hours in advance. A major project for IBM's
ninth Research Lab -- recently opened in Brazil
-- the effort will build on and advance technologies created by IBM
Research labs around the world.
The mission of the Rio Operations
Center, which is slated to open Dec.
31, is to consolidate data from various urban systems for real-time
visualization, monitoring and analysis. The system was designed initially for
forecasting floods and related emergencies, but it is extensible to any event
occurring in the city. The center will enable city leaders to make decisions in
emergency situations based on real-time information, IBM
This initiative is part of IBM's global
strategy to develop technology-based solutions to help cities become smarter.
Similar IBM projects have already been
implemented in New York and Gauteng, South Africa, but this is the first center
that will integrate all the stages of a crisis management situation: from prediction,
mitigation and preparedness, to the immediate response to events, and finally
to capture feedback from the system for use in future incidents. Other partners
engaged in the construction of the center are Cisco Systems, Cyrela Facilities,
Malwee, Oi and Samsung.
"We are creating a foundational IT platform that will soon be able to
gather data on all incidents and events occurring in the city," said Pedro
Almeida, Smarter Cities director for IBM
Brazil, in a statement.
PMAR will begin operation in the first half of 2011. The system will be
based on a unified mathematical model of Rio, involving
the gathering of data from the river basin, topographic surveys, the
municipality's historical rainfall logs and radar feeds. Moreover, IBM
officials said the system will be able to predict rain and possible flash
floods and, over time, will also be able to evaluate the effects on city
On Nov. 9-10, 2011, IBM CEO Sam Palmisano
and Mayor Eduardo Paes will convene leaders in Rio at
the fourth regional Smarter Cities
Forum. With a special focus on Latin America and the
world's growth markets, IBM will continue
the discussions started in Berlin, New
York and Shanghai
to examine real-world approaches on how cities can tackle serious urban issues
and improve their citizens' quality of life.
Earlier in December,IBM
announced it is working with the city of Corpus Christi
to improve efficiency and sustainability for the city's more than 280,000
Corpus Christi is applying IBM
software to measure, monitor and improve the way it manages its water, roads,
airport, parks and utilities. With greater intelligence across its
departments, the city can more quickly evaluate and respond to issues,
anticipate and prevent problems, and improve quality of life.
During a conference call with leaders and IT officials in other cities
assessing the IBM solutions, Corpus Christi
officials explained that prior to working with IBM,
each city department had its own process for handling incoming work requests
and ongoing maintenance, typically operating on a reactive basis using paper to
track issues. Because there was no central system for tracking existing issues,
budgeting and managing city resources was sometimes difficult, the officials
IBM software now helps Corpus
Christi municipal departments and managers know in
real time what is happening across the city, who is handling it and how much
the work costs.
"Corpus Christi is evolving into
a more sustainable city -- one that has intelligence, foresight and
accountability built into the way we manage the services we provide our
citizens," said Steve Klepper, an administrative superintendent for the city.
"Working with IBM, we have the real-time
status of city services, automated work orders and an overview of the city's
infrastructure to better manage our resources, as well as better maintain the
city's mission-critical assets."
As one of Texas's largest
cities on the Gulf of Mexico, Corpus
Christi relies significantly on port industries,
tourism and higher education to drive its economy, city officials said. The
city strives to improve its citizens' quality of life while keeping operating
costs low and maintaining high levels of service.
"Corpus Christi is setting
the bar for how municipalities can use technology to gain intelligence into
their departments and systems to operate more efficiently and provide residents
with a better place to live," said Guru Banavar, IBM
CTO for Smarter Cities, in a statement.
"Working with IBM, Corpus
Christi city managers are operating smarter and
managing their work and crews better."
The city manages and analyzes the status of tens of thousands of physical
assets such as its water mains, traffic lights, bridges, park lawns, fire
hydrants, garbage trucks and storm water ditches with IBM
Maximo Asset Management software, IBM officials
A critical component of the Corpus Christi
service strategy is the citywide One Call
Center. Using IBM
software, the call center can speed responses to issues more efficiently and
better optimize city resources. For fiscal year 2009, the call center
generated more than 45,000 electronic work-order requests from across the city,
Corpus Christi officials said.
When residents call with complaints or service requests, the city creates a
work order connected to the address. IBM
software provides the city with a bird's-eye view of existing maintenance
requests using mapping software from IBM
Business Partner Esri, IBM officials
said. This allows the call center manager to see all existing problems --
coded in color by urgency -- and determine scenarios such as the entire service
area being affected or the location of assigned field workers in order to make
Previously, citizen calls were routed to the appropriate department and
recorded on index cards before being entered into a spreadsheet, city officials
said. Given the manual nature of this process, staff could not accurately track
how long it took to respond to and fix problems. The staff had no way to view
the work history for each site, making it difficult to identify recurring
problems. Although the city had already established a GIS
(geographic information system), work orders were not interfaced with this
system. As a result, departments could not spatially analyze work requests to
determine whether a customer request represented a site-specific problem or an
areawide issue that would require more extensive support.
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.