IBM Partners With Boston in Developing Smarter Cities Projects

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2013-03-14 Print this article Print

Jim Fletcher, IBM Distinguished Engineer and chief architect for IBM's Smarter Infrastructure effort, said in an interview with eWEEK that such apps could easily be adapted and used by other cities, enabling communities to develop a large portfolio of such apps that residents and workers can use and essentially create "an application store for the city."

During the event, IBM announced a number of Smarter Planet pilot projects it is undertaking with Boston, BU and the state. One includes Boston's Mayor's Office of Arts, Tourism and Special Events to use an intelligent dashboard from IBM to help it better plan and run events, such as the Boston Marathon. The dashboard, based on piloting IBM's new Intelligent City Planning and Operations solution, will give departments throughout the city a common view of events, which IBM officials said will improve everything from safety to traffic to scheduling.

Boston also is piloting IBM's Intelligent Operations Center, which includes a digital dashboard that will allow all city agencies to share information on a real-time basis. In addition, Boston's Public Works Department will use IBM's Maximo asset-management software to create a platform to better manage and maintain the city's 60,000 street lights. The platform will offer predictive capabilities to better enable workers to schedule maintenance.

IBM also worked with the city and BU officials to create a set of recommendations to enable Boston to better gather and analyze traffic data throughout the city, and will lead to a number of projects throughout the city this year.

At the same time, IBM is participating in BU's Sustainable Neighborhood Laboratory to create a smarter neighborhoods project, which is leveraging IBM's Tririga software. Already data that has been collected and analyzed has rendered suggestions on ways to improve energy consumption in residential buildings and has targeted areas for investment. More work is planned that will engage residents and youth in the buildings to make them more aware of how to more efficiently use power and create incentives around energy conservation.

On the state level, Massachusetts officials will work with IBM and its Tririga software to improve maintenance, energy consumption and space management at state buildings, while the Massachusetts Port Authority has begun a new project using the Maximo software that will bring predictive capabilities to service and maintenance at Logan International Airport.

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, which oversees water and sewer systems for 2.5 million residents in 61 communities, also is using Maximo to bring predictive capabilities to managing and maintaining the systems. According to IBM, the software already has helped the authority cut 38 percent from its maintenance and project work orders.

"The reason IBM is so interested in the projects in Boston is because we do see Boston as a leader in the country and the world" in leveraging technology to become more efficient, IBM's Bartlett said.


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