IBM is bringing its technology to Dubuque, Iowa, to help the city become smarter in how it distributes and consumes its resources.
The partnership between the IT vendor and the city of 60,000 people is part of IBM's Smarter Planet initiative, which aims to use technology resources to help communities reduce the impact on the environment while still delivering the services residents need.
For Dubuque officials, a key goal will be getting the best information they can on the city's delivery and usage of resources, according to Robert Morris, vice president of IBM Research.
"The goal of this collaboration is to develop and pilot a systematic mechanism to give consumers and businesses the information they need to make informed decisions about how they consume resources like electricity, water, natural gas and oil," Morris said in a statement Sept. 17.
Dubuque has made sustainability a city priority over the past three years, and already has a project under way to replace water meters citywide and to use a device called an Unmeasured Flow Reducer to help consumers and businesses find sources of water waste, such as water leaks. It also is putting $10,000 a year toward fixing leaks and reducing water costs for consumers, and is offering a rebate program for fixing leaks found by the new system.
In the first phase of the partnership, IBM will build a real-time monitoring platform that will give Dubuque officials an integrated view of their energy management system. IBM also will integrate its technology with Dubuque's water management system.
IBM on Aug. 25 opened a technology services delivery center in Dubuque that will have 1,300 employees by the end of 2010.
The announcement comes a day after IBM unveiled a smart grid platform designed to help utility companies become more efficient and to give software makers a place to build their applications.