IBM Delivers New Tools to Empower Smarter Cities

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2014-05-27
IBM Smarter Cities big data

IBM Delivers New Tools to Empower Smarter Cities

IBM announced that the cities of Minneapolis, Minn., and Montpellier, France, are working with Big Blue to make data-driven decisions to transform the way they provide water, transportation and emergency management.

The systems, software and services giant also announced the availability of three new cloud-based Smarter Cities management centers for transportation, water and emergency management.

The new centers enable cities to begin to use their own data, as well as open data, to attain new insight into citizen services and improve decision-making for city leaders.

“For the first time, we have the tools that can be applied broadly across city departments to give us greater flexibility to see reality and turn data into decisions,” said Otto Doll, chief information officer for the city of Minneapolis, in a statement. “In any city, an issue may reside in one department, but the answer lies in another. Analytics can enable a city to tell meaningful stories about what is going on in real-time through data.”

Minneapolis, Montpelier and other cities around the world are increasingly using data to make better decisions and allocate resources to respond to challenges in city infrastructure. From improving traffic management, responding rapidly to incidents, using effective communication channels with citizens and ensuring sustainable natural resources, data and analytics are providing new insight to create more effective cities. IBM has isolated the most pressing challenges and is bringing together a new way to help municipalities use big data and analytics via the cloud.

In Minneapolis, the city is using IBM’s cloud-based Smarter Cities technology to make more effective decisions, allocate city resources more efficiently and drive change by ensuring multiple departments are aligned and working together on a single initiative. IBM Intelligent Operations software is also helping the city to do pattern discovery and providing city leaders with metrics to track performance improvement and ensure they are meeting their goals.

In Montpellier, IBM Intelligent Operations delivered via the cloud serves as the foundation for the city’s effort to improve water management, mobility and emergency management. This capability aggregates Montpellier’s data sources and provides city leaders the ability to analyze this data in detail. It also allows new insight to be shared across multiple parts of the city, universities and with partner organizations delivering services to the region.

Montpellier also is creating a living laboratory for open innovation in cooperation with the University of Montpellier 1 and University of Montpellier 2, encouraging the development of new technology, urban innovations, new startup organizations and the exploration of new economic models. These efforts have already resulted in a 10-percent improvement in water yield, and future goals are to reduce flooding by 20 percent and reduce automobile traffic by 10 percent through a partnership with French public transportation provider Transdev. Montpellier plans to achieve these goals while keeping up with growing demands on city services.

IBM Delivers New Tools to Empower Smarter Cities

Built with cities, the three new Smarter Cities Management Centers for transportation, water and emergency management bring together IBM’s portfolio of Intelligent Operations software, IBM Global Business Services expertise and IBM’s analytics capabilities. The solutions are available via the cloud or on-premise through a combination of hardware, software, services and preconfigured analytics models for best practices in city management. Cities can begin getting insight from their data in a little more than a week, IBM said.

The new Transportation Management Center provides citywide traffic visibility to help alleviate congestion, improve traffic management, optimize road capacity, rapidly respond to incidents and enhance the travel experience by delivering travel advisories to citizens. The solution has been proven to help some cities reduce congestion by 25 percent, IBM said. The new Water Management Center enables cities to use analytics and decision support to improve flood protection, water quality and integrated water-resource management. It also helps forecast future demands on the water supply and helps city leaders coordinate responses to flood or drought. The solution has been proven to help some cities reduce leaks by 20 percent, IBM said.

Meanwhile, the new Emergency Management Center provides geospatial intelligence and analytics to help harness information and data streaming from multiple sources to provide a central point of command for emergency management. It can provide emergency managers with critical information from first responders, scenario planning to streamline and integrate response to emergencies, and advanced communications for first responders and emergency personnel. Some cities using this solution have reduced response times by 25 percent, IBM said.

“Cities need a foundation for modernizing their systems and the basis of their technology should be flexible, open and easy to use,” said Michael Dixon, general manager of IBM Smarter Cities, in a statement. “City leaders and citizens will all benefit from this integrated approach, predictive analytics and resulting outcomes that will allow cities to begin to transform in ways that just a decade ago were unimaginable.”

With the new preconfigured Smarter Cities offerings and services, IBM is combining analytics, mobile and social to provide predictive insight and help cities deliver better results by making sense of the massive amounts of big data generated every day.

In addition to the new capabilities for water, transportation and emergency management, IBM also announced a new digital platform for citizen engagement, People for Smarter Cities, to provide citizens, academia and others to share ideas and engage in public discussions on how to make cities smarter. To mark the launch of People for Smarter Cities, IBM collaborated with Zooppa, a crowdsourcing community with more than 200,000 members—including filmmakers, influential bloggers, and environmental communities--to invite citizens from around the world to submit their ideas through video on ways to improve life in their cities. The winning Smarter Cities videos can be viewed here.

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