In this article, learn about the IBM Smarter City Solutions on Cloud offering, which encompasses IBM Smarter Cities solutions portfolio and IBM SmartCloud Enterprise.
The IBM Smarter Cities solutions portfolio is a family of products that can help city planners, managers, and departments improve their infrastructure and deployment services. City leaders can integrate and coordinate city agencies and resources, and get a unified view of events across agencies, departments, and services. The portfolio includes:
- IBM Intelligent Operations Center
- Intelligent Operations Center processes data feeds and event
information from individual departments to help improve the
operational efficiency of a city or other complex organizations.
It provides an executive dashboard depicting the overall status of a city's operations. The dashboard spans individual agency-specific solution areas and enables drill-down capability into each underlying agency, including water management, public safety, and traffic management.
- IBM Intelligent Transportation
- Intelligent Transportation infuses intelligence into existing transportation systems by using modern communication and information technology. It integrates traffic data from existing transportation subsystems. This solution also provides on-demand geographical visibility, analysis, and reporting for current and historic traffic data.
- IBM Intelligent Water
- Intelligent Water offers intelligence and insight, greater connectivity and transparency, and improved customer service by providing centralized management of water delivery operations and event information collected across geographic locations. By integrating and aggregating operations and event information from a variety of data source devices, it helps provide valuable, visible information to increase efficiency.
IBM SmartCloud Enterprise provides a scaled and secure computing environment for end users to manage and consume virtualized resources, including instances, storage, network, and middleware. Users can easily develop, test, and deploy their applications on this computing platform and deliver Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings to their customers.
IBM SmartCloud Enterprise also provides tools and APIs to manage and configure your development and testing environments:
- User interfaces
With the control panel you can add and manage instances, images, and storage. The account page contains an aggregation of your account and usage information, security keys, IP addresses, and instance and image notifications.
You can use Linux® shells and Windows® batch scripts to automate resource management, such as provisioning virtual machine instances and capturing instances into a private image. The Java™ and Rest APIs are also provided for programming control.
IBM Smarter City Solutions on Cloud services are accessible over the Internet. A city can use the services to streamline and integrate their own services while bringing added visibility to their operations. Figure 1 shows the IBM Smarter City Solutions on Cloud offerings.
Figure 1. IBM Smarter City Solutions on Cloud offerings
Currently, IBM offers the following components.
- IBM Intelligent Operations Center for Cloud, including one chargeable
- IBM Intelligent Operations Center on IBM SmartCloud
- IBM Intelligent Transportation for Cloud, including one chargeable
- IBM Traffic Information Hub on IBM SmartCloud
- IBM Intelligent Water for Cloud, including one chargeable component
- IBM Work Optimization for Water Utilities on IBM SmartCloud
IBM Smarter City Solutions on Cloud offers a straightforward, user-based subscription service at a single price, which includes hardware, software, maintenance, support, and networking. It is built on the same key technologies as traditional IBM software and managed by IBM delivery teams to lower your total cost of ownership.
Figure 2 shows an overview of the Smarter City Solutions on Cloud architecture.
Figure 2. Architecture overview of Smarter City Solutions on Cloud
The numbered quadrants in Figure 2 show:
- The infrastructure, which is currently IBM SmartCloud Enterprise.
- The customer consumes the Smarter City Solutions on Cloud services.
- IBM support team provides the cloud services and operates the environment.
- IBM Tivoli Live services provide other IBM live services to help operate the solutions.
The deployment architecture is based on workload patterns and non-functional requirements. At a high level, IBM Intelligent Operations Center provides the base for other solutions, such as IBM Intelligent Transportation and IBM Intelligent Water. Figure 3 shows the components and subsystems of Intelligent Operations Center, which provides operational insight into daily city operations through centralized intelligence. With Intelligent Operations Center, cities, government agencies, and enterprises can optimize operational efficiencies and improve planning.
Figure 3. IBM Intelligent Operations Center components and subsystems
(View a larger version of Figure 3.)
Figure 4 shows the end-to-end delivery of Smarter City Solutions on Cloud from the customer perspective.
Figure 4. Smarter City Solutions on Cloud end-to-end customer experience
The steps are:
- Customer orders Smarter City Solutions on Cloud service through IBM Sales.
- IBM provisions the environment for the customer on the cloud.
- Customer works with the IBM service team to customize the solution to the their specifications (see Customization and integration).
- If the environment needs to be integrated with the customer's on-premise applications, customer works with the IBM service team (see Customization and integration).
- After the solution is customized, integrated, and tested with the customer environment, it is migrated to the production environment. Customer can now access their own solution.
- IBM is responsible for steady state management of the production
environment on the cloud, including health monitoring, event
management, data backup, and so on (see Operation and
management for more details).
If customer encounters any problems with the solution, such as inaccessibility or functions not working properly, they report the problem to IBM Support. IBM works with customer to resolve problem (see Customer support for more details).
Customization and integration are typical requirements for Smarter Cities products. When a solution is provisioned for a specific city (or other customers), it is customized per the city's specific IT standards and management rules. For example, the portal theme might be changed, or a component's configurations need tailoring. The Smarter Cities solution should also integrate and cooperate with the city's existing IT systems; software, hardware, and network environment.
Typical customization and integration scenarios might include:
- IBM Intelligent Operations Center will require each of the city's specific management IT systems to report events or alerts in a real-time manner.
- The Traffic Information Hub will integrate with the city's traffic management system (TMDD owner center) to gather the real-time traffic information in each road or highway.
The IBM products provide a programming model to help customers with customization and integration.
Smarter City Solutions on Cloud gives customers an alternative to buying, building, and maintaining their own IT infrastructures. Operation and management functions are centered around getting things done with quality, dependability, flexibility, and timely services with lower costs for customers. Operation and management processes are defined to ensure customers can enjoy the benefits.
Table 1 outlines the enterprise-level reliability and security.
Table 1. Enterprise-level reliability and security
|Solution tuning||Is requested by service manager when the service level objective
(SLO) is at risk and solution tuning could mitigate the risk.
Service manager is notified of incidents, problems, or requests related to SLO (for example, customer reported that perceived response time is consistently longer than 15 seconds). When the SLO is at risk, and after analysis, solution tuning could mitigate the risk. Service manager submits solution tuning request to the operations team.
|Solution health monitoring and event management||Monitoring the availability and health of virtual machine (VM) instances, the operating system, and middleware. If any negative event is found, the incident management process is triggered to deal with the event.|
|Solution backup and recovery||The solution deployed by the IBM SmartCloud Enterprise will be backed up periodically on different levels. It has the capacity to restore and recover the previous state in case of accident or failure.|
|Identity and access management||Part of the security offering is to ensure that only authorized users can access operation-related resources.|
|Security and compliance management||Maintains the cloud environment to make sure it's compliant with the security standards and regulations of IBM or customer. Security standards and regulations are usually customer-specified.|
Table 2 gives an overview of the flexibility of the architecture and software in the solutions.
Table 2. Architecture and software flexibility
|Provision management||Provisioning will uphold all indispensable prerequisites to
activate service for a customer. Initialization of a smarter city
solution provides a set of running instances with the deployed
Request-driven processes will break down the request to an IT Administrator and form assets for delivery to customer. Smarter City Solution on Cloud provides several provision models to meet different customer sizes and network environments.
|Scaling up||Solution scale makes sure the solution can be scaled up based on consumer request and temporary spikes in usage. It also supports events such as emergencies, or planned events where usage may be higher than normal.|
|Patching and upgrades||Customers can upgrade versions of the service without losing any configuration or integration capabilities. Testing might be required, but no re-implementation.|
Table 3 highlights the service aspects related to the operation and management of the Smarter City Solutions on Cloud delivery model.
Table 3. High quality service
|Service request management||Using the request fulfillment process, service desk receives
requests. Service desk either resolves the request, or routes it
to the appropriate support group for resolution. |
Customers are encouraged to access documentation online before submitting a problem in the service request tool. Customers are also encouraged to use a support forum where they can ask questions (such as "how to") and share information with other customers.
|Service level management||Includes maintenance window management, availability service level objective (SLO) (99.5%) management, and response time SLO (<5s) management. The purpose is to track the actual achieved service level (not to simply make sure the SLO can be achieved).|
|Incident and problem management||Tracks events, which are not part of the standard operation of a
service, that might cause disruption or reduction in quality of
that service. Incident management focuses on restoring a service
affected by real or potential interruptions, such as a VM instance
Problem management is initiated either by a customer or within Incident Management. If the cause of an incident has not been discovered, further investigation is justified to control risk, costs, and schedules. The primary concern is to establish the root cause of an incident and understand the subsequent resolution and prevention.
For the "Pay as you go" model, operation managers need to extract business usage data periodically to support billing. IBM Smarter City Solutions on Cloud will be offered as SaaS. Payments are based on the number of users or other measurable entitlements. For Intelligent Operations Center on IBM SmartCloud, the IBM SaaS charges will be based on the number of monthly concurrent users. IBM Intelligent Transportation on Cloud will consider other SaaS billing approaches, such as roadway mileage. Future IBM SaaS solutions will consider billing based on the entitlements and characteristics of each specific solution.
Customers can contact IBM regarding problems, or with requests for enhancements or customization. Each customer might have their own event management process, so they would likely want the event process customized. The IBM can provide such services and help customize the portal user interface.
IBM will provide 24x7 support to global customers. There are professional support teams from China, the US, and Ireland. The support language is English.
When customers have issues with their solution, whether the issue is from the product itself or from the access point into the solution, they can contact IBM support through the Smarter City Solutions on Cloud support portal or e-mail. IBM will file a problem management record (PMR) to record the issue. When our service desk receives the issue from a customer, they will categorize the issue then route it to an appropriate Level 2 support engineer. The support engineer will prioritize the issue and contact the customer in the designated response time dictated by the priority of the issue. The engineer will confirm the issue with the customer and get more details.
IBM has an internal process to track the life cycle of each PMR. An owner will be assigned to the PMR. The issue owner will analyze the issue and try to find the root cause. If the issue relates to operation and maintenance, then the operation team will try to resolve the issue and update the result on the PMR. For example, a problem might involve a customer's inability to login to the portal in their newly created account. They can turn to IBM Support for help.
If the issue is related to the solution itself, then the issue will be routed to the solution Level 2 Support team. For example, if customers want to customize the alert management process to adapt to their business, they turn to IBM Support for help.
If the issue is with the middleware, such as WebSphere or DB2, then a PMR will be filed against the middleware Level 2 support team. For example, if the reported issue is caused by a problem with WebSphere, the PMR will be filed to the WebSphere L2 Support team and they will start the investigation of the issue.
Customers can query the PMR for the latest status and updates. The customer will also be notified once the PMR record is updated. After the issue has been resolved, the support team will ask the customer for feedback.
This article provided a very high-level introduction to our IBM Smarter Cities SaaS portfolio. You learned about the different parts of the IBM Smarter City Solutions on Cloud offering, the deployment architecture, the delivery model, the customer experience, and customer support.
- IBM Smarter Cities Software Solutions 1.0
Information Center has all of the information that you need to
install, maintain, and use this family of solutions that includes IBM
Intelligent Operations Center, IBM Intelligent Transportation, and IBM
- Read IBM Intelligent Operations Center: Providing
insight, oversight, and smooth collaboration (developerWorks,
March 2012) to learn more about its features and benefits.
- See the two-part article series, IBM Intelligent Operation Center key performance indicators
(KPIs) (developerWorks, August 2011), to learn more about how KPIs
are modeled, implemented, and tested.
- Integrate traffic data with IBM Intelligent
Transportation using a traffic data gateway (developerWorks, July
2011) explores how an implementation team can develop a traffic data
gateway to meet the challenges of today's traffic raw data collection from
various detectors embedded in roadway infrastructures.
- Build intelligent transportation systems with
the Traffic Management Data Dictionary standard (developerWorks,
July 2011) covers how IBM Intelligent Transportation implements this
- IBM Intelligent Transportation allows cities
to gain citywide traffic visibility to alleviate congestion and rapidly
respond to incidents.
- Tap into more about IBM Intelligent Water, which enables
utilities to better manage their water, assets and customers to improve
service, maximize productivity and reduce costs.
- Learn more about IBM SmartCloud Enterprise, as agile cloud
computing infrastructure as a service (IaaS) designed to provide rapid
access to security-rich, enterprise-class virtual server
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Ping Yuan is a development manager of the IBM Smarter City Cloud Delivery team in IBM Software Group Industry Solutions. He specializes in SOA, cloud computing, and software solutions. Ping has extensive experience on customer projects and industry solution development.
Yin Rui is a certified senior IT specialist in IBM Software Group Industry Solutions. He has been part of many projects and deliveries in SOA and Healthcare industry solutions, and has extensive experience on IBM middleware products. Yin is working on cloud delivery of the IBM Smarter City software solutions on IBM SmartCloud Enterprise.
Dr. Jun Chang Ma is an advisory software architect for the IBM China Software Development Lab. He joined IBM in April 2007 and has worked on ClearQuest web development and industry solution cloud delivery. He has published two developerWorks articles.
Chen Chen is a staff software engineer for IBM Software Group Industry Solutions. He has more than 10 years of IT experience, and has worked in IBM Global Business Services. Chen currently works on the cloud delivery for IBM Smarter City Solutions.
Liu Qiang is a staff software engineer in IBM Software Group Industry Solutions. He has worked on Rational and industry solution cloud delivery, and is an IBM certified Rational ClearQuest and ClearCase Admininstrator. Lui has published three developerWorks articles.
Lv Xiao is a staff software engineer in IBM Software Group Industry Solutions. He is an IBM certified Cognos 8 BI Solution Expert, and has participated in many BI related projects. Lv is working on SaaS delivery of the IBM Smarter City Software Solutions on IBM SmartCloud Enterprise.
Li Tie, an advisory software engineer in IBM SWG Industry Solutions, joined IBM in 2004. He previously focused on security fields for Lotus Expeditor, Notes, and LotusLive products. Li is currently an architect for IBM Industry Solutions products.
Jovan (Zhihong) Ren was an architect for IBM Smarter City Solution on Cloud prior to his current work on the Architecture and Technical Strategy team of IBM Industry Solutions Software. He has experience in solution consulting, architecture, and design across several industry solutions and cutting edge technologies.