The notion of a city as a web of independent systems is long gone. Today, urban dwellers are demanding a more interconnected approach to city planning in which major amenities such as traffic management, power and water interact with each other. This is the concept of Smarter Cities, and IBM is making it a reality.
Analysing the future of cities
Just as you can look at a newspaper photograph and see both the image and the tiny individual dots that give it its shapes and shadings, city leaders look at their municipalities in terms of both the big picture and the individual citizens that comprise it.
The majority of us live in cities, and the percentage is growing. Municipal leaders who run the complex network of diverse people, expected services and aging infrastructure are on a constant search for more efficient ways to analyse data, anticipate problems and coordinate resources in their cities.
As centres of business, culture and life, cities are logical places to integrate many of the Smarter Planet principles and innovations in public safety, transportation, water, building, social services and agencies. A new kind of solution, the IBM Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities (US), synchronises and analyses efforts among sectors and agencies as they happen, giving decision makers consolidated information that helps them anticipate—rather than just react to—problems. By using these tested approaches, cities can manage growth and development in a sustainable way that minimises disruptions and helps increase prosperity for everyone.
Building a Smarter Planet
Smarter Cities systems
As governments infuse the basic systems of our planet with intelligence to stimulate economies and benefit citizens, we start to ask: Can the operations of government itself become smarter?
Cities large and small are turning to advanced computing capabilities such as data analytics, visualisation and sensor networks to enhance public safety systems.
Using tools like electronic medical records, wireless computing devices and health support networks, innovators are making our systems smarter and more affordable.
With smarter grids, utilities can manage the flow of power through their systems. And consumers can manage their appliances and use of energy at the household (or even automobile) level.
How it's done
Introducing "The Smarter City" series
The modern city is a system of systems. When collaboration is encouraged, progress results.
The Living City
Meeting increasing needs for education, health and social services as populations grow.
Powering the City
Implementing a smarter system for production, management and supply of energy and water.
City in Motion
Making use of new traffic and travel advances with fewer resources and a growing population.
City leaders and staff in Corpus Christi, Texas, have a new way to share and keep track of customer requests and analyse data for better management of municipal services. Watch the video (05:26 min).
With insight from more 2,000 smarter cities projects, IBM has developed the expertise and capabilities to help cities of all sizes become smarter.
Some cities start by transforming their transportation systems. Singapore (US) is working with IBM to develop smart systems ranging from predictive tools to smart cards to congestion charging in order to reduce traffic and pollution.
Taking a more proactive approach to handling its transportation and utilties infrastructure, Cambridge, Ontario (PDF, 594KB), acquired a sophisticated new work and asset management system.
Smarter policing and emergency response
New York (US), Rio de Janeiro (US) and Memphis (US) are using data analytics, wireless and video surveillance capabilities to strengthen crime fighting and the coordination of emergency response units.
Smarter power and water management
The city of Corpus Christi, Texas, uses IBM software in a central tracking system, the city-wide "One Call Center," which enables more efficient response to issues and better allocation of city resources.
Malta (US) is building a smart grid that links the power and water systems, and will detect leakages, allow for variable pricing and provide more control to consumers. Ultimately, it will enable this island country to replace fossil fuels with sustainable energy sources.
In England, the Coventry (US) City Council held a three-day IBM Jam to engage in substantial conversation with its citizens and stakeholders about the city's future.
Albuquerque (PDF, 142KB), New Mexico, is using a business intelligence solution to automate data sharing among its 7,000 employees in more than 20 departments, so every employee gets a single version of the truth. It has realised cost savings of almost 2,000 percent.
IBM can help city and industry leaders increase the vitality and competitiveness of urban environments with solutions that can optimise the entire city, improve the quality and efficiency of services, and reduce waste and expense associated with inefficient processes and uncoordinated, duplicated execution.