Industry Insights

City 2.0: City Platform Thinking

Today’s Challenges

City governments around the world are under enormous pressure to deliver value to their citizens, while facing critical challenges:

  • Infrastructure capacity struggles to keep up with rapid urbanization.
  • Siloed infrastructure management.
  • Citizens and businesses increasingly expect cities to provide high quality services.

Cities are also realizing that the conventional methods for financing, constructing, and maintaining infrastructure that support city services no longer work. And the use of capital expenditures have been typically available in limited amounts. This has led to the rise of thousands of technology pilots in cities around the world, but few of them have been brought to a full, citywide rollout.

On other hand, the few large-scale projects that somehow managed to get funding are delivering functionalities after years of work and by spending large budgets, but are not delivering the expected benefits any more.

Innovation and Technology Revolution

Open innovation allows city agencies to tap into collective ideas, skills, and investments to develop new products and services. The convergence between open innovation and technology trends is transforming the IT environment in our cities.

With billions of sensors being deployed across the world, large amounts of structured and unstructured data have become available. Powerful analytics and the rise of cognitive computing allow decision makers to carve out actionable insights from the data, leverage the wide availability of mobile devices, and deliver all of this through a cloud computing, as-a-service model.  While the private sector has led the way in bringing together open innovation and technology to create new value, many city governments have felt left behind and are struggling to realize the smarter cities promise.

City Platform Thinking

Some leading cities have started to leverage the innovation potential of the latest technology trends. And they are adopting “city platform” thinking, which drives efficiencies in infrastructure management and the provisioning of services.

City platform thinking enables the sharing of data and insights across a city. It also helps cities increase their operational agility when managing their physical infrastructure. For example, these valuable insights can help cities identify crime that is occurring, a failing bridge, or increasing traffic congestion through a combination of data and analytics capabilities.

The city platform enables agencies to collaborate, and eventually improve the performance of city operations. Consequently, this allows cities to re-allocate scarce resources and put more focus on addressing their citizens’ expectations.

Learn more about how IBM can help cities

IBM has led the way in developing smarter cities since it started 10 years ago, and today is actively working to deliver new solutions that will make cities even more sustainable from social, economic, and environmental perspectives.

I encourage you join me in the discussion about this topic: Leave me a comment and connect with me on twitter @miroholecy or LinkedIn. Also, please visit the IBM Smarter Cities portal to learn more about new cognitive approaches to long-standing challenges of our cities.

CTO - Transportation and National Infrastructure

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