Skip to main content

Analyzing 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 analyze data, anticipate problems and coordinate resources in their cities.

As centers 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), synchronizes and analyzes 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 minimizes disruptions and helps increase prosperity for everyone.


 

Smarter Cities systems

 

Government
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?

Public safety
Cities large and small are turning to advanced computing capabilities such as data analytics, visualization and sensor networks to enhance public safety systems.

Healthcare
Using tools like electronic medical records, wireless computing devices and health support networks, innovators are making our systems smarter and more affordable.

Energy
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.

Traffic
Our rapidly urbanizing planet depends on getting people and things from here to there. Our cars keep getting smarter. So how about our roadways?

Education
A new school of thought: educate yourself on key trends in learning, advances in computing and the economic factors that are reshaping our educational systems.

Water
Sensor networks, smart metering and advanced computing and analytics are helping to ensure the flow of clean, plentiful water around the planet.

Rail
Imagine a rail system infused with enough intelligence to increase capacity and utilization and reduce congestion. Fortunately, we don't have to wait to begin seeing such impacts.

Buildings
If a building's systems interoperate, they can be managed centrally, even intelligently. With all their impact on the planet, it's time for buildings to get smart.


 

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.

Developing the City
Focusing on the office buildings we inhabit, working patterns and the nature of investment.

City of Dreams
Looking to the future of cities' economic and social development in the Decade of Smart.


 

 

IBM helps Corpus Christi build a smarter city

City leaders and staff in Corpus Christi, Texas, have a new way to share and keep track of customer requests and analyze data for better management of municipal services. Watch the video (05:26 min).

Innovative cities

With insight from more 2,000 smarter cities projects, IBM has developed the expertise and capabilities to help cities of all sizes become smarter.

Smarter transportation
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.

Smarter governance
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 realized 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 optimize the entire city, improve the quality and efficiency of services, and reduce waste and expense associated with inefficient processes and uncoordinated, duplicated execution.