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IBM Is Creating Smarter Cities

Minneapolis and Montpellier Are Initial Beneficiaries

IBM is pushing forward with cloud-based Smarter Cities management centers for transportation, water, and emergency management services.

"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," the company said in an official statement.

Two cities-Minneapolis in the US and Montpellier, France-are initial beneficiaries of these new services. "For citizens, (Smarter Cities services) mean improved access to city services, the ability to predict and respond to situations before they impact the daily lives of people, and enabling better feedback to empower citizens," according to IBM.

"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," according to Minneapolis CIO Otto Doll, "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."

In Montpellier, city leaders are also creating a "living laboratory for open innovation" in cooperation with the Universities of Montpellier 1 and 2. The city says these efforts have already resulted in a 10-percent improvement in water yield, with future goals of reducing flooding by 20 percent and automobile traffic by 10 percent.

"Cities need a foundation for modernizing their systems and the basis of their technology should be flexible, open and easy to use," according to Michael Dixon, general manager, IBM Smarter Cities. "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."

It will be interesting to learn about how many "things" are involved in these efforts, how much new dataflow is created, and how the costs of integrating a Smarter Cities approach balances against hard cost savings and a general feeling among citizens that their lives are being improved.

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More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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