Mariah Braxton, Washington DC
Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas and this number is expected to grow with the expected decline of the rural population. With more people living in cities than ever before, it is imperative that IBM focuses on sustainable urbanization. While energy consumption is important, sustainability also encompasses things like economic growth, health, safety and services.
Why does this matter? The more people that move to the city, the more pressure that puts on a city’s resources and systems. Cities will face decreasing land availability, hospitals and transit systems will require increased capacity and water and food supplies must keep up with the population influx. These are just a few concerns that city leaders will grapple with as their constituency grows and this is also where IBM can help!
Smarter Cities is a term we’re probably all familiar with. In fact, it is the reason I applied to IBM in the first place. As an urban studies major and walkable cities enthusiast, I was excited to work for a company that was trying to make cities a safer and more desirable place to live. But as I began to ask around and learn more about Smarter Cities, it seemed to be a quite nebulous term. What does it mean, really? Because I still had so many questions, I was really excited to see that even though my project work has nothing to do with Smarter Cities, IBM has extensive learning opportunities for me to connect with the thought leadership and strategies that make Smarter Cities such a revolutionary territory for business.
Smarter Cities solutions use data to give government leaders insight into how cities operate. To be clear, these solutions can be extended to places such as college campuses and military bases, which act as little cities of their own. Data gathered from integrated transportation systems, social media, sensors on buildings and other infrastructure as well as meters capturing energy usage and resource availability gives IBM the capacity to identify urban trends and patterns.
The Intelligent Operations Center (IOC) software focuses on city planning and management and is just one example of a Smarter Cities solution. This platform has a citizen collaboration component allowing citizens to truly communicate with government leaders! In the event of Snowpocalypse, for example, a city using the IOC would be able use citizen input to understand the severity of the storm in different neighborhoods and which roads are inaccessible due to pile up or ice. This allows the city to respond by broadcasting a citywide warning to citizens, rerouting traffic and allocating clean up resources more efficiently. The IOC is one solution that simplifies the complications of urban life.
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