Posted: Thursday 7th July 2011

Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities Designed to Improve Services to Citizens.

IBM says that the IBM Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities, a new solution designed to help cities of all sizes gain a holistic view of information across city departments and agencies. By infusing analytical insights into municipal operations through one central point of command, cities will be able to better anticipate problems, respond to crises, and manage resources.

The Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities will allow cities to use information and analytics to make smarter and more timely decisions, helping local leaders manage a spectrum of events, both planned and unplanned, such as deploying water maintenance crews to repair pumps before they break, alerting fire crews to broken fire hydrants at an emergency scene, or anticipating traffic congestion and preparing redirection scenarios.

IDC Government Insights estimates the new Smarter Cities information technology market opportunity at $34 billion in 2011, increasing more than 18 percent per year to $57 billion by 2014.

“All cities are made up of a complex system of systems that are all inextricably linked. The Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities recognizes the behaviour of the city as a whole, thus providing more coordinated and timely decision-making based on deep insights into how each city system will react to a given situation,” said Anne Altman, general manager for Global Public Sector at IBM. “With more than 2,000 smarter cities engagements worldwide, we are now applying best practices and solutions that can be scaled to cities of all sizes around the globe.”

As the majority of the world’s population repatriates to metropolitan areas, key city systems such as water, power and transportation are being strained to the breaking point. For citizens, a smarter city can mean automatically finding the fastest way to get to work, electricity and drinking water that can be counted on, and safer streets, to start. And today’s increasingly empowered consumer expects their standards for quality of life are met to support the urban influx and resulting economic growth of cities.

Through a unified operations centre, cities will be able to:

The Intelligent Operations Center combines patented analytics technologies, created by IBM Research in collaboration with cities around the world, as well as leading edge technologies acquired in recent acquisitions. It is also designed to run on IBM workload-optimized systems.

The Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities can be extended to help support a wide range of integration projects across the city or within agencies and departments. City leaders can adopt service solutions from IBM or IBM Partners, that integrate city management of services such as public safety, transportation, water, building and energy management with the Intelligent Operation Center. Examples of city-wide uses supported by the Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities include the management of Public Safety, Transportation and Water.

Public Safety: IBM provides real-time analytical solutions that enable public safety professionals to reduce crime, protect first responders and improve citizen services while preserving government budget resources. Local, state, federal and non-government authorities can harness the intelligence derived from sensors, crime data bases, cameras and integrated communications to make smarter, more timely decisions. For example, IBM's video analysis software working with the Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities can instantly detect and respond to physical security threats. When coupled with video systems from partners such as Cisco Systems, the IBM solution can manage and coordinate video events.

Transportation: Traffic is a crucial element of the daily operations of any city. Each year American drivers waste an estimated 3.7 billion hours, the equivalent of 5 days each, sitting in traffic burning 2.3 billion gallons of fuel. Current transportation systems and infrastructures are strained and continue to become even more burdened due to the growing population and increased demands for mobility. IBM uses analytics technologies to provide travellers with real-time traffic information across multiple modes of traffic so that they can choose the best route for their commute. For example the Intelligent Operations Center allows analysts to anticipate traffic disruptions and model 'what if''scenarios providing options to minimize traffic congestion. Automated directives can trigger communication and collaboration across the city departments and out to citizen alerts.

Water: There are millions of miles of water pipes hidden beneath cities around the world, many of which are more than 100 years old. Today, up to up to 60 percent of water is lost due to leaky pipes, but with a thoughtful combination of planning and new technology, maintenance and repair of water infrastructure can take a quantum leap. IBM's near-real-time analytics can track and report on infrastructure conditions from filtration equipment, water pumps and valves to collection pipes, water storage basins and laboratory equipment. The ability to monitor these systems in real-time means that potential problems such as a burst water main, a slow leak, a broken pump or a hazardous waste water overflow can be quickly identified and resolved – or even predicted and prevented. The Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities can also tap into geospatial data to pinpoint the exact location of problem areas. Over time, increased awareness on water consumption can lead to changes in attitudes, behaviours, and habits that enhance sustainability.

The design of the Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities makes it easy to build, reuse and add advanced capabilities that can provide the full breadth of citizen services to cities around the world. Smarter Cities solutions created from existing assets provide customers with software with hardened components that have already proved themselves in the real world. IBM is establishing a community of Business Partners committed to developing complementary solutions with expertise in areas such as architecture and water management, devices including video cameras and smart meters, and city services software. Among the Business Partners working with IBM are: AECOM, Badger Meter, Esri, Telvent, Veolia Water North America and VirtualAgililty.

For more information about IBM Smarter Cities, please visit

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