Glasgow named an IBM Smarter City
Published by Anne Marie Hughes on Sat 09 Jun 12 @ 22:10
Glasgow has become the first UK city to win a grant from the IBM (NYSE: IBM) Smarter Cities Challenge initiative.
The grant provides Glasgow with access to IBM's top experts to analyse and recommend ways the city can become an even better place in which to live, work and play.
The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a competitive grant program in which IBM is awarding a total of $50 million worth of technology and services to 100 municipalities worldwide over the next three years.
Teams of specially selected IBM experts will provide city leaders with analysis and recommendations to support successful growth, better delivery of city services, more citizen engagement, and improved efficiency.
Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: "This is fantastic news and will help Glasgow as we move forward with our aim to become a European leader in environmental, social and economic sustainability.
"Through IBM's Smarter Cities initiative we hope to maximise the tremendous opportunities for Glasgow to develop low-carbon energy technologies, efficient homes, the provision of affordable heat and the creation of sustainable communities. By reducing energy costs and helping to tackle fuel poverty for poorer sections of our community we hope to have a real impact on improving people's health and quality of life.
"We are delighted that the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge has recognised the work underway in our city and want to work with us to enable Glasgow to be a smarter and more sustainable city."
IBM selected cities that made the strongest case for participating in the Smarter Cities Challenge. During these engagements, IBM technical experts, researchers and consultants immerse themselves in local issues and offer a range of options and recommended next-steps. Among the issues they examine are healthcare, education, safety, social services, transportation, communications, sustainability, budget management, energy, and utilities.
IBM received several hundred applications from more than 40 countries for the 2011 grant programme. The review team were "highly impressed" by the Glasgow bid, which is one of 24 cities worldwide to be selected to receive a Smarter Cities Challenge grant.
Jennifer Crozier, Director, IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, said: "We selected Glasgow because of its commitment to the use of data to make better decisions, and for its desire to explore and act on smarter solutions to their most pressing concerns.
"The cities we picked are eager to implement programs that tangibly improve the quality of life in their areas, and to create roadmaps for other cities to follow. The stakes have never been greater but we're excited at the prospect of helping cities tackle the most pressing challenges of our time."
Glasgow bid for a Smarter Cities Challenge grant through its Sustainable Glasgow initiative, a city wide partnership, chaired by Councillor Matheson, which has set its sights on a green future as one of Europe's most sustainable cities.
Through the Smarter Cities Challenge initiative, IBM's consultants and technology specialists will help the winning cities analyse and prioritise their needs, review strengths and weaknesses, and learn from the successful strategies used by other municipalities worldwide.
After studying the role that intelligent technology might play in uniting and advancing different aspects of city life, IBM then outlines a range of concrete strategies designed to help make cities healthier, safer, smarter, more prosperous, and attractive to current and prospective residents and businesses.
A consistent theme in these projects is the collecting, sharing, analysing and acting on city data. Such information can include everything from school test scores, smartphone adoption, crime statistics, foot and vehicle traffic, to tax revenue and library usage. Correlations are then made that link seemingly unrelated aspects of urban life to develop innovative and cost effective strategies to address persistent challenges.
During Smarter Cities Challenge engagements, IBM will help recipients become comfortable using a free Web site called City Forward (http://www.cityforward.org).
The site gives policy makers, citizen-advocates and the public a new perspective on how their respective cities are performing compared with others. It serves up easy-to-use data to help them make more informed decisions that improve services and make their citizens and businesses healthier, happier, safer, more productive and prosperous.
It captures vital statistics on the performance of many specific services such as education, safety, health, transportation, land use, utilities, energy, environment, personal income, spending, population growth and employment. Users can then gather, compare, analyse, visualise, and discuss statistical trends, giving them real-world insight that can help shape public policy.
The need for better city management has never been greater. In 2008, according to the United Nations, more than half the world's human population began living in cities for the first time in the world's history.
Smarter Cities Challenge draws upon IBM's intrinsic technological savvy, but also upon the field experience accumulated by IBM over the last three years from the company's ongoing pro bono Corporate Service Corps grant program. Corporate Service Corps has deployed 100 teams of 1000 top IBM employees from around the world with skills in technology, scientific research, marketing, finance, and business development. They work with local government, non profit civic groups, and small business to develop blueprints that intersect business, technology, and society.