Smart City from IBM and Innovatori JAM

IBM has presented yesterday, during the Smarter Cities Europe analyst briefing in Milan, a new, very interesting solution (including a Lecture by Colin Harrison, IBM Distinguished Engineer and Master Inventor):  the IBM Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities for building a more resilient society starting from sustainable smart cities using and holistic, ICT enabled approach. IBM Italy also showed a new demo room: “Major Smart Office” based on it (even if personally I was not too excited about the early version of the demo itself, because integration from some of best of breed projects missed a clear focus to the specific needs of a public local administration, as those that are common in Europe; probably the role based dashboard can be improved to make it more effective). This solution is a framework, delivered as part of the IBM Government Industry Framework , that  “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”.  It was derived insight from about 2,000 smarter cities projects around the world (20% in EU) in which IBM was involved or leaded (one of them “Bolzano Living safe”, presented the same day, related to health monitoring of elderly living alone in urban environment, was my favorite), aiming to enable the real-time communication and collaboration, reduce the impact of crisis situations and the overall cost of maintenance and repairs, minimize life-threatening issue and disruptions to public services and activities for citizens and city users. Various ICT components, such as Business Intelligence and prediction, where IBM has a strong reputation, and technologies from selected partners, such as sensors and smart grid and building can be selectively configured to specific needs (even if my first impression was that a monolithic “company ERP like” or “operating system architecture” approach might have influenced the design, that sounds to me more appealing for the new big smart cities of APAC). What makes it more interesting , in my opinion, is that the solution is made available also for IBM SmartCloud, with a subscription model that makes it attractive, in an CAPEX constrained public sector scenario, above all for medium size cities (or consortium of smaller towns). Obviously the core advantage of this SAAS solution  is related to the opportunity of quickly leveraging the outcomes of leading smart cities projects, the gateways to external data sources (including a rich partner ecosystem) and ability of IBM Global services to tune the system to the specific rules, issues and constraints of a local administration, ability to provide quick dynamic power and capability to specific planned events (such as Olympics games or world EXPO), or provide a new infrastructure after a major catastrophic event. You can find the IBM solution brief here . You can also browse IBM redbooks for Smarter Cities Series starting from: “A Foundation for Understanding IBM Smarter Cities”.

I also take the opportunity to invite you (or at least Italian speaking ones)  to the Innovatori Jam 2011 on September 14th-15th, a social Web 2.0 based event, that allow up to 20000 people to discuss and interact on 10 topics (forums), one of them is “Smart Cities” J. This Jam is organized by the” Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri – Agenzia per la diffusione delle tecnologie per l’innovazione” with IBM as technology partner and il Sole 24 ore as a media partner with the support of many “communities” including Think! For Innovation (a not for profit Innovation knowledge foundation) that I support, where you can find my related paper: The Smart City vision: How Innovation and ICT can build smart, “liveable”, sustainable cities.

Innovatori Jam 2011It will be very interesting to test this brainstorming tool in the Italian scenario, since one year ago in England, the Coventry City Council held a three-day IBM Jam (CovJam) to engage in substantial conversation with its citizens and stakeholders about the city’s future. Martin Reeves, Chief Executive of Coventry City Council, stated: “People know that we can’t change overnight, that we need to take baby steps to being a smarter city with low-cost, practical projects. I was really impressed with some straightforward, not very costly ideas that people would like us to implement over the next few years.”

The five  topics for CovJam were:

  • The Rebirth of Coventry – thinking of ways to improve the urban landscape of Coventry
  • Sent to Coventry – discussing what Coventry wants to be renowned for
  • Aspiring Coventry – looking at how to raise the expectations of Coventry and its citizens
  • Community Cohesion – examining how people in Coventry can get on with each other
  • Citizens in the Driving Seat – discussing how Coventry residents can have control of the city
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One response to “Smart City from IBM and Innovatori JAM

  1. The InnovatoriJam was a success, 3973 posts were submitted from registered users during the 40 hours of the JAM, about 330 of them were related to the “Smart Cities Forum” one of the core forum! I was proud to contribute to its success as a member of the Think! for innovation community. Now the JAM is closed, but for a short timeframe you can still register to browse the threads, vote the posts and learn from different points of view on innovation in the Italian scenario. I’m also doing it, in order to understand which is the broad feeling on smart city value proposition; some of the first evidences are: tecnology must be combined with social awareness and e-citizenships involvement, while broad band is a core constraints, tele-work and new smart offices and remote work centers are winning tools for reducing traffic (the most common concern), smaller italian cities are best suited to combine smart technologies with liveable environment, but needs custom solutions from those designed for larger, booming, towns.

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