How IBM and Intel are making your city smarter

June 1, 2012 in Blog

Last week we introduced you to CITE, a city that’s being built near the town of Hobbs, New Mexico, as a 15-square mile R&D lab for testing technologies in a real city setting without all of the people. Our interest stemmed from the fact that we recently helped make shopping smarter through the use of technology. We wondered: What other companies are working to improve city life on an even larger scale?

IBM’s smarter city solutions

IBM is already using its Intelligent Operation Center to create innovations through analytics, making city management, and in turn cities, smarter. The data collected by IBM has been applied to improvements in management of public safety, healthcare, energy, traffic, education and in some ways to government.

To focus on one area, IBM’s analytics help public safety by showing patterns that can be used to direct resources or anticipate problems, all while reducing city costs. The city of Memphis used IBM technology to reduce serious crime by 30 percent without a proportional increase in its staff. IBM has worked with cities all over the world including Madrid, Spain, in the wake of a terrorist attack and has even helped Colombia combat organized crime.

Intel to open smart city lab in London

Recent news that Intel will partner with Imperial College and University College of London to form the Collaborative Research Institute for Sustainable Connected Cities signals another major player that’s entering the field. Like IBM, Intel will rely on data collection and monitoring to improve services to city inhabitants, but it will use London as its laboratory.

London is the world’s fifth largest city and the location of the 2012 Summer Olympics. That is when Intel’s first major data analysis will take place to see which city systems handle the overcapacity. The purpose of the institute is to find real-world applications for technologically enhancing city life. The institute also aims to solve problems related to the environment, and also social and economic issues facing cities as they grow.

Justin Rattner, Intel’s chief technology officer told BBC news, “In 2050, most of the nine billion people in the world will live in cities.”

This is likely the reason for the recent apparent surge in interest to improve city management through technology. Either way it will be interesting to see what continued innovations arise in the future due to the combined efforts of a number of companies that seek to make city management more manageable through technology.