Big Blue will work with organisations in Glasgow to help find better ways to live, work and play
Glasgow has today become the first UK city to receive funding from the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge initiative.
The grant is designed to provide Glasgow with access to IBM experts, who will analyse and recommend ways the city can use technology to improve efficiency, support growth and deliver better services and levels of citizen engagement.
Financially backed initiative
Glasgow is among 24 cities IBM selected to receive grants this year, based on the cases each made for participating in the challenge. It said the approximate value of each Smarter Cities Challenge grant is equivalent to as much as $400,000, or approximately £250,000.
Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “We are delighted that the IBM Smart 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.”
He added that the city would maximise its opportunities to help develop “low-carbon energy technologies, efficient homes, the provision of affordable heat and the creation of sustainable communities”. Similar work includes the development of an environmental data portal with the city of Peterborough.
IBM said its technical experts, researchers and consultants “immerse themselves in local issues” to offer a range of options and recommendations around healthcare, education, safety, social services, transportation, communications, sustainability, budget management, energy, and utilities, according to IBM’s Smarter Cities vision.
Detail is in the data
Analyses are based around the collecting, sharing, analysing and acting on city data, which can include everything from school test scores, smartphone adoption, crime statistics, foot and vehicle traffic, to tax revenue and library usage.
IBM then identifies correlations linking these seemingly unrelated aspects of urban life to analyse and prioritise needs, review strengths and weaknesses, and learn from the successful strategies used elsewhere around the world. This process is used to develop innovative and cost-effective strategies to address persistent challenges.
IBM added that it received several hundred applications from more than 40 countries for the 2011 grant programme, but that the review team were reportedly “highly impressed” by the Glasgow bid.
Jennifer Crozier, IBM corporate citizenship and corporate affairs director, said Glasgow had been marked out 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.
As part of the engagement, IBM will provide a free website, called City Forward, to give policy makers, citizen-advocates and the public a view of statistics on aspects of the city’s services, including education, safety, health, transportation, land use, employment, energy and the environment, personal income, spending and population growth. IBM said users can then gather, compare, analyse, visualise, and discuss statistical trends in comparison with others.
IBM is also building a Smarter Cities Technology Centre in Dubin, Ireland, which was announced almost a year ago.