Ireland Gets Much-Needed IBM Smart City Investment

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The Emerald Isle could receive an economic boost from a new IBM facility focused on smarter infrastructure

The struggling Irish economy could benefit from up to 200 new jobs created as part of a new IBM Smarter Cities Technology Centre being built in Dubin.

The centre, announced this week, is being funded to the tune of around €66 million (£59m) over the next three years. However, IBM and the Industrial Development Agency Ireland (IDA) did not disclose what proportion each organisation is contributing to the project.

Collaboration between industry and academia

The project aims to help city authorities to cooperate with academics and businesses around the world to integrate the management of water, traffic and emergency response services to develop more efficiently run urban centres.

“Researchers at the new centre will investigate how advanced analytics and visualisation techniques coupled with solutions such as cloud, stream, and high-performance computing, can help city authorities make optimal use of resources and so meet the challenges of our increasingly urbanised world,” said Dr. Katherine Frase, Vice President, Industry Solutions and Emerging Business at IBM Research.

MUST READ: IBM helps Emerald Isle be greener

IBM and Dublin authorities also recently announced plans to use the city as a “test bed” for smarter city technologies. “I am delighted to welcome the new IBM Smarter Cities Technology Centre to Dublin. The decision by IBM underscores the Irish government’s commitment to providing an environment where industry and academia can collaborate to create economic growth through innovation and research,” said Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O’Keeffe TD.

Earlier this month, city authorities in Peterborough released details of an online platform from IBM that tracks and analyses all of the city’s energy, water and transport systems. Residents, utilities and officials will be able to log onto the system and see at a glance how well the city’s environmental performance is being managed. Peterborough hopes to become the most sustainable city in the UK on the back of the project.

Late last year, IBM released a series of five predictions about how cities will grow smarter and what technologies will aid in that transformation over the next five years. Authorities in Amsterdam are working with networking giant Cisco to create an online map of the city’s carbon emissions which residents can use to try and reduce their carbon footprints. In December 2009, Cisco said that the Dutch city is rolling out its Urban EcoMap application, which will provide detailed information on carbon emissions and allow residents to compare their output with neighbouring districts or postal codes.

Networking giant Cisco announced in February that it is donating technology to a project which aims to help the struggling Irish economy recover from the impact of the financial crisis. The “Your Country, Your Call” project will benefit from a variety of Cisco collaborative technologies, including web application and Cisco WebEx conferencing systems. The competition will award a prize of €200,000 (£174,000) to two “transformational projects” that will help the Irish economy to grow and encourage employment. The project also has the backing of Mary McAleese, the president of Ireland.

In November last year Irish members of the European Parliament reacted angrily to chaos and misinformation surrounding the closure of computer maker Dell’s manufacturing facility in Ireland, with the loss of around 2,800 jobs.

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