The 16 places around the world in line to receive support in dealing with their urban management challenges from IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge over the coming year are now known.
Allahabad, Surat and Vizag (India), Amsterdam (Holland), Athens (Greece), Denver, Detroit, Rochester and Memphis (USA), Huizhou and Xuzhou (China), Melbourne (Australia), San Isidro (Peru), Santiago (Chile), Sekondi (Ghana) e Taichung (Taiwan) were the urban areas selected from among more than 100 candidates.
Beyond providing free consultancy services, IBM will be using IBM Watson Analytics for the first time to identify trends by interpreting data from these cities, and using the results to aid decision making. The study of mobility patterns, public health, the effects of human intervention or weather phenomena are some examples of fields which could benefit.
Another novelty will be the fact that the leadership of Detroit, Melbourne and Memphis will be given access to current and past Twitter data on their cities. One of these cities will also have a social networks specialist joining the six-member team from IBM, to provide a deeper analysis of the Twitter data.
Several cities have benefitted from the Smarter Cities Challenge, where the projects recommended by IBM helped “upgrade skills of city staff, enabled them to win prestigious awards and made them more competitive”, according to the tech giant. Tainan, in Taiwan, for instance, secured funding for wireless projects such as 4G broadband for buses, the development of a taxi-sharing service and the creation of a transport information centre that also provides mobile apps on travel routes for tourists. Birmingham, Alabama (USA), has put in place a system of mobile markets providing “fresh, nutritious and affordable” food to the communities who most need it, in order to tackle public health challenges there.
"With the help of our experts, cities around the world are now able to better use data and transform the way they engage citizens, deliver service, and make their cities more liveable. We thank all those who have applied and feel fortunate to be in the position of providing IBM's best talent, innovation, and resources to help so many cities improve. Over the next year, we're eager to work with this new group of leaders to make their cities smarter." said Jennifer Crozier, IBM’s Vice President of Global Citizenship Initiatives.
According to the tech giant’s estimates, by mid-2016 the company will have helped around 130 cities across the globe.