The city of Tshwane will receive an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant, which will give it access to IBM's top experts who will analyse and recommend ways the city can become an better place in which to live, work and play.
The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a competitive grant programme in which IBM is awarding a total of $50-million worth of technology and services to 100 municipalities worldwide over the next three years.
Teams of IBM experts will provide city leaders with analysis and recommendations to support successful growth, better delivery of municipal services, more citizen engagement, and improved efficiency.
IBM selected cities that made the strongest case for participating in the Smarter Cities Challenge. During these engagements, IBM technical experts, researchers and consultants immerse themselves in local issues and offer a range of options and recommended next steps.
Among the issues they examine are healthcare, education, safety, social services, transportation, communications, sustainability, budget management, energy and utilities.
"We selected the city of Tshwane 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," says Gavin Pieterse, governmental programmes executive at IBM. "The cities we picked are eager to implement programs that tangibly improve the quality of life in their areas, and to create roadmaps for other cities to follow. The stakes have never been greater but we're excited at the prospect of helping cities tackle the most pressing challenges of our time."
IBM's consultants and technology specialists will help municipalities analyse and prioritise their needs, review strengths and weaknesses, and learn from the successful strategies used by other cities worldwide. After studying the role that intelligent technology might play in uniting and advancing different aspects of city life, IBM then outlines a range of concrete strategies designed to help make cities healthier, safer, smarter, more prosperous, and attractive to current and prospective residents and businesses.
The approximate value of each Smarter Cities Challenge grant is equivalent to about $400 000.00.
A consistent theme in these projects is the collecting, sharing, analysing and acting on data generated by urban interactions and transactions. Such information can include everything from school test scores, smartphone adoption, crime statistics, foot and vehicle traffic, to tax revenue and library usage. Correlations are then made that link seemingly unrelated aspects of urban life to develop innovative and cost effective strategies to address persistent challenges.
During Smarter Cities Challenge engagements, IBM will help recipients become comfortable using a free Web site called City, which gives policy makers, citizen-advocates and the public a new perspective on how their respective cities are performing compared with others. It serves up easy-to-use data to help them make more informed decisions that improve services and make their citizens and businesses healthier, happier, safer, more productive and prosperous.