Computer algorithms are now being developed to provide analytics that help city officials develop proactive versus reactive solutions for a programmed emergency. Welcome to the era of Smart Cities.
One of the first Smart Cities is Rio de Janeiro. The city began working with I.B.M. back in 2007 to establish an Intelligent Operations Center to predict the outcome of a major crisis like heavy thunderstorms. Data, historical and current, will analyze potential power outages, flooding, mudslides, etc., as well as project the availability of hospital beds, shelters, emergency workers, etc. This center, scheduled to open later this year, integrates 20 departments, from civil defense to traffic, that will be ready to assist in the day-to-day operational efficiency of the city.
I.B.M.’s Global Pubic Sector unit now has approximately 2,000 smarter cities projects in the works. It is projected that the total market opportunity for developing Smart Cities will be worth $34 billion this year and grow at an annual rate of 18.3 percent to $57 billion by 2014. New York City is a smart city and is working with I.B.M. to collect and share real time data for its fire department. Rotterdam has installed smart sensors in their levees to monitor conditions (e.g., water pressure, temperature, etc.) around the clock to minimize or even prevent flooding. Another company that is involved in working with city governments in a wide array of technology is Cisco. They offer a program called Community+ Exchange which streamlines planning and management at the community level. One of their major clients here in the states is San Antonio where law enforcement officials now have the ability to share real time information so their personnel can act more quickly.
With more anticipated natural catastrophes on the horizon, like earthquakes and resulting tsunamis, or even a terrorist event, there is an accelerated movement by city governments to develop Smart City environments. Are you living in a Smart City?