The City of Tshwane has been selected to receive an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant. The grant provides Tshwane with access to IBM's top experts to analyze and recommend ways the city can become an even better place in which to live and work.
IBM's Smarter Cities Challenge is an outgrowth of IBM's Corporate Service Corps grants program, in which IBM deploys teams of top employees to areas in the developing world to work on projects that intersect business, technology and society. Since the launch of Corporate Service Corps in 2008, nearly 1,400 IBM employees based in 50 countries have been dispatched on more than 140 team assignments in 24 countries.
The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a competitive grant program in which IBM is awarding a total of R375 million worth of technology and services to 100 municipalities worldwide through 2013. The approximate value of each Smarter Cities Challenge grant is equivalent to as much as R3 million.
“The City of Tshwane looks forward to working with a grant-funded IBM team on exploring smarter solutions to improve the city’s operations while enhancing service delivery including Smarter Transport solutions.” says Tshwane Executive Mayor, Councillor Kgosientso Ramokgopa.
IBM selected cities that made the strongest case for participating in the Smarter Cities Challenge.
"The cities that have been selected are all different, but they had one clear similarity: the strong personal commitment by the city's leadership to put in place the changes needed to help the city make smarter decisions," said Stanley S. Litow, IBM vice president of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, and President of IBM's International Foundation.
These cities demonstrated a desire to set an example for other municipalities, an eagerness to collaborate with multiple stakeholders, and a strong commitment to consider implementing recommendations the city felt would be the most feasible and beneficial to their residents.
The need for better city management has never been greater. In 2008, according to the United Nations, more than half the world's human population began living in cities for the first time in the world's history.
In general, teams of specially selected 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.
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, sustainability, budget management and energy.
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.
A consistent theme in these projects is the collecting, sharing, analyzing 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 Forward (http://www.cityforward.org). The site 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.
It captures vital statistics on the performance of many specific services such as education, safety, health, transportation, land use, utilities, energy, environment, personal income, spending, population growth and employment. Users can then gather compare, analyze, visualize, and discuss statistical trends, giving them real-world insight that can help shape public policy.