This morning, IBM announced new capabilities for its "Smarter Cities" software, which is used by municipalities to monitor and manage activity more efficiently.
The upgrades, which are specifically for its "Intelligent Operations" cloud-based software, include additions for city permitting and event management, infrastructure planning and water efficiency analytics. Each feature aims to give city officials in typically siloed departments a better understanding of what's going on systemically, and thus more opportunity to do something about it through budgeting or prevention through prediction.
The company's strategy remains simple: convince city governments that they can do their jobs better, and more cheaply, by wiring up certain items -- for a water utility, that could be pipes; for a transportation authority, trains; for a police department, two different databases collecting two different sets of data -- and allowing data to enter, if not frame altogether, the conversation.
It certainly helps that it takes far less time to deploy software in the cloud. Officials in Toronto, Canada's largest city, are using IBM software to build community engagement around a major waterfront revitalization project. Officials in Cambridge, an Ontario town about an hour west of Toronto, are using IBM software to monitor and manage 250,000 infrastructure assets, from water mains to storm drains.