Launched in 2011, the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a three-year, 100-city, US$50 million competitive grant program. IBM’s single-largest philanthropic initiative, has been granted this year to the city of Khon Kaen in Thailand northern province.
Well before the IBM team arrives for its three-week pro bono consulting engagement valued at US$400,000, the IBMers are already hard at work studying the city’s issue. After they arrive, the teams work with city officials to analyze data, soliciting the input of dozens of local agencies and advocacy groups. IBM then provides detailed recommendations for how the city can efficiently and effectively address the issue.
The grant recipients are being announced at an invitation-only summit bringing mayors and city leaders together with experts and urban policy leaders. Mayors in attendance include those from among cities that were previously awarded Smarter Cities Challenge grants, as well as those whose cities are today being named 2013 winners.
At the summit, mayors will share successful strategies on topics ranging from transportation and economic development, to sustainability and citizen participation. They will review innovative solutions to the major challenges facing cities today, such as identifying financing, refining operating strategies, improving productivity, driving organizational change, and using data and technology effectively.
For year-three of the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge, cities around the world once again competed vigorously to benefit from IBM’s talent and expertise. The winning cities proposed innovative projects and areas of focus for IBM experts. These included strategies that address:
· Economic and Workforce Development — reducing local dependence on a single industry
· Social Services – creating an ecosystem that supports independent living for a growing senior citizen community
· Sustainability – setting policies around billing rates, electric vehicle use, and solar power generation on a smart power grid
· Capital Budget Planning – enabling citizens to request expenditures, while also analyzing their potential impact
· Urban Planning – taking a more systematic, data-driven approach to housing policy, downtown revitalization, zoning, and permits
Following are the 31 cities that have won IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants for 2013:
Belfast, United Kingdom
Cape Town, South Africa
Christchurch, New Zealand
Khon Kaen, Thailand
Makati City, Philippines
Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia
Pingtung County, Taiwan
Porto Alegre, Brazil
Québec City, Canada
“It’s a privilege to share with these cities the talent and expertise of our most gifted employees, who are the envy of the industry. They have premier skills in a range of disciplines — all useful for helping to build smarter cities and a smarter planet.”
Source: IBM News room
The Bangkok Post reported Thursday the IT vendor will be looking to push its enterprise analytics software to customers as part of its focus to provide innovative technologies and high-margin products. It will be moving away from commodity products because of fierce price competition, it added.
Parnsiree Amatayakul, managing director of IBM Thailand, said the company plans to open the business analytics center in the country in June to improve its local capabilities. The center will also serve other Southeast Asian markets, she added in the report.
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