Last Thursday was an exciting day for the Smarter Cities Challenge program. Atlantic Magazine featured the City of Memphis and their innovative approach to alleviating pressure on their overburdened 911 system. One out of every five phone calls to 911 in Memphis is a mistake. That results in costly, unnecessary trips to the emergency room. By applying technological solutions, the city is able to reduce the load on the system, while getting targeted care to those who need it. This is a result of the recommendations provided by the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge program.
“What we’re doing now, based on IBM’s recommendations, is a system wide approach. Let’s all work together as a group, so everybody is doing it the same way. I think that’s why we’re having such good success.” — Andrew Hart, division chief for Emergency Medical Services at the Memphis Fire Department.
We also announced 5 more cities to benefit from the Smarter Cities Challenge (SCC) grant program. Earlier this year, over 100 mayors applied for IBM’s support to help their cities tackle a pressing issue. Congratulations to the 2017-18 Smarter Cities Challenge winning cities:
Busan, Korea; Palermo, Italy; San Isidro, Argentina; San Jose, USA; and Yamagata City, Japan. Each of these cities submitted compelling applications based on issues shared by many other cities. Our goal is that the work IBM and these cities do together can be shared broadly to help other cities tackle similar issues.
The announcement of these five projects makes all of us excited for the mayors, their staff, and the IBMers who are about to embark on this incredible journey. By using some of IBM’s leading technologies such as Watson Analytics, and weather data from The Weather Company, an IBM Business, the IBM teams will be able to help tackle issues in public safety, immigration, affordable/sustainable energy, affordable housing and economic development.
Cities have evolved since the inception of the Smarter Cities Challenge program in 2010. They have become more sophisticated and are facing new, more complex issues. With more and more of the world’s population moving into cities, it is imperative that cities address these new issues with sustainable, creative and technological solutions.
To the Smarter Cities Challenge 2017-18 mayors and city leaders, congratulations! You are about to have some of IBM’s best and brightest work with you to tackle and address the key issues your cities are facing. They will immerse themselves in your community and you will be amazed at the level of understanding they will gain about your challenge, the passion and dedication they will give, and the deep problem solving they will impart. We have no doubt that our colleagues will work tirelessly, with you, to ensure the recommendations they make are actionable.
Jen Crozier is Vice President, IBM Corporate Citizenship and
President, IBM International Foundation