CAMBRIDGE, Ontario, June 6, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - IBM (NYSE: IBM) and the City of Cambridge today announced a new, collaborative initiative that combines IBM research, consulting services and software to help the City improve city planning, operations and services across all municipal departments.
The new IBM Analytics for City Services and Safety (ACCESS) project at the City of Cambridge is part of IBM's "First-of-a-Kind" program that brings IBM researchers and clients together to test new technologies for business and develop software solutions to improve the way business works. The project will help the City foster greater collaboration by improving the quality of its information across all key municipal departments. Through the initiative, IBM's Global Business Services consultants and its research arm will combine IBM research innovation in asset management, predictive modeling, and geo-spatial analytics with IBM business analytics software to unify city asset and service management.
This pioneering collaboration will help the City develop a unified approach to quickly take relevant information from different departments and apply the insight gleaned across all city departments and private service providers. Through the project, Cambridge will be able to synchronize work to better understand how to apply limited resources to sustainably improve quality of service. This will help ensure roads don't get dug up multiple times, minimize disruption to the public and infrastructure and help the City better plan for future growth.
Like all cities, Cambridge has a network of complex systems which are managed by multiple departments. These departments perform several types of activities ranging from capital improvement planning and project execution through to the management of day-to-day city operations. They must also prepare for unplanned events like snow storms and traffic accidents. Budget restraints, coupled with growing demands due to rapid urbanization and aging infrastructure add further complexity.
These complex challenges require city departments to develop and deliver diverse technical skills, equipment and operational processes as they coordinate across multiple levels to support efficient operations.
As one of the fastest growing cities in Canada, the City of Cambridge is progressively tackling these urban challenges before they become major impediments.
Today's move extends the City's leadership as a smart city. In Sept. 2010, Cambridge reached a major milestone by applying federal gas tax monies and IBM software to better manage over 200,000 critical Transportation and Public Works assets such as buildings, sewer systems and roadways across 50,000 locations. This new project extends that work, using sophisticated analytics to integrate relevant information in real-time across all departments.
"This new initiative will help us transform from a sense and respond model that is mainly focused on one area to a more predictive model across multiple departments," said Mayor Doug Craig. "With technology innovation, we can reduce overall operating costs, improve quality of service and sustainably enhance operations, infrastructure and public safety for our citizens." Cambridge was named Canada's first 'smarter city' by IBM in late 2010.
The City of Cambridge ACCESS program will draw on insights from a recent IBM initiative with Washington DC's Water and Sewer Authority. This collaboration helped the US federal government's water department develop solutions to more efficiently manage work crews and infrastructure while enhancing revenue and streamlining water usage.
IBM's CFO study found that organizations that invest in analytics lead their peers with 49 percent higher revenue growth, 20 times more profit growth, and 3 percent higher return on invested capital.
"We live in an age in which analytics are an effective tool to help cities better monitor, measure and manage nearly any physical system at work," said Lisa Caldwell, managing partner, Global Business Services, IBM Canada. "By collecting and analyzing capital project planning information on everything from transportation networks to the electricity grid, the City of Cambridge will become a worldwide model on how to predict how changes to one system will impact others to substantially increase efficiency and productivity."
In the last five years, IBM has invested more than $14 billion in organic investments as well as 25 strategic acquisitions and dedicated more than 8000 analytics consultants with industry expertise to build its business analytics capabilities worldwide.
To further help cities of all sizes improve services and reduce costs, IBM today launched the Intelligent Operations Centre for smarter cities. The work is based on what the company has learned from leading more than 2,000 smarter cities and insights from many first of a kind research projects similar to this one over the past two years. The Operations Center will infuse analytical insights into municipal operations through one central point of command so cities will be able to better anticipate problems, respond to crises, and manage resources.
The City of Cambridge is one of the fastest growing areas in the country. It is strategically located astride highway 401 in Southwestern Ontario, part of Canada's Technology Triangle. In 2010, the population reached over 130,000 people. With a multicultural mix and a strong foundation of support services, Cambridge has a diverse economic base with leading industries in advanced manufacturing, automotive, high technology, pharmaceutical, business and financial services and hospitality/retail. The Corporation of the City of Cambridge is an employer with a progressive work environment that offers the opportunity to provide service to the community through creativity and innovation, and with opportunities for career growth and advancement.