IBM announced the first batch of cities this week awarded grants as part of the company’s three-year, $50 million Smarter Cities Challenge. The recipients—including New Orleans, Newark, Rio de Janeiro, and Jakarta—are diverse, to say the least. So how did they end up with IBM’s attention, and what happens now?
IBM chose 24 recipients from more than 200 city applicants, all of which were vying for IBM’s expertise in data analytics to tackle problems like crime, education, and budgeting.
The issues in the winning cities are as diverse as the cities themselves. In St. Louis, Mo., for example, IBM has already hit the ground running, with consultants and technology specialists using advanced data analytics to deal with the city’s public safety and education problems. Data analytics are being used to “deploy public safety officers and to figure out which students are most at risk of dropping out, as well as social service needs,” explains Stan Litow, IBM’s Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and President of IBM’s Foundation.
In Chengdu, China, IBM will home in on the local government’s Wireless City initiative, and in Rio de Janeiro, the company will work on infrastructure, environmental, and economic challenges.