IBM Research has a number of projects applying the principles of instrumentation, interconnection and intelligence as part of an infrastructure for decision-making by government agencies, utilities, businesses, property-owners, residents and visitors in an urban environment.
These projects are mostly being carried out through a set of experiments with cities and university partners throughout the world, and are exploring new classes of functions that can become part of the IBM Intelligent Cities portfolio of solutions and the IBM Global Services offerings for cities and utilities.
To see IBM's Point of View and current offerings, please start at Smarter Cities. Information Agenda Solutions for Government is also relevant. If you prefer a 6-minute video, see Building Smarter Cities. For an August 2013 BBC Story about this work, please see Tomorrow's cities: Do you want to live in a smart city?.
An overview of our work on Sentient and Cognitive Cities led by our Brazil lab is available.
On June 18-22, 2012, we participated in the 2nd workshop on Pervasive Urban Applications (PURBA 2012) associated with the 10th International Conference on Pervasive Computing, in Newcastle UK
In June 2012, IBM Research, Vodafone, and Ulasim AS launched the Insights In Motion - Istanbul Hareket Halinde project to improve public transportation in Istanbul through collecting data about actual travel routes taken by citizens. See 2 minute video.
On June 4th, 2012 we organized the 1st When the City Meets the Citizen Workshop (WCMCW) held at the International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM) in Dublin.
On April 10, 2012, with 7 Universities and the Government of Canada, and the Government of Ontario,we announced the formation of IBM Canada Research and Development Centre, one of whose focus areas will be Smarter Cities
One of the exploratory philosophies guiding our experiments is looking at software which is a system of systems:
We also provide advice to, and collaborate with, a number of university level research institutes focused on Smarter Cities.
- New York University's Center for Urban Science and Progress
- University of Guadalajara (UdeG) Smarter Cities Exploration Center
For information about the experiments in specific cities, please see the following press releases and case studies:
- Arlington, Virginia, USA Yellow Button mobile app YouTube
- Boston, Massachusetts, USA How Boston Trained for Marathon Management with Smarter Cities Tech using IBM Intelligent City Planning and Operations. Press Release 2013 September
- Brazil Rota Acessivel used in São Paulo, São Bernardo do Campo, Bragança Paulista, Bauru, Rio de Janeiro, Florianópolis, and Anápolis where a mobile app is used for citizen reporting of repairs needed. Technical information is available in the paper A Crowdsourcing Platform for the Construction of Accessibility Maps
- Cambridge, Ontario, Canada Reengineering the City: Fixing Things Before They Break, Press Release March 2012, Recognition from Association of Municipalities Ontario, Press Release 2013 September, GCN Article, September 2013
- Chicago, Illinois, USA Video Surveillance System
- District of Columbia, USA Water Case Study, ROI Study, Blog Entry, Press Release
- Dublin, Ireland - IBM Research - Dublin website
- Dubuque, Iowa Press Release, video
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida Data Analytics Helps Fight Crime in Fort Lauderdale (Govtech 2013 October)
- Hong Kong is using our Pipe Main Failure Prediction system
- Ireland work in 2012 web
- Istanbul, Turkey Improving Public Transportation. IBM Research, Vodafone, and Ulasim AS are conducting the Insights In Motion - Istanbul Hareket Halinde project to improve public transportation in Istanbul through collecting data about actual travel routes taken by citizens. See 2 minute video.
- Melboure, Australia Accessible Way mobile app for citizen reporting of repairs needed
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Predicting Weather Impacts video of Mayer Paes at TED February 2012
- Victoria, Australia's Information Interoperability Blueprint for Emergency Management, 2012-2013
For information about projects focused on services, please see the following pages:
For information about projects focused on solution platforms, please see the following pages:
For information about work on Analysis of Urban Dynamics, see:
For the work which is now in an IBM offering on City Planning and Operations across agencies and departments, see:
- IBM Intelligent City Planning and Operations
- IBM Intelligent City Planning and Operations V1.5.1 helps cities increase revenue by identifying unlicensed businesses and reduce costs by streamlining permit approval
For information about projects focused on Building Energy Efficiency, please see
- Energy Innovation Hub research led by the Pennsylvania State University for the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster (GPIC) for Energy Efficient Buildings, funded by the U. S. Department of Energy up to $129M over 5 years.
- IBM Research is participating in a partnership announced by New York City Mayor Bloomberg and the NYC Economic Development Corporation with Columbia University, CUNY, and NYU for research collaboration to help address New York City’s energy challenges.
- [others to be added].
For information about projects related to traffic and transportation, please see
- Traffic Prediction Tool
- China Traffic Pattern Analysis
- Traffic Simulations of Japanese Cities Project Page
- Dublin Ireland Bus Scheduling and Routing using BigData in real-time, Information Week article, May 2013
For information about projects related to water, please see
- Brazil Water and Bio-Fuelds GIS Smarter Natural Resources
- Canada GCN Article, September 2013; Press Release 2013 September
- China Pipe Main Failure Prediction. In Hong Kong, by identifying the 2% of pipes most likely to leak and taking preventive action, the city has seen a 25% reduction in total leaks in the following year. There is also a minimum 3x time improvement in prediction precision compared with current pipe integrity management best-practice.
- District of Columbia Water Case Study, ROI Study, Blog Entry, Press Release
- Dublin, Ireland Water Management Center of Excellence to work with Marine Institute on SmartBay initative, as well as with Dublin City University, University College of Dublin and the Tyndall Institute at University College, Cork.
- Dubuque, Iowa Residential Water Conservation Press Release
- Quality of Water Service and Water life-cycle management in Israel
- Ireland web
- Sonoma County, California Press Release: Automatic Leak Detection, Pressure Management Aims to Reduce Water Loss; Blog Posting: When IT Meets H2O
Some of our approaches are now available through third party solutions and service providers.
Water Metering Analytics
We developed advanced analytics methods to support operational aspects of water utilities. We use machine learning technology to identify anomalies in meter data, including:
- For zero consumption, distinguishing between legitimate (e.g., family on vacation) and illegitimate (e.g., malfunction) causes.
- Identifying leaks in the common areas of buildings (outside the scope of any single meter).
For information about projects related to public safety and emergency planning, please see
- How Boston Trained for Marathon Management with Smarter City Tech
- Video Surveillance System
- [others to be added].
For information about projects related to citizen quality of life and resource conservation, please see
- Citizen to City Mobile Communication in Arlington, Virginia, jointly developed with Virginia Tech YouTube
- Water and Power Conservation in Dubuque, Iowa - Press Release
IBM Research is also participating in a number of cross-disciplinary efforts to scope the emerging field of computational urban science. A list of the activities we participate in includes:
IBM Research participates in cross-disciplinary efforts to scope the emerging field of computational urban science:
- European Cooperation in Science and Technology September 2011 Exploratory Workshop on Smarter Cities
Many IBM Researchers contributed articles to the IBM Journal of Research and Development issue on Smarter Cities, Vol 55, Issues 1 and 2, which can be found via this IEEE Explore entry.
To understand how our Smarter Cities work forms one central pillar of, and also complements our other Research thrusts on, significant opportunities and challenges, take a look at the 40-page IBM Research overview. (Accessible version)