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IBM looks to smarten up Indian cities

Priyanka Joshi  |  Mumbai 

With the US economy struggling, Europe’s debt crisis burgeoning and emerging market growth becoming harder to cash on, International Business Machines (IBM) has renewed its focus on economies like India that are rapidly industrialising and developing. The world’s biggest computer-services company has thus launched Smarter City Solutions — a new solution designed to help cities of all sizes gain a holistic view of information across city departments and agencies.

Pradeep Nair, director (software group), IBM India & South Asia said the company was talking to a couple of non-metro municipal and state governments to connect a city’s water management data, traffic on roads via GPS tracking, emergency services and even power supply data to give the city administrator a real-time picture of what’s happening in the city.

“The pilot projects are already being run on a smaller scale in tier-2 towns,” he revealed, but did not reveal the cities where IBM would roll out the solutions.

IBM’s Intelligent Operations Center, which is a streamlined suite of real-time dashboard, analysis, and data integration tools for its Smarter Cities initiatives, will offer specific modules for public safety, water and transportation that are designed to optimise operational efficiencies of a city.

An earlier example of IBM’s smart solutions was collaboration between Municipality of Mysore and Jamshedpur Utilities & Services Company to improve its water supply management system, informs Sreenath Venkatesan, vice president (smarter planet solutions), IBM India/South Asia on an IBM-sponsored blog, www.

As for expansion, IBM expects to start operations in 40 Indian cities by 2013. With APAC contributing 24 per cent of its total revenue in the first quarter ended March 31 this year, increasing at a rate of 12 per cent year over year, fastest among all other geographic regions.

Samuel J Palmisano, IBM’s chairman, president and chief executive officer has acknowledged the role of emerging economies in his statement. “Growth markets delivered outstanding revenue performance across software, hardware and services. They contributed to the company’s expanded margins,” he said. “We also achieved strong results in Smarter Planet, business analytics and cloud.”

John Dunderdale, IBM’s VP (software group), further said smart use of could go a long way in transforming a city’s core systems. “For example,” he pointed out, “traffic prediction helps multi-modal planning whereby transport services can be integrated to provide seamless and efficient movement of people. Analytics and decision support helps in continuous, system-wide performance measurement that helps provide optimal solutions to a city’s dynamic transport needs.”

Nair said the sales cycle increases for Indian clients and businesses have prompted IBM to look to drive its growth from new software and services category like Smarter Cities initiatives. “Intelligent Operations Center is a step toward making the benefits of a smart city cheaper and easier to implement (thus driving down development costs and accelerating adoption),” he added.

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First Published: Thu, October 20 2011. 00:36 IST