IBM Offers Smarter City Assessment Tool to Help Cities Prepare for Challenges and Opportunities of Unprecedented Urbanization

Berlin - 24 Jun 2009: At the SmarterCities forum today in Berlin, IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced that it is offering a new Smarter City Assessment Tool to help cities better understand and meet the new demands of an increasingly urbanized world.

Last year for the first time in history, according to the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations, the majority of the world’s people lived in cities. By 2050 seventy percent of the world’s population will live in cities. To put this into perspective, a century ago, fewer than 20 cities around the world had populations in excess of 1 million people. Today, that number has swelled to 450 and will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.

Recognizing the pressure increasing urbanization will place on urban planners and local governments, IBM has developed a Smarter City Assessment Tool, to help cities focus on how best to move forward.  

Cities using the Smarter City Assessment Tool will provide IBM with specific data about their core operational systems (people, business, transport, communication, water and energy) which are then analyzed to benchmark a city’s overall capabilities against peer locations, highlight relative strengths and weaknesses and provide initial recommendations for improvement. The tool, which leverages research done by the IBM Institute for Business Value, is based on a methodology developed by IBM’s Global Location Strategies consulting service, which helps corporations determine the best countries and cities in which to locate businesses. 

“Cities are in the midst of a realignment of power – with greater influence highlighted by greater responsibility,” said Peter Korsten, Global Leader for the IBM Institute for Business Value. “Aspects of a city’s operations that city managers have previously been unable to measure – and therefore unable to influence – are increasingly being digitized, creating brand new data points. With the greater digitization of its core systems and the use of advanced analytic capabilities, cities can enhance decision-making and improve urban planning.”   

Additionally IBM’s Institute for Business Value, part of IBM Global Business Services, is doing extensive research into cities and has just published the first in a series of three studies on smarter cities.   

Titled "A vision of smarter cities - How cities can lead the way into a prosperous and sustainable future" the study outlines the new central role that cities are playing in the world economy and the associated need for cities to address their sustainability challenges by transforming their core systems -- individually as well as holistically.

The new IBM Smarter City Assessment Tool and accompanying thought leadership study were announced today at the Smarter Cities forum in Berlin, hosted by IBM to explore how progressive cities are modernizing to spur economic development, drive greater innovation, transform for competitive advantage and meet the pressing demands of a more engaged and intelligent citizenry. 

IBM defines a smarter city as one that makes optimal use of all the interconnected information available today in order to better understand and control its operations and optimize the use of limited resources.  

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