Cities Get Smarter with IBM's Location-based Analytics

IBM unveils smarter cities wins in Wilmington, North Carolina; Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; and Washington D.C.

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LAS VEGAS - 01 Mar 2011: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is working with cities around the world to help them gain new efficiencies by visualizing and analyzing their physical and digital assets in real-time.

IBM is announcing Smarter Cities projects in Wilmington, N.C., Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and new results from an IBM First-of-a-Kind Research project in Washington, D.C.  

Increasingly, cities are using location-based technology to bring efficiency to their operations and improve the customer experience. They are using IBM software to get both a bird's eye view of their city infrastructure -- roads, buildings and waterways -- as well as insight into their operations underground or on the street of the pipes, wires, street lights, electrical meters, storm drains and other assets that make up a city's infrastructure. Some cities are using embedded sensors to detect faulty pipes or broken streetlights to automatically generate a work order for maintenance staff.

"Cities around the world are getting smarter everyday by monitoring and analyzing the data in their streets, pipes and buildings," said David Bartlett, vice president of Industry Solutions, IBM. "IBM is delivering a new level of intelligence that helps cities -- big or small, new or old -- to gain more efficient, sustainable operations."

Cities around the globe monitor and map their systems using IBM software with mapping and geographic information software (GIS) from IBM business partner Esri.  For example:

IBM today announced the following Smarter Cities initiatives:

Washington D.C.

The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) has been working with IBM on a First-of-a-Kind project using advanced analytics to create a smarter water system that analyzes data on valves, storm drains, service vehicles, truck routes, and more to optimize its infrastructure.  With some pipes and other assets that date to the Civil War, maintaining high levels of service while replacing older infrastructure is an ongoing challenge.

Now in its second year, the objective of the IBM First-of-a-Kind pilot project is to realize the following benefits from a combination of IBM Asset Management and Analytics technology and services.  Among the benefits:

Wilmington, N.C.

IBM is working with the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) of Wilmington, N.C. to improve the efficiency and sustainability of its water and sewage systems using location-based intelligence to improve service for its 67,000 customers.

As a coastal community that is regularly impacted by a popular tourist season, severe weather and 100-year-old water lines, Cape Fear needed a smarter way to manage their stressed infrastructure.

With the new IBM smarter water system and Esri GIS, Cape Fear officials can now map nearly 1,500 miles of main lines and 143 pump stations to see in real-time the county's water and sewer line problems.  Managers and teams on location can then prioritize what issues to address first, in what order, and better identify the source of issues. Work orders are now automatically generated when out of norm conditions exist.

"Having geographic intelligence allows us to not only have a real-time view of our entire operation to optimize our teams and improve the efficiency of our work but also to drill into the significant details on history of that equipment, and the relationship to the overall community," said Nancy Gallinaro, Chief Operating Officer, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority. "This is especially critical a time when we are faced with aging infrastructure and the challenges associated with a struggling economy."

To further speed its response time, Cape Fear moved to a paperless system enabling teams to update the status of their work in with IBM's Maximo software using their truck's computers and air cards. Additionally, working with IBM software, turnaround on pump station run time meter reading collections was reduced from 4 days to 30 minutes. Prior to the IBM solution, CFPUA relied on manual processes for meter readings and work orders, and had a decentralized preventative maintenance program in utility services, leaving parts of the organization's process manual and reactionary.

Waterloo, Ontario

The City of Waterloo is a dynamic, leading edge community located in Southern Ontario, Canada. With a population 120,000, the city of Waterloo has become the technology hub of Ontario and was named the Top Intelligent Community in 2007 by the Intelligent Community Forum -- the first Canadian city awarded this honor.

The City of Waterloo recently deployed Maximo Spatial, a new IBM solution that integrates with Esri, to geographically view and update all of the city's water-related assets -- from drinking water, to storm and sewer, waste water and the facilities that make up the water department.  

The City of Waterloo is leveraging location capabilities to create more efficiency in their system that services more than 120,000 users and more than thirty three thousand assets, including gravity mains, manholes and pressurized mains.

To learn how smarter infrastructure is bridging the physical and digital worlds, check us out at: and

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