IBM Helps Los Angeles Schools Create Smarter, Greener Campuses

Crowdsourcing lets students and staff speed repairs across 800 campuses from their mobile phones

LAS VEGAS - 05 Mar 2012: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a new project to help the nation’s second largest school district become one of the greenest and most sustainable by making energy conservation and cost savings as easy as sending a text message.  

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is empowering its students, teachers and staff to identify maintenance issues such as leaky faucets and broken air conditioning units by sending text messages and photos through their mobile phones. A mobile reporting solution developed by IBM Business Partner CitySourced sends the photos and texts for analysis by IBM software that automatically shows staff where the problem is located using geographic information software from IBM Business Partner Esri.

LAUSD is the largest public school system in California and the second largest school district in the United States with 700,000 students. With more than 14,000 buildings spread out over 710 square miles, the district receives more than 300,000 maintenance service requests a year.

Within the first eight months of implementing the program LAUSD responded to more than 750 maintenance requests and have since surpassed 1,650 reports to date. LAUSD and CitySourced are scheduled to implement an outreach program to socialize the application at school sites in the second quarter of 2012. With the combination of word of mouth and the outreach program, LAUSD anticipates the number of reports to significantly rise in 2012. 

“Each year we found we were spending too much time, money, and energy locating, and reporting a problem before we even had the chance to fix it,” says Danny Lu, business analyst, Los Angeles Unified School District. “By finding a more efficient way to report and locate needed repairs, we are able to respond faster to serve our campuses. The best part is that the solution is at the fingertips of most everyone on campus.”

Prior to the crowdsourcing app, LAUSD relied on faculty, staff, students and parents to report maintenance issues with the campus plant manager, requiring the manager to decipher and pinpoint the failing unit before submitting the call to the Maintenance & Operations Service Call Desk and routing to the appropriate personnel to solve the problem. With the advent of the mobile application, reports are submitted directly to the Maintenance & Operations Service Call Desk. 

“Working with IBM, CitySourced is empowering faculty, students and citizens of the Los Angeles school districts to improve their communities by keeping them cleaner, safer and more efficient,” said Jason Kiesel, Founder and chief executive officer, CitySourced.

A recent Nielson research report showed smartphone usage is surging, especially in the United States where 38 percent of the population owns a smartphone and has the ability to send text or picture messages. By taking advantage of the growing connectivity of the population and partnering with companies like CitySourced and Esri, IBM is utilizing data collected by people to create smarter, more efficient cities and infrastructure.

“People now have the ability to act as living sensors for things they witness in their day-to-day lives,” said Dave Bartlett, vice president, Industry Solutions, IBM. “Through these partnerships, we are arming people with the ability to report problems that impact the efficiency of an ecosystem such as cities, buildings and campuses. And, through IBM analytics, we enable organizations to act on information that will make them more efficient and successful.”

The CitySourced app reports maintenance issues directly to IBM Maximo® Asset Management software.

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LAUSD is empowering the school community to identify facility issues such as leaky faucets and graffiti by sending text messages and photos through their mobile phones.

IBM, CitySourced, and ESRI developed a mobile reporting and analytics solution to automatically identify where facility-related problems are located.

Danny Lu, Facilities Services Division, Los Angeles Unified School District, at LAUSD Headquarters

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