Turbotodd

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Live @ Pulse 2010: Chesapeake’s Smarter City

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At today’s IBM Pulse 2010 event here in Las Vegas, IBM and the City of Chesapeake, Virginia, announced how they’ve partnered to build a “smarter city,” one in which intelligent city-wide systems enhance public services, including public works, public utilities, public safety, and even its parks and recreation initiatives.

The use of IBM technology in this effort is enhancing services delivered to the public ranging from maintenance and operations of traffic signals and water systems to the management of the City’s Fire and Police Departments.

As a result of these efforts, the City of Chesapeake is consistently improving the quality of life for its citizens.

The Background

The City of Chesapeake is one of the larger cities in Virginia, covering some 353 square miles. It’s a diverse community, with suburban, urban, and rural areas, with with a business community that is equally diverse.

It includes more than 80 foreign-based companies from 19 different countries, and a city that has more miles of deep water canals, including the Intracoastal Waterway, than any other city in the U.S.

IBM software manages the maintenance of equipment and facilities for the Chesapeake Public Works Department, including the people and trucks using brine for snow removal at the City of Chesapeake Expressway Toll Plaza

The size and location of the city makes it a complex infrastructure to manage. These unique challenges can be addressed in part by using technology to collect and analyze data that can be used to improve how transportation, utility management, and public safety systems react to constantly changing conditions.

A Comprehensive Plan for a Smarter City

In accordance with its comprehensive plan, the City of Chesapeake is paving the way to a smarter future by currently investing more than $1.2M U.S. in capital improvement projects affecting community facilities, economic development, and other key departments.

“Technology is the power tool of today,” said Peter R. Wallace, CIO of the City of Chesapeake. “We’re using IBM Software to give staff the data and tools to continually improve processes, which is essential in this economy. The City of Chesapeake is less than 50 years old, but those founders inherited hundreds of years of infrastructure. Until now, we haven’t had a quick or convenient way to look at the City’s assets and make smart decisions. To succeed, we must be efficient in the way we work and transparent to our citizens. IBM is helping us accomplish those goals.”

IBM’s software is connecting city systems, and providing the various city departments with a transparent view of what’s going on at any given time. By analyzing the data and sharing the findings across departments, the city is able to detect and react to potential problems more quickly.

IBM: A Vision for Smarter Cities

A recent IBM Institute for Business Value report entitled “A Vision of Smarter Cities” asserts that the digitization of data within a city’s core systems will enable city managers to collect data on the efficiency of processes that could not be previously measured, like wastewater treatment. This, in turn, will lead to more informed decision-making and planning from city leaders.

Michael Fitchett, the City of Chesapeake Systems Development Coordinator and a former city firefighter, discussed at a press conference today hosted by Tivoli general manager Al Zollar his team’s efforts in building a smarter City of Chesapeake.

“When we went live in December 2008 with IBM Maximo asset management software, I never thought I’d be up here talking about a smarter city initiative. The system has allowed me and my team to see a lot of different facets and look across the entire environment of the city and to, in turn, provide our citizens with better services.

“My CIO looks at me everyday and says “ATA” — Accountability, Transparency, and Agility.  I have a mayor who walks into the room and asks what our motto is: ‘We’re open for business.'”

Fitchett explained that he had strong management support, and that every day he is looking for “efficiencies and effectiveness” and explained what he considers to be the essence of a smarter city:

“Making sure we’re getting needed data out to our field personnel so that they can make real-time decisions: Working on a broken water main, perhaps having a video feed down that pipe to see proximity locations and able to analyze and instantly make critical infrastructure decisions.”

“The City of Chesapeake serves as a great example of how cities can take advantage of technology to provide citizens and businesses with a better, smarter place to live,” said Bill Sawyer, vice president of operations, IBM Maximo software. “By using these IBM technologies to better manage critical systems like water management and public safety, the city is both improving the quality of life for its citizens today and building a more sustainable future.”

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