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Live From IBM Pulse 2013: Day 2 General Session — IBM Tivoli Customers Share Their Best Practices

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Several prominent IBM Tivoli clients joined IBM senior vice president Robert Leblanc at the IBM Pulse 2013 day two general session to discuss their asset and infrastructure management best practices on the MGM Grand Arena stage.

Several prominent IBM Tivoli clients joined IBM senior vice president Robert Leblanc at the IBM Pulse 2013 day two general session to discuss their asset and infrastructure management best practices on the MGM Grand Arena stage.

If you missed Carrie Underwood last evening in the MGM Grand Arena, well…I’m sorry.

Actually, I’d find it difficult to believe anyone from IBM Pulse missed Carrie Underwood, as the place was packed to the rafters, and Carrie did not disappoint.

In fact, quite the opposite…and judging from the line waiting to get in that stretched all the way back to the MGM hotel elevators, well, let’s just say expectations were high.

And as we move into Pulse 2013 Day Two, we should maintain those high expectations, because it was clear from this morning’s keynote customer interview led by IBM senior vice president Robert Leblanc that today’s focus would be on highlighting best practices in building and maintaining smart infrastructures.

IBM vice president Scott Hebner first kicked the session off, explaining IBM’s continued commitment to open standards (see yesterday’s announcement about IBM’s commitment to using OpenStack), explaining that “Just as standards helped us realize the promise of e-business over the last decade, I think the same is going to occur with respect to cloud computing.”

Scott also encountered an amusing “blue screen of cloud death” moment, where all systems failed, spinning umbrellas appeared on screen (and in the audience), and colorful chaos people appeared from offstage.

An amusing moment, but one with an underlined headline of warning: Thou who doth go too far forward building on proprietary platforms may findeth one’s business in cloud computing chaos!

Scott next handed the baton to Robert Leblanc, and it was time now for Robert to introduce a range of IBM Tivoli clients operating in a garden variety of industries: Steve Caniano, Vice President, Hosting, Applications, and Cloud Computing with AT&T; Robert Pierce, Assistant Vice President, Information Services, Carolina Healthcare; Eduardo Bustamante, Director of Systems and Telecommunications, Port of Cartagena; and Tony Spinelli, Chief Security Officer, Equifax.

First, he cleared the decks and set up the big picture: Technology is now the number one issue for CEOs, as they recognize it could make or break their success. Big data, mobile, and cloud loom over the horizon as competitive differentiating technologies, and, increasingly, are table stakes.

Security is more of a risk, but going on the offensive beats succumbing to the nastiness of the defensive (read the cyber security headlines lately?).

And yet…and here was the key point of the best practices session…only one in five CEOs feel they have a highly efficient IT infrastructure, one that’s versatile and dynamic and can adapt to the ever-changing whims of an admittedly volatile marketplace.

And Robert delivered more bad news (admittedly, he did so with a smile): 70 percent of CIOs lack proper visibility into their cloud systems, 78 percent are NOT using mobile device management, and 53 percent lack the proper automation of securing their assets.

Oh, and only one in ten feel they have the skills and capabilities they require.

Robert asked each of the IT executives about their respective environments and challenges.

Steve from AT&T observed that “cloud computing is a team game” but that “hybrid types of solutions needed to be deployed,” and he explained AT&T’s partnership with IBM had been key in this regard.

Robert with Carolina Healthcare explained in the field of medicine that “mobility has become a key differentiator” and that the new doctors coming up “expect robust information technology services” or else they’ll find someone else’s hospital to work at.

He went on to explain that Carolina had begun to use IBM’s Endpoint Manager to manage some 38,000 desktops, laptops, iPads and iPhones.

Eduardo had a different set of challenges, operating in a much more “physical” realm in using IT services to better orchestrate the cacophony of trains, cranes, and other moveable assets.  He indicated the Port of Cartagena is implementing RFID in concert with IBM Maximo technologies to better manage and move those assets efficiently around the port, and in the process, adding a layer of analytics to allow for continuous improvement of that physical instrumentation.

And Tony with Equifax got a laugh from the audience when he started by stating that “Everyone in this audience wants me to do a great job,” acknowledging the company has and must protect the information of individuals and businesses around the globe.

He suggested companies need to move beyond simply “naming the bad actors” in the security intrusion front, and instead move to “better understand those bad actor’s strategies and tactics” so they can better prioritize, respond to, and yes, even prevent those incidences from occurring in the first place, something Equifax is doing through the implementation of improved security intelligence using IBM QRadar technology.

“By having better security intelligence on the battlefield,” Tony explained, “you’re better prepared.”

“Not all assets are created equally,” he explained, speaking, of course, for Equifax, but acknowledging a much broader theme and challenge to the gathered IBM Pulse crowd.

Live From IBM Pulse 2013: Dr. Danny Sabbah — The Internet Is The Computer

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Danny Sabbah

Dr. Danny Sabbah, CTO and general manager for IBM Next Generation Architecture, extols on the promise and virtues of the nexus between “systems of engagement” and “systems of record” at the opening general session of IBM Pulse 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada, earlier today.

Welcome to the world of the hybrid cloud and legacy application environment, a merger of the front office and the back, the nexus of the burgeoning mobile and social milieu (the “systems of engagement”) with the systems of record.

This was the key message delivered in the opening general session of IBM Pulse 2013 here at the almost packed MGM Grand Garden arena here in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The opening itself was another kind of hybrid, one that featured a number of skilled percussionists drumming in the key messages of the challenges and opportunities facing IT organizations around the globe.

Speed is a constant.  Change is a constant.  Declining budgets are a constant.  What’s the variable?

The opportunity to create new kinds of value for the organization by better fusing business assets, facilities, infrastructure, and data into a seamless and holistic view of the entire operation, one whereby you help your organization better gain increased visibility, control, and automation.

In short, to move from being a cost center to a center of strategic business innovation, and to turn opportunities into outcomes.

Are you prepared to take on this new challenge?

IBM Tivoli marketing guru Scott Hebner entered the stage to set the stage for IBM Pulse 2013, explaining there were 8,000+ attendees from over 80 countries around the globe, and that the depth and breadth and diversity of experience in this room (and we’re talking about a pretty big room…like, as in, Carrie Underwood will be playing this room for Pulse this evening) was unprecedented.

Scott started his opening by asking a few key questions of the gathered infrastructure management faithful: Where does an infrastructure begin and where does it end?  How do we make it become more interconnected and instrumented so we can garner more value from existing assets?

Scott explained that we’re all sitting on a staggering amount of operational data, both animate and inanimate — and not just in the traditional data center, either.  In your tractors.  Your warehouses.  Your office buildings.

And this “operational big data” residing in all those assets is an enormous opportunity, one that allows us to better understand the “exact condition of everything in real-time.” Which means also extracting new value from those assets and, hence, being able to then provide better services to our organizations and users.

But the climbing of this new mountain of data has its challenges.  For one, skills.  IDC expects 7 million new cloud computing positions to come online, 6X that over the rest of IT employment.  That means new skills, new training, new…students.

Which is one of the primary reasons we’re all gathered here in Lost Wages, to come together and learn from the experts and one another, to improve the economics of IT, and to uncover those growth opportunities.

Scott introduced a customer who flew all the way here from down under, in Melbourne, Australia, to share their experience in this new frontier of computing.

Neal Roberts, the CIO of Yarra Trams, is part of a team that oversees the largest tram network in the world, one with 250 kilometers of track and nearly 500 tram cars that travel some 185 million track miles per year!

First, Yarra’s values, which help drive both the team and the trams: Think like a passenger, do Zero harm, and provide Continuous Improvement.

The first two are pretty self-evident, but the third, continuous improvement, takes some concerted and coordinated effort and a lot of hard work.

That coordination increasingly takes place between the line of business and IT organizations.  And Mr. Roberts explained that “We’re all facing the same challenges. Trying to manage the velocity of change, and to become centers of innovation while reinventing the customer relationship.”

For Yarra, that meant driving a symbiosis of asset management and location information, the so-called systems of record, with the real-time notification opportunities of social media data.

It goes a little something like this: The rains come, puts a tram out of service when it gets flooded, the operations center is notified, the operations center schedules a dispatch to fix the train, the schedule is altered, data is streamed to the public cloud (including a mobile app for tram users) to notify them automagically the train schedule has been disrupted/altered, the tram eventually gets fixed, all goes back to normal.

Yarra Tram

Yarra Tram of Melbourne, Australia, uses IBM Maximo asset management technology to bridge to “systems of engagement” and inform Melbourne citizens when trams are out of service so they can make other arrangement.s

No problem, the trams are back to running on time.

Dr. Danny Sabbah, CTO and general manager of IBM Next Generation Platforms, picked it up from there.

Dr. Sabbah observed that we are truly at an inflection point, and that since last year, the key themes which emerged around securing the cloud, mobile, and embedded solutions, have only become more important, and that we’re now seeing this increased integration of public cloud data and the existing services.

That is again the important nexus to focus on, because it is from that nexus that we’ll see increasing value unlocked by organizations around the globe, and it’s a new stage in the evolution of technology and the importance of data.

Dr. Sabbah included a key example: Mobile devices are anticipated to account for 40% of access to all kinds of business applications in the next few years.

And as a result of this, big data is joining mobile and cloud as the next must have competency.

“Devices are becoming more intelligent and communicating even more data,” Sabbah continued, and we’re getting “smart buildings, smart grids, and smarter healthcare. None of these are operating in isolated silos.”

“The convergence of these technologies,” he explained, “is driving the Internet of things.”

And yet intelligent interconnection and instrumentation is making it increasingly hard to balance efficiency and innovation. Sabbah explained, “The drive for innovation drives a commensurate need for technology optimization” and that optimization is what helps free up finite IT resources for focusing on innovation.

That is also another reason IBM has put so much muscle behind its PureSystems line of technology, with the express intention of freeing up people, time, and money from mundane operational tasks of server administration, data routines, etc., so they can work on value added projects!

The new cloud and mobile-based “systems of engagement” spoken of earlier, along with the systems of record from the past 40 years of computing, aren’t going away, and in fact, the opportunity for these systems to interact and interoperate extracts new value.  But that requires flexibility (read: openness) in their infrastructure design, because different workloads are coming together — some require new levels of optimization, others new levels of maintenance, and some towards speed of delivery.

But, ultimately, flexible architectures allow us to mash up new services, so that those organizations who build flexibility into their infrastructure DNA are those “most poised to win.”

Getting there will require rapid iteration and the continued “reduction of confused and conflicting infrastructure and software.”

“It’s not the network that’s the computer,” Sabbah wound down.  “It’s the Internet that’s the computer.”

U.S. Air Force Partners With IBM On Building Performance Mission

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IBM today announced that the U.S. Air Force (USAF) has selected IBM smarter buildings software to help its civil engineers maximize energy efficiency and automate the management of its physical infrastructure portfolio — from buildings, vehicles, runways and other infrastructure across 170 locations worldwide.

BM has partnered with the U.S. Air Force to help its civil engineers maximize energy efficiency and automate the management of its physical infrastructure — from buildings, vehicles, runways, and other infrastructure across 626 million square feet and 170 locations worldwide.

This portfolio includes more than 626 million square feet of real estate, over 100 million square yards of airfield pavement and 10 million acres of land used by Active Duty, Reserve and Air National Guard personnel.

Presidential Executive Orders require executive branch departments and agencies to establish asset management plans, install performance measures and ensure the effective management of Federal real property assets through their entire lifecycle.

Additional orders require agencies to improve energy efficiency, reduce natural resource consumption and decrease waste production to reduce carbon emissions.

To meet this order, the Air Force Office of the Civil Engineer, whose mission is to provide, operate, maintain, and protect sustainable installations as weapon-system platforms through engineering and emergency response services across the full mission spectrum, will use IBM TRIRIGA software to gain greater visibility and control of its physical assets.

IBM’s integrated workplace management software, called IBM TRIRIGA, provides the Air Force with a standardized, powerful technology platform to analyze data about real property assets, streamline work orders and suppliers, and reduce energy use across thousands of buildings.

These tools will help USAF measure and manage its operational, financial and environmental performance to determine and prove effectiveness against government-wide and agency real property management objectives.

“IBM TRIRIGA software will help implement  our NexGen IT vision and give USAF a data-driven approach to manage its real property and physical assets, as well as help us predict issues before they impact service and safety,”said Alexander Earle, Chief Information Officer, Air Force Office of the Civil Engineer.  “Implementing IBM TRIRIGA will help strengthen our IT infrastructure by removing redundant systems, providing real-time analytics and optimizing core processes that enable us to make better decisions about how we manage our resources.”

Using IBM TRIRIGA, USAF plans to reduce operating costs, increase return on budget and reduce energy consumption through:

  • Integrated Workplace Management: Provides a single system to optimize performance of all real estate locations, assets and personnel operations. By optimizing building use, occupancy costs are reduced, lease administration is made easier, and managers can evaluate future space requirements to make long term planning decisions.
  • Energy Assessment Tools: Enables users to obtain environmental insights and pre-defined, automated operational procedures and processes to monitor and reduce energy consumption as well as waste production from real property assets operations.
  • Condition-based Maintenance: Better manage the maintenance of property and equipment based on the age, condition and history of facilities. Having this insight can prevent costly repairs by allowing staff to pinpoint equipment that should be replaced before incidents occur.

IBM TRIRIGA improves the operational, financial and environmental performance of real estate assets and operations. The software provides a comprehensive suite of applications to manage the real estate lifecycle of an organization with pre-defined management processes and extensive web-based configuration management tools.

About IBM Smarter Buildings

Since launching its Smarter Buildings initiative in February 2010, IBM has created a portfolio of smarter buildings solutions that integrate with building automation software from across the industry.

IBM’s real-time monitoring and analysis, facilities and space management capabilities, and advanced dynamic dashboards helps property owners and managers reduce facilities operations and energy expense, and improve asset management and reliability.

Through IBM’s acquisition of TRIRIGA, IBM accelerated efforts to bring intelligence in the smarter buildings market. IBM’s smarter building solutions help clients listen to data generated by facilities. By collecting, managing, and analyzing data IBM helps clients gain intelligence and insight to energy, space and facilities management. TRIRIGA strengthens IBM’s smarter buildings solutions by adding key functions such as real estate, facility and energy management software solutions.

Mona Lisa Smile: IBM Helps The Louvre Become Europe’s First “Smarter” Museum

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At Pulse 2012 here in Las Vegas, IBM announced today that it is working with the Louvre Museum in Paris to preserve and protect its facilities and artwork, which covers more than 650,000 square feet, making it one of the largest museums in the world.

Through its intelligent management system, the Louvre Museum can protect and maintain artwork while keeping galleries open to the millions of customers who visit yearly.

Established in the 18th century, the Louvre is home to thousands of objects and artifacts ranging from prehistory to 1848, including the most famous painting in the world, the Mona Lisa. To preserve and protect its facilities and world-famous artwork, the museum staff handles more than 65,000 repairs and maintenance visits per year. Through the use of IBM Maximo Asset Management software the museum’s staff has been able to streamline their maintenance processes to improve customer service as well as the efficiency and real-time operation and management of the museum.

As Europe’s most visited museum, with a record breaking 8.8 million visitors in 2011, one of the Louvre’s goals is to keep the majority of its galleries open daily. To meet that goal while managing over 65,000 repairs and maintenance visits, the museum needed to make its corrective and preventative maintenance more streamlined and efficient.

Prior to working with IBM, the staff managed its facility-related repairs and maintenance work by paper, involving hundreds of vendors. In order to keep the majority of its galleries open daily, the museum recognized that it needed a computerized maintenance management tool to make its corrective and preventative maintenance more streamlined and efficient.

The museum engaged IBM Business Partner SQLI to upgrade IBM Maximo software in order to create a single information database and shared repository for the museum staff. The software solution’s integrated database helps the museum visualize processes including the initial planning, cleaning, maintenance and disposal of the rooms and facilities systems such as the air-conditioning system, heating system, elevators, lights for each room or gallery, and the locking system for more than 2,500 doors,

“Managing thousands of repairs, cleaning and maintenance visits per year to preserve the facilities and artwork while keeping the galleries available and accessible to visitors is a daunting undertaking,” said Metin Pelit, department manager of computerized maintenance management system, The Louvre Museum. “Thanks to IBM software, we’re able to visualize our entire infrastructure and make better, more informed decisions about when and how to respond to problems — and about when to proactively address a potential problem that we otherwise wouldn’t have seen coming.”

Better Managing The Louvre, Making The Mona Lisa Smile

The Louvre’s management system can now aggregate data from individual systems within the museum, providing the museum staff and its vendors coherent and real-time information on each asset. Additionally, the software provides a predictive view into the performance and reliability of the facility equipment and systems, allowing museum staff to better determine which assets need to be repaired or replaced.

“Buildings are massive systems of systems, and these systems need to talk to each other for a building to become smarter,”added Pelit. “In the Louvre’s case, there’s the added challenge of being home to thousands of irreplaceable pieces of art which must be carefully preserved while trying to accommodate millions of visitors annually. By using Maximo software to monitor the condition of assets across the museum’s facilities in one single database, these systems begin to talk to one another, allowing staff to preserve artwork and facilities with more ease and efficiency. As a result the Louvre is now able to keep the majority of their galleries open to customers on a daily basis while simultaneously reducing costs and energy consumption.”

The IBM software enables the museum to gain better insight on what assets they have: how many assets they own, their location and the maintenance history log. The software helps the Louvre Museum staff to manage both planned and unplanned maintenance activities, from initial work request and work order generation through completion and recording of the actual work performed.

The software matched job tasks to available contractors, estimated and obtained approval of costs, established priorities and initiated maintenance activities throughout the museum and its individual galleries.  It enables the museum to better follow-up on the maintenance staff – especially contractors, who also work with Maximo. Based on this knowledge, the museum can tailor its tender offer, and consequently contractors can better align their offer to the customer needs.

About IBM Smarter Buildings 

IBM delivers technology that manages buildings from museums to office buildings, warehouses, factories, power plants, laboratories, campuses, apartments, resorts and more, to save costs, better manage systems, and reduce carbon emissions. IBM software, hardware and services help create, manage and maintain the world’s most intelligent and interconnected infrastructures from smarter buildings, cities, utilities, offices, transportation systems and operations in every industry.

Since launching its Smarter Buildings initiative in February 2010, IBM has created a portfolio of smarter buildings solutions that integrate with building automation software from across the industry. IBM’s real-time monitoring and analysis, facilities and space management capabilities, and advanced dynamic dashboards helps property owners and managers reduce facilities operations and energy expense, and improve asset management and reliability.

You can learn more about IBM Smarter Buildings here.

The IBM Pulse 2012 Circus Begins

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Greetings from Viva Las Vegas, Nevada.

I arrived here under the cover of darkness yesterday.

Actually, I arrived in the afternoon, but “cover of darkness” sounds so much more dramatic.

It’s been a crazy week on the road, but we’re only halfway through. Now, Pulse 2012 starts.

Pulse is one of my favorite IBM Software events.  It was Tivoli that brought me back to my native Texas, and to Austin in particular, in the summer of 2001.

I made a lot of great friends during my time working with the Tivoli brand, and I also got a lot of great work done.

And Tivoli has evolved over the past eleven years.  Dramatically.

I need not tell any Tivolian, customer or employee, that.

For my money, it’s evolved all for the better.  The focus of the Tivoli business has far expanded well beyond its core systems management focus, which is what it was centered around when I arrived.

Here’s a factoid: I’ve never seen a Cirques du Soleil performance.  Until last night, when I took in the “Ka” show here at the MGM Grand.

That might seem like a random transition.  But follow me here.  A Cirques du Soleil performance is like one big ecosystem that must be managed across its disparate parts.

A former theatre major myself, I watched in fascination at all the systems that were in play during the Cirques’ performance of “Ka.”  The massive staging and hydraulic systems.  The flying systems that allowed the performers to defy gravity.  The house staff that welcomed the audience into the show.  The audience itself.  The cast. The scores of stagehands in the background.

If you’ve seen a Cirques du Soleil performance, you know of which I speak: It’s a massive and complex linkage of disparate systems coming together to create the wonder that are their shows.

These days, your world is a lot like all those systems.  And to be able to understand and manage it all, and extract new value out of the knowledge you have about all those systems…well, that’s where Tivoli comes in.

I’m going to leave it at that, lest you think I’m completely off my rocker.  But, I’ve done my homework preparing for Pulse 2012, and between the focus on managing mobile, physical assets and infrastructure, the cloud, and the underlying security, there’s plenty of opportunity for systems linkage and improved understanding of those systems.

So, welcome to Las Vegas for Pulse 2012.

Speaking of systems, be sure and check your bathroom for Bengali tigers.  I think it’s just always better to be safe than sorry.

In the meantime, keep an eye here on the Turbo blog and on the Twitter hashtag #ibmpulse.  There’s going to be a firehose of information coming at you these next few days!

IBM Smarter Buildings Analytics Helps CFOs Prepare For Major Accounting Shift

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You can tell we’re getting close to the Pulse 2012 event.

Just earlier today, IBM introduced some new analytics software to help CFOs and real estate executives accelerate their preparedness for pending compliance rules for leased assets.

Proposed accounting rules from the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), which are expected to be finalized in 2012, will require a company’s leased assets — real estate, vehicles, other equipment — to be added to their balance sheet as a capital asset.

That means S&P 500 companies would have to list the value of their leases on the balance sheet, weighing them down with an estimated average of more than $1 billion in new assets.

The pending regulation has the potential to dampen their financial performance as expressed in debt/equity ratios and return on assets.

The U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) estimates that the impact of these changes may approach $1.25 trillion dollars for U.S. publicly traded companies.

Visibility Into Your Leased Assets

IBM’s announcement today centers on issuing new software to help companies manage this major accounting change.

IBM TRIRIGA software has new analytics that delivers visibility into balance sheet and income statement impact; financial assumptions and audit controls for both real estate and equipment leases; and automates management review and approval processes, specifically to help companies navigate the proposed regulation.

The new software also delivers strategic facility scenario modeling to increase return on leased real property assets.

With a global view, the software can:

  • Provide operational controls such as critical date alerts, payment processing and financial assumptions for leased real estate and equipment assets in a single technology platform.
  • Provide balance sheet and income statement analysis of complex real estate lease decisions, such as 10 years with two renewal options versus 20 years, for instance.
  • Help predict future demand for space and display gaps between demand and availability of real estate space.

These types of analytics are critical as an IBM study issued today shows 92 percent of those surveyed believe they are not prepared to implement the pending rules.

The IBM survey, conducted by CFO Research Services, a research group sponsored by CFO Publishing, polled 179 senior executives from global companies with revenue in excess of US$1 billion.

About IBM Smarter Buildings
Since launching its Smarter Buildings initiative in February 2010, IBM has created a portfolio of smarter buildings solutions that integrate with building automation software from across the industry.

IBM’s real-time monitoring and analysis, facilities and space management capabilities, and advanced dynamic dashboards helps property owners and managers reduce facilities operations and energy expense, and improve asset management and reliability.

Through IBM’s acquisition of TRIRIGA, IBM accelerated efforts to bring intelligence in the smarter buildings market. IBM’s smarter building solutions help clients listen to data generated by facilities.

By collecting, managing, and analyzing data IBM helps clients gain intelligence and insight to energy, space and facilities management. TRIRIGA strengthens IBM’s smarter buildings solutions by adding key functions such as real estate, facility and energy management software solutions.

Register to watch this video about these new lease accounting solutions from IBM, and next week, be sure to follow #ibmpulse and #smarterbuildings for some exciting news on smarter building management emanating from the IBM Pulse 2012 event.

Smart Grids In The UK

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Well that was a bombshell that AT&T done dropped on the American telco landscape over the weekend.

It was almost as upsetting as Arizona’s last second comeback over my Texas Longhorns in the NCAA.  At this point, my brackets are a complete mess.

If you missed the headline, AT&T announced its intent to acquire T-Mobile USA, Inc. for a cool $39B.  The blogosphere lit up at the news, but GigaOM’s Om Malik ain’t havin’ any of it, saying that everybody loses in this deal.

But that wasn’t the only news in the telco space.  Just this morning, IBM and Cable & Wireless Worldwide announced their collaboration to develop a new intelligent data and communications solution, UK Smart Energy Cloud.

This effort will support the UK’s Smart Meter Implementation Program, which aims to roll out more than 50 million smart meters in the UK.

This cloud will help provide a complete overview of energy usage across the country and pave way for easier implementation of a smart grid (Though there were no confirmed reports that the stadium lights at Stamford Bridge were flickering after Chelsea’s 2-0 victory over Manchester City yesterday PM. Viva Brasil’s David Luiz, even at 21M British pounds!)

The UK Smart Energy Cloud solution will utilize the extensive experience IBM has gained from leading and implementing smart grid programs around the world and its proven enabling software and middleware. And the solution will be supported by C&W Worldwide’s extensive, secure next-generation network and communications integration capability.

IBM has a long history of expertise in smart grid projects, which range from innovative research projects to full scale deployments. In the UK IBM is currently advising three of the six largest energy retailers on transforming their business in preparation for smart metering.

Globally IBM has been involved in more than 150 smart grid programs in mature and emerging markets. Current global projects include working in Malta to create the first nation-wide smart grid and a pilot project with DONG Energy in Denmark to install remote monitoring and control devices to gain information about the state of the grid.

For more information visit the IBM energy Web site.

Corpus Christi, Texas: A Smarter City By The Bay

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The City of Corpus Christi, Texas, is situated right at three hours down the interstate from me here in Austin and has a rich and diverse history, serving as a strategic trading post during the Mexican-American War and today as the home of the Corpus Christi Naval Station.

It has also delivered several noteworthy Texas thespians, including Eva Longoria and America’s once poster sweetheart, Farrah Fawcett.

But today, Corpus Christi took a bold step forward in another manner, signing on with IBM as one of our Smarter City customers so that it can continuously improve efficiency and sustainability for the city’s more than 280,000 residents.

The Backdrop: The Texas City By The Bay

Before partnering with IBM in this deal, each city department had its own process for handling incoming work requests and ongoing maintenance, typically in a reactive manner and using paper-based processes.

Because there was no central system for tracking issues, budgeting and managing city resources was difficult. In this new system, the city of Corpus Christi will be using IBM Software to measure, monitor, and improve the way it manages city water, roads, parks, utilities, and the airport.

With this greater intelligence and holistic view of its operations, the city will be able to more quickly evaluate and respond to issues, anticipate and prevent problems.  It will also be able to improve the quality of life for its citizens because city departments and managers will know what is happening across the city, when, and who is handling the situation in real time.

“Corpus Christi is evolving into a more sustainable city — one that has intelligence, foresight and accountability built into the way we manage the services we provide our citizens,” said Steve Klepper, an administrative superintendent for Corpus Christi. “Working with IBM, we have the real-time status of city services, automated work orders and an overview of city infrastructure to better manage our resources, as well as better maintain the city’s mission-critical assets.”

Tourism And Education: Key To Corpus Christi’s Growth

As one of Texas’s largest cities on the Gulf of Mexico, Corpus Christi relies significantly on port industries, tourism and higher education to drive its economy. The city strives to improve the quality of life for citizens while keeping operating costs low and maintaining high levels of service.

“Corpus Christi is setting the bar for how municipalities can use technology to gain intelligence into their departments and systems to operate more efficiently and provide residents with a better place to live,” said Guru Banavar, IBM CTO for Smarter Cities. “Working with IBM, Corpus Christi city managers are operating smarter and managing their work and crews better.”

The city manages and analyzes the status of tens of thousands of physical assets such as its water mains, traffic lights, bridges, park lawns, fire hydrants, garbage trucks and storm water ditches with IBM Maximo Asset Management software.

Many City Services–One Call Center

A critical component of the Corpus Christi service strategy is the city-wide “One Call Center.”

Using IBM software, the call center can speed responses to issues more efficiently and better optimize city resources. For the fiscal year of 2009, the call center generated more than 45,000 electronic work-order requests from across the city.

When residents call with complaints or service requests, the city creates a work order connected to the address. IBM software provides the city with a bird’s-eye view of existing maintenance requests using mapping software from IBM Business Partner Esri.

This allows the call center manager to see all existing problems — coded in color by urgency — and determine scenarios such as entire service area being affected or the existing location of assigned field workers in order to make management decisions.

Previously, citizen calls were routed to the appropriate department and recorded on index cards before being entered into a spreadsheet. Given the manual nature of this process, staff could not accurately track how long it took to respond to and fix problems.

The staff had no way to view the work history for each site, making it difficult to identify recurring problems. Although the city had already established a geographic information system (GIS), work orders were not interfaced with this system. As a result, departments couldn’t spatially analyze work requests to determine whether a customer request represented a site-specific problem or an area-wide issue that would require more extensive support.

Smarter Water Management

As a coastal town, more than two-thirds of the city’s 460 square miles is water. IBM software is helping to manage six wastewater treatment plants, two reservoirs, approximately 1,250 miles of wastewater gravity mains and a water treatment plant with a 170 million gallon capacity. The system ensures safe, clean water to the community while conserving city resources by providing faster and more efficient maintenance.

Urgent requests for critical water work orders that can impact residents, such as pipe main breaks or water quality problems, are now received as e-mails on the smartphones of designated Water Department first responders. Field crews get real-time work order updates and directly update the work order status on their phones without having to go through a dispatcher. This increases the time crews can work in the field maintaining the city’s assets rather than in the office submitting paperwork.

A city worker in Corpus Christi, Texas, uses IBM Maximo software on his BlackBerry as he goes about his water maintenance work in the field.

The software provides analysis into overall water and wastewater projects to guide water main replacement and capital improvement strategies in order to continuously improve the reliability of the water systems. For example:

  • During one period in the past, the wastewater staff found that nearly 33 percent of the department’s effort was spent resolving problems at just 1.4 percent of customer sites. With this information, the city developed and implemented a repair plan that resolved these ongoing issues and ultimately reduced costs.
  • Analyzing data behind the city’s 3,843 water main breaks during a three-year period revealed that smaller diameter mains represented a disproportionate share. The four-inch mains comprised 3 percent of the total water distribution system but more than 15 percent of all breaks. While the department continues to analyze factors such as pipe materials and age, replacing the four-inch mains with larger diameter pipes may be a cost-effective tactic.

Smarter Utilities and Roads, Greener Parks

IBM software is helping better manage the transportation — traffic engineering, roads, vehicles, traffic lights, airport — and parks to improve the quality of life for Corpus Christi citizens.

Working with IBM, all city departments address their work more efficiently and more intelligently by providing real-time information, history of prior work, and geographic location. The Solid Waste Department, for example, uses IBM software to keep track of the garbage routes as well as to track customer complaints on garbage.

Using laptops connected to the city’s WiFi system, public utility gas crews in the field can access the exact pipe locations before digging, get a history of repairs in area and update work orders from the field.

Park Maintenance crews track all work performed, or needed, on each of the 300 city parks, ensuring that park lawns are mowed according to target frequencies and maintained according to standards, and that public playground facilities are inspected and maintained as needed to provide safe recreational areas.

The city-operated airport uses the system to ensure the customer-facing facilities are maintained according to standards and for better inventory control. With more than 1,100 miles of public roads to maintain, the Streets Services Department tracks work performed on streets, including labor and materials costs. Traffic Engineering is able to track locations of citizen complaints and work needed to traffic signals.

Aided with this intelligence, the city can better schedule proactive replacement or maintenance of assets before they break as part of its managed work schedule. This planning allows the city to properly allocate staff and resources in line with urgent or unforeseen circumstances.

IBM Smarter Cities

IBM has been helping cities across the U.S. and the globe become smarter by designing strategies for collecting, sharing, analyzing and acting on data. In addition to the projects in Corpus Christi, IBM is working with 300 cities including London, Stockholm, Sydney, Dublin and Amsterdam.

For more information visit the IBM Smarter Cities website.

Written by turbotodd

December 12, 2010 at 5:33 pm

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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