Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘smarter cities’ Category

IBM Assists State Of Minnesota In Government Social Program Administration

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As part of IBM’s efforts to meet the requirements of government administered social programs, IBM announced today it would support the design and development of a statewide health insurance exchange in the State of Minnesota, and would be utilizing the IBM Cúram solution as the platform for the health insurance exchange.

Utilizing this platform, the State of Minnesota can improve statewide health insurance options and enable citizens to determine eligibility for expanded Medicaid coverage and tax credits for various insurance plans.

The solution incorporates new income standards and manages the capture and storage of IRS income data, streamlining the eligibility and verification process, and in turn enabling payments to be made more quickly and efficiently.

In addition to Minnesota’s current initiative, IBM’s integrated eligibility platform is capable of supporting any or all of the state’s health and human services programs in the future.

“This contract is a significant milestone in the design and development of a Minnesota health insurance exchange,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman of the solution. “We can now move forward on developing the technology backbone of the exchange, a user friendly tool that will help more than 1.2 million Minnesotans choose the quality coverage they need at a price they can afford.”

IBM acquired Cúram Software in December 2011, aimed at helping cities and governments boost efficiency and provide better service to citizens.

Cúram Software is used in more than 80 government agency projects around the world in health and human services, workforce services, and social security organizations. This opportunity follows a series of IBM contract awards for the facilitation of other statewide health insurance exchanges.

To support the design and development of the Minnesota health insurance exchange, IBM will team with MAXIMUS, the prime contractor leading the project; Connecture, Inc., which will support the enrollment and health insurance sales function; and EngagePoint (formerly known as Consumer Health Technologies, Inc.), which will deliver financial management capabilities.

You can learn more about IBM Cúram solutions here.

Written by turbotodd

July 23, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Smarter City Solutions For A Small Planet

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Improving Water Management In South Bend, Indiana

Yesterday, IBM made several announcements in the “smarter cities” arena that I wanted to lend some pixels to, as it’s IBM’s partnerships in such initiatives that bring the Smarter Planet story to life.  In other words, the proof is in the pudding.

In South Bend, Indiana, IBM partnered with the city government there to dramatically overhaul South Bend’s water management system. Like many municipalities, South Bend has an aging sewer infrastructure, and yet sixty percent of water allocated for domestic human use goes to urban cities.

The new IBM IOC for Smarter Cities service, which was developed with local business partner Emnet, has now improved South Bend’s ability to predict the potential overflow of hazardous wastewater. The system also has allowed South Bend to improve storage and water conveyance performance while avoiding $120 million in infrastructure investments.

IBM is delivering IOC as a service on the SmartCloud, removing the up-front cost and complexity for South Bend which saves on IT infrastructure costs.  This model allows cities such as South Bend to pay for software-as-a-service out of their operational budgets, enabling easier, faster procurement than if they were required to fund new IT infrastructure from their capital budgets.

You can learn more from the press release here and via the video below.

“Anticipating and preventing incidents before they happen is key. Viewing all our aggregated data in real-time via the IBM SmartCloud will help us predict where incidents can occur and safeguard our citizens.  Through creative collaboration and IBM’s powerful smarter city solution, we can create a smarter city and solve problems that, until now, seemed insurmountable,” said Gary Gilot, Member, Board of Public Works, City of South Bend, of their IBM smarter city solution. “We have had huge measurable benefits and with IBM’s continuing partnership with the city, Notre Dame and local entrepreneurs like Emnet, we will produce more.”

Improving Public Safety in Davao City, Philippines

Across the Pacific in the Phillipines, IBM and the Davao City Government announced an agreement to help the city scale-up its existing Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC) by integrating city operations into a single system, infused with advanced technologies, to further enhance public safety operations in the city.

Using IBM’s Intelligent Operations Center (IOC), the PSSCC will have a centralized dashboard view that will allow the city to monitor events and operations in real time. This comprehensive view will enable officials to better predict and plan for potential issues.

To enable Davao’s smarter city transformation, the IOC will integrate multiple city agencies in the PSSCC to improve interdepartmental collaboration and enhance the management of Davao’s four pillars of public safety: crime prevention and suppression; emergency response; threat prevention and response; and traffic management.

Davao City, considered the nerve center of the Southern Philippines in the Mindanao region, has undergone a tremendous transformation over the last decade. The collaboration with IBM will contribute to the City’s vision to emerge as the premier socio-economic and tourism center in Mindanao and across East ASEAN as well as the Asia-Pacific region.

You can learn more about the Davao City smarter city solution here.

Rationalisation de la Trafic en France!

Not to be outdone, the City of Lyon, France (the second largest metropolitan area in France outside of Paris) announced that, in partnership with Veolia Transdev and IBM, that they are developing a smarter mobility solution designed to help cities alleviate road congestion, optimize transportation infrastructures and improve the urban traveler experience.

As part of the Lyon’s Optimod project, Optimod’Lyon will test and validate new services to improve the mobility of people, passengers in the urban environment, optimizing and combining the use of transport infrastructure.

The smarter mobility solution brings together Veolia Transdev’s expertise in the public transit industry and IBM’s expertise in managing big data and advanced analytics. Cities will now have the ability to coordinate and connect services across all of its transportation networks, including subways, trams, buses, vehicular and bicycle traffic, and more.

The solution also leverages IBM’s Intelligent Operations Center (IOC) designed to give cities a holistic view of city operations – such as water, transportation and public safety – through one central point of command, facilitating faster and more efficient decision-making.

Combined with Veolia Transdev’s technology dedicated to urban mobility, the new solution helps a city predict traffic road speed and arrival times and coordinate city responses across the transportation network across multiples modes of transportation within a city, such as buses and trams.

These advanced solutions also take into account unplanned events, such as rain storms or traffic accidents, which may cause delays or disruption in service.

Travelers will have access to real-time information on traffic for a more seamless, multi-modal transportation experience – such as combining bicycle, vehicle and public transit. The service uses predictive analytics, which can help a traveler easily bypass a traffic jam, and provide details about the location and interconnections of the transportation options.

Integrated transit information, such as the ability to scan ticket barcode for your journey like with air travel and the ability to simply plan and travel across different public and private transport networks, will be provided through an app for smartphones and tablets. This will help travelers save time and money and enhances the overall traveler experience.

I don’t know about you, but I think I’m ready for a fully-travel-optimized summer vacation to Lyon!

You can learn more about the City of Lyon smarter city solution here.

Google’s New “Jelly Bean”

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So did anybody else watch that Google I/O keynote earlier today from the Moscone Center in San Francisco?

Apparently, so, because at one point there were nearly 100,000 concurrent viewings on YouTube.

Yes, I said, 100,000.  Pretty impressive for a developer’s conference.

I’ll get to some of the key Android announcements momentarily…first, the show stealer, which for my money (and of which there’s not a whole lot), one-upped Apple’s keynotes in a way they’ll likely never be able to match.

As the team was preparing to introduce the much-discussed Google Glasses (which I hope, one day, I’ll be able to wear on the golf course and announce to my technophobe father exactly how many yards his shot is to the pin without missing a beat), Sergey Brin cut away to an airplane flying high over the skies of San Francisco, all featured in a Google Events Hangout.

I presumed the cutaway was Memorex, but soon found out differently.

The skydivers jumped from the plane, flew in their birdsuits a little ways, then opened their chutes and landed safely on a roof by or at the Moscone Center.

They delivered the Google Glasses to some manic BMX mountain bikers, who jumped a couple of roofs before handing them over to some dudes who were hanging by some ropes.

Before too long, they all came busting into the live keynote and up on the stage to deliver the glasses.

I’ll never think of my FedEx delivery guy the same again.

I guess everyone at Google Marketing and PR was pretty confident all their skydivers’ chutes would open and no Google Glasses were going to go splat along with their mules.  That, or they had a contingency plan to cutaway to poor voice-challenged CEO Larry Page trying to pick up the slack via ASL.

Like I said, the whole stunt got my attention.

There were a range of interesting announcements, including the Glasses (available to developers attending I/O sometime next year), the new Google streaming media player (Yawn), and Google’s own Nexus 7 (is that one step behind Windows8?) tablet.

But the new Android, 4.1, AKA “Jelly Bean,” was the storyline I found most interesting.

Google announced “Project Butter” as the new innovation in 4.1, which helps make transitions and animations in the Android OS run more smoothly (at a cool 60 frames per second).

Googlers also demonstrated more responsive widgets (I hate to wait on any mobile device app!), which users can drag and drop and move around on their home screen.

Android Heavens, open up and save me from thith mobile lag!

The Google voice recognition engine is now going offline, which means you can transcribe to your heart’s content without being connected to the Interwebs.

“Android, go beat up Siri and then send me some funny pics of such that I can view on my newfangled Android 4.1 home screen and share them via my non-lagging new Facebook app on Jelly Bean!”

The new “Google Now” was also a cool new feature, which allows you tor bring up new “cards” that contain relevant and timely information (“How tall is the Empire State Building?”).

If Trivial Pursuit ever makes a comeback, I want to play the Google Now-assisted edition!

Google Now also takes advantage of temporal and physical data it knows to make friendly suggestions to you.  For example, when it’s lunchtime, Google Now could suggest some local restaurants nearby and let you easily make reservations to go there.

I’d suggest you view the video below to learn more about Google Now, but despite my preference to stick with the Apple iPlatforms, me likey the new “Jelly Bean” and hope Apple responds with some similar features in a future iOS release.

Trash Talk

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Click to enlarge. Given increasingly finite resources, individuals and businesses depend on balanced natural ecosystems for raw materials, water and energy. Given the links among its systems, a business committed to practicing sustainability considers both the immediate and far-reaching consequences of any action it takes and its direct impact on the environment. This IBM infographic showcases how the responsibility of sustainability starts with the individual — the individual awareness and behavior that contributes to the broader impact to help drive energy efficiency, conservation and other environmentally protective practices, making good business sense.

Tired of taking out the trash?

This morning, IBM announced a collaboration with Recology, San Francisco’s resource recovery company, to continue reducing landfill disposal by further improving recycling programs designed to help the city achieve zero waste by 2020.

San Francisco’s diversion rate — the amount of waste diverted from landfill disposal — totals 78 percent, the highest in the country. Just last year, independent studies named San Francisco the Greenest City in North America due to advanced recycling programs.

In collaboration with IBM Business Partner Key Info Systems, Recology is using IBM’s smarter computing approach to IT to manage and mine large sets of data to determine types and quantities of materials in San Francisco’s waste stream.

With the use of IBM’s Power System, Recology pinpoints the location, types and amount of waste that needs to be collected for sorting or composting.

Gleaning insights from this information allows Recology to identify the most effective recycling programs for different business districts and neighborhoods.

By tailoring recycling programs and services in this way, Recology operates more efficiently, which helps protect the environment and saves costs, which helps cities better manage collection and disposal fees — all steps that ultimately benefit residents and businesses.

Reducing Landfill Waste By Nearly 50%

As a result of this smarter approach to recycling, Recology customers in San Francisco have reduced the garbage they send to the landfill by 49.7 percent, from 730,000 tons in 2000 to 367,300 tons in 2011.

By recycling 1.2 million tons of paper, the program has saved 20 million trees; by recycling 174,000 tons of glass, enough energy was saved to power the city’s cable car system for nearly three years; and, by recycling 135,000 tons of metal, 19 million gallons of oil was saved.

Improved recycling services give customers the means to participate every day in programs that directly benefit the environment and to better manage their disposal costs.

Recology offers 20 distinct recycling programs in San Francisco, more than any other city in the U.S. Yet the monthly fee paid by residential customers is equal to or less than the fee charged in other major cities.

Curbside Composting: Diverted 1.1 Million Tons Of Food And Plants

The Curbside Compost Collection Program provided by Recology in San Francisco has diverted 1.1 million tons of food and plants from landfill disposal and turned that material into nutrient-rich compost used by local farms and vineyards to grow healthy crops.

Since its inception, the compost collection program has reduced carbon emissions by more than 347,500 metric tons. That is equal to offsetting emissions from all vehicles crossing the Bay Bridge for 2.1 years.

San Francisco greenhouse gas emissions are nearly 12 percent below 1990 levels and have exceeded emission reduction goals set by both the State of California and the United Nations.

“Cities are struggling with a wide range of challenges and threats to sustainability in their core operations,” said George McGrath, Chief Operating Officer at Recology. “Our collaboration with IBM has helped us transform the programs we provide in San Francisco and, in turn, the very way people view bottles, coffee grounds, packaging, plastic bags, and other materials they generate every day.”

With the use of IBM’s Smarter Computing technology Recology is able to manage and maintain this complex operation and route dispatching of trucks. These functions require a dependable and flexible system to help the company manage logistics and an ever-changing waste stream with maximum efficiency.

There will be a live Tweet Chat later this afternoon (Thursday, May 31, 2012) at 1 PM EST on the topic of sustainability.  Follow the hashtag #zerowasteIBM to track the Twitterstream.

You can learn more about the smarter composting solution IBM partnered with Recology on in the video below.

Written by turbotodd

May 31, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Live @ IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit Madrid: Dr. Kareem Yusuf On Smarter Commerce and Cities Acquisitions

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When Scott Laningham and I sat down with Dr. Kareem Yusuf yesterday, we didn’t realize what we were bargaining for.  As IBM’s executive responsible for both strategy and mergers and acquisitions for the Industry Solutions Division, Kareem’s responsibilities range from the formulation and prioritization of strategic plays to the execution of M&A in support of the business strategy

Also central to Kareem’s responsibilities have been the Smarter Commerce and Smarter Cities initiatives, along with the acquisitions that have been executed to support them.

Prior to this role, Kareem was focused on Decision Support Systems for Civil Engineering construction as he completed his Ph.D from the University of Leeds, and also spent some time providing Level 3 support for IBM’s WebSphere MQ technology, specializing in Java-based messaging.

Our discussion was far-ranging, with Kareem providing a beautifully-worded explanation of IBM Software’s Smarter Commerce acquisition strategy, along with some words about the new Smarter Cities technology buyer (the Mayor, the Police Chief, etc.) and also an update on what IBM has been focusing on most recently around the Smarter Cities initiatives.

All this and more coming to a stadium near you and soon!

SXSW Interactive 2012: The Turbo Debrief

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A picture from the SXSW show floor coverage from TechCrunch at SXSW Interactive 2012. Be sure to keep an eye here on Turbotodd.com for more interviews conducted by Turbo and Scott Laningham through the course of this year's event.

Well, SXSW 2012 is finally over… And over 25,000 computer geeks from around the world were probably about ready for it be over, fun as it was.

There was lots to be said about this year’s SXSW, both good and bad, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say it was the best SXSW interactive ever, and I’ve been to quite a few.

I was there for the Mark Zuckerberg and Sarah Lacy interview debacle several years back… I was there for the yawner Twitter interview with Evan Williams a couple of years back… I was even there when Christopher Locke introduced The Cluetrain Manifesto in 2000, just before the bubble burst, and burst hard.

And despite the insane and torrential rains that we had in Austin, which we had been waiting on for well over a year, in the midst of our atrocious drought, it didn’t surprise me at all that the rain clouds followed the digerati to Austin before the heavens would completely open up.  Geeks bring rain!

There really wasn’t any huge new new thing at this year’s SXSW… It was really a lot of the same old thing with a few new ingredients mixed in. But lingering in the air, there was an optimism and sense of opportunity that transcended the often selfish inclinations of SXSW past, one that was more worldly and altruistic in nature.

A spirit that attempted to bring people closer together in small networks to be able to meet and to get to know one another and to get things done. I ran into Robert Scoble, the renowned tech blogger whom I’ve never before met, and he explained to me on the expo floor that the big deal of the event was “Highlights,” an iOS-based application that helps do just that, bring people together in the most serendipitous of ways based on their location and data from their Facebook graph.

Assuming one can get past the privacy implications of such a tool, it’s actually very cool. And I certainly wish I had had it once upon a time in my virtual dating life.

There was also a lot of almost Beckett-like absurdity, including the registration badge pickup line that seemed to linger all the way into South Austin this year. I spent over an hour waiting in that line for my badge, when it seems to me, it would have been just as easy for SXSW to have mailed it to me well in advance. Ever heard of RFID tags??

I did use that waiting time productively, and met someone from a startup whom I spoke with about the mobile boom for most of our time in line. But I’m sure somebody from IBM’s smarter cities initiative would be more than happy to sit down and discuss with SXSW the opportunity that a smarter queuing solution might present.

There were more companies at SXSW this year than ever before, and by companies I mean enterprise companies, not just startups. I saw attendees from the likes of Oracle and Microsoft and IBM in more numbers than ever, just to mention a few, and so the former digital divide between startups and developers and the enterprise seems to have started to close at this year’s SXSW, which I think is a good thing: We need them, and they need us.

The keynotes from the likes of Ray Kurzweil and Stephen Wolfram seemed to suggest we’re on the brink of breaking through in AI and speech recognition — the former invented core speech recognition technologies being used today in product’s like “Dragon Dictation” (which I used to assist me in writing this blog post), and both mentioned Watson as demonstrating this new direction. I’ll be looking forward to the day soon when I can run most of my computing devices, smartphone and otherwise, through voice and facial recognition.

But we also saw some nods to the past, including on the SXSW expo floor. There was a machine that presses vinyl records (I’m sure most of the attendees had never seen a long-play record!), along with a killer jet black keyboard from “Daskeyboard” that mimics the clickety-clack spring action of the old IBM Model M keyboard.

What’s old is new, even in technology.

Be sure to come back and visit turbotodd.com in the days and weeks ahead, as I’ll continue to post the fascinating interviews that Scott Laningham and I recorded with a garden variety of digital thought leaders in the IBM “Future of Social” lounge.

In the meantime, I’ll be preparing for SXSW Interactive 2013.

Wouldn’t miss it for all the Austin rain in the world!

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.

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