Is Data the key to Creating People-Centric Cities?


This year’s IBM 5 in 5 (5 predictions for the next 5 years) heralds a new era where systems will learn, reason and engage with us in a more natural and personalized way. 

This is great news for cities, and indeed one of our 5 predictions is that within the next 5 years, cities will enter a new era with increased understanding and improved relationships between governments and citizens. Sounds great – but how will they do this? 

We believe that data will be front and center. Cities will do a better job of collecting and analyzing data and use mobile and social technologies to improve communication with citizens. 

In 2013, we already helped to make this a reality for many of our clients and partners. For example, IBM’s new Africa Research Lab launched a project to analyze feeds from CCTV cameras and provide citizens of Nairobi with live traffic updates via mobile phones; we helped instill intelligence and greater manageability into the water and transportation systems in the city of Danang, Vietnam with our Intelligent Operations Center solution. We partnered with the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), India’s most ambitious infrastructure program to design people-centric ‘Smart Cities’ across six states in India. We also collaborated with the University of Melbourne and NICTA to develop the Australia Disaster Management Platform (ADMP), using data to help cities pre-empt and alleviate the devastating impact of disasters. 

With systems which can learn from available data and spot previously unseen correlations, there is a myriad of possibilities that we can’t even see with today’s looking glass. You may have examples of where this is already happening and ideas for where the biggest future potential lies. 

We also predict that with cloud, analytics and learning technologies there will be similar transformations in education, retail, healthcare and cyber security – click here to find out more info. 

To learn more about IBM Smarter Cities visit