IBM has launched a new Smarter City Assessment Tool to help cities better understand and meet the demands of an increasingly urbanised world.
The new offering was announced today at the SmarterCities forum in Berlin.
Last year — for the first time in history, according to the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations — the majority of the world’s people lived in cities. By 2050, 70 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities.
To put those figures into perspective, a century ago, fewer than 20 cities around the world had populations in excess of 1 million people. Today, that number has swelled to 450 and is expected to continue growing for the foreseeable future.
Cities using the Smarter City Assessment Tool will be able to provide IBM with specific data about their core operational systems, including people, business, transport, communication, water and energy. IBM can then analyse that data to benchmark a city’s overall capabilities against peer locations, highlight relative strengths and weaknesses, and provide initial recommendations for improvement.
The tool is based on a methodology developed by IBM’s Global Location Strategies consulting service, which helps corporations determine the best countries and cities in which to locate businesses.
“Cities are in the midst of a realignment of power — with greater influence highlighted by greater responsibility,” said Peter Korsten, global leader for the IBM Institute for Business Value. “Aspects of a city’s operations that city managers have previously been unable to measure — and therefore unable to influence — are increasingly being digitised, creating brand new data points. With the greater digitisation of its core systems and the use of advanced analytic capabilities, cities can enhance decision-making and improve urban planning.”
IBM has also just published the first in a series of three studies on smarter cities. Titled “A vision of smarter cities — How cities can lead the way into a prosperous and sustainable future,” the study outlines the new central role that cities are playing in the world economy and the associated need for cities to address their sustainability challenges by transforming their core systems, individually as well as holistically.