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Cities Get Smarter with IBM’s Location-based Analytics

LAS VEGAS March 1, 2011 IBM

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Wilmington, N.C. Waterloo, Ontario, Canada Washington, D.C.

Increasingly, cities are using location-based technology to bring efficiency to their operations and improve the customer experience. They are using IBM software to get both a bird’s eye view of their city infrastructure — roads, buildings and waterways — as well as insight into their operations underground or on the street of the pipes, wires, street lights, electrical meters, storm drains and other assets that make up a city’s infrastructure. Some cities are using embedded sensors to detect faulty pipes or broken streetlights to automatically generate a work order for maintenance staff.

David Bartlett

Cities around the globe monitor and map their systems using IBM software with mapping and geographic information software (GIS) from IBM business partner Esri.  For example:

  • With digital history delivered in real-time to smart phones, workers in the field can act quickly and efficiently to resolve — and even prevent — problems by seeing exactly where a water main is, and its relationship to other underground infrastructure.
  • IBM analytics can uncover hidden relationships such as pinpointing the cause of reoccurring issues and pockets of inefficiency, such as one water main that causes expansive seasonal flooding to prevent issues before they impact service.  
  • Repair crews address problems from a spatial perspective such as optimizing the driving route of their service trucks to reduce time on the road, prioritizing critical jobs and arming themselves with the detailed history of infrastructure to speed repairs.

IBM today announced the following Smarter Cities initiatives:

Washington D.C.

The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) has been working with IBM on a First-of-a-Kind project using advanced analytics to create a smarter water system that analyzes data on valves, storm drains, service vehicles, truck routes, and more to optimize its infrastructure.  With some pipes and other assets that date to the Civil War, maintaining high levels of service while replacing older infrastructure is an ongoing challenge.

Now in its second year, the objective of the IBM First-of-a-Kind pilot project is to realize the following benefits from a combination of IBM Asset Management and Analytics technology and services.  Among the benefits:

  • Field Services trucks can be automatically routed to optimize work management. DC Water anticipates productivity gains of 20 percent or more in effective completion of work orders as well as up to 20 percent reduction of fuel costs related to fewer truck rolls and reduced "windshield" time.
  • Revenue loss from defective or degrading water meters will be significantly recaptured because the analytics behind the advanced metering infrastructure delivers more timely identification and replacement of those meters.
  • DC Water will be able to identify assets most critically in need of repair using predictive analytics so aging infrastructure replacement programs can be more accurately scheduled preventing costly incidents that reduce service quality, such as outages and water main breaks.

Wilmington, N.C.

Wilmington, N.C.

As a coastal community that is regularly impacted by a popular tourist season, severe weather and 100-year-old water lines, Cape Fear needed a smarter way to manage their stressed infrastructure.

With the new IBM smarter water system and Esri GIS, Cape Fear officials can now map nearly 1,500 miles of main lines and 143 pump stations to see in real-time the county’s water and sewer line problems.  Managers and teams on location can then prioritize what issues to address first, in what order, and better identify the source of issues. Work orders are now automatically generated when out of norm conditions exist.

Nancy Gallinaro

To further speed its response time, Cape Fear moved to a paperless system enabling teams to update the status of their work in with IBM’s Maximo software using their truck’s computers and air cards. Additionally, working with IBM software, turnaround on pump station run time meter reading collections was reduced from 4 days to 30 minutes. Prior to the IBM solution, CFPUA relied on manual processes for meter readings and work orders, and had a decentralized preventative maintenance program in utility services, leaving parts of the organization’s process manual and reactionary.

Waterloo, Ontario

City of Waterloo Southern Ontario, Canada Waterloo Ontario

City of Waterloo

City of Waterloo

To learn how smarter infrastructure is bridging the physical and digital worlds, check us out at

http://www.spatiallyspeaking.tumblr.com http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/presskit/33813.wss

For more information:

For more information:

Tod Freeman

[email protected]

415-320-5893

SOURCE IBM Corporation

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