BY GREG LINDSAY Mon Dec 27, 2010
"IBM is announcing this morning an agreement with the city of Rio de Janeiro to build a “Single City Operations Center,” or what amounts to a control room for the sprawling megalopolis. The center will draw upon data from dozens of municipal departments and public agencies.
While the system will initially focus on predicting the kinds of mudslides and floods that killed hundreds last April and left 15,000 homeless, it’s designed, ultimately, to monitor and respond to any type of emergency--just in time for the city to host both the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
The deal is IBM’s most ambitious smarter city project to date; previous efforts have tended to be single-purpose programs in developed cities, such as a congestion pricing scheme for London or water management in Dubuque. But Rio is a different situation--a bona fide megacity in one of the world’s fastest growing economies, in the midst of a multi-billion dollar infrastructure upgrade ahead of the World Cup. Although financial terms were not disclosed, the deal illuminates just how indispensable IBM hopes to become to the daily operations of Rio--and how it plans to do the same for cities everywhere...."
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