Rio de Janeiro uses IBM's Smart Cities technology to coordinate its city services in real time, from responding to emergencies to unsnarling traffic.
Running a city? Yeah, there’s an app for that.
Smart growth seems to have taken an evolutionary step in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. IBM has brought their Smart Cities concept to the former Brazilian capital, a model that uses information and communication technology to improve economic efficiency, thus enabling further development.
Services are carried out via the IBM Intelligent Operations Center. Think of it as a mission control for cities, white lab coats included. They are able to leverage real-time city information, anticipate problems, and coordinate available resources.
The system was originally integrated in Rio as a way to improve the city’s emergency response system following the 2010 floods. By using a forecasting system that synthesizes data from the river basin, topography surveys, historical rainfall logs, and radar feeds, the operations center is able to anticipate heavy rains, flash floods, landslides, power outages, and traffic hazards.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. IBM kicked things up a notch by fully integrating 30 city agencies into a single operations center, constantly tracking the pulse of city operations. By breaking down inter-organizational silos, they speed response and recovery time.
Residents can simply download an app to their smart phone or track city alerts via Facebook and Twitter. Car accident or traffic jam? Simply pull up the app and it will calculate the most efficient route based on current and predicted traffic patterns. City workers, meanwhile, can monitor emergency responses to the same event.