Home » BREAKING: IBM selects Louisville for Smarter Cities Challenge grant

BREAKING: IBM selects Louisville for Smarter Cities Challenge grant

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 15, 2012) — IBM announced today that it has selected Louisville as one of 33 cities worldwide to receive the Smarter Cities Challenge grant.

IBM will send a team of experts to Louisville focused on helping the city build a plan for using multiple sources of data to address the high rates of asthma amongst the city’s children and adults. The team will study and provide recommendations on using the data to better understand the root causes of asthma in Louisville and what potentially can be done to help reduce the health risks.

“This project is unique because it brings together innovation, public health and data to help better understand our problems with asthma,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “The brain power that IBM will bring to our city is even more valuable than dollars. This collaboration with IBM puts Louisville at the forefront of innovation around smarter cities.”

The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a competitive grant program in which IBM is awarding $50 million worth of technology and services to 100 municipalities worldwide through 2013.

Teams of specially-selected IBM experts will provide city leaders with analysis and recommendations to support successful growth, better delivery of municipal services, more citizen engagement, and improved efficiency.

In Louisville, the team will be using many data sets, including a new effort called Asthmapolis, in which asthma inhalers are fitted with GPS systems and microchips that gather data when people have serious asthma attacks. The data will help pinpoint, in real time, where asthmas attacks occur. Asthmapolis is a $150,000 program funded through the Greater Louisville Foundation with support from the Norton Healthcare Foundation, Owsley Brown Charitable Trust and Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. Ted Smith, Director of Economic Growth and Innovation for Metro Government, is helping coordinate the effort, which will provide 300 to 500 asthmas patients with the special computerized inhalers.

IBM selected cities that made the strongest case for participating in the Smarter Cities Challenge. During these city engagements, IBM technical experts, researchers and consultants immerse themselves in local issues and offer a range of options and recommended next-steps. Among the issues they examine are healthcare, education, safety, social services, transportation, sustainability, budget management and energy.

“The cities that have been selected are all different, but they had one clear similarity: the strong personal commitment by the city’s leadership to put in place the changes needed to help the city make smarter decisions,” said Stanley S. Litow, IBM vice president of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, and President of IBM’s International Foundation. “These cities demonstrated a desire to set an example for other municipalities, an eagerness to collaborate with multiple stakeholders, and a strong commitment to consider implementing recommendations the city felt would be the most feasible and beneficial to their residents.”

IBM’s consultants and technology specialists will help municipalities analyze and prioritize their needs, review strengths and weaknesses, and learn from the successful strategies used by other cities worldwide. After studying the role that intelligent technology might play in uniting and advancing different aspects of city life, IBM then outlines a range of concrete strategies designed to help make cities healthier, safer, smarter, more prosperous, and attractive to current and prospective residents and businesses.

A consistent theme in these projects is the collecting, sharing, analyzing and acting on data generated by urban interactions and transactions. Such information can include everything from school test scores, smartphone adoption, crime statistics, foot and vehicle traffic, to tax revenue and library usage.   Correlations are then made that link seemingly unrelated aspects of urban life to develop innovative and cost effective strategies to address persistent challenges.

During Smarter Cities Challenge engagements, IBM will help recipients become comfortable using a free Web site called City Forward (http://www.cityforward.org). The site gives policy makers, citizen-advocates and the public a new perspective on how their respective cities are performing compared with others. It serves up easy-to-use data to help them make more informed decisions that improve services and make their citizens and businesses healthier, happier, safer, more productive and prosperous.

It captures vital statistics on the performance of many specific services such as education, safety, health, transportation, land use, utilities, energy, environment, personal income, spending, population growth and employment. Users can then gather, compare, analyze, visualize, and discuss statistical trends, giving them real-world insight that can help shape public policy.

The need for better city management has never been greater. In 2008, according to the United Nations, more than half the world’s human population began living in cities for the first time in the world’s history.

The approximate value of each Smarter Cities Challenge grant is equivalent to as much as $400,000.

IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge is an outgrowth of IBM’s Corporate Service Corps grants program, in which IBM deploys teams of top employees to areas in the developing world to work on projects that intersect business, technology and society. Since the launch of Corporate Service Corps in 2008, nearly 1,400 IBM employees based in 50 countries have been dispatched on more than 140 team assignments in 24 countries.

The Smarter Cities Challenge is sponsored by IBM’s Corporate Citizenship program and IBM’s International Foundation. IBM has been a leader in corporate social responsibility and citizenship for 100 years. To learn more about IBM’s corporate citizenship initiatives, please visit: www.citizenibm.com

To find out more about IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants, please visit http://smartercitieschallenge.org/ and http://www.youtube.com/user/citizenIBM