IBM recently launched its Smarter Cities initiative. Part of its overall SmarterPlanet project, Smarter Cities is an effort to find solutions to the problems that will occur due to our ever-increasing population growth in urban centers around the world:
“In 1900, only 13% of the world’s population lived in cities. By 2050, that number will have risen to 70%. We are adding the equivalent of seven New Yorks to the planet every year.
This unprecedented urbanization is both an emblem of our economic and societal progress – especially for the world’s emerging nations – and a huge strain on the planet’s infrastructure. It’s a challenge felt urgently by mayors, heads of economic development, school administrators, police chiefs and other civic leaders.”
IBM has the smarts and global heft to be a major voice in innovating solutions for the problems that urban population growth will bring on. And of course, it doesn’t hurt that there will be government expenditures to make sure we’ve got the infrastructure ready.
IBM CEO Sam Palmisano laid out three fundamental changes to global urban areas:
- Our world is becoming instrumented: Sensors and devices are coming down in cost, and increasing in functionality, giving us “for the first time ever, real-time instrumentation of a wide range of the world’s systems”
- Our world is becoming interconnected: With the rise of devices with these sensors, “systems and objects can now ‘speak’ to one another”
- All things are becoming intelligent: Better sensors, increased computing power and more information from interconnection mean that “intelligence can be translated into action, making our systems, processes and infrastructures more efficient, more productive and responsive-in a word, smarter.”
As part of this initiative, IBM (in conjunction with Spigit) is running a series of prediction markets that you can participate in. The objective is to tap the collective wisdom of people around the world. Here are the prediction markets for which they’re seeking your perspectives:
- Which approach will be most effective in enabling better education outcome within a major city? (link)
- In order to increase the proportion of the population completing high school by 10% over the next five years; major cities will begin transforming education in what way (link)
- Which company offers the best portfolio regarding Smarter Transportation? (link)
- In a major city, what will need to be improved in order to make transportation more efficient? (link)
- What enhancement can a major city make over the next year to be a global technology leader in public transportation? (link)
- What transportation enhancement will a major city, like New York, need to make to relieve its traffic congestion? (link)
- Which of the following will be the most important to the rapid deployment and adoption of Smart Grids? (link)
- Over the next five years, what changes should a major city first implement to reduce energy waste and use its resources efficiently? (link)
- Which of the following will reduce household energy consumption the most within a major city like New York? (link)
- Which of the following should be a primary objective for a major city over the next five years? (link)
- The current economic crisis will change plans for high priority projects in a major city in which way over the next few years? (link)
- If you were a mayor of a major city, which method would you use to assess the needs of your city, the business community and your citizens? (link)
- In 2011, what will be the primary method for citizens to communicate with their smarter city governments? (link)
- What immediate step should a major city government take over the next year to emerge as a leader in e-governance? (link)
- Over the next five years, what transformation will large cities make to their public safety systems t
o reduce the physical / personal crime rate against people, property, and infrastructure by half (50%)? (link)
- If a large city wants to improve its overall public safety position (i.e. reducing traffic fatalities, decreasing gang violence, improving emergency response capabilities) in which public safety area (or related city sub-system) should it target investment over the next year? (link)
- Which of the following sub-system improvement will be most effective in providing immediate benefit to healthcare delivery for citizens in a leading smarter city? (link)
- Over the next five years, what will major city hospitals do to increase efficiency and deliver better quality healthcare to its citizens? (link)
- What are the top challenges large cities (i.e. populations over 5M) within emerging markets will face within the next five years? (link)
- What region(s) will recover most quickly from the current global economic crisis? (link)
If addressing these issues is something that interests you, check out IBM’s SmarterCities Predictive Idea Markets.
Hutch Carpenter is the Director of Marketing at Spigit. Spigit integrates social collaboration tools into a SaaS enterprise idea management platform used by global Fortune 2000 firms to drive innovation.