IBM and SeeClickFix: A Social Collaboration Challenge on the Smarter Cities Scan

seeclickfix challenge

Are you aware of some non-emergency issues going on in your community that if fixed that could help improve the quality of life in your town?  Some examples might be:

  • A dangerous intersection for pedestrians
  • A bike lane that is always blocked
  • An area that always floods whenever it rains
  • A building with broken windows
  • A vacant lot that needs to be cleaned up
  • Potholes on a certain street that never get fixed
  • Cracked sidewalks that need to be fixed
  • Unsafe activity going on in your neighborhood

The SeeClickFix Challenge:

There’s a very interesting crowdsourcing effort going on I thought you might be interested in checking out.  The folks at SeeClickFix have partnered up with IBM’s Smarter Cities Scan in an effort called the “SeeClickFix Challenge on the Smarter Cities Scan”

SeeClickFix empowers residents to actively care for and improve their neighborhoods by engaging them to report on things they think needs to be ‘fixed’ by posting information of those things on the web.  Residents pinpoint the exact location on a map and can upload pictures of the problem.  The IBM Smarter Cities Scan team recognized this service as a novel approach to help us all improve the cities we live in.  So the two teams are now partnering in this unique social collaboration challenge.  The crowdsourcing effort will run from February 8-21 on the Smarter Cities Scan.   And you can participate!

How You Can Participate:

  1. See – spot a non-emergency issue in your neighborhood, go to http://seeclickfix.com/citizens and enter your city name to begin the process
  2. Click – “Report an Issue” to open a ticket describing the issue and what can be done to resolve it
  3. Fix  – Monitor your ticket and the issue you reported to see how your city responded.
  4. Share – Go back to the Smarter Cities Scan site and report on your SeeClickFix experience by sharing your SeeClickFix story.   We want to understand how citizens and  communities put SeeClickFix to new uses in all urban environments.  In the process perhaps we can generate some new ideas on how to make our cities better places to live in.  So please share your story!!

I just entered my first ‘problem’ into the SeeClickFix database for my community and found the process easy.  There’s a walking/bike path in my community that needs repairing in a certain spot.  It is not paved and doesn’t drain well…so it gets all muddy.  The path is just a few feet from a 50mph road and I am worried some runner or biker will slip and fall into traffic. 

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Spread The News!

The more people we have contributing stories, the more we all learn in the process.  Help publicize this collaboration challenge to your social networks via email, Facebook, and Twitter (use tag #seeclickfix).  And If you blog, consider authoring a post about this challenge as I have done here.

IBM IdeaWatch: Innovative Thought Leadership On Intelligent Computing For A Smarter Planet

IBM IdeaWatch I subscribe to IdeaWatch, a monthly e-newsletter sent out by IBM’s Institute for Business Value team.  The newsletter always provides interesting articles.   The articles contain strategic insights and recommendations based on research that IBM’s Institute for Business Value team of analysts and consultants regularly perform.  The articles help me stay informed on the critical issues facing business leaders. 

Today I opened the most recently newsletter in my in-basket.  You can see the full online version at IdeaWatch.  Here’s a list of the articles in the current issue:

As mentioned above, you can access the current version of the e-newsletter online at IdeaWatch.  From that page you can also access all the previous issues.

If you are not yet subscribing to this monthly e-newsletter, I encourage you to do so.  It’s a nice monthly digest that provides with current thought leadership content. To subscribe, you’ll need to go to the subscription center for IBM e-newsletters https://www-931.ibm.com/bin/subscriptions/welcome.cgi?cl=ZZEN and once you register with your email id, you’ll be presented with a list of e-newsletters.   Look for IdeaWatch: Business Perspectives from IBM Global Business Services and select it to subscribe.

IDC Insights: 2010 Predictions for Manufacturing Supply Chains

IDC Today I attended the IDC Manufacturing Insights conference call where IDC outlined its 2010 Predictions for Manufacturing Supply Chains.  On the call Simon Ellis, IDC Mfg Insights Practice Director, Supply Chain and Kimberly Knickle, IDC Mfg Insights Practice Director, Emerging Agenda outlined the firm’s recommendations for manufacturer supply chains in 2010

The call started with a overall look at economic trends affecting supply chains disciplines such as procurement, planning, manufacturing and logistics and then moved into the top 10 predictions.  The overall theme from IDC is that manufacturing companies need to rethink their supply chain structures and begin to evolve to a variable-cost-driven value network.

Here is a summary of the top ten trends.

  1. Optimization Focus: “Dynamic Optimization” dominates Capability Investment to Support Redefining of the Supply Chain
  2. Sales & Operation Planning:  S&OP Will Re-emerge as the Synchronizing Process for Reconciling Supply and Demand
  3. Redesigning Supply Chains:  Balancing Supply and Demand Across the Value Chain Will Prompt a Strategic Redesign of the Supply Network
  4. SCM and PLM Convergence:  Supply Chain and Product Life-Cycle Management Applications Will Increasingly Converge as Manufacturing Companies Focus on Innovation Delivery
  5. Intelligent Supply Chains:  Intelligent Supply Chains Will Put Broader Visibility Burden on Supply Chain Organizations, Both Owned and Outsourced
  6. Globalization:   Supply Chain Organizations Will Invest in Capabilities That Facilitate Global Operations
  7. Rethinking Fulfillment:  Transportation Capacity Will Tighten, Causing Supply Chain Organizations to Rethink Fulfillment Strategies
  8. Risk Management:  The Increasing Pace of Supply Chain Outsourcing/Offshoring Will Keep Risk Management High on the Strategic Agenda, But Investment Will Remain Focused on Building Risk Awareness
  9. Time to Get Smarter?  Smart Services and the Need for Persistent Assets Create the Inflection Point for RFID, Sensors, and M2M
  10. Metrics Drive Intelligence:  Armed with Metrics, Manufacturers Move from Sustainability Reporting to Intelligence

As the IDC team summarized the call, it was stated that 2010 will be the year of the intelligent supply chain.  There will be a focus on developing smarter processes, products, plants, people, and partners.   This thought confirms IBM’s Smarter Planet campaign.

You can register for access to the conference call webinar and slides by going to IDC Insights Predictions 2010: Manufacturing Supply Chain.  There is also a detailed research report on the topic:  Worldwide Supply Chain 2010 Top 10 Predictions

For more information…

IBM: 5 Innovations That Will Impact Us Within 5 Years

IBM 5 in 5 The world is experiencing unprecedented urbanization.  Last year marked the first time in history that the majority of the world’s population was residing in cities.  This trend is not stopping and will have huge implications for our large urban environments we call home.  So what can be done to make our cities economically, socially and technologically healthy–and keep them that way?

IBM recently unveiled a list of 5 innovations that will have the potential to change how people live, work and play in cities around the globe over the next five years.  The following text provides a summary and there is a 3 minute video embedded below…

IBM’s Next 5 in 5…

1) Cities will have healthier immune systems:  Because of population densities, cities will remain hotbeds of communicable diseases.  By standardizing methods for sharing health information and analyzing disease outbreaks, public health officials will know precisely when, where and how diseases are spreading.

2) City buildings will sense and respond like living organisms:   The technology that manages building facilities "will operate like a living organism that can sense and respond quickly." Thousands of sensors inside buildings will monitor everything from motion and temperature to humidity, occupancy and light.  These smart buildings will enable repairs to be made before something breaks, will help emergency units respond quickly, and will let people and companies monitor their energy consumption and carbon emission in real-time.

3) Cars and city buses will run on empty:   IBM predicts that improved battery technology will power the next generation of eco-friendly vehicles. It says the new batteries won’t need to be recharged for days or months at a time (depending on how often the vehicles are driven) and will allow trips of 300 to 500 miles on a single charge.  Also smart grids in cities will allow vehicles to be charged in public places using renewable energy, such as wind power, for charging so they no longer rely on coal-powered plants.

4) Smarter systems will quench cities' thirst for water and save energy:  To deal with the estimate that demand for water is expected to increase sixfold in the next 50 years cities will install smarter water systems to reduce water waste by up to 50 percent.  Smart sewer systems will also be installed that not only prevent run-off pollution in rivers and lakes, but purify water to make it drinkable.  Plus, interactive meters and sensors will provide people with real time, accurate information about their water consumption. 

5) Cities will respond to a crisis:  Even before receiving an emergency phone call. In support of the news:  IBM is helping law enforcement agencies analyze information so they can anticipate crime and be ready to respond when it happens.  Also the New York Fire Department has selected IBM to build a state-of-the-art system for collecting and sharing data in real-time and the company is also designing smart levee systems to prevent cities from devastating floods. 

A common denominator in all five of these innovations is a sophisticated data analytics capability that can take volumes of data, perform modeling and simulation on that data, and turn it into actionable insights for decision makers.  Five years could be an optimistic time frame for a few of these, but in this case, I think a little optimism helps to push the envelope on research and development of the innovations.

Watch the 3 minute video….

Read up more on IBM’s Next 5 in 5

From old to new, and a smarter planet

via www.youtube.com

Found this interesting video on the IBM developerworks site. The title, "From old to new, and a smarter planet" describes not only the scene we see, but what we don't see.

developerWorks' Scott Laningham is our host for the less than 2 minute video which plays out on the roads of West Texas. He just couldn't pass up the symbolism of the setting — old oil wells rimmed by miles of wind turbines.

This past weekend, I was driving from St. Louis to Chicago and also saw miles and miles of wind turbines off in the distance. To some these are an eyesore, but to me they represent our future.

At the end of the video, Scott makes a plug for the Smarter Planet demo series on developerWorks. www.ibm.com/developerworks/

Smarter Cities Prediction Market

My colleagues at IBM have asked me to invite you to participate in a unique prediction market experiment called the “Smarter Cities Predictive Idea Markets”.  

Prediction Markets harness the collective intelligence of a community to gain predictive insight, and often even outperform the experts – as was the case in the 2008 US Presidential election.  They utilize stock market principles where participants get play money to “trade” ideas.

IBM’s Smarter Cities Predictive Idea Markets will allow you, along with other thought leaders, to further explore questions, ideas and opportunities that emerged and help determine which ideas may have the greatest chance for success. 

Participation is easy. Just visit the Smarter Cities Predictive Idea Markets http://smartercities.ibm.spigit.com Web site and register.  Once you’re registered, you can choose a market and begin making trades. The markets are open till September 13th, 2009 11:59 EDT.   Please feel free to share this invitation with other individuals that might be interested in participating – all submissions will remain confidential and only aggregated trading results will be shared across the community.

Complete details are on the Smarter Cities Predictive Idea Markets Web site.  Participation requires less than 5 minutes and every participant will receive a full set of results and insights at the beginning of October. 

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to take part in this experiment, share your insights, and see the collective opinions of your peers on the future of Smarter Cities. 

New IBM Commercials Highlight Smarter Planet Issues

imageIBM has just launched five new TV commercials in conjunction with the US Open tennis tournament. 

The TV commercials support IBM’s strategic Smarter Planet campaign, so there is a little selling going on in the videos.  However, these are important emerging trends, so here you go.

  • Cloud – Message:  Workstations used to be tied to a mainframe. Now they're conversing with a cloud.
  • Secure Collaboration -  Message:  The choice between being open and being secure isn't a choice anymore. Collaboration is the key to business on a smarter planet, but you need to make sure your business is protected.
  • Oil -  Message:   Energy is one of the world's most vital resources.  How we extract, use and preserve this resource is vital to our future.
  • Water -  Message:  Water is something we all take for granted, but there is a limited amount in the world. Smarter water management is necessary to ensure our farms, factories and businesses continue to have access to safe, high quality water.
  • Public Safety – Message:  Cities all over the world are getting smarter.  By collecting, analyzing and sharing data, your city can be safer, too.

I really like the creative look and feel of these commercials.  I understand there was a bunch of research that went into them.   While I believe the commercials will appeal to the public at large, they are obviously designed to target the IT audience, line of business leaders and CXOs. 

For more on IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative, check out http://www.ibm.com/ibm/ideasfromibm/us/smartplanet/index.shtml

Pew Internet: The Social Life of Health Information

The Pew Internet & American Life Project recently released a report, “The Social Life of Health Information”, that contains results from a survey on the way people are seeking out health information.   The survey was focused on U.S. respondents only. 

As can be expected, Americans are now turning more and more to online sources for information.   In the past, patients typically called a health professional, their Mom, or a good friend.  Today they are also searching online, reading blogs, listening to podcasts, updating their social network profile, and posting comments.   And many people, once they find health information online, talk with someone offline about that information they have found online.

Some interesting findings from this survey:

  • 57% of respondents use the Internet when locating health information
  • Two-thirds of people that find information online then discuss with someone else their findings
  • 60% of respondents have said that information they have found online has impacted the way they have then pursued treatment.
  • 41% of e-patients have read another person’s commentary or experience about health or medical issue

Also interesting was the finding that "e-patients" – what the authors called people who look online for health info – are more likely to engage in social media in general, compared with other Internet users.  For instance, e-patients are more likely than non-health seekers to have created or worked on their own blog, read someone else's blog, used a social networking site, used a micro-blogging site, and other activities.  Small numbers of people are using social software like Twitter and Facebook.  Mostly these services are used to follow another person’s health issue and then perhaps include their own commentary on the health issue. 

As use of the Internet and social media increases, it's not surprising that more people are searching for health information and participating and engaging in health-related communities.   As these people search for and create their own content, this will put added pressure on providers to embrace social media in order to participate in the discussion.

Read the entire report here: http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2009/8-The-Social-Life-of-Health-Information.aspx.

Smarter Fire Departments = Smarter Cities

On page 18 of the Fire Department of New York’s 2009 – 2010 Strategic Plan, we find the text quoted below.

Develop a comprehensive data analysis system that will improve the efficiencies and effectiveness of a Coordinated Building Inspection and Data Analysis System (CBIDAS).  This risk-based inspection and computerized building safety program is one of the most important management initiatives in the modern history of the FDNY.   It will enable the FDNY to concentrate its fire prevention resources on the buildings and neighborhoods facing the greatest risk of serious fires.

As announced earlier this year, the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) and IBM will build a “smart” system for collecting and sharing data in real-time that can prevent fires and help protect firefighters and other first responders when a fire does occur.

FDNY's new Coordinated Building Inspection and Data Analysis System (CBIDAS) will use technology found in business intelligence approaches to anticipate potential fire risks, analyze possible impacts, and improve processes such as collecting and disseminating data on building inspection, permits and violations that can reduce risks.

"This technology will allow us to shift to a risk-based inspection system that will prevent fires and improve public safety.  Combining different existing databases, and linking them with those of other city agencies such as the Department of Buildings, will dramatically improve the information available to our firefighters and result in a smarter, more productive inspection program."  – Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta

An important element of the project will be better communication, improved sharing of information and coordination of fire inspection and site/building structure information.  That sharing will take place both within the FDNY and between the FDNY and city agencies such as Department of Buildings, Department of City Planning, and Department of Environmental Protection, as well as contractors.

Learn more:  Fire Department of New York Selects IBM for Intelligent Fire Safety System (press release)

$50k ITS Congestion Challenge

Have an innovative idea on how to solve traffic congestion?   The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America), in partnership with IBM and Spencer Trask Collaborative Innovations (STCI), has launched a global challenge to identify innovative ideas for combating transportation congestion.

ITS America is challenging commuters, transportation experts, entrepreneurs and academic researchers to come up with the best ideas to reduce traffic congestion and lessen its economic and environmental impact.

At stake is a $50,000 prize presented at the 16th World Congress on Intelligent Transportation Systems in Stockholm, Sweden, this September.  The winner will also receive the development support needed to put his or her idea to work.

Winning ideas are expected to focus on the following five areas:

  1. Speed and efficiency:  Using technology to reduce delays and transport people and goods efficiently and reliably.
  2. Behavioral impact:  Innovative ways to convince users to choose options that reduce congestion.
  3. Safety:  Preventing accidents, improving incident response and providing more timely, accurate transportation information.
  4. Sustainability:  Lowering energy use and emissions while actively managing traffic and reducing congestion.
  5. Economic competitiveness: Improve productivity through new technologies (e.g., wireless applications and mobility tools).

For additional information and to enter submissions, visit Join the ITS Congestion Challenge

Stockholm: 2009 Intelligent Community of the Year

The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) recently named Stockholm, Sweden the Intelligent Community of the Year for 2009.  The Scandanavian community, known for its prowess in innovative technologies and its quality of life won the 2009 award.  A detailed profile of Stockholm and why it was selected for the award can be found at this ICF website.

It’s nice to see Stockholm get this award, especially since IBM has been deeply involved in the city’s Intelligent Transportation initiatives.

Since 1999, ICF has presented awards to honor the achievements of communities tackling the complex task of building and maintaining competitive and inclusive local economies in the global Broadband Economy.   The ICF is a think tank that “focuses on the creation of prosperous local economies and robust societies in the broadband economy of the 21st Century”.  The goal of the yearly awards is to increase awareness of the role that broadband and information communications technology (ICT) play in economic and social development at the community level worldwide.

Earlier this year, the ICF had announced their annual list of The Top Seven Intelligent Cities of 2009.  These seven finalists were selected based on analysis of their nominations by a team of independent academic experts.  The academic team  conducts a thorough review of the nominations and generate quantitative scores during the selection process.   These cities have proactively re-engineered their economies and social networks to make them more flexible and adaptable, which gives them a powerful competitive advantage.  The top seven communities are chosen, not because they excel in all areas of ICF's Intellligent Community Indicators, but because each demonstrates excellence in at least one. 

image

The Top Seven cities of 2009 were:

  • Bristol, Virginia, USA. Bristol has made an impact after taking on incumbent telcos in court and the state legislature to win the right to deploy a fiber network called OptiNet.  OptiNet will become a fiber-to-the-premises network for business and residents in Bristol and four neighboring counties.  It has attracted more than $50 million in private investment, including the region's first technology employers, and improved rural education and healthcare by connecting local providers to leading institutions.   
  • Eindhoven, Netherlands.  Established a public-private collaboration called Brainport. Among more than 40 public-private projects are an award-winning coop that has brought FTTP and a broadband culture of use to the suburb of Neunen, and the SKOOL outsourced IT management system for public schools.
  • Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.  When it could not get broadband from the private sector, Fredericton founded the e-Novations co-op, which deployed a fiber ring that spurred competition, giving the city a 70% penetration rate at speeds of up to 18 Mbps.  The next step was the Fred-eZone wireless network, which provides free WiFi service across 65% of the city.  The combination of broadband, entrepreneurship and Fredericton's universities has powered the creation of over 12,000 jobs.
  • Issy-les-Moulineaux, France.  Beginning in 1980, a visionary mayor focused policy on creating an innovative, IT-based knowledge economy, implementing e-government, outsourcing IT needs, and taking advantage of liberalization to attract competitive fiber carriers deploying cost-effective broadband.  Public-private innovation includes a cyber-kindergarten for children, cyber tearooms for older citizens, citizen e-participation in decision-making, a successful business incubator and ICT-based real estate projects.
  • Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. This bilingual community has become a major Canadian customer contact and back office center, and built a "near-shore" IT outsourcing industry.   Private-sector carriers have collaborated in the city's growth as a telecom-centric economy, and helped power the addition of 20,000 new jobs since the early 1990s.  
  • Stockholm, Sweden. In the mid-90s, Stockholm, the economic and political capital of Sweden, established a company called Stokab to build an open-access fiber network.  Today, the 4,500 km network connects more than 90 competing service providers to government and business customers.  Though the city already has a 98% broadband penetration rate, Stokab will also provide FTTP access to over 95,000 low-income households in public housing by the end of 2009.  Stockholm also manages KISTA Science City, housing more than 1,400 companies, plus a support program for start-up and early-stage companies.  
  • Tallinn, Estonia.   Making creative use of people and funding, Tallinn computerized its schools and deployed widespread WiFi as well as nearly 700 public access kiosks.  The city also developed a large-scale digital skills training program, extensive e-government, and an award-winning smart ID card.  Through partnerships, it developed high-tech parks including Ulemiste City, Tallinn Technology Park and Cooperative Cyber Defense Center. 

For more see this ICF website.  Also check out the videos here View Top7 Video

For those of you working on projects related to Smart Cities, you might also want to spend time reading the 49 page white paper “The Top Seven Intelligent Communities of 2009”

Yankee: Workforce of Tomorrow Webinar

I recently attended a Yankee Group webinar titled "The Workforce of Tomorrow".  

The webinar focused in on how work employee work activities and habits today are rapidly moving away from historical patterns.  Remote, work-at-home, and mobile work is becoming a prerequisite for workers.  Yankee says unfortunately that many companies have been slow to react to these changes, resulting in lower productivity and employees feeling isolated.  As companies have increasingly been reducing business travel I suspect this is adding fuel to the growing fire.

According to a Yankee Group survey, nearly three-quarters of workers believe allowing employees to work from home benefits the company.  In addition, the majority of workers indicate that the ability to work from home is the single most important thing their company could do to increase their productivity.   Employees are demanding flexibility, and the companies that fail to react to this trend will be at a severe competitive disadvantage in the war for talent.

The webinar focused in on these trends that will impact the workforce of tomorrow.  The speakers discussed employees’ technological, social and professional needs and how to keep them connected.    The webinar runs about an hour.  You can access the audio here (mp3) and a pdf version of the slides here  or you can check out the embedded slideshare version below.

I have been working out of my house for IBM in a suburb outside Chicago for about 16 years.  During that time my management has always been in New York.  There is no question in my mind that IBM has been the major benefactor over the last 16 years.  They’ve saved thousands of dollars on real-estate costs and I have been much more productive than I would have been in a normal office setting.  And I know I have given IBM many more hours of work here at home than I would have given in an IBM office.   But IBM is to be applauded in this case as I have always been given access to productivity software and collaboration tools.  I have in turn exploited those tools and therefore have been able to feel connected to my New York colleagues.

At the same time, I can also say that I have benefited from the flexibility of being a work at home dad.  I have been able to participate in many of my kid’s school and after school activities that I would never have been able to do in a normal office. 

I was a little disappointed in the webinar as I really thought Yankee might touch on how social networking and social computing was going to impact remote and mobile workers.  I think that would be an improvement for their next webinar.

A couple additional related resources from Yankee on this topic includes…

  • Silent Killer: How Mobile Workers Sabotage Profitability,” by Josh Holbrook
  • The Future of Work,” by Josh Holbrook