IBM Adds Corpus Christi to Roster of 'Smarter Cities'

IBM Adds Corpus Christi to Roster of 'Smarter Cities'

Corpus Christi has become the latest municipality to enlist IBM's Smarter Cities solutions to ramp up resource efficiency and sustainability efforts.

The Texas Gulf coast city of more than 280,000 is using IBM software to organize, analyze and manage services across municipal departments from wastewater treatment and solid waste disposal to road repairs and park maintenance.

More than 300 cities are working with IBM's Smarter Cities program including London, Stockholm, Sydney, Dublin and Amsterdam, where IBM has teamed with Cisco in a project that's aimed at making the largest city in the Netherlands a model for smart grid technologies and energy management.

In the program, IBM helps cities design strategies for improving the collection, sharing and analysis of information for a range of city services and activities, which in turn helps municipalities work and plan more efficiently.

Results of IBM's work with Corpus Christi thus far include setting up a citywide call center that fields residents' requests for service. In fiscal year 2009, the centralized system generated more than 45,000 electronic work orders. Previously, each city department fielded its own calls for service. And in some cases, work crew assignments involved a paper process that was complicated to manage and even tougher to track.

According to IBM, the city has been able to respond more efficiently, prioritize calls for service, track problems, determine how long it takes to address them and easily "see" where, when and how often work crews go on specific type calls or to specific areas -- data that helps the city manage resources and address maintenance issues before they turn into public works crises.

Using the system also helps manage and deploy work crews. In the city's water department, for example, info about urgent assignments is sent to "first responders" via smartphone.

In addition, Corpus Christi is using IBM software to analyze past service.

The city found that 3,843 water main breaks during a three-year period disproportionately involved 4-inch mains, which represented 3 percent of the water distribution system, but more than 15 percent of all breaks.

The data has helped inform the city's plans for maintenance and other work to the water system.

Here is a video of Corpus Christi's use of Smarter Cities solutions:

Top image -- A Corpus Christi Water Department Worker uses a smartphone track assets and work orders. Insets -- Crews from the Corpus Christi gas and water departments make repairs. All photos by Tod Freeman of IBM; courtesy of the company.