Rio de Janeiro in the smarter cities era


A few years ago when I first heard the term smarter cities I wondered what makes a city smart and if the city I live in is smart. First we need to understand what makes a city, and then we can think about what IBM offers to make cities smarter.

A city is nothing more than a big system of interconnected smaller systems, such as health and education systems, energy and water systems, management systems and so forth. And by interconnecting these smaller systems with sensors, monitoring devices and tools with the right IT infrastructure to analyze collected data, actions can be taken proactively to anticipate incidents. This solution leads to sustainable expansion with great benefits for all the citizens who live in large metropolitan areas.

Smarter City Management Diagram

IBM’s solution to smarter cities, IBM Intelligent Operations Center, helps cities to collect, manage and share data in a single view in order to coordinate city work. As an analogy we can think of it as “mission control” for cities. The Operations Center is able to leverage near real-time city information, anticipate incidents and coordinate resources to give support in the event of an emergency.

IBM’s idea is really straightforward when it comes to building a smarter planet. To learn more about the IBM Intelligent Operations Center, check out this demo.

Applying the smarter cities concept in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro has taken a big step into the smarter planet era with IBM’s concept of smarter cities. IBM helped Rio de Janeiro create an Operations Center that uses information and communication technology to improve economic efficiency, enabling further development and expansion.

Rio De Janeiro

A few years ago Rio suffered from massive landslides and floods resulting in several deaths. That cost a great amount of money and caused numerous problems for health and infrastructure systems.

Rio de Janeiro is also currently undergoing big transformations in preparation to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.

With all these concerns in mind the city government and IBM signed an agreement to build a public information management center that integrates and interconnects information from multiple government departments and public agencies to improve city safety and responsiveness to various incidents.

IBM Intelligent Operations Center was implanted in Rio, and currently it is using a forecasting system that synthesizes data from rivers, historical rainfall logs and radar feeds in order to anticipate heavy rains, flash floods, landslides, power outages and traffic hazards.

The Operations Center is also being extended to any event occurring in the city, such as the Reveillon party at Copacabana Beach or the Carnival and the exit of fans from Maracana Stadium. All the data collected will be based on near real-time information, and this will enable the city authorities to make decisions in emergency situations.

Watch this video about innovative cities to have an idea of how IBM has helped Rio de Janeiro to become a smarter city:

The IBM Intelligent Operations Center has definitely improved Rio by delivering applications to monitor its services and operations, helping to provide intelligent responses and optimization rules, as well as to anticipate disasters and diminish their impact.

But keep in mind the Intelligent Operations Center is not exclusively for city operations and can be applied to many other complex environments, such as:

  • Airports
  • Sports stadiums
  • Mining operations
  • Coastal management
  • Emergency management
  • Large facilities management

The IBM Intelligent Operations Center is just one of the IBM Smarter Cities solutions designed to make cities and governments operate more effectively and efficiently.

Renato Stoffalette Joao is a Software Engineer at Linux Technology Center (LTC), IBM Brazil. His work in LTC consists of interactions with various open source Linux communities and development of extensions for Eclipse environment using the Java language. You can find him on Twitter: @renatosjoao.

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