Big Data for Better Storm Response


blognewsWhat would you do if you had access to thousands of data sources from IBM technologies? For The Weather Company, they created smart solutions to help emergency agencies prepare more efficiently for natural disasters. By combining analytics and local real-time weather data, local government and communities can more accurately predict the weather and attain deeper insights on how to best deploy resources. Robert Griffin, general manager of Safer Planet at IBM, observes, “Big data is revolutionizing emergency management and transforming how communities protect citizens and property in times of emergency.” Today, we have accurate weather reports that are updated every 15 minutes, we can pinpoint exactly which areas will be hit hardest from a snowstorm, and we can create realistic scenarios on how a natural disaster will unfold. With this, we challenge our Safety & Security team: how can we best utilize big data and optimize emergency management when designing Smart Cities?

Learn more about how IBM and The Weather Company have partnered to develop an emergency management tool that helps agencies and communities forecast more accurately and be prepared ahead to tackle natural disasters.

Full story on People for Smarter Cities at

You can also download the podcast of the story at


Open Innovation for Transportation Safety


Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 2.53.55 PMA recently posted article, “A Petty Achievement for Women in India,” by Libby Coleman brings light to Dehli’s extreme income inequality and the struggles of its impoverished women. According to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), “95% of pickpockets caught on the Dehli Metro, from January to May of 2015, were female.” This may be due to the fact that the metro provides “anonymity, a quick getaway and proximity to targets in crowded space” for the poor women of Dehli. Smart Cities need to learn from current cities and develop smart solutions to solve this issue. Utilizing Open Innovation, the Safety and Security group should collaborate with the Transportation and Education group to develop the best practice for transportation safety in Vizag. 



Will “Personal Privacy” be an added cost to Smart Cities?



Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, from UC Berkeley’s School of Information, will be speaking on the trending topic of “Can We Afford Privacy from Surveillance? Do We Want To?” on September 23. This sparks a concern for Smart Cities. As information becomes more and more easily accessible, from the government snooping on mobile phone users to college students stalking prospective employers on LinkedIn, when does the tracking become too much? When creating Smart Cites, how can we find the correct balance of public and private information? How can we utilize surveillance information to make cities as efficient as possible yet keep citizens safe?




Open Data is Key to Saving Lives


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Cities need to open up their data to become smarter cities, save lives, resources, people’s time, cut down costs and generate more revenues for the cities to thrive. According to OZY article, The Little-Known Enemy of 911 Calls, author Jose Fermoso finds that consistency is of utmost importance with it comes to emergency care. Mickey Eisenberg, University of Washington professor of emergency medicine, reports, “Only 20% of U.S. medical emergency systems report performance data.” The lack of performance data leads to inconsistent emergency care. With limited data, cities cannot compare among one another on the efficiency or lack of efficiency of their emergency response system. They cannot learn or grow from themselves or each other. In the article, Fermoso reveals that, in Los Angeles, 91 percent of 911 calls are for medical emergencies, as of 2014. With this data, we would be able to streamline more paramedics and medically-trained firefighters ready for these medical emergencies, saving more lives than ever before. Data is vital for Smart Cities to set clear standards and provide consistent care. Data is vital for Smart Cities to be efficient, accountable, and progressive.