Jozi is aiming to get smarter

10 February 2014 - 02:00 By PENWELL DLAMINI

Following the C40 Cities Mayors' Summit in Joburg last week, IBM is expected to announce several Smart City projects in the next six to 12 months which could see improvement of services in the council.

IBM is lending its global weight to driving momentum to smarter cities in South Africa, focusing efforts on improving city leaders understanding of how to address the management of traffic, the water supply, public safety and other social assets with technology.

The technology will allow the city to collect services-related data and use it in planning its strategies for improving service delivery.

Every month, 10000 people come to live to Johannesburg and the increasing population is straining the city's ability to provide services related to traffic, water supply, safety and other municipal responsibilities.

By utilising the IBM technology, the city will be able to get the data it needs to improve its services.

Richard Michos, IBM's Smart Cities marketing vice-president, said some cities that have used his company's technology to fight crime have been able to identify suspects and reduce the incidence of some crimes by 30%.

"There is an abundance of data - what we offer is [the ability] to take all that stuff and make sense of it. Then informed decisions can be made," he said.

Joburg executive mayor Parks Tau said last week that the council was building strong strategic relations with the private sector to make the city "more resilient and livable".

Denise Lee, of the consultancy Deloitte, who is working with IBM on its Smart City initiative, said: "If you have demonstrations in a city you can use data-analytics software to understand the trends [that are developing]. You can monitor at what point the demonstrations become violent. The city can then deploy the right level of policing, security and emergency personnel, and direct traffic away from the city centre."

Some of the IBM technology has been used by the New York police.