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SC screen shotEven if you attended or viewed some of the videos from our New York City Smarter Cities event in October, you’ll find that last week’s first-ever Smarter Cities Virtual Forum affords a deeper dive into some of the key issues and smarter solutions that cities from Richmond, Virginia (public safety) to Las Vegas, Nevada (transportation) are undertaking today.  One of the nice features of hosting the event virtually is the ability to deliver the presentations to you, in their entirety, on demand.

IBM’s new General Manager for North America, Bridget van Kralingen opened the forum with an update on our Smarter Cities initiatives and on what we’re seeing come out of these important conversations, as more people understand and embrace its vision.

  • Cities are taking their first steps, piloting projects to improve efficiency and lower costs: The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC WASA) is working with IBM to analyze and revitalize its aging water and sewer system.
  • Relationships are deepening:  IBM completed an automatic metering project with Houston-based Centerpoint Energy, and now the utility is engaging with us for a Smart Grid project.
  • Understanding and awareness are growing: Fordham University in New York has developed a new business analytics curriculum, preparing students with the needed skills to address key challenges – from reforming healthcare, to making buildings more energy efficient, to improving delivery of public services.
  • Cross-industry connections are being made: Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is partnering with grocery retailer Kroger developing charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

Later, in her keynote, North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue noted that as cities recover from the global recession of last year, “there will be a new normal for people, business and government at all levels.”

Governor Perdue discussed how North Carolina is doing business differently across the board to ensure its cities run smarter, leaner and poised to compete globally.  She shared some of the targeted initiatives she’s been undertaking to address each of her top four priorities for the state –   job creation, education, smarter government and public safety – and how she’s positioning North Carolina to be a world leader in green energy and green technology.

Speaking of green, the general session concludes with an insightful presentation and Q&A with Joseph Rigby, Chairman of Pepco Holdings, Inc., one of the largest energy delivery companies in the mid-Atlantic.  His company, which was awarded $168 million in federal stimulus funding for smart grid projects over the next several years, has begun implementing smart meters in Delaware with plans to deploy them in Washington, DC, and Maryland, later this year.

Now that we’ve hopefully whet your appetite, I invite you to replay the general session and each of the six subsequent breakout sessions – which feature additional experts and some great Q&A – on energy, transportation, government, education, public safety and healthcare.

Leslie J. Monreal-Feil is an IBMer based in South Florida.

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