Following a series of floods and mudslides that claimed the lives of 100 people back in April 2010, Rio de Janeiro announced a significant overhaul of its city operations – a big step in preparing for the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. The city is collaborating with IBM on a multi-million dollar plan including a “City Center” that will help meteorologists, geological surveyors, field operations and security work together to dramatically speed emergency responsiveness. Not only will this system help city organizations “talk” to each other more effectively, but it will also ensure that each department knows what to do with real-time information.
For instance, when alerted that a tropical storm is on the way, the system will proactively address questions, including: Which streets will require the most troops? Which hills are most prone to mud slides? Are their shelters that have vacancies? Which hospitals have beds available? What is the best way to exit from a soccer match at the Maracana? How should officials direct traffic coming from the Copacabana Beach? Rio will exemplify the Smarter Cities vision, which involves connecting core city systems, eliminating operational silos and ensuring that cities remain prosperous and sustainable in the face of unprecedented urban growth.