Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

WASHINGTON D.C. On Capitol Hill this week, IBM Energy & Utilities Vice President Michael Valocchi (left) and Congressman Michael McCaul (Texas-10) examine IBM’s "Deep Thunder" weather forecasting and modeling technology, which can help better predict and minimize the impact of severe weather in the United States.

By Christopher Padilla

Vice President, Governmental Programs, IBM

This week, IBM leaders gathered with lawmakers to examine breakthrough technologies that are transforming the future of government.

The event afforded us the opportunity to hold a meaningful conversation about new innovations that are capturing the imagination of people around the world –and the government leaders who represent them.

But the heart of our discussion did not center on just the latest gadget. Instead, we dove into why these new technologies are leaving a lasting impression in cities across the globe.

We found that at a time when government leaders face declining budgets, aging infrastructures, and growing demands for better services, they are also overwhelmed with a glut of data they cannot use effectively.

Yet there are cities around the world that are solving some of the most intractable problems in areas ranging from transportation, energy, and public safety to education, health care and IT.

And they do it by implementing a combination of technology and innovation. It’s these kinds of “smart” solutions that will help to drive sustained economic growth in complex communities.

For example, attendees had a chance to interact on a mobile tablet with IBM’s Deep Thunder, a weather forecasting and modeling technology.

What makes Deep Thunder such an important tool is how it uses weather models to predict the impacts of weather. The technology is designed to help accurately pinpoint severe weather events with calculations as fine as every 1 square mile and up to 36 to 48 hours in advance.

This information helps businesses and governments tailor services, change routes, and deploy equipment to minimize the effects of major weather events.

This means reduced costs, improved services and better public safety.

We also demonstrated how advanced tax fraud analytics are helping to root out waste, fraud and abuse.

IBM’s Tax Collections Optimizer helps tax agency staffs optimize their collections of delinquent debtors. As a result, governments are able to review selected returns within the processing stream 10 times faster and identify questionable refunds before being paid. This has produced a savings of $1.6 billion dollars for New York State alone.

In addition, we saw how building intelligence into our transportation systems not only reduces traffic congestion headaches, but also enables governments to gather historical and real-time data so they can proactively address parking and transit needs. These new innovative approaches can help cities plan economic development, infrastructure projects, and special events.

By having the ability to analyze the vast quantities of data our cities generate, our leaders are helping their communities remain attractive and livable –and to do less with more.

It was exciting to see the energy in the room that evening, as technologists and lawmakers came together in the spirit of innovation for our country’s future. When we work together, we help to ensure the promise of Smarter Cities becomes a reality.

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