By Eoin Lane
People often say that water is the new oil, but really, it’s not. Oil is a fossil fuel that takes millions of years and a lot of pressure to create. When we burn oil – for example, by driving our cars – it is gone forever (or at least for a few more millions of years before it can be created again!).
Water, on the other hand, cannot be created or destroyed (this is not strictly true, but bear with me). The same amount of water is around today that was around when the Earth was formed. The truth is there is a lot of water on Earth – just not a lot of drinking water. Continue Reading »
By George Elliott, P. Eng.
In the city of Cambridge, Ontario, we’ve always taken pride in our long and proud tradition of delivering quality services to our citizens with the bottom line in mind. We know that with a growing city, our infrastructure needs are also growing. In these hard economic times, we wanted to address funding gaps through efficiencies and limit the impact on taxes. We looked for ways to give us more analytical ability to refine and enhance our systems and gain greater return on investment.
Given the aging physical infrastructure challenges that all Canadian municipalities are facing, we needed to better understand the competing priorities, and look to refine ways we address our infrastructure to avoid costly repairs.
By Jack Kardys
Miami-Dade County Parks is the third largest county park system in the United States, consisting of 260 parks and 12,825 acres of land. It is made up of 17 miles of beaches, the renowned Zoo Miami, golf courses, marinas, large athletic stadiums, campgrounds, pools and more.
As Miami-Dade County looks at new ways to re-vitalize the region, create jobs and spur business growth while benefiting residents, the parks system is at the epicenter. In addition to making sure we’re good stewards of the environment, we are committed to ensuring social equity with the right distribution of park facilities and programs throughout the community for people of all ages, sizes, shapes, and income levels.
Most of the parks in Miami-Dade County are anywhere from 50 to 75 years-old. Our beachfront parks were built in the 1930’s and 1940’s and the saltwater intrusion has been wreaking havoc on the system ever since. Our community pools were built in the 1960’s and the early 1970’s. The pipe corrosion from chlorine and the chemicals we use to keep those in balance tear up our pipes. It’s a challenge we face throughout the region. Continue Reading »
By Angel Petisco
Most organizations would be surprised if they understood the vastness of the data they’re sitting on at any given point. But the magic happens when that data, through proper analysis and mining, is converted into useful information.
That’s what we’re doing in Miami-Dade County. Using IBM Big Data analytics we’re able to provide a greater level of service to our residents by bringing together information from more than 35 different municipal government departments and agencies. Sharing information in this way will help us solve traffic congestion challenges, improve law enforcement by helping to solve crimes faster, and reduce water waste improving the county’s stewardship of natural resources. Ultimately, such improvements to our operations will allow us to save significant costs and identify new ways to spur economic growth and job creation. Continue Reading »
By Hon. Carlos A. Gimenez
In Miami-Dade County, what we’ve learned over the years is that municipal agencies work best when they work together. Operating as isolated silos, they are woefully inefficient. The consequences are not just economic, they are also social and cultural, affecting quality of life.
A major event that brings in thousands of visitors to one of our parks, for example, is not just a challenge for the Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department – it could cause traffic that the Department of Transportation must address, or draw crowds that Police must be prepared to manage. There’s no reason why city agencies shouldn’t share information and coordinate responses to major events accordingly.
While many local governments are grappling with service cuts, Miami-Dade County is in a unique position in that our economy has finally returned to growth mode. Still, there is tremendous competition for government resources, and in order to build for the future, we need to spend wisely now. Many of our challenges won’t be overcome by simply throwing money at them. Nor can private enterprise solve our problems alone. There needs to be a partnership between public and private enterprise. Continue Reading »
By Richard Silberman, Writer/Researcher, IBM Communications
When Osamuyimen (Uyi) Stewart left his native Nigeria 23 years ago to attend graduate school at Cambridge University, computer science was still just a concept in Africa. Although Stewart had learned some programming languages in college, he had never actually used a computer to develop an application.
This year, Stewart will return to a very different Africa, moving his family to Nairobi, Kenya to serve as chief scientist at IBM Research-Africa, IBM’s first research lab on the continent. In his new role, which he officially started in August working from the T.J. Watson Research Center in New York, Stewart spearheads innovation for a vast emerging market that is rapidly growing and embracing new technologies.
For Stewart, who previously worked at the IBM Services Innovation Lab and was responsible for technical strategy and program management across eight global labs, his return to Africa is filled with meaning and emotion. Whereas a quarter century ago using an actual computer was just a dream, today Stewart leads development of advanced systems to help solve some of Africa’s most pressing challenges. Continue Reading »
By Ed Cole
Earlier this year, the New York Times ran an article in which it called Nashville, Tennessee – the “it” city.
The coverage was an exciting and complimentary tribute to Nashville as a culturally-rich, fast growing metropolitan region. The Times highlighted the culture with music and trendy restaurants, and the economic health of the region attributing that in part to our, “mix of employers in fields like health care management, religious publishing, car manufacturing and higher education, led by Vanderbilt University.”
For all the accolades in the Times piece, there was mention of a very real problem in our “it” city – the need for better transportation.
How are we going to get to enjoy all the city has to offer, the live music venues, the parks, the museums, or the chic social gatherings, if our roadways are choking with congestion? Continue Reading »
By Nancy Staisey
Recently I was reminded of the first time I went to New York City as a child for a ticker tape parade. What is etched in my memory was the experience of paper shreds and ticker tape snowing down on us as the parade approached.
In that moment, my eyes weren’t on passing cars or heroes, but rather on these little slips of paper covered in numbers and letters. I just couldn’t understand why anyone was throwing all of this data away. It was a snowfall of information that someone thought was worthwhile to print, but not worth saving and using.
Today every one of us produces an avalanche of data. Experts say that the world’s information is doubling every two years, but for many cities, this data is an unrecognized natural resource. This new natural resource can be turned into information and insight that can help transform the way our cities, our country, and our businesses operate. Continue Reading »