Smart Cities Getting Big-Picture Treatment for Energy, Water in Ireland and Germany



Photo by tallkev via Flickr CC

Looking at a city from a big-picture perspective is important for making them smarter. It's one thing to incorporate a smart grid into a city. But realistically, we need to be looking at smart energy, smart water, smart transportation and so on so that urban areas are as efficient as possible, reducing carbon emissions, waste, pollution and congestion and making the inhabitants just flat out happier. That's why it's exciting news to see more cities already getting the big-picture treatment. IBM is creating a Smarter Cities Technology Center in Dublin, Ireland to improve operational systems such as transport, communication, water and energy. And Erding, Germany, is instituting a pilot program with GE to manage power, water and gas simultaneously. IBM announced first Smarter Cities Technology Center. Located in Dublin, Ireland, IBM is creating a cross-disciplinary team to help not only Dublin, but cities across the globe understand and connect their operational systems. This way, energy, telecommunications, water, transportation and other core systems will run intelligently.

The center is also great for local jobs, creating 200 new roles in an IDA Ireland for people researching, developing and commercializing new ways of making city systems more connected, sustainable and intelligent.

"Researchers at the new Centre will investigate how advanced analytics and visualisation techniques coupled with solutions such as Cloud, stream, and high performance computing, can help city authorities make optimal use of resources and so meet the challenges of our increasingly urbanised world," said Dr. Katherine Frase, Vice President, Industry Solutions and Emerging Business at IBM Research.

It's not just Ireland getting attention. In Germany, GE is moving forward on interconnected systems in a new pilot program. Smartmeters reports the pilot city has 33,000 residents, and it is just one of many towns that are starting to take a community stake in multi-fuel utilities, water, district heating, transport and communications.

Walter Huber, general manager of Stadtwerke Erding, said, "We are developing a complete picture of our energy and resource usage to help us become more efficient providers and consumers of energy. What we are learning will help us formulate practical, effective and timely programs to reduce our carbon footprint without sacrificing lifestyle."

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GE is installing smart meters that are connected to a central office, and they'll provide data to optimize usage efficiency and minimizing waste. What's great is the information is not based just on electricity use alone. Rather, the project is looking at whole systems and using the information to create a complete picture of utility consumption and carbon consequences. This means we're finally getting smarter about smarter cities. And more importantly, they're spreading.

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Tags: Energy Efficiency | Germany | Ireland | Water Crisis

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