Ian Abbott Donnelly: visualising solutions for smart cities

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Ian Abbott DonnellyIan Abbott Donnelly, European CTO Smart Cities, IBM

Cities are systems of systems, with things interacting in interesting ways. How do we work with them to make things better. Smart cities aren’t about growth – they’re about prosperity.

They’re about making insightful decisions, predicting problems, and co-ordinating resources to operate effectively.

Peterborough is one of the UK”s leading cities for sustainability. They’re gathering huge amounts of data, but very little of its is being sued by business or public sector decision makers. So they’re trying to produce it in new forms. They create visualisations to make the information more accessible. For exampe – a visualisation of water meter use.

Walkscore.com – allows you to figure out how many services are accessible without a car.

They’ve mapped and visualised the green tech cluster in the city.

It doesn’t need to be complex data analysis – just visualising the size of the landfill hole – and how full it is – makes it clear what the scale of the problem is.

A group of IBM people’s expertise was given to Glasgow to help explore the issue of fuel poverty. They came up with 60 ideas for improving the situation. Visualise the ares that are a problem – you can target them easily, and get the most return for your investment.

Intelligent Operations Centre for Cities – you run air traffic control 24/7, not by a strategic plan. Why not cities? IBM has software that allows you to do that. It pulls together data and social networking, allowing you to connect to the right people once you’ve found an issue. It’s the ability to be resilient and adaptable is what a city needs.

Water management used to be about people in vans, driving around and fixing things. That doesn’t scale over time or space. Now they use analytics, allowing you to spot emergencies, anomalies, and issues. You can do small fixes on the way to big fixes, optimising both daily routines, and emergency response.

They’re working in Dublin to deal with traffic problems. Traffic prediction analysis is starting to become viable. It’s over the next hour, and allows you to respond to situations.


ibmplanningsmart citiesurban designvisualisation

Adam Tinworth Twitter

Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.