IBM, as part of their ’big ideas for a smarter planet’ initiative, has designed a solution to help cities gain this holistic view of infrastructure information on which to make more timely decisions and manage incidents. The system allows the visualisation of assets, with built-in route planning and optimisation capabilities so different operations can be bundled, taking into account higher priorities and fitting in lower priority orders in their vicinity for improved work order optimisation. This approach can save time by minimising travel and pre-empting maintenance, as well as reducing labour costs. So with water and energy as the fundamental building blocks for an urban environment any city looking to grow must make sure that these grids will be able to cope.
A good example of a city that has got this right is Shanghai, which has grown enormously since the 1990s, but right from the start the authorities have understood the need to provide the necessary water supply, waste water treatment and sanitation to foster the growth of an environment attractive to commerce, industry and the population at large.
Improved infrastructure management that includes real-time information provides benefits all-round by reducing the number of callouts and focusing on a more preventative maintenance strategy. Already 250,000 organisations worldwide are using predictive analytics to drive smarter decision making on their urban systems. This holistic point of view on which to base decisions means a city’s infrastructure will be more efficient, cheaper and there will be a greater awareness of environmental considerations in the future – good news all round.