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Texas City Harnessing IBM Technology To Increase Productivity

December 13, 2010

Corpus Christi, Texas is the latest city to join a program which uses IBM-developed software to monitor and improve the management of utilities, infrastructure, and quality of life issues, the computer giant announced on Monday.

The coastal city, which is home to a population of 280,000, joins 300 other cities worldwide–including London, Stockholm, Sydney, Dublin, and Amsterdam, in IBM’s Smarter Cities urban planning initiative which, according to Glenn Chapman of AFP, utilizes “Internet Age tools” to help municipalities “better manage water, trash, parks and more.”

According to an IBM press release, before joining the company’s metropolitan program, each of Corpus Christi’s city-operated departments operated independently, using different procedures for dealing with work requests and maintenance. Now, city officials have started using IBM software, which the company said “helps Corpus Christi city departments and managers know what is happening across the city, when it is happening and who is handling it across the city in real time, and how much the work costs.”

“Corpus Christi is evolving into a more sustainable city–one that has intelligence, foresight and accountability built into the way we manage the services we provide our citizens,” Corpus Christi Administrative Superintendent Steve Klepper said in a statement Monday. “Working with IBM, we have the real-time status of city services, automated work orders and an overview of city’s infrastructure to better manage our resources, as well as better maintain the city’s mission-critical assets.”

One of the ways the company will capitalize on this newly acquired technology is to provide public utility crews with Wi-Fi enabled laptops so they can access schematics of gas pipe locations before digging. Also, according to the press release, they will use software to track sanitation complaints, city park maintenance, public road maintenance, and even helping conserve and provide safer water to the residents of the city, which as of 2006 was the eighth largest in Texas.

“Corpus Christi is setting the bar for how municipalities can use technology to gain intelligence into their departments and systems to operate more efficiently and provide residents with a better place to live,” said Guru Banavar, the CTO of IBM’s Smarter Cities project. “Working with IBM, Corpus Christi city managers are operating smarter and managing their work and crews better.”

“We want to use information to make the planet a better place,” Banavar added in an interview with Chapman, noting that in some areas the technological initiative could possibly increase productivity by as much as two-fold. “We can start solving these problems on the city level, then start connecting cities and scale out across the whole planet.”

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