SAO PAULO and ARMONK, N.Y.,- The city government and IBM (NYSE: IBM) signed an agreement to build a public information management center for Rio de Janeiro. The Rio Operations Center, which will be located in Cidade Nova, will integrate and interconnect information from multiple government departments and public agencies in the municipality to improve city safety and responsiveness to various types of incidents, such as flash floods and landslides.
Additionally, as part of the agreement, IBM Research scientists will develop a high-resolution weather forecasting and hydrological modeling system (PMAR) for Rio de Janeiro, which can predict heavy rains up to 48 hours in advance. A major project for IBM's ninth Research Lab -- recently opened in Brazil -- the effort will build upon and advance technologies created by IBM Research labs around the world.
The mission of the Rio Operations Center - which will be opened on December 31- is to consolidate data from various urban systems for real-time visualization, monitoring and analysis. The system was designed initially for forecasting floods and related emergencies, but it is extensible to any event occurring in the city - be it the Reveillon Party at Copacabana beach, the exit of fans from a soccer match at the Maracana or a traffic accident. The Center will enable city leaders to make decisions in emergency situations based on real-time information.
This initiative is part of IBM's global strategy to develop technology-based solutions to help cities become smarter. Similar projects have already been implemented in New York City and Gauteng in South Africa, but this is the first center in the world that will integrate all the stages of a crisis management situation: from the prediction, mitigation and preparedness, to the immediate response to events, and finally to capture feedback from the system to be used in future incidents. Other partners engaged in the construction of this Center are Cisco, Cyrela, Facilities, Malwee, Oi and Samsung.
The idea is that the Center will continuously evolve to integrate more city departments and information. "We are creating a foundational IT platform that will soon be able to gather data on all incidents and events occurring in the city," said Pedro Almeida, Smarter Cities Director for IBM Brazil.
The PMAR will initiate its operations in the first half of 2011 and will be key to Rio's Operation Center. With the goal of increasing the accuracy of weather forecasts to evaluate and predict effects on the city, the system will be based on a unified mathematical model of Rio, involving the gathering of data from the river basin, topographic surveys, the municipality's historical rainfall logs, and radar feeds. The system will be able to predict rain and possible flash floods, and over time will also be able to evaluate the effects on city traffic.
On November 9-10, 2011, IBM Chairman, President and CEO Samuel J. Palmisano and Mayor Eduardo Paes will convene forward-thinking leaders in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the fourth regional Smarter Cities Forum. With a special focus on Latin America and the world's growth markets, IBM will continue the discussions started in Berlin, New York and Shanghai to examine real-world approaches on how cities can tackle serious urban issues and improve the quality of life of their citizens.