One of the reasons that municipalities specifically, and companies in general, operate so inefficiently is that they don't have a holistic view of the way their equipment is being used. And while many organizations have IT tools in place to help manage those assets, they rarely use them effectively.
As part of its Smarter Planet campaign, IBM today is holding the latest in a series of Smarter Cities events during which it will announce that the City of Chesapeake, Va., is standardizing on IBM's Maximo asset-management software to monitor and manage its physical assets.
According to Bill Sawyer, vice president of operations for IBM Maximo software, the core concept that IBM is trying to drive is that to be smarter about how an organization deploys its assets, it first has to be able to coordinate how they are used. That means monitoring those assets using a common management framework that not only reduces software-licensing costs, but also allow organizations to make more intelligent decisions about how services are delivered.
For instance, says Sawyer, a city can use Maximo to discover that multiple departments have scheduled construction work for the same area. Instead of digging up that area twice, the Maximo software would alert city planners so these two projects can be coordinated.
As part of its Smarter Planet push, IBM has advocating deploying sensors everywhere to gather as much data as possible. That data would then be fed back into applications that over time can use that information to make predictions about certain events.
IBM, which acquired Maximo in 2007, sees the once-sleepy asset-management category as a critical lynchpin in its effort to modernize municipalities by, among other things, using IT to improve traffic patterns, improve public safety and distribute electricity more efficiently.