The growth of smart cities – and whether or not SA cities are keeping pace with their global counterparts – will be in the spotlight at the 43rd annual SAPOA International Convention and Property Exhibition, sponsored by Nedbank Corporate Property Finance, taking place in Cape Town in May.
In the spirit of the Convention’s theme of Innovation, Recovery, Opportunities, Guruduth Banavar, vice president and chief technology officer at IBM’s Global Public Sector, will speak not only about smart cities, but also about how to measure the progress of cities, how cities can drive a prosperous and sustainable future, and how cities can make more effective use of technology to accomplish these goals.
“Cities today are dealing with severe demands to increase safety, efficiency, and sustainability as well as improve infrastructure and services to manage their ever-increasing population growth,” said Banavar. “In my role at IBM, I work with cities worldwide to address these challenges, and develop technology-based solutions and best practices to help them achieve their goals.”
Pointing to A vision of smarter cities, a recent report published by the IBM Institute for Business Value, Banavar challenges cities to ask the tough questions and, in doing so, find the most effective interventions.
“What if cities could reduce crime and react faster to public safety threats by analyzing information in real time? Or predict traffic patterns to manage congestion better?” he asks, adding that cities are already achieving these goals.
In the United States capital of Washington, D.C., the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) is working with IBM to create a smarter water system that analyzes data on valves, storm drains, service vehicles, truck routes, and more to optimize its infrastructure and maintain high service levels. IBM is collaborating with the City of Rio de Janeiro to create the Rio Operations Center where data from various urban systems are combined for real-time visualization, monitoring and analysis to improve safety and emergency responsiveness. In addition to a weather monitoring system that helps predict and manage potential natural disasters, the center will also help the city prepare for large-scale events, such as the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.
Banavar will deliver a keynote address on IBM Smarter Cities at the Convention, followed by Airports Company of SA CEO Monhla Hlahla who will examine the case of SA cities. Both speakers will then participate in a panel discussion entitled: Smart cities.
Neil Gopal, CEO of SAPOA notes the importance of a well functioning city administration is of utmost importance to the property industry.
Other international speakers scheduled to present at the Convention include Robert Grossman, head of the Strategy and Operations practice at Deloitte Consulting LLP in New York; Henry Chamberlain, president and chief operating officer of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) in Washington, DC and Futurist David Houle.