IBM is awarding 16 municipalities grants through its Smarter Cities Challenge program. The program will send teams of company experts to 16 municipalities around the world through 2016 to help cities with issues ranging from jobs creation, transportation, and public safety, to healthcare, revenue, social services, and public works.
More than 100 cities applied for the grants. Each consulting engagement has a commercial value of USD $500,000.
For the first time, in addition to providing pro bono consulting services, the company will use IBM Watson to uncover trends in city data. This might include studying travel patterns, public health, or the effects of man-made and weather events.
Also for the first time, three of the winning cities — Detroit, Melbourne, and Memphis — will receive access to historic and current Twitter data pertaining to their cities.
Past smart cities participants have secured government funding for wireless projects to make 4G services available on buses, created mobile food markets in underserved neighborhoods to address local health challenges, and have launched clean water initiatives.
In the US, Knoxville, Tennessee in the U.S. secured USD $7.12 million to insulate 615 local homes and boost energy efficiency education. Houston, Texas also created an online portal where residents can tap into resources to enhance education and public safety.
The slate of winners for this cycle include:
Denver, United States
Detroit, United States
Memphis, United States
Rochester, New York, United States
San Isidro, Peru