Big Blue gives metros smart edge
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Back in 2010, American tech major IBM was declared the largest private sector employer after Tata Consultancy Services in India. Big Blue is also the largest player in the domestic IT market; it aggressively competes with homegrown tech companies like TCS, Wipro and Infosys for government projects and has managed to corner a substantial share of the government pie. So this was the perfect scenario for a tech behemoth like IBM to venture into what they call 'smarter cities.' It brought the smarter planet concept to India in 2010 and today, it has over 20 projects under IBM smarter cities initiatives. To name a few cities among them are Delhi, Pune and Bangalore. IBM India is also working with Konkan Railways, Jet Airways, Wave City and DLF in the country.
At present, the focus is primarily on India's metros, says Sandesh Bhat, vice-president, India Software Lab, IBM India. "The larger cities in India are in an urgent need for better management. We identified all the pain points in metro cities like traffic congestion, water supply management etc. And today we have thousands of engineers in five cities in India that are spread in our different labs. Out of them, 400 of our engineers are dedicated to solving the problems in cities," he adds.
What are smarter cities and what are the problems that IBM is solving? Dhamodaran Ramakrishnan, director, Smarter Planet Solutions, IBM India/South, explains: "IBM is seeing good traction for its solutions in areas like traffic management, water management, crisis and disaster management." IBM India is also running pilots in some cities where it is trying to ease traffic congestion.
Bhat reveals that IBM has pilot projects in two major metros to identify different traffic control methods. He explains what the company did, "We took a 5 km road as a case study and we realised that 2000 litres of fuel can be saved everyday by using our solutions. We can achieve this by maneuvering the traffic better. Even 10% of the commuting time can be saved for individuals." IBM implemented this pilot project last year in India.
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