What is the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge?
The Smarter Cities Challenge is a competitive grant program awarding $50 million worth of technology and services over the next 3 years to 100 cities around the globe. These grants are designed to address the wide range of financial and infrastructure challenges facing cities today. For more information on the IBM Challenge visit the IBM website.
What does it mean for Townsville?
Townsville was one of just 24 cities world wide to receive the grant ($ 400,000 US worth of in-kind expertise and technology) and the only city in Oceania (Australia, New Zealand and Western Pacific). IBM is proposing that ultimately they will have supported 100 cities world wide in the course of their philanthropic grant program and Smarter Cities Challenge.
Six executives from IBM involved in the worldwide Smarter Cities and Smarter Planet initiative will be residing in Townsville to work with Council, business and community project partners. The IBM Smarter Cities program will fill the significant gap in how new and innovative sustainable behaviour programs can incorporate smart technologies that leverage Townsville City Council programs and activities.
Partnering with IBM through their cutting-edge social media program will bring forward the goals that the city is committed to achieve. Townsville is ripe to be positioned as a leader in sustainable community practices and a pilot for how the world can achieve a vision of being a greener and better place for us all.
There are a number of city wide sustainability projects and activities forming partnerships between Ergon Energy, consortium/business partners and Council which link with the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge project:
- Townsville Solar City and Citysolar Community Capacity Building - solar technology demonstrations, energy innovations and behaviour change.
- Townsville Energy Demand Management Pilot - a multi stakeholder energy demand management program that focuses on reducing demand in business environments.
- CBD District Cooling Proposal - Ergon Energy led project aiming to reduce energy consumption in major premises in the CBD area in partnership with Carbon Trust Australia, Townsville City Council and other organisations.
- IBM Smarter Cities Challenge to work with Council and community-business partners to integrate and communicate city energy use, leverage NBN, environmental products and services and foster sustainable behaviour.
The Townsville City Council IBM project is congruent with a new Ergon Energy program - Townsville Energy Sense Community. This project will integrate a range of new and existing energy demand management initiatives in Townsville and pilot innovations in smart grid, smart assets and smart communities in synergy with Townsville City Council and IBM Smarter Cities Challenge. This project follows on from the earlier Smart Grid, Smart City Commonwealth funding bid.