Townsville cho­sen for IBM grant

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Alexis Gill­ham alexis. gill­ham@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

TOWNSVILLE has been cho­sen as the first city in Aus­tralia – and one of just 100 world­wide – to re­ceive a $ 500,000 grant from global tech­nol­ogy gi­ant IBM.

The Smarter Cities Chal­lenge pro­gram will pro­vide ex­clu­sive ac­cess to IBM’s top ex­perts to an­a­lyse and rec­om­mend ways to sup­port the city’s ex­ist­ing sus­tain­able ini­tia­tives as well as pro­vide the skills to po­ten­tially de­velop new tech­nol­ogy that would fur­ther the city’s push to be en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious.

Coun­cil In­te­grated Sus­tain­abil­ity Ser­vices ex­ec­u­tive man­ager Greg Bruce said em­brac­ing new tech­nolo­gies was the key to the re­gion’s con­tin­ued push for city-wide be­hav­iour change in sus­tain­abil­ity.

‘‘ Now with this grant, we want to take that to the next level and ex­plore pos­si­bil­i­ties for de­vel­op­ing and us­ing things such as iPhone ap­pli­ca­tions that re­mind house­hold­ers to turn off their elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances as well as home and so­cial net­work­ing tools that can put you in touch with peo­ple in your neigh­bour­hood who want to car pool,’’ Mr Bruce said.

‘‘ Imag­ine a cool pub­lic place where a shady um­brella with so­lar pan­els on it can power peo­ple’s lap­tops and wi-fi.

‘‘ We’re pretty con­fi­dent that if we can learn how to con­nect to the com­mu­nity in new ways, it’s go­ing to re­ally move the city for­ward as a world leader in sus­tain­able ini­tia­tives.’’

The IBM Smarter Cities Chal­lenge is a com­pet­i­tive grant pro­gram in which IBM is award­ing a to­tal of $ 50 mil­lion worth of tech­nol­ogy and ser­vices to 100 cities world­wide over the next three years.

IBM Aus­tralia Smarter Cities ex­ec­u­tive Cather­ine Caru­ana-Mc­Manus said 24 cities had been named so far in­clud­ing Helsinki, Jakarta, Mil­wau­kee, Nice, Rio de Janeiro as well as Sap­poro in Ja­pan.

‘‘ We se­lected Townsville be­cause of its com­mit­ment to the use of data to make bet­ter de­ci­sions, and for its de­sire to ex­plore and act on smarter so­lu­tions for their most press­ing con­cerns,’’ she said.

‘‘ The cities we picked are ea­ger to im­ple­ment pro­grams that tan­gi­bly im­prove the qual­ity of life in their ar­eas, and to cre­ate road maps for other cities to fol­low.’’

Townsville Mayor Les Tyrell said the pro­gram would tie in the city’s ex­ist­ing prac­tices and projects in­clud­ing the So­lar City ini­tia­tive and the Er­gon En­ergy-led Smart Grid bid, and would i n c o r p o r a t e p r o j e c t s i n c l u d i n g Cop­per­String and the Na­tional Broad­band Net­work roll­out.

‘‘ This is a mon­u­men­tal op­por­tu­nity to po­si­tion Townsville as a worldleader for en­vi­ron­men­tal change,’’ Cr Tyrell said

‘‘ Our key staff have re­ally thought out­side the square on this one and have come up with ideas to use ex­ist­ing tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing so­cial net­work­ing to en­act change, as well as po­ten­tially have a hand in the de­vel­op­ment of new pro­grams and ap­pli­ca­tions.’’

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