!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: IBM's Smarter Cities Predictive Idea Markets

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

IBM's Smarter Cities Predictive Idea Markets

One of the companies offering a platform for organizations wishing to set up prediction markets — Spigit — has partnered with IBM to run a series of prediction markets related to IBM's Smarter Cities initiative.

According to IBM,
SmarterCities is an integrated, multi-year program [that] is part of IBM's smarter planet agenda. The program was created to bolster economic vitality and the quality of life in cities and metropolitan areas by sparking new thinking and meaningful action across the city ecosystem — from mayors to citizens.
Hutch Carpenter of Spigit has provided a good overview of Smarter Cities in a blog post.

Once you have learned about the context — from reading Carpenter's post and/or browsing the Smarter Cities website — you can home in on the twenty questions for which IBM has set up prediction markets. For convenience, I've reproduced the questions below (lightly edited), along with the answers people are being asked to assign probabilities to. (The markets close on September 13 at 11:59 pm.)

The aforementioned probabilities are expressed in terms of the portion of an allotment of 100 tokens that a particular market participant decides to "invest" in each option for a particular question.

For example, for the first question below, a participant might invest 20 tokens in the first option, 30 in the second, 20 in the third, 15 in the fourth, and 15 in the fifth. This would indicate that she thinks the second option is most likely to improve education outcomes, the first and the third are somewhat less likely to do so, and the fourth and the firth are least likely to help.

The Smarter Cities questions ...


Which approach will be most effective in enabling better education outcomes within a major city?
  • Provide real-time information on student achievement to teachers

  • Provide individualized lesson plans and activities using digital educational content

  • Enable digital devices and access for students at home

  • Provide online teacher training and collaboration capabilities

  • Foster shared services and best practice exchange across school districts and higher educational institutions
In order to increase the proportion of the population completing high school by 10% over the next five years, major cities will begin transforming education in what way?
  • Provide an educational experience that combines traditional classroom learning with hands-on experience outside of the classroom (e.g., internships in museums and cultural institutions, media experiences, volunteer work, etc.)

  • Increase the use of online and/or remote education to increase access to a wide range of course offerings

  • Invest in health and social services that are integrated with education to assure students are prepared to participate fully in school

  • Decentralize decision making to the school level (for budget, hiring, curriculum, teacher training, etc.) and equip schools with decision-support and analysis technologies

  • Strengthen accountability for academic standards, curriculum, teacher quality, and allocation of resources at the City/Mayoral level to assure quality and equity of services, economies of scale and a broader range of services


Which company offers the best portfolio regarding Smarter Transportation?
  • IBM

  • Telvent

  • Siemens

  • Accenture

  • none of the above
In a major city, what will need to be improved in order to make transportation more efficient?
  • Public safety

  • The utility grid

  • Emergency healthcare services

  • University and school location planning

  • Government services (such as subway ticketing systems, road charging,
    department of motor vehicle system, etc.)
What enhancement can a major city make over the next year to be a global technology leader in public transportation?
  • Allow users to pay for transportation service (tolls, trains, buses, taxis, parking) through mobile devices

  • Launch citywide social networks for citizens to report conditions of roads, accidents, air quality, etc., to government and other citizens

  • Embed sensors in city infrastructure, utilities, and public transportation to monitor traffic violations, air quality levels, people congestion, etc.

  • Implement traffic modeling and prediction technology to inform transportation network operators and travelers of upcoming traffic conditions and route alternatives incorporating all modes of transportation

  • Faster public transportation that connects a major city with its suburbs
What transportation enhancement will a major city, like New York, need to make to relieve its traffic congestion?
  • Impose congestion fees for travel into the city based on city zones and time of the day

  • Integrate mobile devices with pay systems to pay for all types of road charging to avoid bottlenecks

  • Launch real-time social network systems that track and share traffic-related data with all citizens, offering choice of alternate routes

  • Increase transportation capacity by improving infrastructure (build more roads, bridges, and tunnels) and services (bus and train)

  • Implement a real-time parking system with highly accurate information to avoid traffic generated by circling for a parking spot


Which of the following will be the most important to the rapid deployment and adoption of Smart Grids?
  • Acceleration of the government stimulus programs

  • Alignment of objectives with regulators and policy makers

  • Technology maturity
Over the next five years, what changes should a major city first implement to reduce energy waste and use its resources efficiently?
  • Decentralize power generation so energy is close to point of use

  • "Instrument" demand and supply through smart meters [i.e., install meters that enable electricity customers to monitor their usage, with a view both to conserving and to shifting usage from peak to off-peak times]

  • Develop new energy models using renewable energy
Which of the following will reduce household energy consumption the most within a major city like New York?
  • Implement metering to furnish citizens usage statistics

  • Generate awareness and share tips related to energy consumption and waste

  • Promote energy-efficient appliances
Which of the following should be a primary objective for a major city over the next five years?
  • Become a low-carbon city (e.g., Chicago, Malaga)

  • Implement a smart grid (e.g., Malta)

  • Become a zero waste eco-city (e.g., Masdar)

Government Services

The current economic crisis will change plans for high priority projects in a major city in which way over the next few years?
  • High priority improvement projects will continue without any significant changes.

  • High priority improvement projects will be adjusted to make use of economic stimulus dollars to prioritize which get addressed first.

  • High priority improvement projects will be delayed until the economy improves and tax revenues recover.
If you were a mayor of a major city, which method would you use to assess the needs of your city, the business community and your citizens?
  • Comparisons to other cities on key metrics

  • Conducting surveys of business needs through your chamber of commerce

  • Surveying the needs of citizens through websites, email, or snail mail
In 2011, what will be the primary method for citizens to communicate with their smarter city governments?
  • Automated call centers (such as 311 service in New York City)

  • Internet Website (via forms)

  • Text messaging services (such as tweeting, instant messaging, etc.)

  • Automated sensor devices without human involvement

  • Visiting government offices
What immediate step should a major city government take over the next year to emerge as a leader in e-governance?
  • Provide a social platform to enable two-way communication between citizens and government

  • Model, analyze and predict changes to all parts of a city via a “dashboard” for decision support made available to businesses and citizens

  • Integrate a digital experience via mobile devices across the city (e.g., subway tickets, department of motor vehicle forms and processes, museums and cultural events, etc.)

Public Safety

Over the next five years, what transformation will large cities make to their public safety systems to reduce the physical/personal crime rate against people, property, and infrastructure by half (50%)?
  • Actively involve communities in data collection, neighborhood watch, and crime reporting

  • Deploy more police resources

  • Install widespread video surveillance to monitor crime and enhance situational awareness

  • Standardize data formats for smarter crime analysis, enabling faster response and predictive capabilities for crime hotspots and upswings

  • Integrate public safety systems with other relevant sub-systems, such as healthcare, transportation, and education, to monitor emergencies and anomalies
If a large city wants to improve its overall public safety position (i.e. reducing traffic fatalities, decreasing gang violence, improving emergency response capabilities), in which public safety area (or related “city sub-system”) should it target investment over the next year?
  • Transportation and highway infrastructure improvements

  • Education and after-school activities

  • Interoperable communications

  • Video surveillance to monitor activity

  • Crime analytics to more effectively deploy resources


Which of the following sub-system improvements will be most effective in providing immediate benefit to healthcare delivery for citizens in a leading smarter city?
  • Traditional education combined with services like healthcare

  • Consolidated view of public safety information (e.g., crime and surveillance, pandemic outbreaks, accidents, etc.)

  • A means to enable interactive communication or exchange of information electronically between citizens and healthcare systems

  • Green energy practices to reduce pollution and improve air quality

  • Deployment of technologies for remote diagnostics, etc., that will enable access to basic healthcare for all a city’s citizens
Over the next five years, what will major city hospitals do to increase efficiency and deliver better quality healthcare to citizens?
  • Adopt an electronic means of capturing patient information

  • Implement social collaboration tools for staff (such as instant messaging, wikis, social network sites, etc.)

  • Allow patient access to their electronic records and [electronic?] patient interaction with their care-givers

  • Increase the use of technology-assisted medical procedures by half (50%)


What are the top challenges large cities (population over 5 million) in emerging markets will face during the next five years?
  • Inadequate utilities (electricity, telecommunications and water)

  • Inadequate social services (healthcare, education)

  • Poor public safety / inadequate police, fire, and emergency services

  • Inadequate transport infrastructure (roads, rail, air)
What region will recover most quickly from the current global economic crisis?
  • Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Russia

  • Latin America

  • East Asia and the Pacific

  • South Asia

  • The Middle East, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa