Building a smarter planet: Smarter cities

Wednesday 11th August 2010, 6:30 pm.

Speaker: Daniel Cohen, General Manager, Barclays Integrated Account, IBM.

University of Edinburgh Informatics Forum, 10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AB - map (click on Informatics Forum in the list of buildings).


Building a smarter planet: Smarter cities. IBM presented its view on how interconnected technologies are changing the way the world works to BCS Edinburgh back in 2009. Smarter planet encapsulates the systems and processes that enable: physical goods to be developed, manufactured, bought and sold; services to be delivered; everything from people and money to oil, water and electrons to move; and billions of people to work, govern themselves and live. We see a smarter city as an urban development that employs instrumentation, interconnection, and intelligence to provide awareness of and coordinated responsiveness to activities and events within the city. These capabilities enable the people and the local industry to benefit from a great place to live, work, and run a business. A city that is adaptive, collaborative, efficient, personalized, secure, supportive, and sustainable.

Why the need for smarter cities:

In looking at the world’s population, in 1900, only 13% of the world's population lived in cities. In 2007, for the first time in history, the majority of the world’s population—3.3 billion people—lived in cities. By 2050, that number will have risen to 70% of the Earth’s total population. We are adding the equivalent of seven New York’s to the planet every year.

This unprecedented urbanization is both an emblem of our economic and societal progress—especially for the world's emerging nations—and a huge strain on the planet's infrastructure. It's a challenge felt urgently by mayors, heads of economic development, school administrators, police chiefs and other civic and business leaders.

An urbanizing world means cities must gain greater control over their development, economically and politically.

What is needed: A new level of smart intelligence to how the world works — how every person, business, organization, government, natural system, and man-made system interacts. Each interaction represents a chance to do something better, more efficiently, and more productively. But more than that, as the systems of the planet become smart, we have a chance to open up meaningful new possibilities for progress.

The opportunity: As before, smart airports, smart banks, smart roadways, smart cities – with so much technology available at such a low cost, the list of possibilities is endless.

The clock is ticking, new models emerge, new winners, new losers, new leaders new laggards appear and disappear in great numbers. IT plays a critical part, but leadership must embrace technology and support its application to real world problems. The investment spend by countries and cities will be huge, but as ever the winners and survivors must embrace these new dynamics.

We know we are all now connected – economically, technically and socially. But being connected is not sufficient. We also have to infuse intelligence into our systems and ways of working. The world has become flatter and smaller, cities are now becoming smarter.

Dan will introduce smarter planet, show the emergence of smarter cities, explore opportunities for businesses and individuals. Dan will show real life examples of what is happening today but above all else show that much more needs to be done and everyone can participate.

About the speaker


Dan Cohen is General Manager of The Barclays Integrated Account, responsible for leveraging all products and services in the IBM portfolio for the mutual benefit of Barclays and IBM. He is accountable for customer satisfaction, revenue and profit associated with the worldwide business

Previously, Dan held the position of Vice-President for IBM’s Finance Sector Accounts across all of Greater China. Dan drove high client satisfaction and record growth whilst implementing transformational change in the management team. This increased morale to record highs across the geography while changing over 80% of the management team over a 2 year period. For 6 years prior to that, Dan help the role of Managing Director for The Royal Bank of Scotland Account and drove record results and turning around the relationship. The team achieved Supplier of the Year within 2 years.

Dan’s 25 year career, has spanned 4 international assignments over 12 of those years. Previous experience cuts across almost all of IBM’s business units including products and outsourcing services across multiple cultures in the U.S., EMEA and Asia Pacific

He has invested a great deal of time in pro-bono work at board and practitioner level including Board positions at The International School of Beijing, Prince’s Trust Edinburgh, Chemocare, Volunteer Development Scotland and The Trenton Women and Children’s Shelter to name a few.

Dan holds a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Emory University. He lives with his wife, Jennifer and children Alexander, Julia and Jack in the UK.

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