IBM pledges $50 million to improve 100 cities

ibm-smarter-cities-challenge-map

IBM announced today that it is launching the Smarter Cities Challenge, a grant program that will help cities better use technology to solve their many problems. IBM has pledged $50 million to help create 100 smarter cities around the world. The cities chosen will have a staff of IBM employees sent to their city to “immerse themselves in local issues involving the administration of healthcare, education, safety, social services, transportation, communications, sustainability, budget management, energy, and utilities.” The team will prioritize the city’s needs and come up with strategies to help.

“Cities are vitally important to society and the economy,” said Stanley S. Litow, IBM vice president of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, and president of IBM’s Foundation. “But they have enormous challenges and need the innovation, creativity and technical know-how to tackle longstanding, tough issues and plan for the future.  We’re excited at the prospect of helping city leaders address the most demanding challenges of our time and make their cities even more liveable.”

The first cities have already been chosen:

  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Austin, Texas
  • Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Katowice, Poland
  • Chengdu, China
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

This grant appears to be less about giving away technology and more about sharing ideas. The teams IBM sends out will collect and analyze data, then make suggestions to the city on how to improve its systems to reduce cost or improve productivity. With only $50 million and 100 cities to smear it around, that leaves about $500,000 per municipality, which will mostly pay for the staff IBM sends, one would guess. Most of the actual solutions will likely be the responsibility of the cities to fund and implement. The upsides for IBM are enormous. It can learn a lot about the urban environment, build a vast network of contacts, and sell many of its products and services to cities.

If you’d like to enter your city into the Smarter Cities Challenge, click here. What do you think of IBM’s plan? Good?

Emerging Tech

Michigan’s former transportation chief has some advice for wannabe smart cities

After 31 years as Michigan’s transportation director, Kirk Steudle has seen it all, particularly with smart city projects. He spoke with Digital Trends recently about what makes smart cities work, and offers advice along the way.
Gaming

The best free-to-play games you can play right now

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Computing

Bing, Windows search evolve into new, cross-platform Microsoft Search

Microsoft is upgrading its various search tools to provide more contextual help for those seeking it. Bing, Office, and Windows search will all be upgraded over the coming months to provide much more nuanced results.
Computing

Buying a laptop on Black Friday? Don't make one of these rookie mistakes

Shopping for a laptop on Black Friday can win you some excellent deals, but you should also avoid making common mistakes. Check out what to avoid when buying a laptop for Black Friday and what danger signs to be wary of.
Computing

The Mac mini's price has crept into iMac territory. So how do they compare?

Apple announced a long-awaited update to the Mac mini. Thanks to the updated specs and increase in price, it's begun to creep up to the base model iMac. In this guide, we now put up the specs on the newest refreshed Mac mini against the…
Computing

Ray tracing not an option until it comes to all graphics cards, says AMD

Although Nvidia already supports the ray tracing feature on its high-end new GeForce Turning series of chips, AMD seemingly hinted it doesn't feel like ray tracing is ready until it comes to all level of graphics cards. 
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Computing

Turn your desk into a command center with the best ultrawide monitors

Top of the line ultrawide monitors have the deepest curves, the sharpest colors, and the biggest screens on the market today. You’re going to want one, sooner or later. So why not sooner? These are the best ultrawide monitors you can buy…
Computing

Best Buy is offering the Google Pixelbook for just $699 on Black Friday

Best Buy's steep $300 price cut on the Pixelbook this holiday represents one of the best prices we've seen on Google's premium Chrome OS hardware. The Pixelbook will be priced at just $699.
Computing

Will Chrome remain our favorite web browser with the arrival of newest version?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.
Computing

AMD Navi: Everything you need to know

With a reported launch in 2019, AMD is focusing on the mid-range market with its next-generation Navi GPU. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles, like Sony's PlayStation 5.
Product Review

The MacBook Air plays the oldies we love, but the band is getting old

We’ve waited for a long time for an update to the MacBook Air, and Apple finally delivered one. With a lot of features ported over from the MacBook Pro, is this new laptop what Apple fans have always wanted?
Deals

Black Friday 2018: The best deals so far

Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it will be here before you know it. If you can't wait until November 23 to start formulating a shopping plan, we've got you covered.