City of Melbourne joins smarter cities mining Twitter

By The Mandarin

May 14, 2015

The City of Melbourne is to play host to a pro bono team of IBM experts who will help the council make more informed decisions about managing and responding to extreme events.

As one of the 16 successful applicants for the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge, the city will be assisted by a group of up to six consultants, who will meet with organisations, government and businesses over three weeks to gather a diverse perspective on emergency management and response in Melbourne.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said in a statement it was an priceless opportunity to learn:

“We will receive priceless global expertise to work with local leaders to help us improve the way we collect, analyse and act on real-time data about our city.

“We need to communicate effectively with all our communities through every means possible. This project will consider how data from all sources can be better incorporated into our emergency response and recovery efforts.

“This work could help us to improve crowd management during major events such as New Year’s Eve, through to improving safety messaging during extreme events such as heatwaves.”

Meetings will include key stakeholders such as Emergency Management Victoria, not-for-profit organisation 100 Resilient Cities and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Melbourne has also been selected to receive access to deep analysis of Twitter data, along with Memphis and Detroit.

Ben Rimmer, the city’s CEO and former MyGov executive, said:

“Melbourne is one of just three international cities that will be given access to historic and current Twitter data about our city.

“To maintain our position as one of the world’s most liveable cities, we must capitalise on new technologies and insights.

“By refining how we monitor and analyse data from multiple sources we can better harness the power and support of communities during extreme events, and can support communities to build their own resilience.”

IBM Watson Analytics will be used to uncover patterns in Melbourne’s city social media data.

At the conclusion of the engagement, IBM will present a comprehensive set of recommendations to assist the City of Melbourne in planning for extreme events.

The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge was conceived in 2011, with contributions to date valued at over $66 million to 132 cities.

Read more at The Mandarin: Cognitive computing comes to Canberra

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