IBM Teams With Commission on ‘Smart Cape Cod’

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The Cape Cod Commission and IBM have announced a collaboration, dubbed “Smart Cape Cod,” to deploy sophisticated technology for more efficient management of physical infrastructure, protection of natural resources, and enhanced opportunities for economic growth across the region.

This initiative is intended to help Cape Cod execute its Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, which promotes the use of technology solutions for renewable energy, environmental science, and marine/coastal industries, among other regional priorities. It highlights the need to address choke points in physical infrastructure – such as insufficient telecommunications capacity, variable electric power, and lack of wastewater treatment facilities – that limit options for economic development.

“Cape Cod faces significant planning challenges,” said Paul Niedzwiecki, Executive Director of the Cape Cod Commission, “but the solutions can create economic opportunities.  This type of investment creates new jobs, drives economic diversification, and enables efficiencies in government, ultimately providing taxpayers with higher quality services.”

The Commission and IBM, together with regional collaborators, aim to develop and implement a set of pilot projects to demonstrate the value of smart systems that utilize real-time information, connectivity, and advanced analytics for addressing the Cape’s infrastructure.

“We anticipate working closely with the Cape’s renowned research institutions, regional business organizations such as the Cape Cod Chamber and the Cape Cod Technology Council, and our government partners,” Niedzwiecki said. “The Smart Cape Cod initiative will accelerate economic development plans and maximize the benefits of the $40 million investment in the OpenCape(1) broadband network and infrastructure.”

The first phase of the Smart Cape Cod initiative, which will be completed by spring 2011, will focus on designing a Strategic Information Office and a Center of Excellence for Water Resources. The Strategic Information Office will guide the use of data, information, and technology for program management and policy making, developing standards for data management, primary data collection systems, and algorithms for the meshing of data sets. The Center of Excellence for Water Resources will assess critical issues relating to water quality and management, centralizing water information and stimulating technology development needed to monitor and improve water quality and manage water and wastewater.

“Cape Cod’s commitment to deploying a broadband infrastructure, its strong base of academic institutions, its entrepreneurial business community and the critical linkage between environmental management and the region’s economic prosperity all contribute to the region being a natural choice for an innovative project of this nature,” said Sharon Nunes, VP, Smarter Cities Strategy and Solutions, IBM.  “IBM’s vision for a Smarter Planet is to help communities deploy smarter systems that drive tangible benefits in the near term and greater prosperity over the long term.  Fulfillment of this vision hinges on working with forward-thinking communities like Cape Cod to seize new technical capabilities, ingenuity, and coalition-building skills to drive transformative change.”

Cape Cod, a peninsula with 15 towns along 560 miles of Massachusetts shoreline, relies on a sole source aquifer for its drinking water and on its ponds, bays, and coastal zone for much of its economy.  Since the 1970s, the Cape has seen enormous rates of growth in resident and summer populations, causing strain on the region’s infrastructure and natural environment. Data and information, better collected, managed, and disseminated, will inform decision making to help retain the region’s assets and vitality.

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