Venice and IBM Announce Smarter Cities Initiative

VENICE, Italy /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- IBM announced it is working with the City of Venice on a mobile phone-based pilot initiative to guide tourists to discover lesser known parts of the city, provide instant information on historical sites, and prevent walking jams.

Using a new free Wi-Fi network provided by Venice throughout the city, visitors with a Wi-Fi-enabled mobile device can download an application called TagMyLagoon.

Passive sensors have been placed at select locations around the city by the Association of Tourist Guides of Venice, denoting points of interest. Users simply take a picture of these places of interest with their mobile phone, automatically enabling the system to provide contextual information and prompts to the visitor.

TagMyLagoon is a project that embodies the IBM Smarter Planet vision. Users can interact with sensors and devices that put them in connection with people, physical locations, and information, using the Internet and Wi-Fi network in entirely new ways.

"With more than 20 million visitors a year, one of the world's most famous cities is also facing increasing pollution, mounting pressure on a fragile ecosystem, and an urgent need to manage the flow of visitors," said Michele Vianello, Vice Mayor of Venice. "Working with IBM, we hope that the TagMyLagoon project will help to address some of the challenges we are facing and make the city smarter and more efficient by using existing infrastructure to optimize our resources."

Elsewhere, IBM is working with many other authorities on smarter systems. The cities of Singapore, Brisbane, and Stockholm are all working to reduce both congestion and pollution through intelligent transport solutions. These solutions and many more are making a real impact today, the first step toward creating a true smart city.

"It is vital for the future that we transform our cities into accessible, dynamic, thriving communities," said Luciano Martucci, President of IBM Italy. "In cities like Venice, a world heritage site, technology can make the local systems and existing infrastructure smarter and create benefits directly related to improving the quality of life for all its citizens and promote the historical and cultural heritage, in a cost-effective way."

The project runs for three months, from July 3 to October 3, 2009. Once the pilot is completed, IBM and the City of Venice will use the project results to evaluate extending the solution.

For additional resources for press on today's news, please visit the IBM Press Room.

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