Smart Ideas for Smarter Cities: IBM Leads the Way

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Every city, whether a major or growth market, has unique needs. One of those emerging needs is sustainability, which means meeting the needs of today's and future generations through a much-improved relationship with nature. Since 2000, governments globally have provided tax incentives and developed a form of currency known as carbon credits, which has encouraged more environmentally responsible forms of business and manufacturing. Working in tandem has been the growing consumer demand for sustainable products and services; sustainability has become popular, a form of branding that is internationally recognised. Now, it is hard not to find a product, service or organisation that is not sustainable in some way or other, including billboards.

Imagine passing a billboard that doubles as a rain shelter or a bench?! Well, IBM has created a set of adverts that not only promote the company, but also help people passing the advertising boards. This idea comes under its smart cities initiative that proposes ways for its products to help us run our cities more efficiently. For its Smart Ideas for Smarter Cities campaign, IBM teamed up with Ogilvy and Mather to create adverts with three different functions: a bench, a shelter from the rain and a ramp for stairs. The idea has already won Ogilvy and Mather a Grand Prix award at the Cannes Lions Festival; the billboards are currently located in London and Paris.

IBM believes that infrastructure, operations and people make a city, that a city is an interconnected system of systems, and that smarter cities drive sustainable economic growth and prosperity for their citizens. As demands grow and budgets tighten, solutions also have to be smarter and address the city as a whole. Plus, the better the health of a city’s citizens, the stronger is its economic vitality. IBM’s Smarter Care uncovers valuable insights into lifestyle choices, social determinants and clinical factors, enabling holistic and individualised care to optimise outcomes and lower costs.

Susan Westre, IBM's executive creative director, says, “We were looking for an idea that reached regular citizens as well as city leaders. That’s how outdoor became the medium. IBM is a strong believer in providing ‘utility’ in its communications from offering useful information and facts to educational experiences.” By just getting this idea out to the world, IBM hopes it will inspire others to think about how they can innovate, make, or do something that makes life a bit better in cities. Businesses like IBM are making big investments in sustainability because it is seen as commercially lucrative. By actively reducing costs from energy saving measures and increasing their markets by making associations with other green organisations, corporations are doing well commercially. As a result,sustainable innovation is now directed towards maintaining market shares, capturing long-term markets and now, a billboard coming to you.

Photo Credit: Ogilvy & Mather Facebook Page