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A smarter, safer Rio


The 21st century will be the first century in the history of humanity to be an urban century. Within the next decades, millions more people, in the hope of finding wealth and prosperity, will continue migrating to urban environments.

The era of the “Smart city” dawns upon us, whereby cities will be obliged to further integrate their services and departments to handle an ever growing population mass and ensure their safety and well-being.

Rio de Janeiro is one of the first cities to tackle this problem with the Rio Operations Center, located in the neighbourhood of Cidade Nova. Built in collaboration with IBM, the Center integrates and interconnects information from over 30 government departments and public agencies in the municipality to improve city safety and responsiveness to various types of incidents, including locally critical flash floods and landslides.

As part of the project, IBM Research has developed for Rio a high-resolution weather forecasting system (PMAR), which can predict heavy rains up to 48 hours in advance. Using this advanced technology, the Center provides city leaders with granular and highly accurate data about severe weather events to enable quick decision-making that improves emergency response and mitigates impact.

The idea is that the Center will continuously evolve to integrate more city departments and information. “We are creating a foundational IT platform that will soon be able to gather data on all incidents and events occurring in the city,” said Pedro Almeida, Smarter Cities Director for IBM Brazil.

This project with Rio de Janeiro is part of IBM’s global strategy to develop technology-based solutions to help cities become smarter.

Images: cover and 1, 3, 4, 5: courtesy of IBM, 2: Ministério da Saúde via photo pin cc