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When it comes to innovation, the City of South Bend often has formed partnerships with the private sector to accomplish shared goals while improving delivery of services to residents.
In his 2011 State of the City address, Mayor Stephen J. Luecke announced that South Bend has formed a partnership with IBM, one of the world’s most innovative companies, to expand the City’s capacity for excellence in two key areas:
• IBM is working with the City of South Bend and EmNet, LLC to create an improved dashboard — or computerized control panel — for CSOnet. (CSOnet is South Bend’s first-in-the-world technology to monitor and control combined sewer overflows.)
• IBM’s Global Location Strategies team, which conducts site-selection analysis for economic-development projects, is helping South Bend become a Smarter City.
“Using IBM analytics and benchmarking data, South Bend will identify key priorities to improve our economic competitiveness and overall quality of life,” said Mayor Luecke. “With this assessment, we can prioritize projects that have the most potential and optimize our services to constituents.”
Already, IBM has begun an analysis of key areas where opportunities exist to make municipal core systems even smarter. Using measures typically used by business location specialists, the analysis looks at such areas as:
• City Services
The benchmarking, now in very early stages, will lead to a set of recommendations that will enable the City to identify and discuss areas of improvement.
The dashboard work on CSOnet, meanwhile, will ultimately enable crews — at a glance — to make sense of the massive amount of critical data provided through CSOnet. Currently, small computers enable crews to monitor 110 strategic points in City sewers in real time.
With support from EmNet, an entrepreneurial company in South Bend’s East Bank Village, CSOnet in 2009 reduced South Bend’s dry-weather overflows of the sewer system by 66 percent. The collaboration with IBM will also help EmNet expand its opportunities for growth with similar projects in other communities.
Both initiatives with IBM will help the City of South Bend continue on a path of continuous improvement in which the application of technology will help improve service.