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Smarter Cities Challenge award places focus on Limerick’s ageing population

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Smarter Cities Challenge award – Pictured above: Marc Silhavi, Manager Sales Analytics, IBM, Aruna Padmanabhan, Executive Director of IBM, India, Nader Nassar, Master Inventor and Senior Software Engineer, IBM, Mayor of the City and County Limerick Liam Galvin, Nancy Breiman, Manager of Innovation, Solutions and Business Development, IBM / Cisco Alliance, Matt Broomhall, Executive IT Architect and Master Inventor, IBM, and Deirdre Kennedy, Corporate Citizenship Manager, IBM Ireland.

A team of top IBM experts have arrived in Limerick to address challenges around the city’s ageing population.

Limerick is hosting a visit of the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge team after the city was named winner of the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge programme 2015 alongside 16 other municipalities including Athens, Melbourne, Denver and Amsterdam.

Five IBM staff will spend three weeks working closely with local stakeholders, analysing and defining ways in which Limerick can improve the quality of life and independence of older adults through increased connectivity and improved access to key services.

The primary focus of the consulting engagement is to develop a strategy that will enable Limerick to predict and respond to the needs of older people through the better management of shared information. The outcome will also include a road map document with short and long term recommendations.The Council and local stakeholders will be complementing the recommendations received and of course, broadening this engagement and sharing best practices with other cities and regions.

The 17 winners in the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge programme have been selected from a highly competitive pool of more than 100 cities around the world that applied for a grant of consulting services from IBM.  The consulting engagement in Limerick has an estimated commercial value of USD $500,000 (€447,000).

Cllr. Liam Galvin, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick said, “This is a wonderful achievement for Limerick as past Smarter Cities Challenge engagements have delivered quantifiable results for participating cities and regions. IBM has helped past winners from around the world to significantly improve the quality of life for their residents. Projects informed by IBM advice have helped to upgrade skills of city staff, enabled cities to win prestigious awards, and made them more competitive.”

Dr. Pat Daly, Director of Economic Development, Limerick City and County Council explained that during their visit, the team members will consider diverse perspectives on the topic through meeting with the Council, citizens, businesses, and community organisations.

At the conclusion of their visit, the IBM team will deliver a set of recommendations and an innovative and specifically tailored road map on how the city can address the issue.  This will be followed up with a comprehensive and detailed report following the engagement.

“With a period of rapid urbanisation underway in Ireland, cities like Limerick increasingly need ways to support their ageing populations,” said Dr. Daly. “Older adults who may not be relocating to city centres face increasing barriers to accessing high-quality services and support, living in a safe and accessible environment, contributing meaningfully to their community, and practising a lifestyle that helps avoid chronic conditions later in life. Limerick, which has Ireland’s fastest ageing population, aims to improve quality of life and independence of older adults through increased connectivity and improved access to key services. The city wants to develop a data management framework that would enable them to predict and respond to the needs of older people, especially those in more isolated and disadvantaged areas,” he added.

Dr. Mihai Bilauca, Head of Digital Strategy and City Project Manager, Limerick City and County Council said: “The development of a Smart Ageing Limerick requires collaboration between statutory agencies and services, academia, voluntary organisations, older adults and their representative organisations as well as the private sector. All of these stakeholders have a key role to play in the overall development of a Sustainable Smart Limerick where digital technologies improve the quality of life, empower communities and enable economic growth.”

IBM is very excited to be working with Limerick City and County Council on its Smarter Cities Challenge. Deirdre Kennedy, Corporate Affairs Manager, IBM Ireland said; “Limerick was selected because of its commitment to use data management and analytics to make better decisions, and for its desire to explore and act on elderly care solutions. The stakes have never been greater but our IBM Smarter Cities Challenge team are excited at the prospect of helping Limerick tackle the one of the most pressing challenges of our time”.

The cities named as winners of this year’s IBM Smarter Cities Challenge programme are Limerick (Ireland), Denver, Detroit, Rochester and Memphis (USA), Melbourne (Australia), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Huizhou and Xuzhou (China), San Isidro (Peru), Allahabad, Surat and Vizag (India), Athens (Greece), Sekondi-Takoradi (Ghana) and Taichung (Taiwan).

The Smarter Cities Challenge is IBM’s largest philanthropic initiative, with contributions to date valued at more than USD $66 million (€59m) worldwide.

More information can be found at www.limerick.ie/scc or follow the #SCCLimerick hash tag on Twitter.

Follow the Smarter City Challenge on Twitter here.

To read more about Limerick click here.

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.

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