Sao Paulo most advanced on personalized commutes - IBM

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sao Paulo is the Latin American city that is most-advanced in introducing mathematical models and predictive analytics technologies to provide commuters with the best routes for daily travel, the head of technology and innovation for IBM Chile, Claudio Vergara, told BNamericas.

"Sao Paulo is a very good laboratory to implement these solutions," he said, referring to the metropolis' notorious traffic jams. But the city already has a number of sensors and algorithms in place, setting it at a more advanced level for implementing smart transport systems than other Latin American centers, he added.

Worldwide, cities such as London and Stockholm have already introduced technology to better manage traffic systems, he said. According to past studies, Stockholm has managed to reduce traffic congestion by 20%, reduce emissions by 12% and encourage an additional 40,000 people to use public transportation.

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Personalized commute - using advanced analytics technologies to recommend best routes for travelers, together with adaptive traffic systems that intuitively learn travelers' patterns and behaviors to provide more dynamic travel safety and route information - is one of the five innovations that IBM believes have the most potential to change the way people around the world work, live and play over the next five years.

Other innovations include:

-The use of 3-D interfaces for real-time, telepresence interactions.

-Advances in transistors and battery technology - including "breathing batteries" that use air to react with energy-dense metal - to allow devices to last about 10 times longer than they do today.

-People becoming "walking sensors" via tweets, or via sensors in the mobile phone or wallet, that will collect data on the environment that in turn can be used by scientists or organizations to take action. Such information could help to map out the aftermath of an earthquake, Vergara noted, or help in fighting global warming.

-Using computers to help power cities. The idea involves re-using the heat generated at computers and data centers, which is currently released into the atmosphere, for doing things like heating buildings in the winter and powering air conditioning in the summer.

The innovations usually take two-three years to arrive in Latin America once they are introduced in developed markets, Vergara said, but he highlighted the electronic purse launched in 2007 - one of the innovations that was previously predicted as having a significant impact on people's lives - "and that was in Chile!" for the mass transit program, Transantiago.