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IBM Launches Sim Game To Tackle City Challenges

As part of its marketing push for "smarter cities," IBM has launched a new simulation game to help players understand the challenges faced by cities. CityOne gives participants the opportunity to tackle crisis scenarios by exploring 100 real-world scenarios to transform cities through technologies that reduce traffic congestion, save water, streamline supply chains, and tap alternative energy sources.

According to Phaedra Boinodiris, who has the title "Serious Games Program Manager" at IBM, the idea behind CityOne "was that we wanted to create a game that helped explain how industry solutions can really help revolutionize and address serious problems within industry and municipalities."

In all of the missions, players posing as CEOs must work with consultants to figure out the best way to balance the city's financial, environmental, and sociological interests. They're challenged with improving the city by attaining revenue and profit goals, increasing customer satisfaction, and making the environment greener, all with a limited budget. Technologies for business process management, service reuse, cloud computing, and collaboration, come into play as tools for making city systems more effective in responding to new developments in the simulations.

For example, in one scenario, a city is struggling with water usage that's increasing twice as fast as the population, straining supplies and possibly polluting them. At the same time, the municipality is losing almost half of its water through leaky pipes and energy costs are rising. To succeed in the mission, players must come up with a way to deliver the highest water quality at the lowest cost in real-time.

Sim players can communicate with each other, as well as with IBM industry experts, based on industry (such as water, retail, energy, or banking) and player type (such as "The Pragmatic Leader" or "The Evader").

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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