When you think of China what comes to mind? Due to an unfortunate reality, many people picture images of smog-filled skies and normal citizens wearing medical masks. However, China’s notorious pollution may one day be a thing of the past. An environmental consciousness has recently been weaving its way into the fabric of Chinese culture. One sign of that change is the momentous news that Beijing has partnered with IBM in an effort to go green.
The “Green Horizon” project symbolizes IBM’s commitment to helping China become environmentally sustainable. The 10-year project will focus on improving air quality management, renewable energy forecasting, and energy optimization for industry.
D.C. Chien, Chairman and CEO of IBM Greater China Group said, “China has made great achievements and contributed much to the world’s economic growth over the past 30 years. It now has an opportunity to lead the world in sustainable energy and environmental management. While other nations waited until their economies were fully developed before taking comprehensive action to address environmental issues, China can leverage IBM’s most advanced information technologies to help transform its energy infrastructures in parallel with its growth.”
“It is about how we can help cities improve management based on ‘Big Data’, and better predict (pollution) with accuracy so the government can take proactive action,” said Xiaowei Shen, China director of IBM Research.
What IBM is really offering is their expertise with Big Data and analytics, weather prediction, and climate modelling. Beijing’s ability to improve its environment begins with real-time data – collected from IBM’s new-generation optical sensors, meteorological satellites, and air quality monitoring systems. IBM’s cognitive computing systems will then be able to visualize that data into maps that show the source and distribution of Beijing’s pollution. With this data at hand, the Beijing government will be capable of making rapid changes to improve environmental problems by tweaking production at certain factories, as well as alerting citizens about incoming air quality issues up to 72 hours in advance.
The partnership between IBM and the Beijing Municipal Government is just one sign of Beijing’s commitment to improving air quality. Over the next three years, Beijing will invest over $160 billion to improve the city’s air quality.
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