WINDSOR, ON, Feb. 1 /CNW/ - The region of Windsor-Essex, Ontario,
Canada, today announced that it is using social business technology from IBM (NYSE: IBM) to significantly improve the quality of life for its citizens.
Through the region's innovative use of IBM software and services, asthma
attacks have been alleviated, a local automobile manufacturing plant
diversified into the aerospace industry and 250 tons of waste materials
from a road construction project was made into new housing for those
who needed it the most.
The Windsor-Essex region of Canada is comprised of 393,000 citizens who
live in the city of Windsor and the seven lower municipalities of the
County of Essex. The region is 1,850 square kilometers, has temperate
weather, a robust tourist industry and is in the middle of a
significant economic diversification. Additionally, the region is
transforming into a much greener city with the ongoing additions of new
wind and solar energy sources around the region regularly.
In 2001, the region recognized a need to reduce duplication among the
public sector organizations and improve the efficiency for the delivery
of services. As part of the broader smart community initiatives, the
region sought to create an information utility. This utility, much like
the electric, water and road infrastructure systems already in place,
was seen as essential to providing a competitive environment for
Windsor-Essex to thrive in the knowledge-based economy. The region's
strategic investment in IBM products and services helped to make the
area a more attractive place to do business.
Windsor-Essex region officials credit its use of IBM software and
services for helping create the Windsor-Essex Smart Community Portal. The Windsor-Essex Smart Community Web infrastructure provides the
region's government and related organizations with the tools to help
citizens with emergency and community services, transportation, health,
utilities and life events such as getting married, having a baby or
retiring. The technology behind this site is streamlining processes and
enhancing services for its citizens and business owners.
"Windsor-Essex region has used IBM software and services to truly
transform this area into a more intelligent, healthier, environmentally
friendly and more prosperous community," said Kristina Verner, research
and development officer, Centre for Smart Community Innovation,
University of Windsor.
For example, the Asthma Research Group of the city of Windsor and Essex County created a technology-based
program for its asthma sufferers to help quickly link them with
respiratory therapists. Parts of this region have a higher prevalence
of asthma and higher rates of hospitalization from the disease than the
national average. Attacks are more frequent than in other areas of
Canada, and emergency health care can be costly. The program helped
asthmatics find respiratory therapists in a few short weeks instead of
the typical six months and also resulted in sick days at a large local
automobile manufacturing plant being reduced by 55 percent. The IBM
software was used to develop the asthma program quickly to meet the
demand of its citizens and now serves as a model for other areas.
Windsor-Essex region created a program that led to the reuse and recycling of 250 tons of what would typically
be viewed as construction waste, for use in new housing projects for
those who need it the most. The initiative also created 30 new jobs.
This ongoing project is happening during the largest road construction
and border crossing project in the region's history. Using IBM's
social software portfolio, Windsor-Essex is facilitating communication
among members of local non-profit organizations, the road demolition
and construction teams and government ministers.
The Windsor-Essex Smart Community Portal also helps drive visibility for
the region with tourists. The more than 400 local businesses can now
publicize and socialize their goods and services in more interactive
ways leading to more business and unique diversification opportunities.
For example, an automotive manufacturer was able to gain its first
client in the aerospace industry as a result of this "business
Windsor-Essex region uses IBM software to collaborate with key
stakeholders including government leaders and employees, hospital, K-12
school and university boards of directors, as well as the citizens. The
offerings used are WebSphere Portal and IBM Lotus Web Content Management software, IBM Lotus Quickr for
file sharing and team room collaboration, IBM Lotus Sametime for
instant messaging and unified communications, and IBM Lotus Domino for
the fast development of applications that have a direct benefit on the
citizens, such as the asthma program. The region also benefits from IBM Software Services for Lotus.
Windsor-Essex has been working with IBM to make its region a better
place to live and work since 2004, and was named one of the "Smart 21
Communities" in the world by the Intelligent Community Forum in both
2010 and 2011. In January 2011, Windsor-Essex was further honoured as
one of the Top seven Most Intelligent Communities in the world by the ICF. The award program salutes the accomplishments of
communities in developing local prosperity.
For more information visit, http://www.windsor-essex.info/wps/portal and www.ibm.com/software/lotus
For a Youtube video, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COOzmcnra-I
IBM, Connections, Domino, Lotus, Quickr, Sametime, WebSphere Portal and
Web Content Management are trademarks of International Business
Machines (IBM) Corporation in the United States, other countries or
both. Other company, product and service names may be trademarks or
service marks of others.
SOURCE IBM Canada Ltd.
For further information:
Media Contacts: Kristina Verner, Research and Development Officer, Windsor University on behalf of the Windsor-Essex region, office: 519-253-3000, ext. 4560, firstname.lastname@example.org m: 1-226-346-4572
Michelle McIntyre, IBM Global Communications, email@example.com, m: 1-408-483-6681
Leslie Plant, IBM Communications, Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-416-478-9840