Manager, Smarter Cities Solutions, IBM Research -- Tokyo
Frugal Innovation for Smarter Transportations in Developing Countries
Frugal Innovation is a process of designing and creating goods and services by reducing the complexity and cost to meet the needs and constraints in developing countries. The approach can also be applied to major systems to support solutions for challenges such as disaster response, traffic awareness, daily traffic control or city planning. This presentation will show an example of frugal innovation that IBM Research is pursuing in Nairobi, where its 12th Research Lab opened in 2012.
Nairobi is the capital of Kenya, and is one of the largest cities in Africa with more than 3 million population and 300K vehicles. However, the city is suffering from serious traffic congestion due to growing urban population, as many other cities in developing countries. Unlike standard smarter cities solutions, we do not rely on expensive
infrastructure, which is generally very hard to expect in developing countries. Our primary data source is roadside traffic cameras (i.e., WebCam) already available in Nairobi today. By using newly developed image recognition algorithms, our system allows to extracting traffic statistics (e.g., number of cars and speed) from very low-resolution web-camera images. Detected traffic condition is used to increase the traffic awareness of drivers and traffic police. In addition, by using a large-scale, multi-agent traffic simulator, city officers will now be able to evaluate various road construction plans and the drafts of traffic regulations to compare their effect to the traffic in advance and choose the best plan.
Sachiko Yoshihama is leading the Smarter Cities Solutions team at IBM Research -- Tokyo. As part of 12 IBM Research Labs across the world, her team focuses on creating solutions for developing countries and to address unique challenges in the region such as scarcity of resources. She has 20 years of history in the IT industry and her research background includes mobile and pervasive computing as well as information security. She received her M.S. from Institute of Information Security and Ph.D in Information Security from Yokohama National University in Japan.