Tuesday, July 14, 2009

An Instrumented Planet Explained: Metro Tragedy in New Delhi

I have been travelling for business to New Delhi and Bangalore the last 2 weeks talking to clients and partners about IBM's Smarter Planet initiatives. Interesting comparisons of the 2 cities, specifically the traffic situation. While one spends 1/2 their day in traffic congestion in Bangalore, even to go 10 km, New Delhi prides itself on its prestine roads and new metro which is tremendously efficient (where it exists) and is working fast and furious to get the entire city connected by metro the Commonwealth Games. Unfortunately, this morning, there was a tragic accident when an entire concrete segment of an under construction section of the metro, weighing 200 tons, collapsed and killed several people. For more on this story click here: http://http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS-City-Delhi-Metros-darkest-day-Pillar-collapse-kills-6/articleshow/4770612 It seems that even though construction had been suspected because of noticable cracks on the segment, work resumed after a recent inspection.
I highlight this story because this is in essence what "Building a Smarter Planet" could be about. In fact, IBM has been working with country officials in Denmark, a country with 60% of its population below sea level, to equip their levees with sensors so that in the event of rising water levels and weakened levees during a storm, officials can be quickly alerted so that they can deploy additional resources. This same system also could be applied to bridges and elevated metros because smart bridges instrumented with sensors could report weaknesses and wear back to a centrally managed system and then city officials can take steps before a catastrophe happens.
Its amazing to work for a company that helps build a Smarter Planet through small but significant steps every day and while I am deeply sorry about the lives that were lost in the tragedy in Delhi today, it gives me some hope that we are supporting the world technologies that can help prevent these accidents in the future.


  1. I passed by the accident site on Monday. The scale of the accident is something that has to be seen to be believed.

  2. this is really sad,wish they had smart devices to detect such mishaps earlier in the cycle.