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Buenos Aires Preserves Old Charm by Becoming a Smart City

March 29, 2016 by Christine Donato 111

Buenos Aires, Argentina, bursts with the old-city charm familiar in Europe. It’s even commonly referred to as the “Paris of the South.”

Over 12 million Porteños, or people of the port, call Buenos Aires home, and residents enjoy classic favorites like mate, tango, asado, antique markets, and football.  They are passionate, friendly people who take pride in their city.

Tradition is an integral part of the charm and attraction of Buenos Aires, yet because the city is so old, maintenance and cleaning operations can be more demanding than in newer cities.  For the city ministry of Buenos Aires, a modern approach to old methods of operation were necessary to maintain the safety and satisfaction of residents.

Buenos Aires is a Smart City

Beginning in 2008, the Environment and Public Spaces Ministry of the City Government of Buenos Aires (GCBA) decided that it was time to invest in updated solutions to better address issues in public administration.

Previously, the city manually tracked records on over 8,000 public service jobs a month. Under this paper-based model, resident complaints could go unanswered for as long as a year and a half and city-safety was not as strong as it could have been.

It was time for the City of Buenos Aires to ditch the paper trail and move to a modern approach that used the right technology and information systems to organize internal processes and better connect with its people.

Fielding Resident Complaints  

The GCBA receives 30,000 complaints each month.  To manage and organize the complaints, the city of Buenos Aires implemented an assortment of SAP solutions to view and organize the complaints in real time, analyze the issues, and connect with residents on social media via mobile devices.

Now, when residents see a problem like an uncovered manhole, they can tweet a picture of the issue to the ministry along with a description of the problem and the location.  From there the department plans a solution, executes it, and then posts a picture showing that the issue was rectified.

Now the city promises to fix issues in 72 to 96 hours maximum, and by leveraging the analytical power of the SAP HANA platform, the city can determine the investments necessary for fixing issues and also prioritize issues that are ranked most critical to the daily lives of residents.

Keeping the City Bright and Safe

To help reduce energy consumption and keep the city illuminated and safe, the GCBA converted 91,000 public street lights to modern LED technology.

Each light in the LED replacement project contains an antenna that communicates with a central system. This remote management system runs on SAP ERP powered by SAP HANA to provide the city with real-time insight into power outages, broken lights, and vandalism. The city can also track installation speed and contractor information in real time, saving on maintenance costs and ensuring that issues are fixed quickly, keeping the city consistently well-lit for the public’s safety.

Early Disaster Prevention

Because Buenos Aires is a port city built on nine streams, severe flooding is not uncommon.

In 2013, a disastrous flood and endless rain caused thousands of evacuations and over 50 casualties.   It was then that the GCBA decided something needed to be done to change how it handled water drainage and flooding.

With the city’s new digital system, the GCBA was able to automate maintenance on 1,500 kilometers of drainage pipes.

The new system, which leverages SAP CRM powered by SAP HANA, replaced manual equipment maintenance tasks with remote and automated systems. Now the 400 trucks that execute cleaning activities around the city each day can work at maximum capacity.

In addition, by using sensors, the city can, to a certain degree, predict flooding and notify residents of potential dangers with weather alerts.

In the future, the city wants to expand its digital transformation to optimize security, transportation, education, and healthcare.

Sometimes, in order to preserve the old, you must adapt to the new. And today, with SAP as its strategic technology partner, the City of Buenos Aires is proactively ensuring it can prevent problems before they occur.

Follow me on Twitter @Cmdonato and on LinkedIn.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

Top image via Shutterstock

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