IBM is helping municipalities in Asian cities by announcing a grant programme to improve services in the region.

The company is doing this through a pro bono problem-solving initiative called IBM Smarter Cities Challenge, which is specifically targeted towards the developing world.

Asian cities such as Cheongju, Korea and Da Nang, Vietnam have received grants and implemented IBM's Smarter Cities Challenge recommendations that have significantly improved the lives of its citizens.

While Cheongju redesigned bus routes, Da Nang and the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor used the funds to improve the coordination of multiple municipal agencies.

"We believe that our programme can be an especially valuable resource to new mayors, with whom we can share successful strategies that have been put into place elsewhere," said Jennifer Crozier, IBM's vice president of Global Citizenship Initiatives. "We're humbled by the reception this programme has enjoyed all over the world these past three years, and we're pleased that we can continue Smarter Cities Challenge for 2014."

Addressing key challenges

Projects sanctioned under Smarter Cities Challenge address high priority problems that are of critical importance to citizens.

This initiative has made an impact on the lives of citizens in Asia and elsewhere. A total of 100 cities out of 400 applicants were picked over the last three years and this help will be given to more cities next year.

Applications for the 2014 cycle can be submitted through the website smartercitieschallenge.org. The last date for receiving the application for next year is 8 November 2013.

Applicants should share detailed information about the city or region so that the IBM team gets a clear picture and finds it easy to analyse the challenge correctly.

"Effective service delivery in cities requires collaboration of so many stakeholders," said Stanley S. Litow, IBM vice president of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, and president of IBM's Foundation. "One of IBM'S goals with Smarter Cities Challenge is to help city leaders gather data and organise a community around a shared set of facts. This is so that in spite of budgetary constraints that are so widespread, real progress can be made."