Numerous cities and towns around the world have joined the ranks in developing into a notable Smart City. The cities and towns of today must grow and evolve to embrace and excite the urbanization and resiliency of tomorrow. Municipalities and their leaders are creatively leveraging technology innovations to develop enhanced, smarter offerings that go above and beyond today's city services. While key infrastructures and core city services receive a makeover, some cities have launched new forms of interactive advertising and outdoor technology to engage with citizens and promote local businesses. Some real-world innovative solutions that spark enthusiasm include SolarBox, Citi Bike, and elevate DIGITAL interactive kiosks.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is well known to most people involved in technology innovation. Need a refresher? Check out one of our recent blog posts which defines IoT. Simply put, it’s a growing network of physical objects that feature an IP address for internet connectivity where the communications occur between objects and other Internet-enable devices and systems. IoT projects are found across most industries – higher education, healthcare, manufacturing, logistics, consumer electronics, automotive, etc.
When it comes to government, the promise of IoT is designed to solve everyday problems associated with urban living. Urban IoT initiatives are flush with sensors for fire and smoke detection, remote monitoring and performance of infrastructure related to core city services, reporting the structural integrity of roadways and bridges, alerting consumers to parking availability, broadcasting public service announcements or city events and news, tracking lost items (people and pets, too!), smart lighting, and more.
Most state governments know that emerging technologies can transform the delivery of state services and are looking for Chief Information Officers (CIOs) who can see the potential, understand policy, and deliver productive use of technology. How is this different from a private sector CIO? In many ways, the skills are the same.
Today’s successful public sector CIOs are change agents. They are the primary technology business leaders of the state. They do more than manage hardware, software, IT procurement, and training. Today’s public sector CIOs don’t just automate processes, they transform the business of urban management through the use of innovative technology. They can anticipate policy implications and public expectations, define and deliver tangible results, and articulate project plans to all constituents.
What defines a Smart City? Traditionally, a Smart City is a municipality that uses information and communication technology to make its critical infrastructure, services, and utilities more efficient and interactive, and at the same time builds awareness among residents to city services and related programs. The creation of a Smart City requires investments in human and social capital, communications infrastructure, and wise management of natural resources. This combination helps support sustainable economic development and higher quality of life for residents, visitors, and businesses.
Modern cities face many challenges accompanied by the corresponding opportunities: from providing a high quality of life to ensuring socio-economic development; from efficient and innovative business development to the reduction of crime. Central to successfully addressing challenges and capitalizing on opportunities is the adoption of innovative information and communication technologies.
Further defining and developing their Smart Cities, municipalities around the globe are testing ways to equip existing street ‘furniture’ – parking meters, lamp posts, trash bins, and more – with 'smart city' applications, devices, and sensors for more intelligent ways to manage and maintain city services and infrastructures.
There is a groundswell building around the Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart City initiatives. Some of the solutions are Jetson-like in their application to city operations, management and planning – sci-fi technology sending data from various city and residental applications to individuals' smartphones, self-operating transportation, smart six-foot-tall touchscreens to navigate subways, public space Wi-Fi, and connected public parking.
The Internet of Things is not some far-fetch, future reality that has yet to be realized. Success will come as cities turn to technology innovations that help them streamline operations, better forecast needs, and solve issues like pollution, congestion, accessibility, increasing waste, and sustainability.
Ater the RE/WORK IoT Summit in Boston, we debriefed the team on the latest and greatest conversations among the movers and shakers of Smart Cities & IoT iniatitives. We've captured the most compelling questions below to share with you.
IoT is the next stage of the information revolution. It is driven by inter-connectivity of everything from urban transport to medical devices and other wearables and household or consumer appliances. The application of IoT is virtually limitless, restricted today only by network architecture and data storage capacity. While specialized use cases exist, IoT adoption is central to the success of several ‘smart’ categories – city, enterprise, environment, home, and wearables. The characteristics of the IoT products and solutions in these categories vary significantly but their primary goals are similar – using big data and connectivity to generate a level of knowledge and insight previously unavailable such that every day happenings, lives and processes are improved upon by the new services, approaches and solutions derived.
At RE-WORK’s Internet of Things Summit Boston, Bigbelly will lead a Spotlight on Connected Core Services in Smart Cities. The Internet of Things Summit (Boston) brings together entrepreneurship, science and technology to re-work the future and tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges. The event is designed to showcase the opportunities of IoT and the potential for a positive impact on business and society.