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The Internet of Civic Things: Public Service Improvements with IoT

Posted by Leila Dillon on 7/30/15 9:36 AM

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.

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Topics: Smart Cities, IoT, Community, Municipality

Public Sector CIOs: Driving Change with Transformative Technology

Posted by Leila Dillon on 7/29/15 10:12 AM

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.

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Topics: Smart Cities, IoT, Municipality, Core City Services

Is Recycling Really Worth the Effort?

Posted by Leila Dillon on 7/21/15 10:04 AM

Each year city leaders take on the task of balancing budgets while keeping a close eye on core city services. If there’s a deficit, one line item that might face reduced support is recycling-related efforts and programs. While they do require budget dollars to maintain, these recycling efforts also promise to save a city money (and environmental impact) in the end.

Recycling costs vary from one city to the next depending upon proximity to landfills, labor cost, real estate prices, and method of recycling. Despite varying financial benefits, there are many positive reasons both economically and environmentally to recycle. 

When it comes to recyclable materials - aluminum, glass, plastic, and paper - some recycle more easily than others and their life spans are extraordinarily long. In all cases, recycling of these materials results in energy and natural resource savings.

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Topics: Community, Resiliency, Recycling, Municipality, Core City Services

Smarter Core City Services with Enabling Technologies

Posted by Leila Dillon on 7/15/15 1:39 PM

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.

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Topics: Smart Cities, IoT, Municipality, Core City Services

Making Smart Cities with Sensors & Data

Posted by Leila Dillon on 7/7/15 10:06 AM

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.

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Topics: Smart Cities, IoT, Next-Generation Applications, Municipality

Urban Organic Waste – Diamond in the Rough

Posted by Leila Dillon on 7/6/15 10:02 AM

Recycling organic products and materials reduces the accumulation of organics in the city. Think that ripe not so sweet smell wafting through city alleyways or trash bins...

By separating organics from landfill garbage, cities can recycle those nutrients to create a ‘fertilizer’ waste stream that can be used by urban victory gardeners and commercial farmers who grow larger scale volumes of produce. Urban public space composting embodies our favorite 3 R's - reduce, reuse, recycle. Some communities are creating public composting sites and offering organic waste bins on sidewalks and in parks to encourage organic waste recycling. In turn, this organic matter can be converted to commercial products while decreasing landfill waste and boosting the economic gain.

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Topics: Urban Waste Management, Community, Recycling, Municipality

14 Ways to Improve Community Recycling Rates

Posted by Leila Dillon on 7/1/15 5:56 PM

There’s a lot to be said about improving municipal recycling efforts. It helps to keep public spaces clean, eradicate pest problems, and provide measurable environmental benefits by waste diversion from landfills. Towns can also reduce tipping costs and other expenses related to waste disposal, and increase credits recycling incentive programs.

"Even in small cities, the returns from an efficient recycling program can have quite an impact," according to the EPA. Participation in urban recycling can be challenging but it’s often due in part to the programs in place. We know that city recycling programs need to appeal to a large and diverse population. Programs focused on increasing participating help to improve recycling rates. Below are a few interesting recycling stats from the EPA's latest national survey in 2009, as reported by our friends at Keep America Beautiful:

  • Americans recovered 34% of waste generated in 2009.
  • About 9,000 curbside residential recycling programs existed in the US that year.
  • The 34% diverted waste equaled 82 million tons of recycled material.
  • This national wide recycling behavior reduced CO2 emissions in a mass equal to removing 33 million passenger vehicles from the roads.
  • The US recycling industry workforce is comprised of 1.1 million employees, generating over $236 billion in annual revenue.
  • The recyclable materials left in the US landfill waste stream would have amounted to over $7 billion if properly recycled.
  • There was 3 pounds of trash per person per day thrown away into the landfill waste stream; that is enough trash to circle the earth 24 times.

(Statistics sourced from Keep America Beautiful.)

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Topics: Urban Waste Management, Community, Recycling, Municipality

Making Smart Cities - A Look Into State of Progress

Posted by Leila Dillon on 6/30/15 9:36 AM

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.

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Topics: Smart Cities, IoT, Municipality

Definition: Resilient City

Posted by Leila Dillon on 6/26/15 10:04 AM

The world is an ever evolving ecosystem. In some instances, change advances cities and towns, economies, governments, lives, natural resources, and the environment, while occasionally change drains these stakeholders, assets, and resources. Around the globe, municipalities are exploring strategies for developing greater capacities for urban resilience to future impacts – climate change, high unemployment, energy scarcity, political and economic disruption, overtaxed public services & resources, etc.

Resilient Cities are those that aggressively and proactively plan and design strategies that will help them develop the necessary capacity to meet tomorrow’s challenges, including shocks and stresses to their infrastructure systems. Cities are looking at ways to become more self-sufficient and energy efficient. Central to effective urban planning is the ability to facilitate the development of greater capacity for future proofing.

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Topics: Definition, Resiliency, Municipality

Urban Waste Management is No Laughing Matter

Posted by Leila Dillon on 6/24/15 2:25 PM

Jerry Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfus were laughing it up during a recent episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Their banter was not at all focused on urban blight but as they walked the streets you cannot help but notice how clean the streets were. Beautification and keeping public spaces clean is a top priority for most cities and towns. However, it is not always an easy task. The conditions and issues of urban waste management vary from one municipality to the next and often from one neighborhood to another just down the block.

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Topics: Urban Waste Management, Community, Recycling, Municipality

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We partner with smart cities, campuses, and companies to enhance their core services with IoT technologies. Most notably the world leading solution provider for smart waste & recycling systems, we help to create smarter, connected, and sustainable streetscapes for today and tomorrow.

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