Public and Private Sector Innovation Can Build a Smart City
Thanks to advances in automated and wireless technology, many people are experiencing the wonders of smart devices. This new technology has transformed how we perform everyday tasks. Smartphones, watches, speakers, doorbells, thermostats, and many other devices allow individuals to easily navigate their environments. As human-computer interaction continues to advance, we will soon start seeing cities implement this cutting-edge technology into its framework. Learn more about how public and private sector innovation can build a smart city.
Intersectoral Collaboration Is Key
To create a smart city, officials, engineers, and technologist must agree that every city will require a different approach. Many cities and municipalities are already working with deficits and do not have the resources to invest in large scale infrastructure projects. Further, most bureaucracies do not maintain a seamless flow of information and resources between government departments and the public and private sectors. Intersectoral collaboration is pivotal to the erection of a smart city. As such, there needs to be a system in which governmental agencies and private investors can work together to bring innovation and public policy that benefits the city.
A City First Plan
Those at the cutting edge of development understand that a smart city must first and foremost worry about the people, businesses, and other entities residing in the area. All technological integrations must address the needs of the city, as implementing technology that only looks good on paper will inevitably fail. A smart city plan should include infrastructure that improves and enhances urban systems and encourages innovation that makes the infrastructure scalable.
As cities take steps toward creating a thriving technological oasis, city-wide Wi-Fi will be first on the to-do list. Several cities have made the leap to provide free Wi-Fi in public spaces such as airports, museums, and parks. In the case of San Francisco, the Wi-Fi project was a collaboration with local officials and the cooperation Google. Increasing Wi-Fi coverage better integrates the metropolitan citizens into the Internet of Things (IoT).
The core of a smart city will need to include multiple industrial wireless solutions. At the start, cities should address issues with bandwidth and security in their Wi-Fi system design. An adequately designed city-wide network should also support cross-sector functionality. This kind of cross-functionality is currently in place in some cities and allows emergency vehicles to communicate with traffic lights. A smart city’s infrastructure could go beyond just this integration and encourage all forms of public and private transit to exchange information.
A Completely New Way to Ride
Smart city design can significantly improve the commute process for public transportation and single drivers. Perhaps the most apparent advantage of smart city transportation is up-to-date information concerning traffic patterns. Many commuters currently rely on crowd-share platforms for the most reliable traffic information; people within the same commuting area all provide live data concerning road conditions, accidents, or other delays. However, with the help of smart city infrastructure, citizens would no longer have to be the ones to provide real-time data. With the right technology in place, smart city citizens could check in on the traffic, public transportation schedules, and the capacity of each bus, train car, etc. Investing in these communication systems could make public transportation more appealing to commuters while increasing public transit revenue and aiding public safety initiatives.
With a sufficient network foundation, cities could begin to implement Vehicle-to-Network (V2N) systems. This new technology will make driving safe and more efficient as it will allow people, vehicles, devices, and infrastructure to communicate with one another. V2N technologies can reduce traffic by wirelessly collecting generated data and sharing that information throughout the network. The cities infrastructure devices can relay speed limits, hazard advisories, changes in safety conditions, or environmental conditions to vehicles and people with the proper devices.
Currently, many cities are implementing the early stages of Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I), as it shows great potential for improving the flow of traffic throughout a city. Conservative estimates suggest major U.S. cities such as Portland, Dallas, Houston Chicago, Phoenix, Kansas City, Palo Alto, and Washington D.C. could pave the way by implementing V2I technology into their infrastructure. As of now, these cities (combined) have installed the necessary framework for V2I tech in over 2,000 intersections, with more cities investing every day.
Incentivize the Entire City to Invest
As of now, all the technology needed to create a smart city is not yet available. However, city initiatives can help to speed up the adoption process, and more importantly, push innovation. With local governments leading the way, utility companies, vendors, and service providers can start developing technologies that suit each city’s aesthetic. This innovation would also encourage healthy competition as companies race toward being the first to create the resources need to bring a smart city to life. The push may also invigorate the private sector to increase research and allocate funds toward emerging ideas or technologies. Cities can also recruit local colleges and universities to use their smart city title as an incentive for local students to stay in-state and accept jobs in the industry.
Innovations in Safety and Sharing
Device management systems, application deployment, and data sharing present smart cities with the opportunity to reinvent network safety measures, such as encryption and regular software updates. Governmental standard protocols such as WAP2 make an excellent starting point, but as technologies advance, so will the skills of those wishing to cause disruptions. This is already prevalent in the private sector and the shift to WAP-ENT.
Big data will a pivotal role as well. Cloud services such as Amazon Web Service (AWS) and Microsoft Azure have already become the backbone of “the cloud.” Currently, over 2,000 government agencies use AWS for their cloud computing. As the number of agencies that use big data increases, smart cities will are bound to reap the benefits. Big data and cloud computing do not only represent the ability to transfer large amounts of data, but also provide insight into what the data means. The data collected will allow smart city officials to better understand the needs of citizens and businesses residing in the area and allow them to make proper changes.