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By Adam Petrovsky, GovEd Practice Leader, Logicalis US

Cities, municipalities and counties have become a hotbed for emerging technology primarily aimed at connecting citizens to each other and citizens to governmental agencies.  According to McKinsey Research, the “smart city” industry is projected to be a $400 billion market by 2020, with 600 smart cities worldwide. And the fuel for this enormous spend is centered squarely around the Internet of Things (IoT).

While most parties are still debating what the actual definition of “smart cities” includes, there are three categories of technologies certain to play a major role in how cities utilizes IoT devices, sensors, exciters and other tech tools to connect components together.  This data exchange impacts every aspect of life in a city and allows more intelligent decisions to be made today that may be critical to our future over the decades to come.

Smart Utilities & Energy

Connected energy principles start at energy plants and distribution facilities where dramatic changes have already happened involving the IoT.  From vast networks of sensors and regulators refining efficiencies in delivery to smart meters on businesses and homes, the modern connected grid has even more in store for us in 2017.  LED lighting, for example, provides brighter, cleaner, more natural light and digitally connects to the grid more efficiently.  Watch for total city transformations of LED lighting in street lights, traffic lights, and just about everywhere municipal lighting exists.  Solar power panels, business/home smart power consumption, and end-point feedback (through IoT devices) are also ready to become prevalent.  Lastly, broadband-over-the-electrical-grid has been just over the horizon for some time.   While there have been early trials, challenges have also been identified that will require time and technology to solve – so look for increasing changes between now and 2020.

Smart Transportation

In most cities, everything revolves around how people and materials are transported (or not transported).  Today’s connected cities have invested significantly in smart transportation.  The technologies most commonly deployed include smart parking, traffic monitoring (intelligent traffic management), and smart end-points (traffic lights, buses, trains and subways).  The future of transportation may also depend on how fast self-driving cars (driving automation) become a reality.  While most major transportation technology takes decades to implement, it’s possible that transportation automation may play a major role before 2020.  This single change could impact everything from pollution levels and traffic congestion to an improvement in national health as transportation accidents are reduced.

Smart Justice

Also called “digital justice,” this area of technology leverages connected video/audio/data sources in multiple organizations within the city: sheriff/police/law enforcement, courts, jails/correctional facilities, public health and social services.  The concept is simple: Anywhere there is a required meeting, testimony or deposition, there is an opportunity for today’s immersive video conferencing systems.  While many municipal organizations have already adopted limited digital video solutions, large cities and counties have begun more pervasive uses which hold up in court.  What about remote video testimony?  Video arraignment?  Video court?  Video attorney-client meetings?  Inmate video visitation?  There are hundreds of applications for incorporating digital video/audio/data integration into today’s smart city.


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