Cities concentrating on being utilities are winning!

/ smart city

By Jon Salisbury

A sharply increasing disparity in technology continues to deepen the digital divide among peer cities. In fact, smaller cities that leverage their assets, including rights of way, have the opportunity to outperform larger cities in the digital transformation. For example, Lawrenceburg, Indiana, is driving forward projects to improve water utility, power utility, and connectivity as a utility. The Lawrenceburg connectivity utility solutions include fiber to everyones home in the community along with wireless infrastructure to handle cell and WiFi.

A sharply increasing disparity in technology continues to deepen the digital divide among peer cities. In fact, smaller cities that leverage their assets, including rights of way, have the opportunity to outperform larger cities in the digital transformation. For example, Lawrenceburg, Indiana, is leveraging utilities to support smart city programs, service delivery to residents and businesses including water utilities, power utilities, and now next generation connectivity utilities including fiber and wireless.

To begin planning for smart city success stories, an assessment of the current “state of a city” is required. To make that simple, we break down cities into different ‘types.’

Type 4 City -

  • Privately-owned public works
  • No city manager
  • No municipal water or power services

Cities can look to create a public works department internally. This is a fantastic first step.

Cities with public works will most likely need to move to a city manager system in the future as project loads increase.

How can this city type pursue smart growth?*

Type 3 City -
Public works office

Fire / police

  • 1 utility (Power, Water, Analytics, Connectivity)
  • Cities should look to increase project load and increase utility control.
  • Cities should also start the process of hiring a technical city manager with strong vision.
  • Cities can focus on state and federal dollars at this point.
  • How can this city type pursue smart growth?*

Type 2 City -

  • Strong public works
  • City Manager or strong project oriented mayor
  • Fire / police
  • Starting to collect data
  • 2 utilities (Power, Water, Analytics, Connectivity)
  • These cities will normally not be in the analytics and connectivity space for utility.
  • Cities should increase regional outreach for integration and interoperability projects.
  • Cities should focus strongly on grants and federal dollars
  • How can this city type pursue smart growth? By simply building deeper in the utilities offering with automation and convenience. Also looking to new utility lanes they can develop over time including transportation, information and deepening connectivity.

Type 1 City -

  • Strong public works
  • Fire / police
  • Data analytics department servicing other departments
  • 4 utilities (Power, Water, Analytics, Connectivity)
  • Cities should focus on promoting application opportunities to create more over the top capabilities, conveniences, and enhancements across all utilities.
  • How can this city type pursue smart growth?* We believe deepening relationships with strategic partners allowing for faster deployment and applications from the business world will enahnce these cities farther and farther.

TYPES OF UTILITIES IN SMART CITIES

Public Works
Includes public buildings (municipal buildings, schools, hospitals), transport infrastructure(roads, railroads, bridges, pipelines, canals, ports, airports), public spaces (public squares, parks, cleaning services, beaches), public services (water supply, sewage, electrical grid, dams), and other, usually long-term, physical assets and facilities.

Water
A public water utility (usually just utility) is an organization that maintains the water infrastructure for a public service (often also providing a service using that infrastructure). Public utilities are subject to forms of public control and regulation ranging from local community-based groups to statewide government monopolies. This allows for quality control to the home and increases the level of sophistication of the city to keep pushing smart technologies.

Power
A public power utility (usually just utility) is an organization that maintains the infrastructure for a public service (often also providing a service using that infrastructure). Public power utilities are subject to forms of public control and regulation ranging from local community-based groups to statewide government monopolies. Power then leads to lights and other utility types as the sophistication of the city increases.

Data Analytics
Analytics is the discovery, interpretation, and communication of meaningful patterns in data. Especially valuable in areas rich with recorded information, analytics relies on the simultaneous application of statistics, computer programming and operations research to quantify performance. Cities may apply analytics to business data to describe, predict, and improve city performance.

Transportation
Congestion costs cities billions in fuel and wasted time, as well as increased accidents and pollution. Combining an intelligent traffic management platform and a traffic congestion management system could be the solution Dubai needs to manage roadway traffic. This approach involves intricate measurement of traffic flows and congestion to inform city planning.

Big Data from smart applications can deliver instant insights on traffic flows to help streamline movement within the city. Centralization of data from smart sensors supports data quality and contributes to a traffic data model with a flexible interface for leveraging tools and value-added innovations. Smart sensors, along with algorithms applied to incoming data, can also enable decision-making to improve congestion and traffic flow. These tools can provide an early warning system for traffic problems, support public travel guidance systems, and create a working framework for traffic control from all perspectives. In each case, the aim is a safer, less congested city.

Connectivity
Connectivity is the quality, state, or capability of being connective or connected connectivity of a surface;especially : the ability to connect to or communicate with another computer or computer system.

Connectivity to the home
Fiber
Cities can chose to bring fiber to each home and setup an monetized system in which they broker deals with content providers to bring content over the top of the network and to the homes.

Wireless (With radio transmitters)
Cities can chose to bring wireless to each home and setup an monetized system in which they broker deals with content providers to bring content over the top of the network and to the homes.

Public Internet
Cities can introduce multiple approaches including latest microwave packet radio technology as an overlay to existing equipment. This approach will enable expansion of your bandwidth to support new IP-based applications without the need for new antenna infrastructure and without forcing a disruption of existing communications, reducing costs and facilitating a seamless, incremental migration from TDM to IP.

APPLICATION
City apps for transportation or items that may cross over to the business community. Need to be careful on this one as to not make anyone upset.

Conclusion

Strategy and planning for smart city growth is paramount. Leaders must adopt technology and planning process standards, align on goals and desired outcomes, and engage each stakeholder group including residents and businesses. Depending on the “Type” of city, the available resources and addressable opportunities might look very different - and are not simply defined by population or geographical characteristics. City assets, existing infrastructure, available financing, and utility ownership are all major factors and, depending on the state of the city, can catalyze or stifle smart city growth and efforts.

Interested in creating interoperable smart cities? Build the future with us and ask about the “Guide to the Technology and Process to Build A Smart City.”

To Learn more please contact the authors -
Jon Salisbury - CEO @ smartLINK or Zack Huhn - CEO @ Venture Smarter

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