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Connecting the Unconnected: Cities and Cars are Getting “Smarter” Every Day

There are many ways that Smart Cities will immediately impact our lives, says Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Alumnus Ed Christmas. Here's a look at the next wave of connectivity

Dallas Smart City IoT

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is a Dallas Innovates is Silver SponsorThe connected world has given us smart phones, smart homes, smart buildings, smart TVs, and the emergence of smart cars. Soon these will be components of a “smart city.” After connecting the world with video, voice, and data, the next movement, the “Internet of Things” has emerged—connecting the unconnected.

Imagine a trash can informing dispatch that it’s full. It’s happening now. Imagine entering a parking garage and your phone or car directs you to an open spot. It’s this combination of inputs, data, intelligence, and interconnectivity that is the backbone of a smart city.

Smart cities will come in different shapes and sizes, depending on each city’s needs. Some of the common needs will be safety and security, traffic congestion, parking, livability, and environmental. Every city will embrace what’s most important to them.

THE RIGHT INFRASTRUCTURE DELIVERS
THE NECESSARY CONNECTIVITY

The path to becoming a smart city begins with the proper infrastructure. Many people think that roads or fiber optic cabling equate to infrastructure. While true, a smart city will require much more. Smart cars require smart roads — roads with cameras and sensors. Self-reporting water meters will require a robust wireless network. Smart lighting will require both wired and wireless networks. 

Imagine a combination of cameras, sensors, logic, and communications that allow the parking garage to relay open spots, monitor abandoned vehicles, reserve VIP spots, and provide better safety/security.

Some examples of real use cases being explored today are smart lighting, smart parking, intelligent traffic systems, and enhanced safety and security.

Several companies today are doing contract performance installations of LED lighting into a city where they absorb all of the upfront costs and then share in the savings after a period of time. Why is this smart? LED lighting requires little energy, puts out almost no heat, and lasts for a long time. Imagine connecting lighting systems to the intelligence grid — areas where there’s no activity could dim and white lights could suddenly flash red in trouble spots to assist with emergency notification.

Smart parking could save time and countless headaches. Imagine a combination of cameras, sensors, logic, and communications that allow the parking garage to relay open spots, monitor abandoned vehicles, reserve VIP spots, and provide better safety/security.

YOUR COMMUTE WILL GET BETTER
WITH INTELLIGENT TRAFFIC SYSTEMS 

One of the greatest impacts for smart city dwellers will be the widespread use of Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS). An ITS installation means a smart car is not only connected to other smart cars but the roads as well. Vehicle-to-vehicle communication means collision avoidance. If you’re too close to me, I can pull my car away and vice versa.

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication means collision avoidance.

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication means collision avoidance. If you’re too close to me, I can pull my car away and vice versa.

Then there is vehicle-to-infrastructure communication that can send alerts about road conditions and signals, as well as allow emergency vehicles to know how many cars are on the road and then utilize that information to reroute those emergency vehicles.

SECURITY WILL IMPROVE BY
INTRODUCING NEW TECHNOLOGIES

Security in a smart city will leverage several technologies.

One example being rolled out today is gunshot detection, which ties into your video cameras and into what we call “situational awareness technology.”

One example being rolled out today is gunshot detection, which ties into your video cameras and into what we call “situational awareness technology.”

Based on your mobile devices, with this technology, we could detect how many people are in a particular area during a shooting incident. If you look at city or campus shootings, the missing information is often who was where and at what time. Leveraging this information into a holistic approach with correlated facts of information will increase situational awareness and therefore improve security.

Leveraging this information into a holistic approach with correlated facts of information will increase situational awareness and therefore improve security.

THE INTERNET OF THINGS IMPACT:
THE NEXT WAVE OF CONNECTIVITY

There are many ways that smart cities will immediately impact our lives. One is transparency: knowing what’s going on with your city and its environment. Is it a good day to go jogging?

Another is through enhanced services and capabilities. It’s predicted that someone born today won’t learn how to drive due to autonomous vehicles. We have connected vehicles now.

It’s predicted that someone born today won’t learn how to drive due to autonomous vehicles.

We’ll also have connected homes, smart buildings, and smart cities, all of which will be connected and work together. This connectivity will allow you to better control your utility bills and make smarter decisions based on information presented to you.

All of this will be data driven by sensors that are on the network, providing information that makes cities and households more efficient.

Ok — let’s start to discuss what this looks like on the network.

The network becomes the foundation.  Building out a network that is open, scalable, secure, and adaptable is key for cities to successfully begin to build a truly smart city.  

Cities will need to make sure their CIOs or technology consultants have a seat at the Smart City table to avoid multiple technologies being deployed… 

The growth in sensors will bring billions of devices onto the network and create an enormous amount of data. 

What will businesses, cities, and people do with all of this data? How will people protect this information? How does this data become useful and valuable?

City departments such as public works, public safety, traffic management, parks and recreation, utilities, sustainability/environmental and community affairs are all leveraging technology to become more operationally efficient, transparent, and citizen friendly. 

Cities will need to make sure their CIOs or technology consultants have a seat at the Smart City table to avoid multiple technologies being deployed among the many departments within an agency. 

Cities will become truly smart when they can leverage their infrastructure to provide real-time information to stakeholders and citizens to make timely decisions in their everyday lives. 


Ed Christmas is a graduate of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and is the founding managing principal of Sology Inc., a technology company that provides integrated IT solutions for public and private enterprise customers.


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Ed Christmas, is a graduate of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and is the Founding, Managing Principal of Sology Inc., a technology company that provides integrated IT solutions for pu(...)

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