Article written by David Antar, President of IPVideo Corporation, Robolliance Expert
As the “Internet of Things” (IoT) moves us toward a more connected, more automated society, the proliferation of IoT devices is impacting the way that government agencies are able to deliver quality services in increasingly complex environments. The public sector is looking at ways to apply IoT technology to find new value for citizens, aiming to enhance capabilities, streamline processes and engage partners.
Governments need to develop strategic plans for the application of the Internet of Things - to fully capitalize on the suite of embedded sensors and wirelessly connected devices that will soon be an integral part of the lives of all citizens. And, while we’re not quite there yet, the use of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) will undoubtedly become an integral part of these plans in the near future.
Cities stand to benefit the most from connecting people, process, data, and things. To be a “smart city” is to utilize information and communications technology and the Internet to address urban challenges.
CBR (Computer Business Review) has assembled this list of “smart city” programs currently under development:
- India’s Smart City Mission – will target 100 cities across the country and aims to have made them smart by the end of this decade. Cities will see general connectivity boosted, as well as e-government and citizen participation enhanced though IT systems, and an improvement of the overall urban mobility strategy and smarter public transports.
- UAE – under the Dubai Plan 2021, the smart city strategy includes over 100 initiatives and a plan to transform 1,000 government services into smart services, mostly based on data.
- Spain – Barcelona is rapidly becoming a smart metropolis and a world tech capital. The city has deployed sensors to measure different things, from noise control to air quality and waste management. Yet, the most widely used sensors network gives motorists real-time information on street parking using the mobile app ApparkB.
- Australia – Whole country – The “Commonwealth’s Smart Cities Plan” will invite state and territory governments to partner on City Deals. City Deals will provide common objectives across levels of government, support for key industry and employment centers, infrastructure investment linked to broader reform and changes to planning and governance arrangements to deliver enduring benefits.
- Singapore – started one of the largest smart cities roll outs in the world back in 2014, Smart Nation, and has unveiled plans to cover the entire city-state with sensors and smart cameras to collect data across all verticals, including rubbish.
Cities are also grappling with the best method to centralize the management of such a wide range of disparate devices and facilitate cross-communication between systems and platforms. The City of Bridgeport, CT, is an example of a city that is using a security management platform as the base from which to manage its many integrated technologies.
The City of Bridgeport officially opened their new $1 million Security Command Center as part of its BSAFE initiative. Designed using C3fusion software from IPVideo Corporation, the command center features a stunning video wall that not only handles video security, but also helps to manage Bridgeport’s many integrated technologies. Everything from a door access system to a building management system to GPS tracking to a panic button system comes back to the command center. Specified conditions trigger an event for staff to perform a visual verification.
It will take time and resources for other cities to fully integrate their IoT technologies. Until then, let’s take a look at a few of the individual technologies now being utilized:
- The Bigbelly system, uses the CLEAN Management Console to keep city streets clean by deploying waste, recycling and even composting depending on location. The CLEAN Management Console delivers actionable data from a customized configuration providing both real-time and historical collection data that can be accessed via the cloud-based CLEAN.
- ParkSight provides intelligence to see what is happening on streets and in parking lots to make data-based decisions. This parking analytics platform offers historical reports to assess demand by area, block, or blockface… and even by hour of the day. Reports include insights such as average length of stay, enforcement actions, occupancy, parking sessions, potential violations, and turnover.
- Don’tFlushMe sensors placed in Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) allows NYC residents to help reduce the amount of pollution in the harbor. Some 27 billion gallons of raw sewage is dumped into the harbor every year. This comes from CSOs that open when the sewer system is overloaded. Sensors enable residents to understand when the overflows happen and reduce their wastewater production before and during an overflow event.
- TGI – True Grid Intelligence – is a combination of software, methodology and IoT devices that helps utilities find problems on the grid faster. It blends in-grid data – real values that reflect the actual operating conditions of an electrical distribution network – with an advanced analytics engine. TGI divides the grid into meaningful segments, and prioritizes those segments by risk level based on informed parameters. TGI ranks the highest risk grid segments so utilities can focus investigations much more efficiently and enables grid operators to look deeper into operational conditions to find a variety of problems.
These are just a few of the ways that cities are now starting to utilize the IoT. In the near future, we will also begin to see the use of unmanned ground vehicles for a range of functions, such as assisting law enforcement, managing parking facilities and providing roaming surveillance. Just as the internet revolutionized our access to information within the past 20 years, we can anticipate similarly sweeping changes in the areas of connectivity and automation in the decades ahead. And, companies that are prepared to leverage their expertise in network-based technologies, such as the many visionary partners within the Robolliance, will most certainly be leading the way.