Top 5 Wins for All Smart Cities
There are a few smart city projects out there that offer clear wins for any city. In this panel we heard suggestions from representatives of four cities, ranging in population from 45,000 to 1.2 million. If your city is looking to successfully dive into smart city projects, consider starting in one of these areas.
Develop a Robust Communication System
The city communication system is the foundation of a lot of other technologies that will enable smart city projects. Setting up a fiber optic or Wi-Fi system that is reliable, scalable, redundant and resilient will give a solid start to all future smart city initiatives and allow for better communication across the city government.
Many cities are talking about installing smart, connected streetlights, but it can be even simpler than that. Just replace outdated bulbs with new LEDs for a savings of 50 percent off the electric bill. Even a small city like Opelika, Alabama racks up an electric bill for streetlights of $1.1 million a year, so this is a great way to save a huge amount of money.
Parking is a problem in many cities, and with parking sensors, a city can get a better understanding of the current reality and possible solutions. For example, parking sensors can capture data about handicap spots to help predict how many handicap spots are needed for new buildings, and sensors combined with apps can be used to monitor parking availability in real time or to send notifications to alert people that their parking meter is about to expire.
Optimize Public Transportation
Transportation is one of the biggest concerns for city residents. Optimizing public transportation can make it more cost and energy efficient, and creating apps or offering free Wi-Fi can give citizens a better user experience.
Sensors that monitor waste receptacles in real time can make waste pickup more efficient. Data from the sensors can be used to optimize routes which means fuel and labor savings for the city. Several cities have found success by setting up smart waste bin programs.
Before getting started with any of the above projects, it is advised that all cities should create a Smart City Vision. This document should be co-created by the mayor, city council, and other stakeholders in government and the larger community. The Smart City Vision will help identify city priorities, so it is easier to select the right smart city projects that will help reach city goals.