Smart City

Smart City Sentinel

Rightly Prioritizing Smart City Applications in IoT

By Alex Passett

According to speakers on a Smart City Solutions panel yesterday at IoT Evolution Expo 2023 (held at the Broward Country Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL), knowing your audience when it comes to smart cities is paramount. Specifically, who the smart city is actually serving and why.

As part of their “Three Types of Smart City Applications” panel, speakers Matej Raspet (Head of IoT and Smart Infrastructure at Telekom Slovenije) and Johnathan Levitt (Vice President of Growth at Cocoflo Innovations) covered city administration, citizens, and tourists, each representing different requirements for municipalities both small and large.

Let’s start with this, just as the panel did: How do smart city initiatives differ between said municipalities? “It’s the main users of the city’s platforms, those users’ work areas, and the intelligent solutions those mandate,” Levitt said.

Linking these city municipality types to the types of smart city audiences, an adaptive city administration is key. “As is the smart city architecture that is hopefully founded,” Levitt continued. “The architecture needs its technicals, as in what’s required to power how we capture data. It needs operational soundness, as in what keeps a smart city moving, such as traffic systems and waste management. And finally, anything that’s domain-specific; public safety systems that use cameras and sensors for security, for instance.”

“Tourists and citizens are somewhat easier to define,” Raspet said. “Tourists need mobility – public transport is the biggest – and means for ticket-purchasing and trip-planning. Citizens, on the other hand, need inclusive digitalization and e-business. For them, being a part of a tight-knit community and part of decision-making processes are incredibly important. And from them, the decision-makers receive relevant data for informed implementations. Then, once residents see the developments that are in accordance with their feedback – provided the projects and budgets are right – everyone is satisfied.”

“But it’s huge to not try and achieve all of this at once,” Levitt clarified. “We say ‘Don’t try to boil the ocean.’ for a reason. There are stages. First, we listen to citizens’ voices and start with realistic goalposts with citizens’ seats at the table. Starting with smaller initiatives is good; initiatives that make the city smarter like apps for parking or paying online bills. Those small projects are your entry point. With sufficient success, the bigger projects will come.”

So long story short, dip your feet in before full-on diving headfirst.

Levitt and Raspet also outlined the crucial role 5G plays in smart city IoT solutions (e.g. smart grids, smart electricity management, and healthcare), as well as Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) frameworks, stakeholders’ central interests, and supplemental IoT projects that citizens are inclined to support. Those included flood and fire sensors, motion-sensor streetlights for walkers, runners and cyclists, emergency management, always-connected mobile services, inspection, and elderly care.

“Do right by your admins, tourists and citizens,” the speakers concluded, “and they’ll work to do right by you."

Edited by Alex Passett
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