Smart City

Smart City Sentinel

Harnessing the Power of IoT for a Smarter Denver

By Erik Linask

The urbanization of the world’s population, coupled with advancements in digital technologies – and a never-ending challenge to balance budgets with community needs – is driving cities, municipalities, and towns to explore smart city technologies.  The simple fact is most cities are struggling to balance residents’ needs, safety, and costs, which is driving them to explore new technologies to support their operations across their communities.  For many, a combination of connectivity, IoT sensors, edge and cloud computing, AI, communications, and analytics is creating new opportunities to  improve operations and deliver better services to residents and businesses.

Given the challenges and the potential benefits of technology, it’s not surprising to see the smart city market projected to grow massively over the coming years, with Grand View Research projecting a whopping 25.8% CAGR through 2030, bringing the market from $657 billion last year, to more than $4.1 trillion by 2030.

The growth will be driven by a wide range of benefits driven by IoT and complementary technologies, from improved cost efficient operations and data-driven decision making to sustainability and environmental considerations and improved quality of life.

Just a few of the many ways IoT solutions are supporting smart city projects and helping communities and governments create more efficient, livable, and sustainable environments include:

Improved Public Services – IoT allows for real-time monitoring and management of public utilities, like water, electricity, and gas, which can lead to more efficient usage and distribution, reducing waste and lowering costs.  For example, smart meters can provide both utilities and consumers with detailed usage data, helping both sides optimize energy use and reduce costs.

Transportation and Traffic Management – Smart traffic management systems use IoT sensors to monitor traffic flow and adjust traffic signals in real time to reduce congestion.  Additionally, data from these systems can be used to plan more effective public transit routes and schedules, as well as infrastructure improvements.  IoT solutions also support other initiatives, like smart parking systems, which are increasingly being implemented in cities and towns worldwide.

Waste Management – IoT technology can be applied to waste management to create more efficient operations.  Real-time data on waste levels can be used to optimize pickup routes, reducing costs and emissions from waste collection vehicles, while maximizing efficiency of city workers to ensure residents continue to have access to the services they need.

Environmental Monitoring – IoT sensors can monitor a wide range of environmental factors, from air quality and temperature to noise levels and humidity, and much more.  This data can be used to manage indoor environments, and also to inform broader policy decisions that contribute to better and more enjoyable living environments.

Public Safety – Public safety is a growing concern in most communities.  IoT can be used to support public safety initiatives by integrating data from various sources, such as video surveillance cameras, emergency services, social media, and more, to respond more quickly and effectively to emergencies.  For example, IoT devices can provide real-time information to first responders, helping them make informed decisions during emergencies.  The same information, combined with unified communications tools can be used to disseminate community-wide notifications and alerts when needed, to reduce or avoid traffic congestion and reduce safety risks.

Infrastructure Management – Sensors embedded in infrastructure like roads, bridges, and buildings can monitor conditions and provide data that helps with maintenance, planning, and budgeting, while leading to cost savings and increased safety.

Citizen Engagement – IoT can also be used to enhance citizen engagement. For instance, mobile apps connected to city systems can provide citizens with real-time information about services, allow them to report problems like potholes or broken streetlights, and even pay for services or fines.  The same apps can even be used to inform residents about local events to drive interest and support the local community.

A (very) recent example is seen in Colorado, where the City and County of Denver announced a significant milestone in their commitment to innovative public service – this one designed to improve its waste management program (and, subsequently, deliver better service quality to residents).  Specifically, Denver is now leveraging Rubicon Technologies’ smart city solution across its entire fleet of more than 150 solid waste and recycling vehicles.

Through this partnership, Rubicon's smart city product is being used to digitize Denver’s waste collection operation, transitioning the Solid Waste Management Division’s drivers from paper-based maps and manual routing to Rubicon’s software.  The shift allows managers and supervisors across the department to have real-time insights into route progress, service completion, and any issues along routes. 

It means drivers can be easily re-routed to assist with other’s routes, if one were to have a breakdown, for instance, or any other incident causing delays.  Drivers receive route updates in real-time, created by an intelligent system that is designed to maximize workflow and efficiency.  On a broader scale, the data also allows the City to identify problems with existing collection routes and timing – and solve them – to provide a more efficient and effective curbside collection service.

“We are thrilled to partner with Rubicon to bring the latest smart city technology to our solid waste and recycling services,” said Denve Mayor Michael B. Hancock.  “This partnership is a continued testament to Denver’s overwhelming commitment to innovation and efficiency in delivering core public services to our residents, and I look forward to continuing on this journey with Rubicon to drive greater efficiency in our operations for years to come.”

Rubicon's technology suite, RUBICONSmartCity, is a cloud-based platform that helps local governments run faster, smarter, and more effective waste, recycling, and heavy-duty municipal fleet operations.  The system can monitor vehicle health, improve driver behavior, and ensure that materials are collected efficiently, resulting in fewer vehicle accidents, less road wear, and safer communities.

The development and implementation of smart city technologies – like RUBICONSmartCity – are playing a key role in turning the concept of smart cities into reality.  The Denver-Rubicon partnership is a testament to the potential of smart city technologies in improving public services, making them more efficient and responsive.  It also underscores the growing commitment of cities and governments to embrace digital transformation for the betterment of their communities in an effort to enhance public services, promote efficiency, and contribute to sustainability.

Edited by Erik Linask
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Group Editorial Director

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