Corporations are not alone when it comes to gathering and interpreting data, and taking action based on the insights gleaned from the data. Increasingly, cities are pursuing and implementing tools to collect, make sense of, and act based on population and infrastructure-oriented data to improve urban efficiency and safety—to make cities work better for all of its constituents. The concept of “smart cities” has increased in popularity as a result, acting more as a catch-all for the kinds of innovations that ultimately ladder-up to these macro urban efficiency and safety goals.
Helping Cities Work Smarter, Not Harder
In their current form, smart cities leverage an amalgamation of technologies that mostly surround security, web proofing, and city development. At a high level, the key findings from the data collected can help city officials improve fluidity and safety.
Cities are able to use data in order to work smarter, not harder, meaning that the data urban planners and organizations are analyzing can be used to more accurately identify and address infrastructure, transportation, and safety challenges facing the city. These data sets also give local governments and urban planning organizations the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of constituents, including how they behave, travel, and engage with their local ecosystems.
“Data is what puts the smart in smart service,” according to Khaled Charif, the director of technology and innovation at NXN, a company that provides consulting services for the GCC, a contracting company in Dubai.
Charif continues, “We are talking about both historical and real-time data. So in that sense, a smart building will have relevant and contextual data readily available when it comes to a specific service such as to avail a concierge service, to book a parking spot or to manage a security alarm.”
Analytics Applied: The Cases of Jaipur and Kansas City
Stakeholders involved in designing and executing a broad smart city agenda in Jaipur are attempting to enhance the quality of life for constituents while preserving the city’s heritage. Those involved in improving Jaipur through applied analytics technologies seek to provide increased access to information, create a safer environment, and simplify and improve methods of moving around the city.
For example, smart mobility efforts are focused on promoting the use of non-motorized vehicles, aiming to increase the share of public transportation to 45% and consequently reduce the city’s pollution levels. In line with the desire for a cleaner city, the local government in Jaipur is investing in smart and sustainable civic infrastructure, smart metering in utilities, and smart waste management.
State-side, Kansas City provides a case study for smart city development. Local officials are leveraging analytics to address numerous challenges—from pothole prevention to crime reduction. According to Bob Bennett, the city’s Chief Innovation Officer, not only will the technologies his team is exploring help local police predict the likelihood and timing of criminal activity, they also have the potential to help local officials understand the underlying causal elements behind the crimes being committed.
The emerging technologies being used by city governments and urban planners are addressing a small subset of the massive set of challenges that experts suggest can be solved through applied analytics. At TechNexus, we are working with entrepreneurs building the next wave of smart city technologies. If you would like to continue the conversation, or learn more about how your city can uplevel its use of sensor data and pursue smart city-oriented innovations, we would love to connect!