Why Smart Cities? It’s in the numbers

By Richard Arneson

We’re living in a world where some of the most mundane of tasks can be offloaded thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and predictive analytics. Whether regarding businesses or individuals, time-consuming tasks and processes can grind down productivity and prevent individuals, teams and departments from working on initiatives that should be helping shape their company’s future for years to come. And our personal lives are benefiting tremendously from the Smart Revolution. Healthcare apps are freeing up time that patients would have otherwise spent sitting in traffic or in a waiting room flipping through a 5-year-old copy of Good Housekeeping. You can monitor your home’s temperature, lighting and security while sipping a margarita on a Cancun beach. Yes, the smart life is simpler, less stressful and, perhaps best of all, more fiscally-minded. And in the off chance you haven’t heard, cities, both big and small, are beginning to see the light.

A Smart approach to combat budget cuts

Try to find city that hasn’t experienced budget cuts in the past twenty (20) years. It’s rare, if one even exists. Police forces and fire departments have become understaffed, bone-jarring pot holes remain unrepaired, parks are left untended and unsafe, youth sports and arts districts go unsupported; the list goes on and on. Reading further down it quickly becomes disheartening. And what’s the most common way cities try to combat budget cuts? Higher taxes. Yay!

But some cities, at least the smarter ones, are turning to a smarter solution and transforming themselves into a Smart City. The following stats and figures provide a brief list of some of the many reasons they’re doing so:

Lighting alone composes up to forty percent (40%) of cities’ utility bills

By utilizing sensors and a scalable platform to smartly address street lighting, both utility costs and those related to crime can be greatly reduced. Without it, energy is wasted and cities’ carbon footprint will continue to grow. IoT-enabled lampposts allow lights to be dimmed or turned off in the absence of nearby traffic, whether foot or vehicular.

Thirty percent (30%) of traffic congestion is due to drivers looking for a parking space

Smart Cities are better and more rapidly directing drivers to areas where parking is available. As a result, traffic congestion and emissions are reduced, and time and cost savings―and far happier citizens―are the result. And don’t forget what IoT-based ride sharing solutions, along with bicycle and scooter rentals, are doing to reduce traffic snarls and emissions.

Air pollution costs municipalities $1.7 trillion dollars per year

With location-based and real-time monitoring of air quality, Smart Cities can quickly determine which parts of town have the highest emissions levels. This level of information allows them to determine what is causing the disparities in air quality, and develop measures to fix them. In addition, citizens will be equipped with better, more timely information about when to venture outdoors or remain inside.

Traffic congestion costs drivers $300 billion each year

With data gathered from connected vehicles, city workers can be more quickly deployed to address congestion due to everything from abandoned vehicles, road debris or other safety issues.

Crime, and indirect costs related to it, total $3.2 billion annually

With sensors and connected first responders, Smart Cities can more efficiently monitor and respond to crime-related incidents. And retail districts, among other areas, soon reap the rewards, as consumers feel more secure to frequent local businesses and stay for longer periods of time.

Cities report a sixty percent (60%) inefficiency rate regarding trash collection

Smart Cities can better direct trash collection personnel to areas and collection receptacles that require immediate attention. This level of information ensures collections are conducted more efficiently, which not only saves time and money, but improves air quality.

The Smart City Revolution has already saved thousands of cities across the globe money and jobs, greatly reduced budget cuts, and helped keep their city safer, cleaner and healthier. Becoming a Smart City is certainly a fiscally and societally responsible goal, but to get it beyond the dream stage requires a high level of insight, empirical experience and planning. “It’s important to take a holistic view of the city’s entire financial and infrastructural landscape prior to attempting a Smart City migration,” said Alllen Sulgrove, GDT’s Director of its Smart City and IoT Solutions practice. “It’s only when data and technologies are tightly integrated to address particular needs that municipalities will enjoy the full value, from a societal and economic impact, of becoming a Smart City.”

Before acting on your dreams to become a Smart City, consult with experts who’ve done it

Becoming a Smart City only becomes beneficial to municipalities if its deployment results in economies of scale, cost efficiencies, optimization of resources, better customer service and satisfaction, and, ultimately, higher revenue. And that’s why consulting with Smart City and IoT professionals like those at GDT is critically important. GDT’s tenured, talented solutions architects, engineers and security analysts understand how to design and deploy Smart City solutions for cities of all sizes to help them realize more productivity, enhanced operations and greater revenue. GDT helps organizations transform their legacy environments into highly productive digital infrastructures and architectures. You can reach them at SolutionsArchitects@GDT.com or at Engineering@GDT.com. They’d love to hear from you.

You can read more about Smart Cities and IoT Solutions below:

Five (5) things to consider prior to your company’s IoT journey

Without Application Performance Monitoring, your IoT goals may be MIA

How does IoT fit with SD-WAN?

GDT is leading the Smart Cities Revolution