Matt Karli, Senior Professional, Product Management, Insurance and Spatial Solutions
The vision for smart cities, complete with coordinated and connected utilities and buildings, imagines infrastructure that will allow humans to have a more efficient, safe and innovative lifestyle than we do today. The idea of smart cities combines technology, data and location intelligence to improve sustainability, transportation and emergency responses. Connected smart buildings and electronic devices will create an integrated network that leverages real-time data to improve the quality of life for a city’s citizens.
The evolution of truly smart cities is driven by the continued adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) devices in the home. These devices will provide both the technology and data that will power the future of smart cities. Today, voice-enabled smart devices control our home’s lighting and thermostats.
Eventually, homes will connect to cities, too. We are already seeing this in apartments where elevator operations are optimized to save tenants time, and heating, ventilation or air conditioning (HVAC) units are monitored to inform preventative maintenance or maximize comfort and energy efficiency.
The realization of smart cities will require us to leverage location intelligence to help identify complex patterns, spatial relationships, the proximity of interconnected infrastructure and systems, and more. Geographic information systems (GIS)are already used for infrastructure planning, asset management, field inspections and other analysis—and it can be used to provide precise and accurate location detail including property and structure attributes, rooftop geocoding, hazardrisk scores. All these items are key to understanding the complex relationships that will ultimately enable the reality of smart cities.
Impact to Sustainability
In some areas of the country, we are already seeing both public and private utilities themselves providing incentives to customers to install smart devices within their homes to optimize the energy supply chain. This will facilitate more effective grid management and energy efficiency.
Smart water meters allow utilities to have instant usage data to facilitate supply, conservation efforts and in some cases, even enforcement in areas with limited water supply. Additionally, this smart meter technology would immediately alert utilities of outages that customers are experiencing to speed service restoration.
Having a detailed understanding of the location of these seemingly disconnected devices allows city and utility managers to visualize the complex web of information each of these different endpoints is providing. With this intelligence in hand, they are empowered to make smarter choices. For instance, smart garbage bins communicate when they are ready for pickup, allowing municipalities or businesses to identify high litter areas. This allows for an opportunity to react in a timely fashion and supplement the area with additional trash bins.