The Smart City Journey: 5 Key Steps to Success

View of downtown Columbus, Ohio skyline. Columbus was the winner of the U.S. Department of Transportation's 2016 Smart City Challenge.

View of downtown Columbus, Ohio skyline. Columbus was the winner of the U.S. Department of Transportation's 2016 Smart City Challenge. SHUTTERSTOCK

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

COMMENTARY | The path to becoming a smart city is eased by incorporating a few important steps into your planning.

Any city has the potential to become a smart city. The general criteria is pretty straightforward. All you need is to deploy sensors, cameras or other technology devices using a robust, ubiquitous network so that data can be collected and then analyzed in near real-time for the benefit of citizens and visitors. Most cities already have a network infrastructure in place throughout their communities ready to be leveraged. But, even so, the journey to fully achieving smart city status isn’t always simple or straightforward. For cities hoping to reach their smart city goals, they should consider incorporating these five key actions into their planning:

  1. Define the problem. Defining what the city wants to solve is the first step. For instance, if improving parking downtown is the goal, does the city know enough about the current challenges related to parking? Maybe the parking zones are too long or short to accommodate the parking needs. Or the issue could be the timing of the traffic signals, poor directional signage or lack of awareness of where free and metered parking is located. No matter what the issue ultimately is, cities have to understand it before making changes and will need the right corresponding data to help inform this process.  
  2. Dedicate resources. Having a dedicated division within the municipality like an innovation department or specific positions that focus their time on smart initiatives helps ensure that plans become reality and are delivered on time and on budget. Data collection and analysis isn’t something that can be done on the side. It’s critical for the success of a smart city to be fully committed to overseeing and measuring data on an ongoing basis.  
  3. Assemble a team. One of the key findings from successful smart city implementations is to not go on the journey alone. Even with a dedicated smart city department lead, it’s important to tap other city resources, bring in a citizen group and reach out to key technology partners to form a team approach on a path forward. Leveraging peer groups can provide a broad sponsorship platform for future innovation. In addition, involving multiple, diverse stakeholders has other benefits like sharing costs, pooling resources and incorporating equitable solutions.
  4. Create a vision. All smart deployments must answer the question: So what? Cities must be able to articulate the value that citizens will gain from the project. Sometimes the desired change is very straightforward like saving energy or saving money. But other times it might be “softer,” like increasing situational awareness to improve public safety. Bottom line, creating a vision is an important step for cities looking to get buy-in. Once established, city officials should socialize the vision with other city leaders and the community in order to gain the level of support needed for the project to be successful.
  5. Build and implement. Once there is buy-in and local officials have provided authorization, prioritize the technology and the areas where you want to start the deployment of smart technology. Give yourself time for deployment and to gather results before moving on to the next initiative. Come to agreements with your key stakeholders on milestones and metrics that will show the success of the project. Once goals are met, socialize the success as a win for the community, furthering the involvement from citizens and helping continue the culture of innovation.

As city leaders move forward and progress on their smart city initiatives, success lies in a strategic combination of the technology and people who are committed to the “possible” becoming the reality

Patti Zullo is senior director of Smart City Solutions for Spectrum Enterprise, a part of Charter Communications. Ms. Zullo is responsible for defining and executing the Spectrum Smart City go-to-market strategy. She has over 20 years of enterprise leadership experience in the areas of IOT/analytics, cloud, Internet security and mobile communications. For more information about Spectrum Smart City Solutions, visit https://spectrumsmartcities.com/.

NEXT STORY: Want to Solve Society’s Most Urgent Problems? Cash Prizes Can Spur Breakthroughs

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.