How do you go from a dumb city to a smart city?

I am not going to espouse the benefits of a Smart City. To be here, you have already decided the strategy has value.

Cities that are not smart should not be referred to as dumb; they are just analogue. Cities exist on a sliding scale of digitisation. Anything in a city that is not digital is considered analogue. We have seen mass transitions of analogue to digital already with tv frequencies and water meters.  

Society is just getting started in realising the full extent of the possibilities of going digital. Cities are at the beginning of a wide-ranging digital transformation, including Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is the convergence of technologies. The IoT includes low-cost wireless connectivity and sensors, machine learning, cloud and edge computing and other control systems.

IoT connects the physical world to the digital world.

A Smart City is always growing and expanding, and as this happens, we need to consider all the “legacy systems that do not connect” according to Henri Blas.  Many of the core functions of cities are the definition of analogue, e.g. roads, bridges, water systems, buildings, parks, hospitals, and airports. As cities grow the analogue elements not only remain but continue to grow.

Why should we want to digitise the infrastructure in a city?

·       lowers costs

·       improves efficiencies

·       increases service quality

·       add new services and value

·       magnifies citizen engagement

·       capture and share meaningful data

·       create innovative public-private partnerships

Some digitised infrastructure you may be familiar with is Smart streetlights. These are targeted at commercial and residential streets for energy efficiency purposes, sensor attachments, as well as public safety functions. Another example includes digital signage which can display dynamic content for community messaging and engagement, advertisements, traffic notifications and wayfinding.

As assets degrade, they are updated with new infrastructure that is embedded with digital sensors to capture and transmit relevant information.  

This update can be achieved quickly in new cities or cities that have a high rate of construction. In a new city, you can put a sensor in the curbside to monitor parking. You would not do this in an ancient city, so does this mean that ancient built cities will never be smart cities? Can Jericho, with 11,000-year-old architecture ever be a smart city?

Residential Jericho with Romanian Church

Any town, ancient or modern, can become a Smart City.

Becoming a Smart City is another name for the long-term digitisation strategy for a town. It is not the ultimate state to reach. Digital transformations are often considered a subset of smart city strategies.

As you can see, some analogue infrastructure is easy to upgrade, while some are not.

How do you enhance the quality and performance of urban services that cannot be upgraded so easily?  

itus captures analogue assets and connect them to the digital world using data capture and machine learning.

We provide the data on city assets to make evidence-based, data-driven decisions. We capture large-scale video libraries using on-board cameras. If you cannot put sensors inside a road, we can provide near real-time data to monitor the built environment and provide the data to power your Smart City.  

This data is the missing piece of Smart Cities data enabling rapid technological innovation and societal change. City interactions will increasingly be digital. itus leads the way in the fourth industrial revolution transforming every analogue element of a city.

“A smart city strategy is a long term effort. Plan for it.” Jonathan Reichental

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