As our world becomes more and more connected at an increasingly rapid rate, cities are considering and implementing technology to increase efficiencies, store and transmit data and improve everything from infrastructure management to government transparency.
Recently, the engineering, consulting and construction company Black & Veatch released its Smart City/Smart Utility Report for 2017. It shows that “94 percent of municipalities view the smart city movement as transformational and capable of bringing positive, long-term impacts to cities around the world.” However, the report goes on to state that most cities are unsure of how to implement the necessary technologies and smart utilities due to limited budgets and expertise.
As the global population grows, more people are living in larger municipalities, and those city governments are working hard to create smart city strategies that implement next-generation sensors for utilities such as electricity and water. They are also incorporating comprehensive plans to utilize big data analytics that increase overall efficiencies and are integrating Internet of things (IoT) technology that can manage and automate a growing number of connected devices. But this smart city revolution is by no means limited to big cities. Smaller towns and rural areas will certainly be affected by the growing reliance on technology as well. Innovation in network connectivity is far-reaching and is becoming a utility in its own right. Many people and businesses count on this connectivity in the same way they count on running water or working lights.
So what to do? It is difficult to keep pace with the rapid development of technology and connected things. Big data is allowing us to automatically sort and analyze massive amounts of information that increasingly are shaping our direction as a global society. It is important for municipal governments and decision-makers to remain educated on the continued shift to this way of life. This means that the roles of IT managers employed by cities are growing in significance and scope. They are often the point people for gathering and interpreting trends, and providing guidance on how to stay ahead of the curve.
As we head into the second quarter of 2017, we can anticipate the conversation around smart cities and smart utilities to only become louder and more significant. At LightRiver, our customers look to us to offer our expertise and counsel for how to ensure they are building and integrating next-gen networks that will stand the test of time as the demand for a constant, steady flow of data increases exponentially.
To that end, we maintain a constant relationship with the Utilities Technology Council, a global trade association dedicated to serving critical infrastructure providers. We believe strongly in the UTC’s mission to shape “the future of utility mission critical technologies by driving innovation, fostering collaboration and influencing public policy.” We are looking forward to attending two UTC events this spring. From March 20 to 22 we will be at the UTC Region 6 Spring Meeting in Overland Park, Kansas. Then, from May 8 to 12, we will attend the UTC Telecom & Technology conference in Charlotte, N.C.
Anyone who is attending these events can contact us here to set up a meeting. We are looking forward to continuing the important discussion around the development of smart utilities and its impact on cities.