LTE Networks & IoT Create Smarter Smart Cities
Thursday, April 12, 2018 | Comments
Cities are becoming smarter by producing greater public-sector efficiencies through sensors, IoT, LTE connectivity, and data analysis. The change of culture and technology is causing towns, cities, counties, and even entire states, to adapt to technologies that help lower costs, increase productivity, and improve citizens’ quality of life.

Smart City applications allow people of all ages to interact and communicate with the data that is generated from the variety of network connections. Older generations have high expectations for civil services, while younger generations rely on intuitive technology. Smart City applications can address both of these needs, improving public sector productivity and quality, while also providing citizens with convenience and increased opportunities.

Driving Economic Development

Smart Cities are also driving economic development by upgrading city network infrastructures and using sensors and data analytics to improve tourism and marketing. More and more digital information is being collected and stored in the cloud, and that data can be accessed to create tourism opportunities such as wayfinding or alerting them about places to visit.

London, for example, has smartphone apps from collected data that help travelers find services and events around the city. In the U.S., the City of Boise in Idaho is advancing the city with free WiFi on their transit system as well as GPS for accurate, real-time data.  The Boise Police Department is also becoming more connected by deploying 4G wireless hotspots in their patrol cars to fill reports, never leaving the field to go back to headquarters. They have also installed video surveillance around the city for real-time video for the fire department and for critical missions like river rescues.

Gartner predicts that in 2018, 30 percent of our interactions with technology will be through conversations with smart machines. Additionally, more than 30 percent of local government agencies will depend on data supplied by IoT to support around 50 percent of their mission critical-programs.

Maintaining a Tight Budget

IT managers in the public arena must also uphold a closely monitored budget. Consequently, IT teams are always looking for ways to leverage technologies for cost efficiencies and long-term network infrastructure improvements. By making cities more connected, they are seeing operational savings by using fewer man-hours to complete tasks, lowering truck rolls with real-time visibility into tasks, and reducing the amount of IT resources needed to maintain a network — ultimately saving taxpayer monies.

How Cities are Improving with Network Connectivity

City of Page, Arizona

The City of Page uses Cradlepoint’s 4G LTE routers, NetCloud Manager for central, remote management and fast software updates, and NetCloud Perimeter to bring multiple networks together and for the utmost security all in a comprehensive Network-as-a-Service solution.

The city was looking for a solution to connect departments, locations, vehicles, applications, and devices. It was imperative that the city have constant network uptime, but it also required a cost-effective solution. To achieve this, the city offices use wired and 4G LTE cellular connectivity for WAN routing, and wired and WiFi connectivity for the LAN. The city’s police vehicles have reliable 4G LTE access from any location, so officers do not need to return to headquarters to process paperwork, keeping them in the field and active for duty.

The city uses SD-Perimeter services for a secure encrypted overlay network, staying completely hidden from anyone not invited to the network. SD-Perimeter also makes it easier and more secure to move data from point A to point B.

“Instead of having to VPN to city hall, then to the fire department, then elsewhere and so on, those locations are both connected to a Virtual Cloud Network through NetCloud, which makes it seamless,” said Kane Scott, IT Director of the City of Page.

The City of Page utilizes advanced security, with stateful firewall and fully encrypted sensitive data through the Cradlepoint solution. Through SD-Perimeter, the team also has visibility into and control of devices that live beyond the routers.

Finally, the city is able to load balance using Cradlepoint routers with dual-SIM slots, which saves money on data usage.

The City of San Antonio, Texas

The City of San Antonio upgraded their public transit system, VIA Metropolitan Transit, with 4G LTE WiFi on their entire fleet of buses, paratransit vans, and facilities, servicing approximately 134,000 passengers each day. They also installed 700+ of Cradlepoint’s in-vehicle solutions in just 30 days.

“After the installations, Cradlepoint provided the resources needed to merely flip a switch and offer free, 4G LTE based WiFi to all of our riders instantly,” said Larry Mixon, Acting Vice President of Information Technology for VIA.

Cradlepoint’s solution also provided VIA with the ability to quickly and easily manage and configure the network all at once from one location.

Smart Applications Manage Assets & Resources Efficiently

Smart City applications are enhancing productivity, creating convenience, driving economic revenue, cutting city costs, and even helping to make overall environmental improvements. The Smart City transition is not merely to keep up with technology and trends, it’s becoming a crucial step in a city’s development.

Smart applications are being used to minimize the use of resources, avoid wastage, and reduce overall costs.

  • Utilizing applications to monitor and manipulate water levels remotely via wireless connectivity, saving staff time and speeding emergency responses.
  • Using innovative technologies that conserve energy and utility resources, like smart energy grids that help utility companies give each user only the amount of energy or water they need.
  • Environmental data collection for faster and streamlined responses through remote management.
  • Deploying wireless technologies to manage the collection, sorting, and disposal of trash.
  • Operating automated and responsive controls for building management to reduce staff hours and streamline energy usage.

With mobile connectivity, first responders can react faster and ensure reliable communications to protect their communities.

  • Improving public safety and emergency services by increasing data access, allowing for faster communication.
  • Using existing infrastructure like streetlamps to conserve energy and increase public safety.
  • By 2020, streetlamps will be the primary infrastructure for 80 percent of Smart Cities.
  • Deploying mobile connectivity allowing first responders to react faster and health care providers to track patient’s health conditions.

Sensors and wireless connectivity are improving traffic management and maximizing the productivity of taxpayer vehicle fleets.

  • Reducing traffic congestion with sensors and wireless connectivity
  • Americans spend about 4.2 billion hours stuck in traffic each year.
  • Using connected parking systems to alleviate traffic and save people time.
  • Inefficient parking represents up to 30 percent of all urban city traffic.
  • Mobile connectivity for Point-of-Sale (POS) and WiFi for passengers
  • Utilizing 4G LTE connectivity to benefit taxpayer-funded vehicle fleets, such as through alerts about vehicle locations, engine diagnostics, idle time, and fuel levels.

Dispersed city connections and gathered data maximize available information for more accurate planning and help to drive tourism.

  • Using more connections at parks and recreation areas to increase the customer experience, such as through digital signage.
  • Integrating information inside and outside the office so regional planners can make better decisions with access to data.

Choosing the right solutions for a city’s needs is key in keeping up with the change of technology and citizens’ expectations. 4G LTE wireless connectivity and IoT innovations provide a more cost-effective and efficient network and allow for easier scaling for future network changes. To learn more about Smart Cities and the multitude of possibilities for increasing efficiencies and streamlining work processes, download the Developing Smart Cities & Communities white paper.

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