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Connections: The critical ingredient in building smart city ecosystems

Hexagon’s Robert Jastram outlines the benefits of establishing, understanding and connecting all data within a city.

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As complex ecosystems comprised of interconnected departments, sites and infrastructure, today’s smart cities face several challenges. However, there is also great potential to operate as autonomous connected ecosystems where the positive interplay between data and innovations can have a ripple effect across the city.

 

Often this can manifest in unexpected ways. Whether it’s correlating data about broken streetlights and increases in crime incidents or identifying underground infrastructure issues before they impact road-paving schedules. All systems that are used for data visualisation, monitoring and analysis are interconnected.

 

All systems that are used for data visualisation, monitoring and analysis are interconnected.

 

Making decisions in these complex environments demands more than simple communication between data, systems and people. It requires connections that interlink the geospatial and operational worlds, which can trigger chain reactions for improving the lives of citizens.

 

The impact of these connections can be highly positive for citizens. A 2017 study concluded that the more citizens use smart city services, the higher the quality of life they can achieve.

 

Autonomous connected ecosystems

 

In addition to simply employing connected systems, city leaders also need to leverage systems that can automate services. When new data becomes available it needs to be ingested on-demand and updated on the fly to provide real-time operational awareness.

 

These automated services can serve as the connection-makers between various city departments for both rapid incident response and ongoing operations that enhance citizens’ lives.

 

People, processes, policies and technology

 

Smart cities are made up of an ecosystem of people, processes, policies and technology.

 

They apply the concept of “smart” to the economy, mobility, environment, daily living and city governance. The ability to make connections between all these aspects – with data being the underpinning currency – is vital to making cities safe and prosperous for citizens.

 

Establishing connections

 

City leaders first need to see and understand the connections that can occur between their departments. These connections can be established by delivering relevant geospatial data, workflows and analytics into those devices that are in the hands of local government and residents interested in making the city a better place to live.

 

City leaders first need to see and understand the connections that can occur between their departments.

 

Cutting-edge geospatial applications can aid in pinpointing specific urban problems and producing relevant, actionable information. These solutions combine multi-source geospatial and business data for a holistic view that allows leaders to make more informed decisions more quickly, including those for emergency incidents.

 

Connecting the geospatial and operational worlds

 

By combining location-based data and business intelligence, it is possible to fuse and connect the growing number of data sources for urban planning, census, transportation, utilities, property appraisal, fire and rescue, citizen engagement, real estate, public safety and more.

 

As we acquire and link this data, we need applications that allow us to seamlessly visualise, intuitively explore, and quickly interpret the data to create a real-time understanding of people and assets.

 

This will help smart cities deliver a smart digital reality with insight into what was, what is, what could be, what should be, and, ultimately, what will be. As a result, city leaders will be able to more effectively monitor changing environments – in a fully connected ecosystem – and be better prepared for the future.

 

A more connected future

 

With an infinite amount of data sources and ever-increasing smart cities applications, the future will be even more connected. These connections will also extend into health, safety and infrastructure, and many other industries that all have an impact on citizens.

 

By establishing, understanding and connecting all data, city leaders will be able to better monitor changing environments and be better prepared for what’s to come in the future.

From citizen-sourced data to the near ubiquity of sensors and IoT, by establishing, understanding and connecting all data, city leaders will be able to better monitor changing environments and be better prepared for what’s to come in the future.

 

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