For many years the American public has been promised a city of the future, where we’re all connected, and technology makes our lives easier. In many ways, it finally seems like that city is just around the corner. And these changes aren’t just coming to big cities, but in smaller communities across the country. Here are three ways that Smart City Technology is benefiting communities of all sizes.
Intelligent Communities = Better Quality of Life
Any city planner knows that the key to developing a successful community over the long-term is creating a better quality of life. Residents need a healthy environment where they can believe in their own success and trust that their children and grandchildren will be able to have a better life down the road.
When city council members and local governments build Smart City technology into their communities, they:
- Make themselves more attractive to entrepreneurs by offering better business opportunities with lower cost
- Reduce their local unemployment by attracting businesses, both big and small
- Allow businesses to evolve naturally within the community
For example: Mitchell, South Dakota, where the population was rapidly falling as the next generation fled for bigger cities and better prospects. The city has now attracted three broadband providers – while bigger cities often still argue about whether or not broadband is necessary – and businesses have incorporated that technology into their farming practices in effective ways so that “its kids are starting to turn their sights back home.”
Cost Reduction through Sustainability
Smart City strategies improve the cost of living for all members of the community by embracing sustainability and long-term vision. City officials know the frustration of bouncing from crisis to crisis, always trying to make the money last just a little longer.
Charlotte, South Carolina, has often had these particular struggles. Recently, the city created a partnership between itself, Duke Energy and Verizon. Through data collection, learning opportunities and community education, the city saved $10 million by reducing its power usage down 8.4 percent. The Department of Energy has now granted the program funds to expand from their initial 60 buildings to a full 200.
Both cities and communities are invested in improving their environments and reducing costs through sustainable technology, but sometimes they lack the knowledge of how to implement necessary changes. Through careful data collection and distribution, changes can be made.
Smart Cities = Safer Cities
Many different cities have invested in Intelligent Community strategies in order to make their citizens safer. Indianapolis has invested in gunshot detection systems that can triangulate shooters and even detect the type of gun fired. Denver uses a similar ShotSpotter technology which has sent more than 400 alerts and assisted in dozens of arrests.
Even lower crime areas, like Shawnee, Kansas, have seen huge benefits with a Public Works Management System where citizens can use a mobile app or web portal to alert transportation officials about potholes, file police reports, or pay for traffic citations.
When cities feel safer, businesses are more likely to open or stay in the community. Families are more likely to relocate to the area. The city spends less money on fighting crime and more money on preventing it, which is less expensive for everyone.
Don’t assume that just because your city is small, these Smart City technologies have no place in your city planning. Cities of all sizes benefit from the growth opportunities that develop when a community embraces the exciting possibilities that come with stepping forward into the Internet of Things.