The Multiple Dimensions of A Smart City

Many cities start their smart city journey by upgrading their streetlights to LED fixtures with smart lighting controls. Maybe a few years ago, that one project would have branded that city as a smart city, but the bar on what a smart city looks like has been raised.  Today's smart cities are applying sensors, cameras, and controls in multiple departments and are looking for synergies across those different departments. 

The Daily Gazette recently published the article A look at Schenectady as a technological ‘Smart City’: What do we know about Smart Cities? explaining how Schenectady is implementing cutting edge technology to turn into a smart city. This article gives us a good description of the multiple facets involved in smart city planning today.  Schenectady is using technology to enhance not just one or two aspects of the city, but many.  Lighting, parking, traffic monitoring, smart traffic routing, Wi-Fi, public safety solutions, audio analytics, and other solutions are all elements of the broader smart city definition now. 

As Mayor Gary McCarthy described, Schenectady's smart city effort is using a “broad matrix of options” to reform delivery of government services, hopefully making City Hall more responsive to resident needs in the process. 

Clearly there are many ways that technology can improve city services.  Check out Today’s Cities – Getting to Smart to get an idea of the possibilities.

Some industry analysts, including those from Gartner, are also saying that a bunch of sensors, cameras, and devices deployed in siloed applications doesn't make a smart city either. They highlight that smart cities are now using centralized systems, platforms, and processes to streamline and coordinate those data collection and management efforts. 

Of course that's exactly the mission of our NearSky platform with its capabilities to standardize many parts of a diverse smart city IoT deployment, including how devices get power, how the network is secured, how data is collected, and how data is aggregated for analysis. Check out CIMCON’s white paper CIMCON NearSky Technical Overview for details on how NearSky works.

So smart cities are evolving. Schenectady is just one example of cities demonstrating the reach of smart city technology. Smart cities are becoming more faceted and at the same time are becoming more coordinated and less siloed. What will your smart city journey look like?  Review the Smart City Checklist for City Planners for insights on how to get started.