Smart Cities – Enabling Technologies and Convergence

Single-purpose and stand-alone legacy city devices are giving way to smart and adaptive, remote but connected, intelligent nodes that:

  • Collect and analyze data
  • Use local real-time data to make decisions
  • Communicate with each other
  • Send data via wireless and wired networks to central management systems.


Rapidly evolving innovations – sensors, controls, GPS, wireless low power wide area (LPWA) networks, smart infrastructures, mobile applications, the cloud – and their convergence are driving instrumentation of the physical world.  In cross-industry jargon, this is called Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and the Internet of Things (IoT). In short, IoT refers to a network that interconnects previously dumb devices, products, equipment,  infrastructure, and yes, even people (via the tiny computers we carry in our pockets). IoT technologies include networked instrumentation and controls, sensors, machine-to-machine automation, wired and wireless networks, and SaaS Cloud-based mobile applications. 



The integration of controls and sensors which communicate over private and public wireless or wired networks are the building blocks that make truly smart devices possible. The convergence of real-time awareness and communications into monitoring, controlling and reporting on city-wide assets and equipment has blurred the boundaries between these operational technologies (OT) and informational technologies (ICT).


These smart devices can be attached directly to equipment and existing city infrastructure – including utility poles and street lights, trash bins, vehicles, water and waste water systems, and more.  Previously isolated devices are now being connected to a Central Management System (CMS) that ingests and aggregates data city-wide to gain real-time status on city assets, such as lighting.


The CMS acts as a centralized hub of city-wide information, with the end game being efficiency, operational    intelligence, and actionable insights. Smart and connected assets use remote diagnostics to make status, health and other operational data accessible to management applications hosted on-site at the city or in the cloud.  Alerts, alarms, dashboards, work orders and reports sent to personal computers and mobile devices enable decision makers and city workers to make decisions and take action based on the information provided.


Key takeaway – Operational Technologies such as Machine to Machine (M2M) and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their convergence plus interoperability with Informational Technologies are enabling the evolution of Smart Cities.





Written By Chris Davis 

VP of Smart Cities 

CIMCON Lighting, Inc