Delivering integrated smart city services

Posted on: September 6, 2018 by Albert Seubers

The ability to meet every urban challenge – smoother traffic systems, cleaner air, healthier living and more productive civil resources – is now directly influenced by digital transformation. This kind of transformation is not just about making our cities better places to live and work, it is also an economic imperative.

In my last two blogs, I have been exploring a new approach to planning, procuring and delivering city services. In essence, this is led by the needs of citizens and the city, with a cross-departmental procurement and delivery strategy to deliver those outcomes.

Now, let’s look in more detail at how a city can connect or separate elements of its infrastructure in smarter ways to lower emissions, reduce commute times and create a city environment that attracts more investment.

Optimizing every element

Take the city’s bus shelters. Instead of embedding lighting into the shelters, streetlights can be used to provide the required lighting for these shelters at night. In turn, streetlight fixtures that also have embedded surveillance cameras will provide a more comprehensive and robust service than a camera positioned within the shelter. At the same time, waste bins can be removed from the shelter and combined with lamp posts that already have WiFi antennae. This means that waste collection can be integrated into the city’s waste collection services (for example for more effective recycling or real-time monitoring of waste).

All this is combined with bus services that can now run on schedule, which means that passenger numbers increase. This is because there is a flow of data between the buses and traffic lights so that buses have priority at intersections, if needed, to ensure they are not running late.

Higher volumes of travelers will also attract more interest from providers for advertisement displays, including high-definition video. These displays can be planned and located only near busier shelters and at crowded intersections in order to maximize advertising revenues. Near these busier shelters, displays can show transport timetables and general city information. More resilient, attractive and better maintained shelters will, in turn, attract interest from other providers offering services to travelers. So shared bike service providers, for example, will select shelters for their bike-racks based on the volumes of people getting on and off buses.

Replicating and combining solution

This kind of configuration can be replicated throughout the city in order to service multiple departments while generating savings for the city. For example, lighting costs can be lowered by changing to LED bulbs and waste collection will be more efficient (thanks to the city’s 5:1 compression rate and demand-driven waste collection). At the same time, the cost of the bus shelters is lower because the specifications are simpler and less maintenance is needed.

By optimizing every element of the infrastructure, this city’s services are more efficient, more effective and more responsive. In my next and final blog, I will look at how data, as a vital resource, makes this new business model possible.

Learn more in Look Out 2020+ for Government ‘Realizing the promise of Government as-a-platform’ where we explore the business opportunities and key technologies which will shape the future of Public Services.

Meanwhile, watch this video on traffic management to get an idea of what one single system can do for your city.

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About Albert Seubers
Director Global Strategy IT in Cities and member of the Scientific Community
Albert H Seubers (1959) graduated at Agricultural University Wageningen in 1985. Ever since he worked in IT consultancy focused on governmental topics. He worked for Dutch Telecom implementing the first fiber networks in Netherlands, for CMG as director in the Public Sector Service group, for HP as Public Sector executive before he joined Atos. Since 2011 he is Director Global Strategy IT in Cities for Atos. The Atos MyCity program focusses on the virtuous circle of managing a city on all aspects as safety, citizen services, employment, education, social and health care, transport and traffic, sustainability and governance and economics. Engaging citizens and business communities to create and maintain a sustainable, safe and prosperous city is the key message in Atos MyCity. In his role he works with cities all over the world to help them define their strategy often referred to as a Smart City Strategy or find solutions to support their strategy. Albert is a strong believer in the fact that data is enabler for successfully creating the city of the future.

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