Hitachi Data Systems Federal Blog

What’s Government’s Role in Driving Smart City Development?

Posted by Mike Tanner on Jun 3, 2016 5:00:00 PM

A 21st-century city should be prepared to use the Internet of Things (IoT) to produce data-driven benefits for its citizens. But to succeed, a city must be equipped with the right technologies in the right places. Of course, adopting and embedding these technologies throughout an entire infrastructure requires buy-in and technical capacity from many disparate parties, citywide. That’s no small challenge. Who takes the lead in making this collective adoption happen?

Public Sector Can Drive Digital Transformation

Right now, government is in a unique position to propel smart city development. It has the power to align technology with policy, support research and innovation, and enable mass adoption of new tools and practices. In this blog, we’ll look at some of the ways government can leverage IoT technologies and activate smart communities. 

The Barriers

We already have the high-tech tools we need to transform our cities. Our real challenge is aligning IoT technologies with the urban markets they serve.

Unfortunately, cities are fragmented. They comprise many distinct players, often lack resources in certain areas, and aren’t typically designed for collaboration. For successful IoT adoption, we must define the different stakeholders (businesses, citizens, investors, government) and then find the right model to create sustained value for everyone. Of course, that model may differ from city to city.

An added challenge is that many cities lack centralized technical leadership – like a CTO or chief innovation officer. They just don’t have the appropriate oversight to lead and develop a strategic plan for IoT implementation.

In some cases, cities want to transform their infrastructure, but don’t know where or how to start.

Government Offers an On-Ramp

In 2015, the federal government launched several collaborative programs to empower smart cities and provide an on-ramp to IoT adoption.

Smart Cities Initiative

The White House announced the Smart Cities Initiative to help communities address challenges like reducing crime, boosting economic growth, cutting traffic congestion, managing effects of climate change, and improving delivery of city services. The initiative leverages 25 technology collaborations and a federal investment of $200 million to aid research and development of IoT technologies specifically suited for smart cities. It also helps cities adopt and deploy existing technologies to lay the foundation for smart city growth.

Global Cities Teams Challenge

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and other partners launched the Global Cities Teams Challenge (GCTC). Under GCTC, project teams of local governments, nonprofits, universities and private tech firms work to develop IoT-based solutions in areas like mass transit improvement, disaster response and energy efficiency. The team that develops the most innovative plan receives $40 million in federal grants to implement it. The Challenge currently comprises 75 teams, with players like AT&T, IBM, Accenture, MIT, and Vanderbilt University on board.

Smart City Challenge

The Department of Transportation (DoT) launched the Smart City Challenge. DoT and its launch partner – investor and philanthropist Paul Allen – recently pledged up to $50 million for a single city to develop a test bed and ecosystem for a next-generation transportation system. The winner would be America’s first city to fully integrate self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and smart-sensors into its transportation network. Even those who don’t win the big prize will still receive some government assistance in implanting their vision – so everyone wins.

Promotion from Within

Collaboration from within is just as important as external partnerships. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) recommends an integrated federal approach to making the most of technology for cities. Its report, Technology and the Future of Cities, calls for better interagency coordination, making data sets more available, improved R&D coordination, and the creation of new funding mechanisms. If the federal government invests in the technical innovation of cities, the report says, the national impact could be momentous.

Hitachi’s IoT Solutions for Cities

With the May 10th launch of Hitachi Insight Group, we’re poised to help government and industry accelerate our cities’ digital transformation. The newly formed unit combines Hitachi’s deep expertise in OT and IT to deliver advanced IoT solutions supported by Hitachi’s core IoT platform, Lumada.

Our IoT portfolio leverages capabilities from across Hitachi business units to serve nearly every facet of municipal life. This can include public safety, sustainable energy, intelligent transportation, water treatment and building systems, health care, and a host of other applications. And with Lumada, cities can use a single, comprehensive platform to support an intelligent ecosystem of all these workloads.

Lumada offers cities the right underlying architecture to unify their physical and digital assets. It’s open, flexible and agile enough to accommodate all of a city’s moving parts, but operates with the precision and security every government requires.

Learn more about how Hitachi is supporting agencies’ social innovation initiatives with proven IoT capabilities.


Topics: Social Innovation, smart cities, Internet of Things, hitachi insight group

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