Imagine what a city could and should look like in several years. What do you see?
What will be top of mind for citizens?
How will citizens be accessing information and engaging with city agencies?
What tools will be needed in this future of cities?
Well, look no further because the city of the future is here today. Insight related to those questions, and many more, is provided by Cisco’s Wim Elfrink in Huffington Post, as he explores innovative concepts for urban sustainability and new possibilities for an improved citizen experience, as well as how the Internet of Everything (IoE) can help enrich people’s lives. Read the full article via Huffington Post, published today.
IoE, the Smart+Connected Communities Framework, and the Impact on the Public Sector
Throughout the New Cities Summit, as well as throughout our #SmartConnectedCity blog series, we took a look at how IoE and technology are helping to re-define cities by providing a framework for city and local government leaders to improve agency agility and performance, to increase operational efficiency and reduce costs, and to enhance on-demand citizen services. Below, for additional insight, Anil Menon and Wim Elfrink elaborate on this topic from New Cities Summit last week, as well as kick off a discussion about the subsequent impact on the public sector, which includes expanding access to education and healthcare.
To see more actual examples showing the impact of technology and IoE on cities and the public sector, click on the image below. Read More »
Following last week’s New Cities Summit, I have renewed interest in some of the technologies being implemented to improve citizen services. For example, as a citizen of the Dallas metroplex, I was intrigued by many of the solutions and applications the City of Dallas has put into place on its quest to become a smart and connected city.
With so many cities being pressured with the need to spend less yet meet growing citizen needs, we are seeing a growing interest in solutions such as the Remote Expert Smart Solution for Government Services (REGS). Many of us don’t have frequent need to engage with a city expert or professional, but when I have, the experience has been less than stellar. Too often, citizens end up in lines, waiting, having to take off work and in the worst case scenario – leaving without the information we needed.
Let’s say my grandfather needed to renew his driver’s license. With the REGS solution, the city could place a REGS units (or POD) inside a local commercial complex, within the public library or even the local bank. My grandfather wouldn’t have to go all the way to the Department of Motor Vehicles. He could simply go to the local POD location, enter the POD, be greeted and start a virtual face-to-face consultation immediately with an expert who would walk him through the process. The expert and my grandfather could see one another and the expert could share a browser or document and even print off any forms my grandfather needs before he leaves.
As Cecile Willems wrote yesterday, citizen engagement is critical to making our cities better. With solutions that make services easier to access, easier to use, and more effective for both the citizen and the city, we may just see that an engaged citizen is a happy citizen.
Is your city taking steps to improve citizen services? (check out what they are doing with REGS in Brisbane, Australia, by the way)
Interested in learning more about Smart+Connected Solutions such as REGS?
To learn more about what cities are doing to create new possibilities for improved citizen engagement and a better citizen experience, register for the entire #SmartConnectedCity blog series, or visit Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities page and Government page on Cisco.com.
One of the key themes that emerged this year from local government leaders at the New Cities Summit is that citizen engagement is a critical component to make our cities better. This theme was reiterated over and over throughout the sessions to really underscore its importance: more effective citizen engagement leads to better outcomes for cities and communities.
Customer Experience in the 21st Century and IoE
Technology is enabling a changing customer engagement model across the city landscape. There are now new options to get information and to create engagement. To engage citizens effectively and to improve the citizen experience, local government leaders and cities have to provide a compelling user experience and relevant information and services anytime, anywhere.
This brings in the concept of the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the catalyst that can transform the citizen services of yesterday into interactive, citizen engagement for today. It’s a platform to connect the previously unconnected thereby creating smarter, more connected, more efficient government agencies and cities that deliver better, faster, real-time services through improved citizen engagement.
Increasing safety used to mean finding budget for additional personnel, vehicles, equipment, radio networks, and other traditional IT. But thanks to an influx of connected technology, cities all over the world are reimagining what’s possible.
One question that is on the minds of many government leaders is: how can my community bring the same amount of funding and resources, achieve effective and secure collaboration and information sharing, and leverage new technologies — such as BYOD and Internet of Things (IoT), as part of a scalable architecture?
The bringing together of people, process, data, and things (like sensors) in new ways can create powerful change. Here are a few examples:
The Internet Of Everything at Work: A New Zealand Police officer is more efficient on the streets thanks to the Mobile Responder app.
New Zealand Police Officers Spend More Time in Community. About 6,000 New Zealand Police officers now have about 30 extra minutes each day to spend in the community thanks to an intuitive mobile app called Mobile Responder. Instead of having to drive to the station to access law-enforcement databases, the officers rely on the power of the Internet of Everything to request assistance and help fight crime.
Hurricane Sandy Responders Used Video for Situational Awareness. During Hurricane Sandy, traffic lights at a major intersection in Queens, New York, lost power. The resulting gridlock had become dangerous to residents trying to evacuate. A fire department chief put in an urgent request for police officers to direct traffic, but the request was buried among hundreds of others. However, through the use of IP video cameras relaying the severity of the situation in real-time, a fire chief was able to escalate the evacuation request.
Accelerate Threat Awareness and Response. Problems like a flooded sewer system or downed power line hurt the local economy. Now, utilities are finding out about safety problems sooner, using their existing network. A sensor in the sewer system, for example, can report a problem before residents do. And the dispatcher can find the closest person—from any agency—with the expertise to fix the problem.
Safety is a prerequisite for a healthy city economy. Businesses and families move to safer cities. Tourists think about it when deciding where to go for vacation. Events organizers heavily weigh safety when selecting venues.
Increasing safety used to mean finding budget for additional personnel, vehicles, equipment, radio networks, and other traditional IT. But now mayors and police chiefs have another Smart Cities safety tool that works well—and costs less. Daniel Stewart, Senior Justice Advisor, and Chief Bob Stanberry, Cisco business development manager for Cisco Connected Justice and Public Safety recently discussed some of the safety and security challenges and trends in public safety in a webcast called “Unlock the Power of Technology to Make Communities Safer“. So how do we scale the same amount of funding and resource, achieve effective and secure collaboration and information sharing, and leverage new technologies -- Bring your own device, BYOD,Internet of Things, IoT, as part of a scalable architecture?
It’s called the “Internet of Everything.” The basic idea is to connect people, process, data, and things (like sensors) in new ways. Here are three examples.
New Zealand Police Officers Spend More Time in Community
About 6000 New Zealand Police officers now have about 30 extra minutes each day to spend in the community.
New Zealand Police Deputy Commissioner Viv Rickard
The solution is deceptively simple. The officers were given iPhones and iPads so that they can communicate more directly, intuitively and gain access to information more easily. They don’t have to drive to the station to access law-enforcement databases and submit forms. Instead, they just use a mobile app. They receive assignments from the dispatcher using the mobile app called Mobile Responder. To request assistance, they just click, and the dispatcher receives the exact location.
The only cost was for the mobile devices, approximately NZ$159
New Zealand Police Mobile Responder App
million. What’s striking here is that the department didn’t need come up with the funds to build a wireless network. Instead, Vodafone agreed to give priority to New Zealand Police wireless traffic over Vodafone’s existing, public 4G/LTE network. That’s possible thanks to the 3rd-Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) multimedia priority service.
Giving priority to public safety agencies on public cellular networks is a major breakthrough. During emergencies, traffic spikes over cellular networks can impair quality or cause outages. Police and fire departments need priority over public networks. And with multimedia priority service, they can have it.
In a 2013 pilot with 100 officers, the mobile apps saved an average of 30 minutes each day. Multiplied by 6086 officers, the time savings amount to 325 full-time officers. The time goes toward frontline crime reduction.
Hurricane Sandy Responders Used Video for Situational Awareness
During Hurricane Sandy, traffic lights at a major intersection in Queens, New York, lost power. The resulting gridlock had become dangerous to residents trying to evacuate. A fire department chief put in an urgent request for police officers to direct traffic, but the request was buried among hundreds of others.
Hurricane Sandy, Lessons Learned
The fire chief was able to convey the urgency of the request using video cameras, part of the Internet of Everything. Nearby was a Cisco NERV (Network Emergency Response Vehicle). The chief aimed one of its Cisco video surveillance IP cameras at the intersection. Then he invited New York Police Department and Emergency Operations Center personnel to a WebEx session with audio and video. Seeing the gravity of the problem firsthand, commanders agreed to escalate the request. Just 15 minutes later, police officers arrived to direct traffic. The evacuation proceeded in an orderly way.
Accelerate Threat Awareness and Response
Problems like a flooded sewer system or downed power line hurt the local economy. Businesses have to close their doors, and people tend to stay home instead of shopping or downing.
Now utilities are finding out about safety problems sooner, using their existing network. A sensor in the sewer system, for example, can report a problem before residents do. And the dispatcher can find the closest person—from any agency—with the expertise to fix the problem.
Technuf Aphelia Mobile App
One of our partners, Technuf, has built a solution called Aphelia. It’s a mobile app that ties into Cisco IP Interoperability and Collaboration Solution (IPICS) and our Instant Connect push-to-talk (PTT) solution. The dispatcher receives alerts on a tablet, such as “70-foot redwood tree has fallen on 25-foot power line in residential zone.” The dispatcher taps a button to see nearby field workers with the required expertise. Another tap assigns them the task.
Field workers receive the assignment, including a map, on a smartphone or tablet. To collaborate with other experts, they just tap to start a video call. Another tap starts a PTT radio session from the smartphone.
Safer Cities, At Lower Cost
These are just a few examples of creative ways to use the Internet of Everything for safer cities. The payoff is a better quality of life, and an invigorated economy.