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#WednesdayWalkabout Series: Smart Parking and Lighting Make All the Difference

Let there be light…and parking spots!

There’s nothing like the quiet (or in my case, not-so-quiet) desperation of circling a few city blocks, over and over again, looking for a spot to park. You can almost feel your sanity slipping away. The search for a parking space is not only terribly frustrating; it is also a major contributor to traffic congestion and carbon emissions.

And we all love the classic case of walking home at night, tripping every few steps because, unbeknownst to you, no streetlights seem to cooperate and come to life in your neighborhood. For municipalities, street lighting is an essential maintenance effort to help improve public safety and the overall citizen experience, influencing a city’s ability to create a lasting environment for business and tourism. Unfortunately, community lighting is also a major energy and cost drain.

Of late, there is a consistent slashing of public budgets that must somehow be managed, while still meeting the growing demands from communities under the pressure of rapid urbanization. However, cities around the world are overcoming these challenges with the Internet of Everything.

In particular, communities are developing digital strategies to better address parking and city lighting needs, yielding a widespread and shared benefit. For example, with easier access to parking, citizens are facing less traffic, saving money on fuel, receiving more convenient payment options, and experiencing an overall improvement in quality of life. On the flip side, civil servants can better detect and report parking violations, increasing community revenue. Similarly, smart lighting management can contribute to a safer community. And city officials can reduce energy consumption, cost, and maintenance, all while positively contributing to the environment.

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Work Day Journey for the Digital Citizen

Wake up. Get ready for the day. Hurry up to…wait in traffic? According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, traffic congestion in the United States alone results in more than 4 billion hours of travel delay and nearly 3 billion gallons of gas used, at a cost of $80 billion a year. More than 25 percent of traffic congestion is non-recurrent, according to the Federal Highway Administration, meaning that in large part, it is caused by traffic incidents. Detecting these incidents early and responding to them effectively makes for safer roads, less congestion, and smoother traffic flow.

Leveraging technology and innovation will be essential for transportation in the world’s swelling urban areas as increasing populations, and other factors like climate change, will continue to impact current transportation systems and roadways.

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#WednesdayWalkabout Series: Big Data Benefits for the Digital Citizen

Co-authored with Munish Khetrapal

Big data, what’s the big deal?

With the pressure to innovate faster, the onslaught of rapid urbanization, and heightened citizen expectations, government organizations and leaders are looking to the Internet of Everything.

Of the many technology trends that enable the Internet of Everything, big data and analytics warrant special consideration. The astonishing amount of data traversing today’s networks is growing exponentially each day. A recent IDC research report highlights that from now until 2020, the digital universe will double every two years.

This growth in data represents a remarkable opportunity for global public sector organizations, particularly for government leaders. The automated collection of data – from devices, sensors, and physical objects – and use of the resulting information is providing unprecedented visibility and decision-making capabilities. This is paving the way for faster incident response, safer communities, better operational efficiency, secure access to anytime, anywhere services, and an overall heightened citizen experience.

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#WednesdayWalkabout Series Kickoff: The Internet of Everything and Tomorrow’s Digital Cities, Today

It’s Here and It’s Happening Now

As large populations shift to urban areas, cities are under tremendous pressure to compete economically and grow sustainably. In the era of digital disruption, citizens are also expecting more from their engagements with local, regional, and national government organizations and leaders. In response to these pressing challenges, communities around the world are going digital and creating new, intelligent connections with the Internet of Everything (IoE).

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Security Is a Top Priority for Feds and Should Be Moving Forward

It’s no secret that security is top priority for the federal government. It seems like every week we are hearing about a new threat, hack, or breach that has hit an agency. In just the past few weeks, we’ve heard about significant breaches that have resulted in both citizen and federal employee information being compromised.

Obviously, these kinds of attacks are putting agencies on alert. This is especially important as organizations continue to embrace new technologies and polices to improve operations and efficiency. As technology investments bring great new capabilities to government, it’s imperative that IT managers design security in from the very beginning.

I recently discussed this topic in an article published in Federal Times. The article explored how the Internet of Things (IoT) and Internet of Everything (IoE) need cybersecurity protection. In addition to a projected $4.6 trillion in value for global public sector by 2022, the enhanced connectivity offered by IoE technologies also creates an increased need for network security. For example, while BYOD programs are tremendously valuable, these initiatives also create a larger surface area for potential attacks by adding devices to the networks.

With billions of devices expected become connected over the next five years, it’s important that agencies have a plan in place to address their security needs. In general, agencies should focus their efforts on creating a cybersecurity strategy that is visibility-driven, threat-focused and platform-based. As more individuals and devices need network access, having real-time visibility becomes even more critical to gaining insight on surrounding threats and identifying system vulnerabilities. Also, presuming the network has already been breached it can help agencies be more proactive their approach. And lastly, a platform-based approach will provide scalability and flexibility required to address a variety of threats and reduce complexity through centralized management.

The number of ways IoE can make our lives better and our organizations more efficient depends mainly on our ability to think of new ways to use the technology. If we can be confident in the security of IoE, we can be confident developing more applications for it. All organizations should be in a position to ask, “Now that I am confident with my protection, what new things can I develop to save money or time and delight my users?”

Take a look at the Federal Times article for more insights around IoE and cybersecurity, and check out this white paper to learn more about IoE’s impact on public sector.

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