Leveraging IT for new operational paradigms driving Smart Cities

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, the global urban population will grow approximately 1.84% per year between 2015 and 2020. Currently, developed nations have a larger percentage of population inhabiting its cities. The WHO however expects that by 2017, even in less developed countries, majority of the population will be living in urban areas.

This surge in the number of people inhabiting urban regions of the world, will give rise to challenges, especially with respect to housing, infrastructure, transportation, energy, employment, healthcare and education. For government agencies this implies that they have to take proactive measures now, in order to be able to meet the scaled requirements of future. They will also need a new operational paradigm, which will enable smarter governance of initiatives to make cities smarter and sustainable. They have to ensure that these initiatives are financially viable as well.

To this effect, a deeper reliance on ICT will become inevitable. Digital disruptions including social media, mobility, Machine-to-Machine (M2M), Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, and Cloud Computing will become the backbone of next generation smart cities.

Internet of Things (IoT) re-writing the rules of service delivery

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept in which surrounding objects are connected through wired and wireless networks without user intervention. In the field of IoT, the objects communicate and exchange information to provide advanced intelligent services for users. Owing to the recent advances in mobile devices equipped with various sensors and communication modules, together with communication network technologies such as Wi-Fi and LTE, the IoT has gained considerable academic interests.

For Instance, the use of intelligent waste containers that detect the level of load and allow for an optimization of the collector trucks route can reduce the cost of waste collection and improve the quality of recycling. To realize such a smart waste management service, the IoT shall connect the end devices, i.e. intelligent waste containers, to a control center where optimization software processes the data and determines the optimal management of the collector truck fleet.

ECM and BPM for Smarter, Streamlined and Cost effective Citizen Processes

Technology platforms like BPM and ECM will enable various agencies/department of the city to manage their processes in an efficient and cost effective way. They will reduce the manual intervention in the processes and flexibly route the processes based on various events.

An excellent utilization of these technologies can be seen in the way they can transform data collection and utilization for government agencies.

Social Media integrations will empower capturing of data from different sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc adding a new faster and cost effective channel of data ingestion. This data can be stored within the secured repository offered by an ECM and can be sliced and diced with the help of smart content analytics to extract contextual information.

The data can also be processed and analyzed through a BPMs Complex Event Processing engine or subjected to Business Intelligence or Patter Matching capabilities for drilled down, strategic information.

Business rules can be applied on this information to trigger actions related to various events. E.g. Sensors fit on Light Poles along the roads can detect the traffic jams and send Email/SMS to the traffic department to notify this occurrence. This information can also be seen by the end user in the form of real-time dashboards. Real-time information can be seen about the shortcomings of KPIs and SLAs. Dashboards can also be used to monitor the overall status of day to day operations.

Mobility to serve citizens at their doorstep

Mobility has rapidly transformed the means of communication, information access and collaboration. It is undoubtedly the new IT frontier for government agencies to re-write the rules of citizen services.

Leveraging innovations such as Mobile Application Development Platform (MADP), Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP) and Mobile Device Management, government agencies can create mobile application driven citizen services. For example government agencies can create apps to enable citizen make swifter payments for utilities such as electricity bills, gas connections. Such apps can be orchestrated by a BPM engine, ensuring the right process flow for payments as well as security of sensitive citizen details including social security numbers, bank account or credit / debit card details etc. These apps can also inherit native mobile security features such encrypted data, automatic data wipe-out geo-fencing and data masking.

Smart Cities will thrive on innovation

Smart Cities no doubt will thrive on modern ICT innovations. As smart cities grow in number and a larger percentage of population moves to inhabit urban regions, government agencies will need to rapidly invest in IT innovations to provide coverage to their strategic imperatives and also make them financially viable