How to Build Smarter Cities with IoT Ecosystems

 In Accelerite Blog

What makes a Smart City? IoT apps and connected cities are starting points, but enrichment and monetization of data that’s collected is where future possibilities become brilliant. 

Smart cities created with IoT technologies from municipal departments, whether it’s transportation, energy, healthcare, water and waste, promise to make the lives of residents better. Yet, each sensor and IoT application are but individual pieces of the vision of what a smart city can bring. A really smart city goes beyond connected street lights and booking a parking space with a smart swipe.

When connected apps and their associated data exist in silos, the full value of the potential insight from the data remains untouched. Think of the smart city itself as an infrastructure service platform for building highly inter-connected applications, with the ability to leverage the insights derived from the intersection of the data generated in each vertical. That’s when a loosely connected series of smart vertical applications actually build a smart city.

Here are a few ways a smart city can monetize existing data through an ecosystem of IoT applications.

Traffic Management Delivers More than Tickets

In the following use case, traffic management and enforcement data is the foundation of an ecosystem of smart city applications to manage congestion, air quality and promote local commerce.

Traffic enforcement camera data: Many cities have adopted traffic enforcement cameras to make potentially dangerous intersections safer. However, a city with traffic data already coming in could derive much more value by building an ecosystem, based on that information. For example:

  • Congestion charges: In some cities, if you drive in a heavily congested zone of the city during peak traffic times and your car is picked up by the cameras, you will be fined a congestion tax.
  • Promote public transportation and directed parking: Park in the preferred parking garage (instead of on the crowded street), and a smart parking app automatically gives a discount on congestion charges.  Residents can also receive incentives, such as reduced fees and discounts on attractions, if they take public transportation when traffic is anticipated to be especially heavy, such as when a game or a concert is scheduled.
  • Shop local discounts:  Cities can promote commerce, while still managing congestion, by giving residents discounts on congestion charges in targeted commerce zones – whether it’s parking or dining or shopping – if they choose to drive. In a store’s point of sale (POS) system, a smart retail app can connect to the transportation data and provide discounts if sufficient purchases are made.
  • Safety and security: In an emergency, the best route to safety can be delivered to those within an area, taking into account real-time traffic patterns.
  • Air quality: Real-time sensor data can warn citizens affected by allergens and irritants (according to HIPAA requirements) when air quality in a specified area is at a level that can trigger asthma attacks and discounts can even be provided for low-emission vehicles.

What makes a smart city? A smart city uses data available from connected devices to benefit its citizens. One of the fundamental challenges of the internet of things is that value can be obtained from data only if you can change the culture and processes of working with data to derive full benefit.

An IoT application (such as traffic enforcement) should be viewed as merely the starting point. Enrichment and monetization of the data is where they journey gets really interesting!

This post originally appeared on TechTarget’s IoT Agenda.  Want to learn more about building an IoT service-oriented application ecosystem, optimized for targeted industry markets? Click here to download: The Developer’s Guide to IoT

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