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Smart Cities With a Purpose

I have had the opportunity over the years to work on projects that have made a real difference in people’s lives. My journey to help government agencies advance citizen wellbeing is focused on central issues like healthcare, integrated eligibility for health and human services, and most recently, a pilot that leverages AI to match cancer patients with clinical trials under a TOPS Presidential Fellow program. It is a passion of mine to help government better connect provide personalized services leveraging new technologies.

Whether you live in a small town or large metropolis, you might be noticing profound changes in the way you interact with local government. The days of waiting in line at a government service center or spending many minutes on the phone have been replaced by the expectation to swipe smart devices to get services on demand. Cities around the world – from San Francisco to Singapore and many in between – are leveraging emerging technologies to deploy smart, connected cities aimed at:

  • Modernizing government with integrated mobile, social, and analytic technologies to exceed rapidly evolving citizen expectations.
  • Deploying common and adaptable standards to solve real-world problems today and in the future.
  • Leveraging analytics and social media insights to improve and speed decision-making.
  • Connecting citizens through integrated mobility, IoT and intelligence derived from machine learning to reduce costs.
  • Creating an omnichannel experience that allows citizens to interact with government in anytime, anyplace and on any device.

To build on the progress that city leaders have realized, there’s a renewed focus on investing in infrastructure. Without an infrastructure that’s built to handle the large volumes of data now being generated, innovation will lack value for citizens and will eventually be undermined.

The entry point to a smart city is its data, and the adoption of cloud technology, provides an unprecedented opportunity to harness this data at a lower cost. This spans information from every kind of connected device – from traffic lights to trash cans and everything in between. And cities of every size are taking notice and harvesting this valuable resource to enhance citizens’ lives.

Turning to technology on its own isn’t enough—it must solve real-world problems whether that’s keeping cars moving on busy roads or ensuring emergency services personnel are there when you need them.  And cities are taking notice: Moscow is digitizing its infrastructure and leveraging analytics to gain insight for decision-making; New York City has published IoT guidelines which have been adopted by 35 cities globally; San Diego is covering half the city with intelligent street lights; Las Vegas is doing incredible work with AI, machine learning and autonomous vehicles in their Innovation District; and London, is using open data during their transition to a smart city.

These initiatives, some of which have started years ago, are just the tip of the iceberg. New solutions around smart transportation, smart and connected buildings, smart lighting, smart citizen engagement, smart emergency response are taking shape to further drive innovation and create efficiencies at a scale not seen before.

Over the next few months, I will explore these topics more in depth, and share with you how the Smart City movement is gaining momentum around the world.

Franco Amalfi is a GovLoop Featured Contributor. He leads the go to market strategy for smarter government for Oracle Public Sector North America. Franco advises government officials on how to leverage modern cloud-based solutions and emerging technologies to help government organizations deliver personalized government services. In addition to working with customers, Franco authors, publishes white papers and articles on leveraging technology to drive business value for governments. He is also a frequent speaker at government conferences. He is a graduate of McGill University in Montreal, Canada and has completed an Advanced Certificate for Executives in Management, Innovation, and Technology at MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, USA. You can read his posts here.

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Janice Quintana

“Creating an omnichannel experience that allows citizens to interact with government in anytime, anyplace and on any device.”

I really liked that statement. Nice blog.

Amy DeWolf

The concept of smart cities seems to have been around for a while now, but it’s so great to really see it action in your own community. thanks for sharing!

Franco Amalfi

Thank you for your comment. Smart Cities are increasingly more popular and the momentum is really starting to take shape. It’ll be great to see this evolve more in the next few years.