IOT and the Smart City

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Will Smart Cities use IOT? Will IOT be an integral part of the smart city vision? Yes and yes! IOT is going to be a key factor in many smart city services and it will fill the holes for services other than broadband. If you wonder if it will take off, just ask AT&T who is building an entire business unit around IOT, AT&T IOT website found here. AT&T has invested in complete end to end services for vehicles, asset management, smart cities, and healthcare. So they see a definite future in the IOT ecosystem.

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What about Verizon? Yes, they have their IOT business as well, the website found here. While they are focused more on the enterprise, they too see the ecosystem that I see. In fact, Verizon had a developer’s website set up, found here, to encourage developers to come up with solutions and fill holes around the IOT need and exponential growth.

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So you’re asking yourself, as a small business consultant or integrator, “How does that help me?”. I will tell you how, you have an opportunity to build, deploy, manage, and fill holes in the IOT solutions. We can compete with the larger behemoths like AT&T and 5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixelsVerizon by building our own systems, or by piggybacking onto their network with our unique solutions. We can provide the answers that smart cities are looking for. We are the local consultants and contractors, the small businesses that are the backbone of America that know what the cities need. However, the cities need help and we can provide them with vendor agnostic solutions. IOT will open new areas of business for smart cities.

The smart city will use IOT services for a foundation of many things. Funding, cutting expenses, services that will make residents and tourist happy. Why? It is going to be the foundation of many services and how they will work in the city. There are many services that you may have heard of, and some you may think are too futuristic. However, this will be the norm in the very near future. Remember when the smartphone was a luxury? How many people claim they can’t live without it? What about Uber, it has changed the way we get a ride and forever hurt the Taxi service model. What services will be needed?

Let’s begin!

Parking services are an immediate need that most cities are addressing. Until the drones and self-driving cars to take over, we need parking meters that should be easy to pay, which are already taking over. Remotely connected meters that people can pay with a credit card or with a phone application. Those services are already here! What about open parking spaces? Parking is a huge issue in many cities. Wouldn’t it be nice to reroute traffic to the parking spaces and garages that have spaces? YES! Did you ever fly over Thanksgiving? Airport garages fill up quickly, they reroute traffic to the open garages. Also, open street parking is a huge issue. Why not let people know where the spaces are by looking at an app and pointing people to the open spaces. This is valuable to avoid small traffic jams. It just makes sense! This is happening, go to and to see some ideas of how it is done today.

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Garbage dumpster sensors are something that has been growing as a service. If you don’t  think this is a big idea, then you must not care when garbage is laying all over the streets. When a dumpster is full, it’s because there is a lot of garbage and it will start to overflow, and it will blow all over the city. Then the city has to clean it up, especially if it’s going to make the city dirty and possibly spread disease. Now we have a way to get the garbage crews out there when they are needed and if a restaurant is closed for a week and the dumpster stays empty, then why dispatch a truck? What a wasted trip for the garbage company it’s a waste of time and fuel. Think this isn’t real? Then look at and to see who is doing it.

Sensors around the city are going to be key. This could be water sensors that could detect high water at levees, drains, sewers where an overflow can cause major issues with traffic or resident safety. Water pressure in water mains could drop quickly, which would mean that there is a break in the line which means street flooding or a sinkhole is forming which leads to traffic problems and residents not feeling safe. What about gas lines that have leaks, gas detection could be a huge service.

How about ShotSpotter? Public safety will need to get creative to stay on top of the crime in any city. As luck would have it, someone reminded me of ShotSpotter this morning. Someone just sent me an article, that had sensors put all over cities to identify shots fired in the city and locate them and identify them, You’re asking, is this IOT? Yes, it was a completely automated system that would sense gunfire then alert an NOC, probably an e911 call center, that there are shots fired. All automated. How did the system work? Imagine this, microphones that are hyper sensitive all across a city all connected via wireless backhaul to a central location where there is a server that identifies the sound then puts up an alert on a computer screen. There you go, classic IOT automated services connected wireless to a server that alerts a human when something happens, what a great model to follow. Remember that this technology has been around for over 10 years. The article is new, but I installed one around 10 years ago. I installed the system in York, Pa, which let it go because they could not afford to support it. Here is an article for that service specifically, and stating how it was unreliable. I don’t blame the system, but maybe there needed to be more systems around the city. Remember that it was over 8 years ago, so the technology may not have been there.

What about Drone Traffic Control? Did you know that Uber is working towards drone passenger service, I would say taxi, but seriously, Uber is the anti-taxi. The article is here, where it explains Uber’s drone vision. My point is if Amazon does the package delivery and Uber does passenger delivery, we will need to have drone traffic control. While it may be the FAA that manages the traffic, each city will need their own way to manage and track the drones. It will be a city service at some point because in the city the drone traffic will be heavy. Deliveries are one thing that the city may not worry about, but when humans take the air, it will be life or death. This is what we have all waited for, to get off the road and into the air. It’s almost here. Why is it the city? Because the intercity traffic will take a long time for drones to do, but intracity traffic is almost here, within the next 5 years. Thank you, Uber! I heard the DJI Matrice, (Amazon affiliate link)  which is a great drone for commercial work.

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Wait, how can we connect these services to the main line? Wireless and wired backhaul. Get creative! I actually have a plan that could help, but hey, you need to reach out to me via if you want to learn more. I am not talking about putting it all on a carrier’s system, although they would love that. The key is to have a long battery life where there is no power and where you have the power you could use anything. These services don’t need a lot of bandwidth, what some of them need is a great battery life, and that is where wireless comes in. Low power draw sensors that need minimal bandwidth that won’t drain the battery in the sensor. All of this is real. Even Amazon has them available, found on my affiliate link here, and Honeywell writes about their sensor at if you’re interested.

So to wrap it up, the IOT services for the city are huge, not just for the businesses to become more efficient and effective, but for the city to maintain safety and cleanliness. This is one of the foundations of the smart city and services that we will all expect every city and town to have. It will become more of an expectation that a luxury.

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

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