The smart cities of North America are heading towards a better future with notable progress in different areas. So, to recognise the growth and to provide a forum to share the best methods that can help speed up smart city development in the region, IDC announced the winners of second annual Smart Cities North America Awards on April 11, 2019.
IDC, International Data Corporation is a China-based firm that provides market intelligence, consultation services and fact-based research analysis on IT, telecommunication and consumer technology markets.
Coming to the winners, they were declared after receiving more than 4,100 voters and scoring by an international panel of judges. The chosen winners demonstrate best practices of urban innovation with the core focus on the use of technology including cloud, IoT, mobile solutions, analytics, along with data, unique collaborations, funding models and community participation.
Winners were selected in 12 categories with transportation infrastructure, urban planning and land use ending up with equal scores. Over 70 cities were represented, showcasing the inspiring achievements and efficiency of smart initiatives implemented across the country.
Here are the smart cities initiatives that grabbed the winning position in 2019.
San Diego’s one of the winning smart initiatives lies in the ‘Administration’ category and is known as the Get It Done Expansion which is a mobile application. The city expanded the Get It Done system to connect with the customers and employees more effectively. It launched a new mobile app, a streamlined web interface and an internal system of employees to process incoming reports CRM software from SalesForce and Deloitte Digital as the implementer of the system. The mobile app has been downloaded more than 55,000 times and 390,000 reports have been received so far.
Chicago’s winning project is called Smart Living in the Windy City and comes in the ‘Civic Engagement’ category. It is a portal that consists of data sets including business licenses, city employee salary, food inspection, water quality crime and more. It provides user-friendly dashboards and downloadable, machine-readable data, all at free of cost. The transmission of the data between systems and the portal is done via integration tools. These automatically update the data on a daily, hourly or minute basis. Moreover, the portal helps the administrators by sending email alerts. An interface that enables technical and non-technical users to automatically publish data is one of the major highlights.
Borough of Brooklyn and Neighbourhood of Brownsville
Brooklyn, a borough of New York City and Brownsville, a city in Cameron County are winners in the ‘Digital Equity’ category. Both together are involved in a neighbourhood-based partnership in an endeavour to address the pressing needs of the neighbourhoods. Their smart initiative is called NYCx Co-Labs which is an innovation lab located in the underserved neighbourhoods to catalyse the roll-out of smart city technologies for those whose employment, transportation, health and environmental circumstances are most impacted by the swiftly developing urban and civic technology landscape. The lab is working to supports The Brownsville Plan which came to existence due to community-driven processes to recognise neighbourhood goals and develop strategies to meet local needs and create more affordable homes.
Las Vegas is showing efforts in the ‘Economic Development’ category with the smarty city initiative defined as ‘NV: Economic, Mobility and Safety through Data Driven Operations Management. The city is improving by embracing data-driven strategies to manage public services and operations to shape a community that enhances the customers and residents experiences increase public safety and leads to organisational and operational efficiency. The officials use smart cameras, data analysis tools, visualisation and dashboards from Hitachi to get access to real-time views of events happening on streets, and historical patterns that improve planning.
Chattanooga Smart Community Collaborative (CSCC) under the ‘Education’ category caught the eye as it brings together city and county government, public hospital, University of Tennessee and the municipality utility provider to coordinate initiatives that call for a collaboration ecosystem. As a result, CSCC has rolled out Smart City Testbed to concentrate on pedestrian safety, try commercially feasible technology like new traffic signal controllers and research future innovation through data-driven approaches.
The city launched the New Orleans Real Time Crime Centre (RTCC) (Public Safety category) in 2017 as a part of the $40 million citywide public safety improvement plan. The centre employs cameras, license plate readers and software to integrate information from a wide spectrum of sources. Critical information is provided to first responders in the field to help aid with investigations of criminal activity or concerns related to the quality of life.
Houston is implementing a one-of-a-kind Smart Buildings initiative in collaboration with Microsoft. The project is making headway by considering the entire city as a smart entity. The focus is on disaster recovery response, school and building safety, and efficient transportation. Currently, there are 22 engagements planned under the smart initiatives that will expand over time.
Under ‘smart water’ category Albany is moving ahead with Beaver Beaver Creek CSO Abatement and Flood Mitigation Programme: Creating Smart Infrastructure for the Management of Wet Weather Flows. The stormwater management programme addresses the most significant environmental issues. It has implemented a smart infrastructure network that employs a continuous monitoring and adaptive control (CMAC) platform to predict and regulate water flows proactively.
The City and County of Los Angeles launched a mobile application named Shake AlertLA which was recognised under the ‘sustainable infrastructure’ category. The app provides a pre-earthquake warning system to residents so that they can get to a safe place. It also enables the city to know how people respond when warned about an earthquake. Until recently, the app has been downloaded more than 400,000 times.
The city’s Accelerating Response for Safer Communities is an innovative spatially-aware approach to Emergency Vehicle Pre-emption for first responders in the ‘transportation’ category. The system uses vehicle location technology to connect with the traffic control centre to clear intersections of traffic and provide emergency vehicles with a green signal. The system shows faster response times and is more cost-effective than individual equipment installation at each intersection.
Louisville created a traffic analysis module by employing traffic data from Waze and other data. After the project called Waze WARP (Waze Analytics Relational-database Platform), the city established Open Government Coalition which is a network of public agencies working on open source projects. Waze WARP platform now enables 600+ government agencies access to data related to pedestrian and bike safety, road conditions, emergency response etc.
Atlanta International Airport (Terminal F) launched First Curb-to-Gate Biometric Terminal in the US. The new system uses facial recognition, 46 check-in kiosks, 54 bag drop counters, 6 TSA checkpoints, and 12 departure gates for international flights. This is an optional process chosen by over 25,000 passengers who travel via Terminal F every week. The system delivers faster throughput of passengers and reduces the requirement for larger terminal infrastructure and space.
Boston has launched StreetCaster that addresses issues related to sidewalks, traffic safety, roadway markings etc. The programme is a toolkit that enables better decision-making across all infrastructure investments.
The City has built a Situational Analysis Smart Dashboard for their Emergency Operations Center. The system has been refined in real time as new types of data including current wind speed which was recognised critical to public and city workers safety during an emergency. The dashboard is cross-departmental and integrated with real-time progress tracking that covers a range of emergency management challenges such as garbage on streets, flood monitoring, resource management and 911 call data.