Could you build a smart city for free?
Its time to change the game. Think big!
After more than 1 year of research the answer to the question posted in the headline is “YES”!
Some people think smart homes are all the rage. I simply think smart homes are too small. I am truly passionate about providing positive solutions to large groups of people.
A year ago I started working on a project along side Cincinnati Bell to provide WiFi to the City of Newport at no charge to residents. I am more than happy to announce we are making fantastic progress. With this project moving forward successfully I started digging deeper into what a smart city was, now that we will have WiFi access around an entire city. What type of applications could be implemented? How much would they cost? Who would benefit from these applications? Could a city afford these solutions? And so on.
Does a guide exist?
The more I dug into this topic I never was able to see a TRUE agnostic expert. Mostly I saw vendors like Cisco, IBM and others. I then turned my attention to cities that seem to be leading the charge (New York City, London, etc). It seems as if the smart cities had an IT leader who was passionate and lead the charge forward with a start up company backing the initiative, then the project would be successful. Some truly amazing outcomes were achieved and some significant findings presented themselves.
So how does a FREE smart city work?
I am building a plan which I will be presenting to local cities which provides smart city functionality with positive cash flow from the initiative. This will require little cash outlay given the right circumstances. This plan is obviously something that is extremely detailed and raw at the moment. We are looking at business models that will help with eventual deployments.
Phase 1 – City engagement
- Define the cities current state. Perform in depth discovery / study of the community. If you are a technology expert you will need to collaborate with a tech savvy forward thinking city official.
- Engage the Citizens. Work with a broad set of community leaders to gather needs.
Phase 2 – Technology Alignment
- Do not go running to Cisco or IBM. I personally have my tool sets picked out but you need to perform more search than hitting up a national vendor.
- Ensure you have a strong application / web service integration team to make sure platform is strong and open.
Phase 3 – Ensure your revenue generation model is practical
- Most important in this step is order of operation. This can kill a project if not timed perfectly and I am finishing development of a very detailed process guide.
- Alot of people will preach huge profits during a deployment. This is true if the right circumstances present themselves.
- Control the vendor vs the vendor controlling you. Your community has hidden value you need to extract for the benefit of the community. Leaches exist everywhere.
Deployment – How does this work?
- Order of operation is hugely important. You cannot rush this.
- Pick an company which has development (Coding) and operational capacity.
- Educate the citizens to take advantage of all the new capabilities.
- Blend the right amount of low bandwidth and high bandwidth solutions. Do not rely on legacy 3g and 4g data plans.
- Smart citizens in smart cities can pick up innovative revenue generation opportunities through an Uber type economy.
- Capture your data and provide insight to people looking to come to your city.
(Traffic Patterns, Parking availability, Recycling info, Smart Signage, Free Wifi, advanced way finding, environmental info and more).
If your city is looking at spending cash flow negative money on smart city functionality you should be upset as citizens. They are wasting money and not spending it in your best interest. The 100 million dollar grant going to Columbus is an entire waste of money in my opinion, as value exists to deploy 90 percent of the functionality without losing a penny.
IT consultants and industry experts need to start thinking about about how to maximize the value they can provide, not what they can earn. Think broadly and thoughtfully to make your impact on the world last.
If you are looking for more information about smart cities please feel free to contact me.
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