Cities are getting smarter: sidewalk priorities, trail sensors, QR codes



How are some cities actually using IoT, new technologies and more sources of data? The mayors of the three Indiana cities discussed their journey with technology in a panel yesterday at an event highlighting efforts to support and develop various smart city-related technologies at Purdue University.

When the Fishers, Indiana Smart City journey began, it started with data, according to Mayor Scott Fadness. Four to five years ago, he said, “the technology has actually surpassed what our company was able to adopt.” He said vendors called on the city to install mobile / computing devices in everything, but the city did not have the organizational structure or capacity to “take that information and turn it into something meaningful for us.”

What the Fishers understood, he went on to say, is that there are already thousands of data points within the city government. At the time, he said, the city was probably running about 200 different software applications for different jobs, but without a holistic approach or data collection capability.

The city’s smart city work, then, did not begin with the last point of connection, he explained: it began with the establishment of a data architecture for informational decision-making and focused on “data generation centers” with touchpoints such as human resources, financing. Infrastructure, land use and law enforcement. But when it reached the stage of setting up that architecture, the fadness continued, the people who needed to use that architecture did not have it. So it has hired a group of “business solutions” people who focus on data analysis, as well as work on software implementation.

“The biggest challenge was to get people in that group, with those tools, and to convince all the other departments that interaction with those people was valuable,” he said.

In South Bend, Indiana, Mayor James Mueller said that under federal supervision due to sewer overflow violations, the city was able to use a sensor network in its sewers to renegotiate the terms of an agreement with the EPA that could save the city. Sewers provide customers with over $ 400 million as well as good environmental results. South Bend is also using an AI-based system that uses cameras in city vehicles to assess the condition of its roads and rate each part of the road, to contribute data to prioritize paved projects in the city.

Columbus Mayor James Lienhoop of Indiana says the use of technology within existing systems enables better efficiency.

“We drive every mile, every inch of the city once a week,” he said. “So we’re looking at the whole neighborhood.” Part of what the city wants to do is put a device on the sanitation driver’s head that allows him or her to press a button and drop a virtual “pin” that points to something from a tree that needs attention, a pothole or a car parked illegally. Do, which sends a message to a central office so that it can be sent to someone to deal with. This reduces the need to send a full crew to run the city and look for those specific things: a crew examining trees, a crew looking for holes, and more. “It gives us a chance to be more focused,” he said. With employment in the city down by about 5%, he added, it is considering issues such as automated flour for the sports sector, which could help technology continue to operate more efficiently in the face of staff shortages.

Lienhoop added that common technology is helping the city to be more transparent and efficient at the same time. Many city projects are underway around the city, he added, adding that it is very easy to place a yard sign or placard with a QR code that asks pedestrians “Do you want to know what’s going on here?” The QR code then links to a city website with information about the project, which he says reduces the number of curious calls coming to City Hall.

“It makes life a little easier as well as makes us more productive,” he added. He also said that the infrared trailside sensors or sensors embedded in the paved path of the city’s 26-mile trail system also tell the city bits of information such as whether a pedestrian is a pedestrian or a cyclist, their speed and their direction of travel. . It helps the city better understand where the blind curve is and how its paths can be better designed, he said.

Fadness says technology can give people the ability to solve problems right now, such as allowing visitors to fill out a form or search for information on a field tablet. From a broader perspective, however, there are “very interesting questions about why, and the ability to answer them,” which may be illuminated after data collection. The Fishers Department of Public Works, he went ahead, now cuts an acre of grass per week এবং and it turns out they cut about 1,200 acres per week. “The simple question you can ask yourself is, why? Why do we have 1,200 acres of grass and it makes sense to cut the same strip of grass again and again at the expense of taxpayers dollars, when you can plant it as a kind of native sapling, and not have to cut 1,200 acres?” ??

“The question is why this is fundamental,” he concluded. “But they were elusive, to understand before having the data that it was a question you should ask.”


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