The Intersection of Smart Cities & Smart State Policy

By Gordon Feller

Gordon Feller founded Meeting of the Minds in order to harness the power of a global leadership network to build innovation-powered sustainable city futures. Gordon has worked for more than four decades at the intersection of global sustainability, government policy, and private investment focused on emerging technologies.

May 23, 2016 | Smart Cities | 0 comments


Who will you meet?

Cities are innovating, companies are pivoting, and start-ups are growing. Like you, every urban practitioner has a remarkable story of insight and challenge from the past year.

Meet these peers and discuss the future of cities in the new Meeting of the Minds Executive Cohort Program. Replace boring virtual summits with facilitated, online, small-group discussions where you can make real connections with extraordinary, like-minded people.


 

As homes, businesses, cities and governments continue to migrate to newer, faster technologies, the world is witnessing a seismic shift in how we all live, work, and communicate. Advanced, Internet-based technologies have become the primary mechanism by which cities and communities gather, share, and grow. Today, there are some 15 billion internet connected devices, think Internet of Things (IoT), and that number is estimated to jump to 50 billion by 2020.[1] In order to keep up with this staggering demand, we need public policies that support the shift from outdated networks to modern infrastructure.

Unlike the monopoly era telephone networks still in existence, modern IP networks actually have the capacity to keep up with our changing society by quickly and efficiently transmitting vast amounts of data. These modern networks are vital as cities more fully employ IoT technologies to better manage data and municipal resources. These IoT technologies weave through smart cities creating interoperability between resource agencies, allowing those agencies to serve the public at maximum efficiency. Yet that efficiency requires 21st-century infrastructure which necessitates smart state policies.

In California, a bill currently before the legislature, AB 2395, authored by Assemblymember Evan Low, seeks to transition—starting in 2020—from the outmoded legacy phone system to advanced IP-based technologies and services. The bill recognizes the future needs of California and sets the right policy goals to promote IP networks and services across the state. This policy framework creates the right environment to build out modern infrastructure that can make cities and communities across California smarter and more sustainable.

New communications infrastructure is already leading to energy optimizations, improved resource allocation, and more sustainable urban habitats. This network modernization is critical as urban populations globally are projected to grow by around 60 million people each year.[2] Rapid urbanization strains resources and can deeply impact the environment.

Cities must be able to communicate quickly, effectively and intelligently in order to conserve resources and mitigate risk. For example, it’s not uncommon for a city to lose up to 50 percent of water via leaks.[3] Drought-plagued California as a whole loses more than 220 billion gallons of potable water a year due to leaks.[4] IoT technologies offer cities the ability to recognize these vulnerabilities, and collect and analyze increasingly large amounts of data in order to better manage critical resources.

More than ever it’s important that policymakers support modern network technology infrastructure that will allow for unprecedented information and data sharing. AB 2395 addresses the reality that old phone networks cannot support California’s future needs, and these old networks are diverting significant investment and resources away from modern infrastructure. Only IP-based technologies and services can seamlessly deliver data and information to improve the sustainability of our cities and improve our quality of life. Simple policy changes, like those provided by AB 2395, can be an essential tool to deliver the mechanisms for this valuable and necessary technology shift.


[1] Building Scalable, Sustainable, Smart+Connected Communities with Fog Computing

[2] The Internet of Everything for Cities

[3] United Nations Water and Cities, Pg. 2

[4] California’s Water Agencies Lose Millions of Gallons Underground

Discussion

Leave your comment below, or reply to others.

Please note that this comment section is for thoughtful, on-topic discussions. Admin approval is required for all comments. Your comment may be edited if it contains grammatical errors. Low effort, self-promotional, or impolite comments will be deleted.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read more from MeetingoftheMinds.org

Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology

Public-Private Collaboration – Essential for Disaster Risk Reduction

Public-Private Collaboration – Essential for Disaster Risk Reduction

A few years ago, I worked with some ARISE-US members to carry out a survey of small businesses in post-Katrina New Orleans of disaster risk reduction (DRR) awareness.  One theme stood out to me more than any other.  The businesses that had lived through Katrina and survived well understood the need to be prepared and to have continuity plans.  Those that were new since Katrina all tended to have the view that, to paraphrase, “well, government (city, state, federal…) will take care of things”.

While the experience after Katrina, of all disasters, should be enough to show anyone in the US that there are limits on what government can do, it does raise the question, of what could and should public and private sectors expect of one another?

Planning for the New Mobilities

Planning for the New Mobilities

When planning for new mobilities, it is important to be a little skeptical. Advocates often exaggerate the benefits and overlook significant costs. Here’s an example. Optimists predict that autonomous cars will reduce traffic congestion, crash risk, energy consumption and pollution emissions, but to achieve these benefits they require dedicated lanes for platooning (many vehicles driving close together at relatively high speeds). When should communities dedicate special lanes for the exclusive use of autonomous vehicles? How much should users pay for the privilege? How should this be enforced? Who will be liable if a high-speed platoon crashes, resulting in a multi-vehicle pile-up?

Why Investing in Play Must Be Part of COVID Recovery

Why Investing in Play Must Be Part of COVID Recovery

Infrastructure is on the tip of every mayor’s tongue. It’s no wonder, with billions in federal funding on the table for the first time in a generation and rapidly compounding infrastructure needs. American Rescue Plan dollars represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in communities, support resident priorities, and move the needle on racial equity all at the same time. Parks and playgrounds exist in an ideal sweet spot in each of these areas, and cities should consider making investments in these vital pieces of community infrastructure as part of their recovery and resilience strategies.

The Future of Cities

Mayors, planners, futurists, technologists, executives and advocates — hundreds of urban thought leaders publish on Meeting of the Minds. Sign up to follow the future of cities.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Wait! Before You Leave —

Wait! Before You Leave —

Subscribe to receive updates on the Executive Cohort Program!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This