The Best 5 Ways to Become a Smarter City

You’re going to see a lot of advice in the media explaining how cities may become smart cities. Well, we thought it helpful to gather 5 ways to become a smarter city. Read on to discover our favorites, the best five tips that you will see all year.

The City of Mississauga has been very active in the smart city movement: Wi-Fi Blanket, Public transit, public outreach, IoT

1. Collaborate with other cities and industries

The Internet of Things (IOT) demands that cities and private industries share information and technology instead of hoarding it. Lessons learned in one locality may well find value in another location. The cities who share information and technology will get ahead in 2017 and the ones who don’t will find themselves stymied and behind the technology 8 ball. The world is on the brink of a new and exciting technological age. Those who do not join the shared movement will do so at their peril.

2. Eliminate silos

On a company level, information sharing must start within. Companies must eliminate silos, departmental sets of data files or databases that do not reside within the company-wide data administration. Silos prevent critical information from dissemination to all departments. So it is with cities. There is a cost detriment to doing projects piece-meal. Such projects may also face dangerous results if crucial information is not passed along to all departments. Multiple departments must have access to the hardware, software, and tools to create multi-purpose platforms. An example is IOT sensors in the streets that “hear” reports of gun play and “see” criminal activity. To enable police and emergency assistance, IOT must share such information with other departments that have the strategic and operational capability to render aid.

3. Migrate to the Cloud

Cloud computing is an overarching theme relevant to developing smart cities. Many cities today see the value in Cloud computing and in buying as-a-service offerings but their legacy procurement policies and regulations often stand in the way. In 2017, cities must find their way to take advantage of their technicians’ desire to migrate to the Cloud if they are to become smart cities. They must begin by addressing the policy and regulatory changes they need to adopt before they can join the 21st century in the Cloud.

4. Machine Learning

No, it’s not something that’s coming only in the future. Machine learning is already here. We have Amazon’s Alexa, the household personal assistant, who can act on our verbal commands to either search the internet for information we need or to run other household devices. We have refrigerators that can tell us what items we need to order. We have smart phones that learn where we like to shop and what movie theaters we visit most. Machine learning moves now toward machine-to-machine learning (M2M). M2M learning describes technology that allows networked devices to exchange information with each other and to perform the required actions using the technology without any interference or assistance from humans. For example, the rise of IOT has put new technology in the hands of cities in the form of high-tech sensors that can collect information and store it. The next step is for the IOT to pass that information along to city departments in the effort to make citizens safer, healthier, and to help cities spot problems before they occur.

5. Leverage Big Data

Smart buildings and street sensors collect an astounding amount of information. The smart city’s challenge is to leverage all that data into new ways to make city services more efficient. That means not only collecting the data, but analyzing it to reveal insights into areas of city services in order to improve the way the city meets the needs of the people. It also means passing those insights along to the city departments that need it most and that can use the information to increase efficiencies and safety initiatives for its citizens. And that brings us back again to the idea that smart cities must collaborate with those industries creating new M2M devices to give them the information they need to create the IOT of the future.

To read more about the smart city movement, read the WallStreetJournal.com’s article entitled “The Rise of the Smart City.”

10 Gov’t Tech Blogs You’ll Want to Follow

No one wants to look like a “newbie,” so here are a few tips on 10 gov’t tech blogs you must subscribe to so you can keep up to date on all the latest news and developments in the technology field in the public sector.

Lohrmann on Cybersecurity & Infrastructure. With almost 234,000 visitors in the last 90 days, this popular website sports three blogs. One is an opinion blog. The second blog is “govgirl” which discusses innovations in social media in the government setting.

The third blog, “Lohrmann on Cybersecurity & Infrastructure” attacks various topics ranging from IOT and the smart grid to the security risk of moving government data to the cloud.

Emerging Tech. The “emerging tech” blog covers emerging technologies across government in topics addressing the defense sector and intelligence, rumors, research and development strides, and IT morsels. The latest blog is all about AI.

Dr. Chaos. Aami Lakhani, a senior security strategist, writes a blog under the pen name, Dr. Chaos. The topics revolve around cyber security issues in the social media millieu, such as smart homes, encrypting the web, and the 10 most common web security vulnerabilities.

Cisco Government Blog. Cisco has several blogs for various industries. Its blog for government touches upon topics such as cybersecurity in the public sector and how police departments harness new technology and cities become smart cities.

Federal Blueprint Blog. Blue Coat Systems, Inc. publishes a blog called the Federal Blueprint Blog whose team of three experts write a weekly blog about cybersecurity in the federal workplace. Articles present information on the post-OPM data breach, migration to the cloud, Shadow IT, encrypted traffic management, expanding on threat intelligence, and more.

Blue Coat also produces its own blog called, appropriately enough, The Company Blog, which delves into topics at least once a month but often more than once in a month. The topics range from the life cycle of a data breach, to information on the Black Hat security conference, to paying attention to security issues when adopting Office 365.

Govloop. Govloop is an on-line community with more than 250,000 members made up of government employees, industry experts, and partners. Members of the community write the blog in featured blog entries. They share their ideas and their desire for a better public sector. Blog topics sweep wide from using open source software in a government setting, to best practices, and expectations when moving from private to public sector.

FedScoop. This site has taken the community approach but in a different way than Govloop. FedScoop is the federal government’s community platform for education and collaboration. FedScoop talks to government leaders from the White House to federal agencies, from academia to the tech firms. They get together to discuss the ways they see that technology can help improve government.

GovInfoSecurity. The topics on this site all revolve around information security. There are six blogs to choose from, depending on your interest at the moment: The Public Eye (privacy); The Fraud Blog; Safe & Sound (healthcare information security); Euro Security Watch (security trends across Europe); The Experts’ View (industry experts); and Industry Insights.

The Hill Blog. To find out about what is happening on Capital Hill, you will want to read The Hill. In addition to articles on legislation and politics, The Hill also has a blog. Just as an example of the kind of post you will find on The Hill blog, you may want to read the blog exploring a timely discussion of modern technology’s application in the public sector, “Securing Government Infrastructure with Biometrics.”

VirtualBlocks. This site is for all you hardcore techies out there. Topics cover backing up data, networking storage, and converged infrastructure. It’s a good reference site for IT leaders in the public sector even if it covers more than federal issues.

To learn about 50 blogs in the federal arena, read fedtechmagazine.com’s article entitled “50 Must-Read Federal IT Blogs 2015” which was the inspiration for this article.