BI and ANALYTICS sustain smart city initiatives

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Integration for analysis and communication

Information Builders offers a platform based on its WebFOCUS and Omnigen BI and integra­tion solutions. This combined platform provides a means for integrating, cleans­ing, and visualizing data in support of smart city initiatives. “Our platform is integrated in two senses,” noted Deepin­der Uppal, vice president, innovation and tech­nology, public sector, for Information Builders. “One is at the data level itself, to bring data in from the edge, cleanse it, and make sure that it’s geocoded and prepared for analytics. In another sense, our platform also provides the foundation to respond to all of the core use cases associated with smart city initiatives. Information Builders has the ability to consume any IoT format and leverage existing networks to provide real-time solutions for complex smart city problems.” 

Although many smart city initiatives begin with applications for transportation management or public safety, some start by improving financial and operational management. The city of Irving, Tex., integrated financial data across multiple departments using WebFOCUS to provide greater transparency and the ability to align budgeting with strategic planning. Use of metrics, scorecards, and dashboards from underlying data allowed for $44 million in cost savings, $25 million in increased revenues, and an estimated savings of 50,000 hours of employee time. 

As connectivity from IoT devices and intelligent transportation systems develops in smart city applications, Uppal said, it is important to be able to integrate 5G networks with traditional ones while also leveraging FirstNet devices, which operate on the nationwide broadband network for public safety officials and first responders. “Many smart city initiatives originate with groups that are leveraging FirstNet initiatives,” Uppal commented.

In addition, there are many types of sensors, which operate on different bands and formats; LTE-M IoT (M-IoT) and narrow band IoT (NB-IoT) are two common examples that often need to be integrated for smart city projects. “NB-IoT offers low bandwidth data connections at low cost and therefore provides the backbone for many smart city initiatives in Europe and industrial applications,” said Uppal. “LTE-M devices are optimized for higher bandwidth and mobile connections and can piggyback onto a traditional carrier networks where reception is adequate. Integrators who seek to support smart cities have to be able to consume both and, through a partnership with their stakeholders, provide guidance and technological support on the specific technical elements involved to solve smart city problems.” 

Strong ROI

In its “Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019” report, Gartner predicted that smart spaces will experience accelerated delivery as “humans and technology-enabled systems interact in increasingly open, connected, coordinated, and intelligent ecosystems.” In addition, several other of the top 10 trends, including AI-driven technology and edge computing, are expected to contribute to the growth and development of smart space technologies. Smart cities create a path to sustainability and resilience and also enable improved services. Building out smart cities is a complex task from a financial, organizational, and technological perspective. However, the ROI in both dollars and quality of life is significant, and this trend will continue to gain momentum.

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