Smart City Technology Improves Community Safety Efforts in 2021 and Beyond

Cities are a living ecosystem with constantly evolving needs. 2020 was a clear example when the coronavirus pandemic challenged national, state and city government leaders around the world.

Since then, cities and municipalities have dramatically changed day-to-day operations, shifted priorities, and reoriented strategic planning to help communities stay safe and connected.

Many cities depleted their budgets handling the COVID-19 emergency. Despite this, cities will face pressure to create jobs and continue providing reliable city services at an optimized cost.

City governments will build their 2021–2022 strategies based on which community challenges will be most urgent to address in a post-pandemic world. One critical area to focus on over the next few years is community safety.

Ensuring the safety of their populations was a top priority for city governments over the past 12 months. Besides the global impact of COVID-19 on regular operations, the U.S. also experienced the worst hurricane season on record and record-breaking wildfires in California.

2020 also saw an increase in civil unrest all across the globe. For city managers, these issues are similar in terms of the risk they present to their communities and the impact on daily life.

Streetlights Lay the Groundwork for Smart City Innovations

Many city governments have reallocated budgets to solve safety-related issues over the past year, cutting operational costs by focusing early smart city initiatives on projects that have near-immediate time to value.

For example, for many cities, smart street lighting has been the first step in transitioning into a smart city by improving citizen safety while decreasing electricity bills and freeing up millions of dollars to be used to address more time- and resource-intensive projects.

By deploying an anchor application, such as smart street lighting, city governments build an underlying communication infrastructure that can power the next set of smart city use cases.

By starting broader digital transformation initiatives with high-impact, low-risk smart city projects such as smart lightning, cities can lock in immediate return on investment while laying a foundation that encourages continuous innovation and accommodates various applications and use cases, including public safety.

Safety Will Remain a Key Concern for Cities

As safety takes center stage, privacy protection has become fundamental to ensure the security of connected smart city projects. Municipal leaders will increasingly rely on smart city technology powered by newly enabled Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure and correlated sensor data to identify and act on public safety threats.

Beyond smart street lighting, smart city applications will help city governments immediately identify public safety threats, including riots, natural disasters, gas leaks and even pandemic hot spots.

Sensors Can Help Detect Public Safety Issues

Hurricanes, storms, floods, tornadoes, drought, wildfires and other natural disasters are becoming more frequent, intense, and costly. Smart sensors and advanced analytics can help communities better predict, prepare, and respond to these emergency situations.

By using sensors in tandem with predictive analytics, city governments can detect issues and drive outcomes during and after natural disasters. These include:

  • Detecting leaks and remotely shutting off water lines
  • Detecting if a pole is down to prevent safety risks and promote a quicker recovery effort
  • Pushing out alerts to communicate quickly with citizens, providing the most up-to-date information to ensure their safety
  • Using intelligent evacuation planning to best direct traffic and get people out of harm’s way

Cities and utility companies can use remote-disconnect devices and line and fault sensors to acquire much-needed intelligence and send repair crews with the equipment needed to restore service quickly.

How Will Smart City Tech Help Continue to Improve Safety?

Public safety has become a top priority for communities worldwide, and identifying threats quickly to ensure a rapid response is essential to mitigating risk.

To address this need, many cities are investing in technology to deliver critical infrastructure and services. With access to smart city technology, municipalities can unlock value for their communities and lay a foundation for future use cases.

As cities, municipalities and utilities look to further improve their services and their citizens’ safety during these unprecedented times, smart city technology will become more important to better prepare for and react to the next safety hazard.

 

Summarized from StateTech

Leave a Reply