How Custom Software Helps Build Smart Cities

As the debate continues on whether custom software or commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software is better for governmental operations, the case can be made that custom software may actually be a better solution based purely upon the speed at which adoption is needed for new “smart city” technology. This includes a mix of technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), Augmented Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR) that focus on creating efficiencies and inter-connectivity to make government more agile, innovative and citizen-oriented than ever before.

The Demand for Smart Cities

Across the globe there is a growing demand from citizens to make cities “smarter” by leveraging technology to collect data and use it for the improvement of daily life. According to a report from the International Data Corporation, smart city technology is expected to grow to $135 billion by 2021. The White House itself has invested of millions of dollars for smart cities to improve energy efficiency, transportation and natural disaster response programs. Additionally, the National Science Foundation allocated millions of dollars in funding for research to improve internet architecture, transportation efficiency, health and more in U.S. cities.

Smart City Examples

One real life example is in Indianapolis, Indiana called “Shift Indy.” It is a total plan that leverages the city website and data points to help make people’s lives easier in Indianapolis. They have smart sensors in every street parking space so drivers can use their phone to find an open place to park. Louisville, Kentucky on the other hand, uses a custom platform for monitoring and communicating air quality to residents via text, email and even changing smart light bulb colors. The smart city initiative of Kansas City, Mo., involves smart streetlights, interactive kiosks and over two miles of free public Wi-Fi along the city’s streetcar route. Available parking spaces, pedestrian hotspots and traffic flow are all available to the public through the city’s data visualization app.

Data Collection and Collaboration

All of these new smart city technologies are highly dependent on the collection and sharing of data to drive insights and decisions. As the government provides many services related to traffic management, waste removal, energy, water and more, there is tremendous benefit in understanding how people are using these services and where efficiencies can be made. But this also works both ways. Without collaboration and transparency, the implementation and promotion of these benefits are difficult. Many cities are looking at building custom portals and mobile apps to allow the public to give feedback and see progress in real time.

How Custom Software Enables Government to Operate Smarter

Custom software enables municipalities and local governments to tailor fit individual departments with technology based on years of intellectual property (IP) and processes that simply cannot be duplicated with a COTS solution. This also allows the government to maintain more control over security and sensitivity of citizen data, allowing them to be more responsive to constituent needs without risking major breaches associated with shared COTS software.

If you are a local government department or municipality interested in a more accelerated approach for implementing and evolving smart technology or scaling operational processes, contact Antares Technology Solutions for a custom software approach.