Mobile Future

Release: Mobile Future Report Helps Communities Get Smart

 Today, Mobile Future released a report, Get Smart: The Ground-Up Revolution to Connect and Transform American Communities, outlining the benefits from a connected future for all communities. Released during a Mobile Future panel at the National League of Cities’ City Summit in Pittsburgh, the report focuses on the critical need to create policy climates that support investment in infrastructure, and next generation technologies like 5G, to maximize the opportunities for citizens and smart communities.

Nationwide, leaders in communities of all sizes are embracing the modern mandate to “get smart” by turning to mobile technologies to foster more sustainable, livable environments. New and emerging mobile broadband applications and products offer significant opportunities to improve public services, lower costs, and foster a more attractive environment for both residents and businesses. Recognizing smart communities are locally defined, the report points municipal leaders to federal resources available to add momentum to their efforts. The report also recommends three key strategies designed to empower local leaders who are at the center of the smart community movement, including:

  • Maintaining public confidence in security/privacy. Security, privacy and other data use considerations are integral to smart city development. By embracing widely utilized standards and practices from the earliest stages, municipal leaders can foster and maintain public trust.
  • Welcoming wireless infrastructure. Supporting robust and ever-expanding wireless infrastructure needs collaboration between policymakers, citizens and industry. Advanced wireless networks like 5G will require the densification of U.S. wireless infrastructure, and community leaders who want to leverage the power of new technologies will need to be open to facilitating the placement of the necessary network infrastructure. By closely examining pathways to encourage infrastructure deployment, including an investment friendly business environment, a predictable policy environment, and the removal of unnecessary obstacles, local governments can play a vital role in buttressing world-leading U.S. wireless infrastructure.
  • Adopting strategic, coordinated procurement. The more community components are connected, the greater the potential cost savings and opportunity to leverage the infrastructure for wide-ranging public benefits. Mobile technologies have the capacity to yield multi-faceted benefits that span energy, public safety, transportation, civic engagement and more.

The report also includes a smart community checklist to aid municipalities in “getting smart,” as well as stories and lessons of a diverse array of communities striving to bring home the opportunities of the Internet of Things era for their citizens.

  • Atlanta, GA. The city partnered with Ericsson to deploy low-cost, wirelessly connected waterproof sensors that report real-time water quality information and automatically alert officials of potential problems, such as sewage spills, agricultural runoff and algae bursts.
  • Boston, MA. The city partnered with Verizon to deploy a state-of-the-art fiber optic network platform, which includes a trial using sensors and advanced traffic signal control technology that will help measure bicycle traffic, improve the flow of public transit and enhance safety.
  • Centerville, GA. The local police department piloted a CopTrax Smart Glasses that serve as body cameras that automatically upload video via an officer’s smartphone to a cloud storage site.
  • Charlotte, NC. More than 60 downtown high-rise buildings have installed meters and public kiosks to track and illustrate energy costs and consumption levels.
  • Chicago, IL. The police department is using a wide-area acoustic surveillance system called ShotSpotter to detect and dramatically increase response times relating to gunfire.
  • Columbus, OH. Columbus won a $40 million federal prize that will be combined with significant community funds and private investments to measure and advance the connectivity of its transportation systems and infrastructure.
  • Gwinnett County, GA. Boasting the largest school system in the state, the county installed 270 connected beacons in its school zones equipped with cellular modems that can be adjusted according to weather, holidays, or emergencies.
  • Kansas City, MO.  Verizon subsidiary Sensity is working with city officials to detect poorly parked vehicles to ensure safe operation of its light-rail system, manage street parking and gather data on pedestrian and vehicle traffic to inform planning and economic development.
  • Kirkland, WA. The city partnered with Finnish-based Enevo to pilot a sensor-based system for making trash collection more efficient and cost-effective.
  • Las Vegas, NV. The local water district partnered with IBM, AT&T and Mueller Water Products to install sensors along 4,000 miles of pipeline to monitor pressure, leaks and temperature.
  • Los Angeles, CA. With more than 1.3 million drivers, Los Angeles partnered with Google to use the traffic navigation app Waze to aggregate traffic and accident data and make that information available in real-time via the app in order to save commuters’ time and money.
  • Montgomery County, MD. The county and the University of Maryland are working with AT&T to outfit buses and bus stops with communications and sensor technology to improve commutes.
  • San Francisco, CA. The San Francisco Bay area is home to a pilot program by Sierra Wireless and AT&T aimed at facilitating LTE network connectivity.  The program aims to demonstrate lower costs for network components, improved coverage in hard-to-reach places and longer battery life for IoT devices, setting the stage for types of smart city applications enabled by 5G.
  • Schenectady, NY.  Schenectady, partnering with Verizon subsidiary Sensity, has expanded its smart city control system to cover several streets close to City Hall in order to reduce energy costs, increase public safety with smart lighting and improve traffic flow.

“The connected future of communities is here, and inspired local leaders nationwide are turning to mobile technology to improve their communities,” said Mobile Future Advisor Diane Smith. “Wireless connectivity spurs growth and innovation, enabling communities to develop ground-breaking improvements that will radically change the way we live. And, this progress will only accelerate if we collectively encourage the massive infrastructure push that will unlock the 5G future. Mobile technology on a massive scale has the power to transform our economy, environment and quality of life, and these innovative communities are getting smart and leading this ground-up revolution.”