GOVERNMENT officials have favourable expectations for the benefits and value that smart cities solutions will deliver, according to a research brief from CompTIA. 

CompTIA’s Building Smarter Cities finds that one-half of local, state and federal government personnel surveyed believe the Internet of Things – and by extension, smart cities – will definitely provide value. Another 39 per cent say it will probably provide value.

“Improved decision-making made possible through new or better streams of data ranks as the highest perceived benefit,” said Tim Herbert, senior vice president, research and market intelligence, CompTIA.

“Given the many layers of agencies, jurisdictions and constituencies, interest in data-driven decision-making is not surprising,” Herbert continued. “Even small improvements in empowering government workers with the right data at the right time can pay dividends.”

Staff productivity and cost savings from operational efficiencies – both closely related to data-driven decision-making – rank second and third as smart city value proposition factors. Accomplishing these goals will require an investment in staff training and workflow optimization technology.

Government officials are mindful of other challenges and obstacles to widespread adoption of smart cities solutions. Factors such as upfront and ongoing costs, security, complexity and interoperability must be considered.

“Even the tech-savviest government staff may quickly find themselves in unfamiliar territory when it comes to systems integration,” Herbert noted. “A smart cities pilot project managed by internal staff may become unmanageable when it expands beyond the pilot phase.”

In some cases public-private partnerships may be used to overcome expertise or staff time constraints. In other situations cities will rely on technology solution or managed services providers.

“We may soon see ‘smart cities-as-a-service’ providers emerge from firms with expertise in technology integration, APIs, cloud computing, data, and security,” Herbert said.

A net 36 percent of respondents reported having some type of IoT initiative underway. The impact of IoT and smart cities is already being felt in areas such as waste management, the power grid and utilities and public safety. Over the next 2-4 years, smart cities and IoT will continue to impact those areas, as well as transportation (citied by 72 per cent of respondents), transparency and open data (74 per cent) and parks, recreation and the environment (74 per cent). ♦