Smart neighborhood pilots test how to arrange smart city technology in order to analyze and address specific goals & problems in a neighborhood.
Benefits & Problems Addressed
Using a pilot program: Given the newness and acceleration of technology, small scale pilots let communities install and study how the technology works before launching larger scale, formal programs.
Direct link to solving local problems: Pilot programs use integrated sensor networks to measure & analyze neighborhood conditions and metrics associated with local concerns (e.g. crime patterns, lowering costs, environmental & health impacts). Sensors allow participants to chart data with location, time of day, and other factors to better understand trends and potential solutions.
Better infrastructure and program planning: Cities & towns can determine where programs or infrastructure design needs improvement or where mitigation is needed. This can lower costs and lead to streamlined & personalized service delivery
Addressing hotspots: Sensors can highlight hot spots that tend to drive costs and concerns. Local governments can direct resources directly to those areas driving concerns.
Tips & Techniques
Getting started: The best, first candidate pilot programs have (1) neighborhoods willing to participate (including designing and perhaps carrying portable sensors); (2) high priority, known hazards where data can confirm or rule out causes; (3) data & technology partners including the local government.
Partners: Residents and business owners, neighborhood & business associations, technology & telecommunications providers, local government agencies (will vary depending on problems studied), data analysis partners (e.g., health care providers, Universities, schools).
Prioritizing goals: Successful pilot programs will design a program that best (1) identifies a top neighborhood concern and (2) is readily measured by available technology. In some cases, the pilot will not address the number one concern, but rather one where the problem, sensor data and pilot partners are best aligned.
Example analyses: (1) Pedestrian counts + accident reports to lower incidents; (2) Sensor-enabled asthma inhaler use + location to determine air pollution hotspots; (3) gunshot detectors + police reports to determine unreported or unsolved crimes. In addition, data scientists can analyze multiple data streams over time to denote patterns.
Required components: Sensor networks are at the core of a smart city pilot. Sensors vary, but typically require a Wi-Fi source, energy source, and placement. Sensors can be mounted on streetlight poles and other public installations or can be embedded in concrete/pavement. Volunteers (e.g., bicyclists, students) can also agree to carry portable monitors to expand test areas in the neighborhood.
Hot Buttons: Privacy, backup energy in case battery power fails, resources to scale the pilot program into formal programming, data that does not address the problem.
Image credit: KCMO.gov