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Providing High-speed Internet is like providing water and electricity in the classroom.
Lynn D. Smith, Superintendent
Brewton City Schools, AL
Municipalities face the same challenges, if not more, than business owners. They have budgets to manage, scrutinized as it includes public tax-payer dollars, critical emergency communications and more. So how do towns and cities become good stewards of their funding while trying to reach the strategic goal of every growing area to drive economic development?
The notion of Smart Cities has erupted to use different types of electronic data collection sensors to supply information which is used to manage assets and resources efficiently. And what can drive the evolution of this new technology is a synergistic private/public partnership between the city and the broadband provider who already has deep rooted infrastructure that can carry the data stream that is necessary to effectively operate this level of innovation.
There is such a large influx of data circulating our population every day. What if your hometown could use that data to reduce energy consumption and pollution, make transportation more efficient, and lure affluent tenants? These are all key ingredients to attracting and retaining businesses and in turn the employees who work for them. Sensing and monitoring public activity accurately and frequently could be the path to get there.
And while there is always an “app for that” – imagine one for your hometown...a mobile app that can alert you of traffic patterns, where an open parking spot may be or when the snowplow hits your neighborhood during a big storm.
And the goal for most growing cities is sustainability. How will they keep up with lure of large metropolitan areas? How do they attract the digitally driven generations to raise families and work in their city? Quality of life is crucial to reaching these goals.
Steve Case, co-founder of AOL predicts that we’re at the dawn of the next technological revolution unlike anything we’ve seen before—the Third Wave of the internet— that will transform the economy and the way we live our lives.
The first wave saw AOL and other companies lay the foundation for consumers to connect to the internet. The second wave saw companies like Google and Facebook build on top of the internet to create search and social networking capabilities, while apps like Snapchat and Instagram leverage the smartphone revolution. Now, Case argues, we’re entering the Third Wave: a period in which entrepreneurs will vastly transform major “real world” sectors like health, education, transportation, energy, and food—and in the process change the way we live our daily lives. But success in the Third Wave will require a different skill set. And this is dependent upon how cities/towns are going to reinvent themselves to become relevant to the digital economy that we now live in. At the core of that is infrastructure. Infrastructure doesn’t only mean roads and electricity anymore; it includes broadband, the driver to powering this level of innovation and offering the platform for cities to thrive.
The broadband delivery mechanism is just as important as the technology itself being used. The world is going to run on very bandwidth intensive requirements, and cable companies have built a network that can more than handle the workload. 100% fiber-optic solutions are the latest and greatest delivery method for internet services. The fiber pipe is limitless when it comes to capacity, offering multi-site connectivity that cities who utilize the Smart City model will need.
Techrepublic unpacks what a Smart City is and how by 2050 60% of the population will live in cities.