We are seeing the term “Smart Cities” appear in many industry publications. If you haven’t heard of Smart Cities yet—not to worry, Smart Cities Council is recruiting companies all over the world to join their mission. They have created a readiness guide that contains the following definition of a smart city: ‘A smart city uses information and communications technology (ICT) to enhance its livability, workability and sustainability. In simplest terms, there are three parts to that job: collecting, communicating and “crunching.” First, a smart community collects information about itself through sensors, other devices and existing systems. Next, it communicates that data using wired or wireless networks. Third, it “crunches” (analyzes) that data to understand what’s happening now and what’s likely to happen next.’
This definition may seem like a mouthful, but when you boil it down, it is clear that government, private sector, and nonprofits must work together to share information, technology and data for the betterment of the people they serve. Worldwide, billions of dollars are being spent on smart city technology. China, Australia, Saudi Arabia and other countries are literally building new smart cities from the ground up. In the United States, we will have to renovate and work within our existing technological and built infrastructure, adjusting and building on them with the most innovative solutions as we move forward. Many of the larger US cities already have projects under way. Conferences are being held across the country where community leaders are discussing how to integrate “smart” technologies into their future planning. Many municipalities are paying the price today for zoning and land use decisions that were not well planned or thought out many years ago. We need to make sure we don’t make the same mistakes with these quickly changing technological advancements by not planning for a comprehensive use of the technology through partnerships of the public and private sectors. Collaboration will be the key in creating a smarter and more sustainable future for all of us in years to come.
So, what are we doing here at Pennoni?
At Pennoni, we have joined the Smart Cities Council as an Associate Partner. Since many of our clients are smaller municipal governments, private companies, schools, and non-profits, we are looking for ways to get them involved in this process by combining resources. We are bringing “smarter” solutions to both our municipal and private sector clients through our work with sensor technology in our Intelligent Infrastructure Systems group (IIS), water/wastewater, transportation, adaptive traffic signals, asset management, and other market sectors. We have developed our upstream energy Optimization, Procurement, Tracking, Intelligence, Control System software (OPTICS™), which leads us into the areas of downstream energy distribution (combined heat and power, solar, wind, and microgrids). We are using our Utilities Watch software to assure that the smart technology in our buildings is operating as efficiently as possible.
We are constantly seeking innovation partners that are developing technologies that we can integrate into our projects and client base. We all know that technology is changing faster than any of us can keep up with. As the Smart City Council likes to say, “this is a race not a sprint”. We take pride in our tagline, “Partners for What’s Possible” in staying ahead of the curve on behalf of our clients, continuing to innovate on every project and every solution. Employing “smart technology” will be the key to improved mobility, sustainability, resilience and economic development. We are doing our part in building smarter cities, towns, townships and boroughs. Let us know how we can help you.
Joseph Viscuso, PE, PLS, ENV SP
Joe serves as Senior Vice President and Director of Strategic Growth which includes involvement in all new initiatives and technologies. Joe is active in the Smart City Council and is a member of the Urban Mobility Task Force. He also manages the firm’s Mergers and Acquisition activities.
Contact Joe for more information.