Smart Cities Within Smart Communities: How Public Spaces Come Alive With IoT and Industrial IoT Systems

December 5, 2019

Even as the evolution of smart communities continues to accelerate, we are starting to see the rise of increasingly connected systems that take advantage of IoT and Industrial IoT innovations to improve public spaces.

With capital investment being deployed to rebuild transportation hubs, for example, the built world is being instrumented with embedded digital infrastructure designed to address multiple challenges.

Smart lighting and HVAC systems are reducing energy usage while keeping the environment comfortable.

Security systems, including cameras, people-counters, and even gunshot detectors are being built in to help prevent violence or to ensure a fast and successful response should attacks occur.

Smaller retailers are buying access to connected systems to drive traffic to their stores, movie theaters, restaurants and cafes, and other services, helping them compete in the bricks and mortar world with the impact of online shopping and the “Amazon” effect. This includes geo-targeted SMS campaigns, mobile apps provided by the venue owners who now have access to massive, new advertising revenue (based on big data analytics within large public spaces), and entertainment and social-based activities associated with events and performances.

Big Box stores, many whom have led in the revolution of “augmented shopping experiences”, are continuing to invest in systems which lead to more efficient store management, inventory tracking, shelf compliance, beacon-based marketing systems, theft reduction systems, self-serve kiosks, and more, generating very fast ROI through smarter operations and visibility into trends in near real-time. Always in stock was never possible until smart shelves and pegs appeared, and recommendations delivered through mobile apps with discount incentives have now become standard in most large chains.

RFID tagging is powering systems using integrated circuits and microchip antenna, sending data to IoT platforms to be analyzed and acted upon, generating automated reports that connect directly with supply chains (to reorder products without the need for human buyer intervention) while also feeding shopping apps and store manager and department manager management systems.

Digital signage continues to revolutionize the way people spend their time and money by bringing them personalized experiences, including those which can be sent to their mobile devices, programmed by accumulating contextual cues and patterns and establishing connections based on what consumers expect and desire.

And of course, self-checkout is making millions happy every day – avoiding lines, whether they are scanning their own products at checkout stations, or buying with their mobile devices, including doing so inside new Amazon food shops where they are sensed based on their mobile device and app, can pick up their lunch, and walk out of the store in minutes, with the receipt going straight to their account and registered credit card.

Given the amount of buying millions of people do every day, creating new ways to discover, purchase, consume, rate, recommend and re-buy products and services in a hyper-contextual – not just hyperconnected – the world is turning public spaces of all kinds into microcosms of smart cities. This is especially true when we think about security – the monitoring of “streets” outdoors and indoors – to make movement more pleasant and efficient, but to also protect when necessary against human-caused or natural disasters.

This is also especially true when it comes to things as simple as finding a parking spot and remembering where your car is parked; the things that can aggravate consumers that things like smart parking addresses are limitless.

This is true in an enormous way with the conservation of energy, through active, automated control of light and temperature, and the implementation of everything from solar to wind power that can be optimized using software that is connected to IoT and Industrial IoT sensor networks.

What does this mean for public spaces – stadiums, arenas, schools, malls, concert halls, train stations, airports, amusement parks, and more going forward?

The key to success is thinking BIG and often way outside the BOX. The ClearBlade team has been working on some of the most advanced, large-scale smart city and smart venue projects, and brings value not just “one solution at a time” but through a comprehensive view of technology, management, and governance.

It makes no sense to build layers upon layers of unconnected networks when a single network can support very large spaces and communities with a unified operating system, that has baked into it the security protocols that ensure the integrity of the data, supporting secure data sharing using APIs, and create cost efficiencies through the economies of scale.

It’s not just the technology that connects machines to machines and machines to people that is valuable and cool. It’s the new business models that are now possible, and innovations made possible by advanced data science leveraging an array of endpoints and signaling systems we can control responsibly, even as issues of privacy, security and ethics arise.

Developers of public spaces today are truly building microcosms of smart cities, and often smart cities within larger smart metropolitan areas and entire regions. It is through collective dialogue and with the support of the many fine organizations, open-source communities, developer communities and standards bodies that the IoT/IIoT industry brings offerings to developers whose real estate becomes that much more attractive when instrumented.

We’ll share more about what we are developing and implementing in this space over the next few weeks, as we head into 2020 with creative, contextual and connected momentum.

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