Right about now many of us (in the Northern hemisphere) have returned from our summer vacations and are getting our children ready for a new year of learning. It’s a time when all of us, not just those in school, have that back-to-school feeling as we enter the autumn season.
As tempting as it can be to simply charge ahead with the next project, it’s good to take stock of what we’ve learned so far and revisit fundamental principles, just as our educators do with the kids at the beginning of a new school year.
Within Schneider Electric’s Smart Cities business, the touchstone of our foundational approach is found in the white paper “The Smart City Cornerstone: Urban Efficiency”. By continually revisiting this text, we anchor each customer project to well-proven principles that help us to work collaboratively to achieve successful outcomes.
In over 250 completed smart city projects around the globe we’ve sought to apply these same bottom-up building blocks:
- Set the vision and roadmap for an efficient, liveable and sustainable city
- Combine best-in-class hardware and software to improve operating systems
- Harness big data integration for wider city operational and informational efficiency
- Add innovation to make a holistic and sustainable future a reality
- Drive collaboration between the most well-suited global and local players, as well as across the entire smarty city value chain
Regardless of which aspect of its infrastructure a city chooses to start with, these principles can help ensure that the journey towards a smart future is mindful and holistic at each step.
We’ve applied this data-driven approach to help cities of many sizes across a range of key municipal departments, as outlined in the graphic below. Often, a city will choose the most pressing infrastructure issue to begin with, subsequently widening the scope of projects over time to incorporate more aspects of citizen priorities. How these decisions are made can be shaped by many factors such as staffing, resource constraints, infrastructure issues or the challenges of funding.
An interesting example of a city that chose to make big changes over a large cross-section of infrastructure is that of Carson City Nevada’s Public Works Department, which worked with Schneider Electric’s Invensys subsidiary and Ecosystem partner, Wonderware PacWest to deliver a major solution encompassing water, waste water, transportation, landfill, fleet and renewable power.
With a population of less than 60,000, the challenges to Carson City of doing more with less are exactly the same as those of much larger cities; such as increasing efficiency, reducing waste, and improving the utilisation and distribution of resources.
Also like some of the world’s most progressive cities, Carson City is blessed with administrators and public servants who are committed to ensuring their city is providing the best possible service for its citizens. The city’s Public Works department delivered an end result that reduced operational staff hours by 15% while integrating cross-functional management capabilities; a huge success for any city in the world.
Whether your city is ready for a city-wide project or simply starting one department at a time, focusing on the fundamental principles when beginning a smart city journey will dramatically increase your chances of a successful and transformational outcome. So dust off those school books (er, white papers) – you’ll be glad you did.
Not much of a white paper person? Visit our Smart Cities solutions web page.