The percentage of cities planning with the Internet of Things (IoT) in mind is climbing from 61% in 2015 to 92% in 20181. Public sector priorities are shifting due to economic constraints, environmental sustainability and digital demands forcing cities to reimagine their infrastructures. Concerns for public safety, traffic management and reliable transporation as well as situational awareness and response times are key driving forces for IoT and analytics solutions.
Late last year, Tech Data hosted Tampa Bay Smart Cities Alliance Symposium, where we held a panel discussion on the value of public and private sector relationships for developing pilot projects, deploying non-traditional procurement processes and applying technology standards to accelerate the adoption of smart city development. Private and public sectors provided valuable food for thought regarding smart city development and with the news of Google looking to build their own city, it is a good time to revisit those key considerations.
Becoming a smart city is a challenge for cities and municipalities alike, especially for those struggling with limited resources. Although Google may be in a category of its own, even they -and other innovation leaders- have limits. A smart region requires interdisciplinary, interagency and multi-jurisdictional coordination. This is something Google will have to keep in mind, especially if it wants to be an operational success. It is very hard to imagine Google, let alone any company, being the sole operator of a city’s infrastructure. No one alone can deploy a smart city, it requires a solid foundation of coordination for leveraging the collective power of a public and private partnership – a collaboration of applied research and innovation that is ideal for developing new business and procurement models.
Lloyd C. Cope, Director, IoT Practice Lead at Hitachi Vantara was one of the panelists at the Tampa Bay Smart Cities Alliance Symposium and provided five key takeaways for public/private partnerships to consider in Smart City development.
1. Be incremental in your approach to projects and use cases
Small and quick wins are important for overall project success and they will build to enterprise wide projects. Stakeholders should look for minimally viable projects that will allow cities and regions to do more with less.
2. Invest in analytics and security first
Before embarking on a smart city journey, you must first achieve “Data Awareness” thru investing in a robust analytics solution. Data Security is also paramount and should be a tandem first step.
3. Fight the good fight every day to change the corporate/city culture
Technology is the easy part but changing the processes and methods for doing something can be very challenging. IoT and smart city projects are complex, all encompassing, and require multiple people/business units/agencies to work together on similar goals and challenges. Private and public culture must evolve to meet the needs and standards of a connected, digital society.
4. No single vendor is “King” and platforms do not cure cancer
IoT and smart city solutions are an ecosystem play that involve many different vendors, system integrators, technologies and services. Rarely will a single vendor be able to deliver successfully on all of these needs.
5. Services are important
IoT and smart city solutions are very complex and services driven. A good rule of thumb is that there will be 70% services and 30% hardware/software involved in deploying a solution. Repeatability of solutions is still new for this emerging technology and what is available often requires some level of customization to achieve optimal performance. Engage with consultants, vendors, system integrators and ecosystem partners early and often to understand this challenge and find repeatability for your organization.
In an ever-accelerating world, access to -and management by- data is no longer an option for success; it’s a prerequisite. Digital transformation is making change nearly instantaneous. IoT and data analytics are the front lines of this change, providing the information and analyzing its significance. Whether its municipalities or the private marketplace, vigilance in knowing the trajectory of the market you serve and being nimble to respond proactively, is the essence of survivability.
Tech Data as an IoT solution aggregator has the resources to ensure private enterprises, public entities or public-private partnerships not only survive, but thrive. We do this by leveraging our technology partner ecosystem to provide aggregated, end-to-end, ready-to-deploy IoT solutions with best-of-breed components, ranging from fulfillment and secure connectivity of ‘things’ to data aggregation, analytics and applications. For more information on smart city solutions, or other use cases in IoT/data analytics, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or check us out online at
About the Author
Emily Melone is a senior marketing communication specialist for Tech Data supporting the IoT and Data Analytics solution areas. Emily is interested in exploring the benefits of Next Generation technologies principles and collaboration. For the past twelve years, her aptitude has been in hybrid cloud, software defined data center, IT operations and management solutions, analytics and IoT.