How to Build a Smart City - OMS Intelligence Solutions

July 30, 2019

The biggest mistake we could make when building smart cities would be chaotic testing and technology deployment. As with any project, first it is necessary to set goals and priorities that we want to achieve with the Smart City concept. These will then lead us to define the assumptions of implementation and determine the sequence of steps.

Building smart cities is a complex subject that includes many aspects, participants and interests. This naturally leads to the formation of partnerships and consortia at all levels of solving this issue. Solution suppliers, cities and regions, state administration organisations and ministries are interconnecting; there are even coordination efforts at the level of ministries, states and the European Commission.

Cities and regions are gradually becoming key players in pursuing an initiative to implement smart city elements, as demonstrated at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona. Cities are aware of the fact that a successful strategy of building a smart city requires the creation of a functioning ecosystem that will enable coordinating the key players (city, affiliated organisations, the public and private sectors, inhabitants, etc.) and to effectively coordinate the initiatives of building a smart city, in order to implement the city’s strategy and objectives, in accordance with its priorities.

The implementation of smart city concepts is a continuous process. Its ecosystem contains a variety of elements that need to be considered in the process of implementation. The ecosystem itself requires a constant revision of the settings based on the current status and priorities, and is one of the main requirements for successful implementation.

Defining the Implementation Framework

Another prerequisite is setting the frameworks for defining and managing the initiatives of the Smart City concepts. It is especially important for our city to be an active element defining the priorities, objectives and initiatives of building a smart city. Each responsible city, region or city district management should define and update the city’s strategy and objectives in the long run, setting priorities and objectives for its activities. These documents
will then become the basis for creation of the Smart City vision, concept and implementation initiative (Vision, Concept & Initiatives) and will include key parameters such as:

1. What extent of responsibility and commitment does the city choose while building and managing the Smart City?
2. What are the key Smart City initiatives and goals?
3. What requirements for Information and Communications

Technology (ICT) means does the city perceive as critical and important in the long run? Etc. When creating the key documents for the implementation of smart city concepts, experience from abroad shows us that it
is convenient to set up a city consultative body (City Council or Stakeholder Forum) in which key ecosystem players are represented and which will be responsible for defining the vision, concept, goals and key implementation initiatives.

Among the most common models of responsibility and commitment of the city, one of the alternatives is:

“Build, Own, Operate“, where the main contractor is the city itself or its affiliated organisation that provides smart city services, so the operation and maintenance are completely under the control of the city.

“Build, Operate, Transfer“, where the city appoints someone responsible for building smart city infrastructure and systems, and then the city takes over these services and infrastructure to a defined extent and operates them.

“Open business model“, where the city allows any qualified company to build infrastructure and provide urban services according to defined guidelines and regulations.

“Public-private partnership”, in which the city cooperates with partners from the private sector in building smart city infrastructure and systems.

The initiatives of building a smart city are the key areas where the use of smart city technologies and concepts will help the city accomplish its strategy and goals. As an example, we can mention the key initiatives of Barcelona. Last but not least, we must not forget the smart city initiatives management setting, which has the standard elements of project management and portfolio management (Roadmap & Portfolio Management).

Implementation Step by Step

After successful setting of the smart city implementation frameworks, it is necessary to consider steps to implement the technologies and ICT elements themselves. We will present one of the possible ways of implementing smart city elements based on a pragmatic approach of effectively using financial and human resources, with a gradual recognition of the benefits and challenges of individual technologies.

1. Establishment of a roadmap and steps of the initiatives

When establishing a smart city implementation roadmap, exist-ing methodologies will be helpful to assess the city’s current po-sition and to suggest a smart city implementation roadmap and areas. These methodologies work with a number of data and indexes that determine the city’s position, or compare it with the position of cities of the same category. It is very important that the methodology takes into account the characteristics of the region and the objectives of the city.

2. Understanding of the current state, causes and consequences

Once the roadmap is established, it is necessary to understand the context and causes of the current state of the named initiatives in practice so that the implementation roadmap is as close as possible to the practice. It is important to realise that all areas of the city are interconnected and there are many inter-actions and much dependence between them. In addition, city representatives often have hypotheses about the causes of the current condition rather than data supported by facts.

For a better understanding of the current state and its causes, we recommend creating a collection and central location for vis-ualising the state of the city, i.e. to build one of the cornerstones of the future smart city operation centre (Intelligent Operation Centre), namely the operation report of the city (Operation Man-agement Dashboard). This report provides an operational view of the situation in the city and should include data from an exist-ing base of facilities in the city and a plan to build smart facilities in the city. Often, it is convenient to add additional sensors and data sources to existing devices in order to supplement meas-urements of refinement or testing of a particular technology.

Another powerful tool of the city operation centre (Intelligent Operation Centre) are analytical views on the city (Urban Data Aggregation & Analytics), making it possible to analyse the situation in the city with an appropriate visualisation of the area. An example of this may be an analysis of the development of the traffic situation over time by visualising the movement of selected objects and density in individual parts of the city from the data provided by the telecommunication operator.

3. Smart city management

Smart city management has at least two levels. The first level of management includes a smart city solution for a selected domain, such as smart public lighting management or waste management. The given level of management is the responsi-bility of various entities and it is appropriate to deploy a solution for each area separately according to the needs and priorities of the city.
The second level of smart city management means the defini-tion and management of interdisciplinary scenarios in the city among the individual systems of the first level. An example may be the link between security and public lighting (e.g. increasing the intensity of lighting in case of a security risk situation). To successfully implement this level of smart city management, it is important to define the services and data provided by individ-ual first level systems, and also to have an effective tool for de-fining interdisciplinary scenarios and their managing in real time. An inherent part of building a smart city will also be generating data and making them available (not only open) for their further use by various entities and systems.

Author: Ján Masaryk, MAKERS  

OMS Intelligence Solutions, s. r. o., Dojč 419, 906 02 Dojč, Slovakia, Phone: +421 34 694 0811, Fax: +421 34 694 0888.

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