Astute local governments are betting big on smart technology and IoT
Thanks to federal funding, smart cities are investing in their futures – and saving money in the long run

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The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act (IIJA) have created opportunities for local governments to invest more in Internet of Things (IoT) and smart technologies. This shift from resource deployment to automation has the potential to create financial savings for counties, cities, and municipalities, enabling investment in other areas.

The new IIJA legislation contains grant funding for infrastructure projects, including roads, bridges, airports, ports, rail, and public transportation, and direct payments for green energy initiatives. This act also includes funding for smart technologies such as digital construction management. Residual Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds from ARPA can be used for municipal water and sewage infrastructure and broadband.

SHI can play a major role in advising counties, cities, and municipalities through the grant application process and smart technology planning. We can also provide the hardware, software, and services local governments need to construct their IoT digital architectures.

What is smart technology?

Smart counties, cities, and municipalities deploy solutions to address their challenges using technology. However, when you begin to consider the vast amounts of data generated by a single city, you understand why the IoT devices, hardware, and digital infrastructure necessary to support it have been cost prohibitive…until now. For example:

  • Switches that need to be hardened so they can be outside
  • Cellular LTE communications
  • Wireless signaling like ultra-wideband and LoRaWAN
  • Base stations on the receiving end of those communications
  • Data storage and analytics

But the costliest aspect are the millions of sensors needed to capture data transmissions. These smart devices measure temperature, humidity, and vibration; track traffic; monitor weather conditions; and capture computer vision technologies used for functions like facial recognition.

How do smart technologies reduce cost?

Data-driven decision making is key to successful implementation of infrastructure projects, but technology-generated data can only make a difference when it is actionable. That’s why data collected through smart sensors is so valuable – it can be directly leveraged to drive successful infrastructure projects. Meanwhile, the sensors continue to provide pertinent information that helps save valuable resources, including staff time and money.

Since the needs of every jurisdiction differ, local governments need to prioritize technology investments that will lead to the greatest benefits and resource savings for the communities they serve. For example:

  • Trash Collection: Sensors can send alerts when the garbage collection containers are full and need to be emptied, eliminating unnecessary trips by the disposal services and resulting in cost savings, reduction in manpower, and a decrease in energy usage.
  • Snow Removal: Sensors can detect how much snow is on a road. If some parts of the city need a snowplow but not others, those resources will only go to affected locations.
  • Digital Signage: Digital signs can direct traffic flow in real time. By leveraging the types of visual solutions provided by SHI, Departments of Transportation can notify drivers of a wreck or other delays on the interstate. They can also be used for day-to-day communications between a city and its residents, such as events calendars.
  • Street Lighting: Light fixtures can be automated to let city staff know which lights to replace and when.
  • Port Traffic: Coastal cities can manage port traffic flow or alert ships when they are close to the dock or to another ship.

SHI’s role in smart technology planning

We encourage local governments to seize opportunities to make upgrades and investments in their jurisdiction. It’s not just about selling hardware; we work with clients to identify available federal funds through IIJA and ARPA to improve services and, consequently, the lives of residents. SHI’s guidance can help governments manage IoT resources and avoid major stumbling blocks.

When a county, city, or municipality invests in smart technologies, two critical aspects are architecture design and the actual deployment. We help answer questions like: What is the government trying to accomplish? What equipment is needed to accomplish its goals? How will this be managed in the long term? We have the resources to take a local government from design to deployment.

SHI puts our customers on the road to realizing their technology and cost-saving goals. Contact us to learn how we help local governments implement smart technology and IoT.