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Baby steps for smart cities initiatives

Ken Hosac

Taking a sensible approach and still gaining smart city benefits

The planning and deployment of smart city projects can be overwhelming for some who hold decision-maker roles within cities — making them wary of diving into technology infested waters. Also, many municipalities aren’t within reach of the funding to completely upgrade cities with smart technology. But it’s OK — and in some cases more successful — to start out small.

Planning smart city projects can be analogous to a common strategy for winning a baseball game. Sometimes the projects that find the most success are merely base hits and not necessarily home runs. Cradlepoint delivers LTE edge solutions for always-on network connectivity to help cities improve upon specific targeted smart city use cases — or create new opportunities that didn’t exist before. Taking a case-by-case strategy when it comes to smart city initiatives can help deliver a more capable, economical, and productive city in the long run.

Case-by-Case Smart City Deployments


Kiosks are popping up all over cities to help citizens in a variety of ways. Often, they are used to provide touchscreen communication for customers and are mainly used as self-service tools. Instead of asking personnel for assistance, consumers can use kiosks to do things like schedule appointments, register for events, or find their way.

With Cradlepoint’s solutions delivering reliable connectivity, South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism (SCPRT) deployed interactive kiosks and digital touchscreens, allowing tourists to find information about the park. SCPRT also installed digital signage inside and outside the centers, including digital ceiling signage controlled by staff from tablet PCs. Using the touchscreens, tourists can plan their visits, gather live statewide weather information, use travel-mapping tools, and view webcams pointing at specific park highlights —all of which is connected with Cradlepoint solutions.

Emergency Medical Services

University of Virginia Health System’s iTREAT (Improving Treatment with Rapid Evaluation of Acute Stroke via Mobile Telemedicine) telemedicine toolkits are installed in ambulances specifically for stroke victims. A live video link between the ambulance and specialists in the UVA emergency room allows for a neurological assessment before the patient arrives at the hospital, saving valuable time. Cradlepoint’s ruggedized in-vehicle routing solutions with integrated 4G LTE modems provide constant connectivity for the toolkits.

Law Enforcement

The Boise Police Department leverages Cradlepoint’s wireless routing devices and cloud management platform, NetCloud Manager, to provide a constant connection, flexibility for the use of different applications, and an easily maintained network while reducing both capital expenditures and operating expenses. The solution provides the ability of multiple officers to converge onto an incident scene and access the network via mobile hotspots. Even if an officer arrives at an incident without one of the equipped patrol cruisers and has to park blocks away, he or she can still access the secure police network by using the hotspot of a cruiser at the scene. Officers can also allow other first responders access to the network if needed.

Traffic Management

The City of San Antonio deployed Cradlepoint’s cloud-managed routing solutions in nearly 700 traffic cabinets and implemented 4G LTE as its primary WAN source. With constant 4G LTE connectivity through Cradlepoint’s solutions, they were able to boost the city’s rate of communication with the Traffic Management Center and intersections from about 60 percent to nearly 100 percent. If there is a problem at an intersection, the traffic management team can investigate from headquarters via live stream and decide whether the situation can be fixed from headquarters or if an operator needs to be sent out.


Technology is allowing a more personalized shopping experience than ever before. During the Super Bowl one year, Cradlepoint provided the network connectivity and the management tools that made GridBox Media’s, a digital screen provider, platform easy to install and manage. GridBox provides stores with digital screens that look like mirrors with advertisements running below the surface. When a shopper approaches the mirror with an item that contains a bar-coded sales tag, an IR reader embedded in the screen senses the person and instantly becomes a digital sign that displays the price. GridBox then retrieves and displays images of products that might also interest the shopper.


One area that is booming, in particular, is quick-service restaurant (QSRs). Dynamic menu boards can quickly and easily change menu selections, prices, and daily specials and can be used inside and outside. Cradlepoint delivered failover redundancy and remote management services to Carlo’s Bake Shop, which relies heavily on a secure Internet connection to support their cloud-based sales system. The system allows the client and the bakery consultant to go through designs, cake types, and themes all via a mobile tablet.

The Benefits of Cloud Management & Smart City Deployments

When planning smart city deployments, it’s helpful to have a way to remotely manage applications — and any related technologies — to save time and operational expenses, boost efficiencies, and avoid errors. A cloud-based network management solution allows cities to rapidly deploy and remotely manage networks at geographically distributed locations, from a single pane of glass.

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

If undertaking numerous projects at once is just not possible, especially if it is unclear when a return on investment might be expected after funding such a feat, the best path could be to find one or two prioritized projects that can be addressed, creating a smart city, one deployment at a time.

Discover Smart Cities with Cradlepoint

The benefits of smart city technologies are clear. Read this smart city planning white paper to explore smart city initiatives, including smart city technologies, potential benefits, first steps into smart city initiatives, and pitfalls to avoid.

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