Sensors and 4G LTE wireless networks revolutionize public sector cost-efficiency
The influx of wireless connectivity, Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications and the Internet of Things (IoT) has had dramatic effects on individuals’ lifestyles and the day-to-day operations of companies. For the public sector, connectivity is improving the well-being of the communities being served.
Appliances and devices on wireless networks make it possible to start a coffee machine, washer, dryer, heater, cooler, outdoor lighting, indoor lighting, music system, and a million other systems — all while in bed, on the road, or even out of town. It’s a gateway to levels of efficiency and data that many of us never even dreamed of.
It’s that type of efficiency and data that has cities, counties, states, and more imagining a smarter world. In many ways, it’s already happening.
Beyond ‘Smart Cities’
Gartner Research defines a smart city as “an urbanized area where multiple sectors cooperate to achieve sustainable outcomes through the analysis of contextual real-time information sharing among sector-specific information and operational technology.” The rise of the “Smart City”* has been enabled by consistent innovations in wireless technology, as well as by the proliferation of reliable, affordable, and secure connectivity. Unlike in the home, where IoT applications are confined to relatively small spaces, there are thousands and thousands of ways that wireless technology can make cities and states run smarter, faster, and cheaper. The potential is virtually limitless.
Wireless Connectivity Improves Communities in Variety of Ways
Given tight budgets and pressure to get the most out of every taxpayer dime, public-sector IT departments are searching for new ways to do more with less. Examples abound of how municipal departments, school districts, water districts, emergency services, law enforcement, education, and many other agencies are maximizing the proliferation of sensors and 4G LTE connectivity.
WiFi-connected laptops and tablets enable officers to do more of their work out in the field, giving officers more hours each day to focus on keeping communities safe.
First responders use 4G LTE for mission-critical communications, consolidating multiple agencies’ frequencies on one device.
Connected school buses enable educators to foster in-vehicle learning during field trips, trips to sporting events, and more.
Sensors Everywhere — For Everything
Cities, counties, and states are using sensors to acquire more information and make better resource decisions for their constituents:
Smart apparel with embedded sensors monitor firefighters’ location, body position, heart and respiratory rates, and body temperature.
Public-sector administrators avoid emergencies, reduce emissions, and save money by monitoring the structural integrity of buildings, bridges, and dams.
Cities use sensors to track which streets have been plowed after snowstorms.
Environmental departments access real-time readings of pollution levels, wildlife counts, and water levels.
Remote Controls for Streamlined Processes
Remote management saves valuable time and ensures that key data leads to improved cost-effectiveness:
Real-time updates regarding power, heating, and cooling usage give organizations opportunities to regulate their in-office controls as needed.
Water managers use SCADA (coded signals over communication channels to remote equipment) to remotely collect and analyze water samples, predict usage patterns and challenges, control valves, and more.
Entities that place sensors in streets and traffic signals use data to guide traffic patterns in a way that’s fruitful for local commuters.
Surveillance for Improved Public Safety
Wireless technology enables self-contained surveillance cameras that gather important information:
Law enforcement agencies use dashboard and body cameras to monitor and record encounters between officers and the public.
Cameras enable law dispatchers to remotely examine incident scenes in real time so they can accurately determine the right number of officers to deploy.
Police use cameras to remotely spot stolen vehicles, theft, illegal dumping, and suspicious activities.
Data on the Move
For years people have been buzzing about the concept of “smart roads,” an infrastructure that that could eventually lead to driverless cars. We’re not there yet, but the surfaces we drive on are becoming a lot less passive.
Sensors embedded in streets and traffic signals capture data that leads to decisions affecting congestion and energy use.
While still in the trail stage, solar-powered roads would transform transportation. Paved with durable solar cells, the average American highway would be able to capture and store solar energy, which could then be used to operate digital traffic signage and charge electric vehicles as they pass by.
“Smart” applications are making our cities and states more and more efficient, but it’s only possible with constant, secure wireless connectivity. With 4G LTE networks and best-in-breed routing solutions from Cradlepoint — the ability to keep stationary and mobile locations connected is easier than ever — enabling the list of applications and improved efficiencies to continue to grow.