When you hear “Internet of Things,” you may think of refrigerators that tell you when you need milk, self-driving cars, or automated, smart factories. Local government IoT applications aren’t usually the first examples that spring to mind. IoT, however, has the potential to provide systems that can benefit countless use cases in virtually every vertical market — including local government.
What IoT Can Do For Local Governments
IoT, a network of computing devices, machines, places, people, enables data to flow among all parts of the network. Data streams anywhere it’s needed, computing can take place in the cloud or at the edge, and artificial intelligence (AI) technology allows the system to learn and initiate action. IoT systems can:
- Analyze normal conditions and react when an abnormal one occurs
- Monitor and maintain equipment or assets to maximize uptime and usage
- Enforce safety by automatically shutting down equipment or taking other measures when people’s well-being is at stake
- Enforce compliance with environmental or other regulations
- Detect and send alerts before a natural disaster
- Control energy consumption
- Provide intelligent surveillance, access control, and security
- Monitor and order inventory
- Enable automatic payment systems
- Locate assets or fleet vehicles
Local Government IoT Success Stories
The totally connected, smart city, operating on AI-powered transportation, M2M processes, and optimized communications and energy usage, may be a vision of the future, but IoT technology is very much in use today. A city or county’s IoT doesn’t have to begin with a fully connected and automated network. Local governments can begin leveraging IoT by solving one problem at a time. There are a number of government IoT success stories, including:
- The Lower Colorado River Authority, which uses sensors to track stream levels to alert residents to floods
- San Francisco’s introduction of IoT-connected cameras and sensors to improve traffic congestion, parking, and public transportation routes
- Charlotte, NC’s successful energy efficiency program that helped the largest buildings in the city reduce energy consumption by 20 percent
- Smart trash cans in New York City, which alert garbage collectors when they need to be emptied, optimizing routes by eliminating unnecessary stops
- Streetlights in San Antonio that are automatically adjusted in stormy weather so drivers can see them more easily, decreasing accidents.
3 Reasons to Focus on Local Government IoT Applications
There is a myriad of possibilities for IoT applications that you can develop for operations managed by local government — and there are three good reasons to consider expanding your development business into this area now.
- ROI. In every example above, the ROI is swift and sure. IoT applications deliver cost savings, enhanced safety, and a better quality of life. Price your application right, and it would be hard to say no.
- A Chance to Innovate. IoT technology is still in its early phases. You have the opportunity to develop innovative applications. Moreover, existing applications may build a connected network, but fail to save time by automating the next steps or making recommendations. Focus on prescriptive solutions.
- Local Governments Need Help. The city, township, or county government you work will likely need help making new systems work with legacy solutions that keep them running. Solving this problem can help you create a solid, long-term relationship with local government customers.
Whether you have the ability to develop a new application or integrate an existing application with a smart system, you may hold the key to greater efficiency, safety, and cost savings for local government clients. How can your application be a part of a smart, connected ecosystem?