Software Applications: The Infrastructure Behind Smart Cities

The applications you develop, APIs that enable integration, and solutions that support the vision of a connected environment will make smart cities a reality.

Contrary to popular belief (and a recent surge within news cycles) smart cities are not a new concept. What has ignited the conversation about smart cities could be attributed to the advances in today’s technology that include big data, artificial intelligence, device connectivity, and ever-increasing consumer demands.

Smart cities demand smart foundations, and at the core of any smart city will be a network of applications that create the interactive spaces that smart cities promise to be. Consumer expectations have shifted. The smart city movement is about embracing innovation, harnessing data, and leveraging the latest digital technologies to allow for a hyperconnected ecosystem.

Yesterday’s Masons are Today’s Software Developers

Engineers built our cities with materials like concrete and steel, but software developers — the masons of smart cities — need flexible APIs and project management tools to help write the code that is today’s modern-day mortar that will tie everything together. The way smart cities will come to be is if smarter software development creates connected applications that will carry smart cities from blueprints into intelligent brick-and-mortar reality.

The Building Blocks of a Smart City — Smart Buildings

Cities are made up of a network of buildings. These buildings are individual spaces and facilities that make up a vibrant and sustainable city. What happens if these buildings, roads, water towers, stores, and other facilities are equipped with sensors and technology that allow people to perform everyday tasks seamlessly? Any typical grocery store could easily be made up of tens of thousands of sensors — all of which would record the items consumers are buying. Those consumers can then connect to an app for payment, then simply walk out of the store. A constant flow of information driven by applications working together is what will enable the high-connectivity standards that are expected in smart cities.

Smarter Apps Need to Bridge with Wired Cities

Take state offices as an example. Consumers detest having to wait in line for hours for simple tasks like renewing vehicle registrations, so line-busting measures like kiosks that allow them to renew and pay for vehicle registrations have been implemented. Whether you’re talking about public institutions managed by government, small businesses, or corporations, applications will control the flow of information between cities and citizens to create a level of interaction within their neighborhood that has never been seen before. Software developers will need to work closely with local governments to construct software apps that support the priorities of specific cities, as well as with the private sector to support the unique needs of every business.

Bundling Connected Solutions

Software developers will want to have easy-to-integrate solutions that will help make smart cities simple to interact with. For consumers, this means being able to perform everyday tasks in a frictionless environment. To ensure a frictionless experience, smart cities will need to enable consumers to purchase goods and services with the speed and security they’ve come to expect in many other environments. A connected platform that offers seamlessly integrated payment solutions is crucial to offering a unique payment experience for each individual operating in a smart city. Allowing consumers to confidently swipe, dip, or tap to complete transactions allows for the on-the-go pace that so many smart cities will seek to offer.

As the vision for smart cities continues to unfold, software development will play a crucial role in ensuring that a seamlessly connected platform will power the process. Software developers will need to deliver complete and cohesive offerings (driven by the most advanced technologies and solutions) to government entities, small businesses, and large corporations. As new products flood the market with each passing day, software developers can provide the cohesive and connected experience that is required to make a smart city function the way it must. Developers just need to make sure they’re using the proper mortar as they build these cities of tomorrow. 


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Pat Ward
Pat is in his second decade in the Payments Industry. Throughout his career he’s focused on creating long-term and profitable partnerships with best-of-breed Independent Software Vendors. Since joining North American Bancard (NAB) in 2014, Pat has been instrumental in building out NAB's Integrated and Semi-Integrated Partner Programs, and for bringing some of the best POS companies into the NAB Family.