What’s a Smart Community – and Why Should Governments Invest?


Today's hectic pace of life makes convenience a must-have. Innovative technology, such as smart devices and assistants, have been around for a while. Whether asking Alexa for the weather forecast or applying for a permit on a mobile phone, citizens have embraced the speed and ease of digital interactions.

Local governments invest more in smart communities as residents demand more digital options. The global smart cities market will reach $6,965.02 billion by 2030, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.2% While urbanization and sustainability goals are two factors driving this investment, the pandemic also proved just how important smart technology and infrastructure are when it comes to managing the load placed on healthcare facilities, public transportation, and government agencies.

For officials looking to meet the demand for an enhanced digital government experience, a deeper understanding of smart communities and the innovative technologies making them possible is the first step.

What's a Smart Community?

In the simplest terms, a smart community is one designed to use data and technology together to make life easier. Data is collected through a network of internet-connected sensors strategically placed throughout city infrastructure. These sensors measure outputs such as air and water quality, traffic patterns, and pedestrian concentrations, which can then be linked to apps to provide information to the appropriate agencies or organizations. This interactive data enables governments to more effectively manage resources, while providing useful information and services to residents, including:

  • Live maps of available parking spaces
  • Pay-by-phone options for parking
  • Mobile ticketing for public transportation
  • Paperless processes for licenses and permits
  • Push notifications for air quality advisories
  • Geotargeted crime alerts
  • Virtual town hall meetings
  • Environmentally conscious planning
  • Green space initiatives
  • Infrastructure conservation

Interactive, customizable technology helps municipal governments deliver these enhanced, digitized services to better meet the needs of residents while also improving operational efficiency.

Why Go Digital?

Embracing a smart community now can allow your municipality to begin achieving better outcomes sooner. Smart communities aren't only more convenient for residents and the government agencies serving them, but they're more fiscally and environmentally conscious. With an agile network in place, you can increase awareness and promote:
  • Health: Local treatment, fitness, and nutrition programs can be more accessible.
  • Education: Resources for students and their families can be more widely distributed.
  • Transportation: Bus, subway, and rail systems can operate with fewer delays and disruptions.
  • Safety: Notifications for crime and severe weather threats can help citizens avoid danger.
  • Prosperity: New employment opportunities can help residents achieve economic stability.
  • Service: Public agencies can achieve more transparency and smoother processes.
  • Protection: Police, fire, and EMS can communicate more effectively to render aid.
  • Conservation: Consumption of electricity, gas, oil, and water can be planned more efficiently.

If your community has these and other goals on its to-do list, now's the time to prioritize technology. But keep in mind: not all technology is alike. An IT solution designed to keep pace with the evolving needs of your residents will ensure you reap the benefits far into the future.

How the Right Technology Has Helped

Communities that embrace innovation can achieve greater engagement and overall better quality of life. Numerous cities and towns have used agile network technology to build successful smart communities.

  • The City of Milwaukee is using fabric technology to meet the changing needs of their population. Residents and mission-critical city operations are now supported by secure internet connectivity. This ensures functions like public safety dispatching and SCADA systems for water, sewer, and traffic are seamlessly integrated. Network resources are now reliably available to more than 100 buildings and 7,000 city staff.
  • The City of Memphis prioritizes their citizens’ experience. Wireless and fabric infrastructure deliver the connectivity residents need to feel safe and enjoy all the advantages the city has to offer. From public safety services such as police, fire, and EMS to libraries and community centers, everyone is more connected and informed with a network that’s always up and fully operational. Functions such as automated services for sanitation trucks and in-car cameras for police vehicles are taking the city into the future.
  • The City of Breda has gained visibility into how best to focus their IT initiatives and plan for future self-service and automated processes. Since building their data center infrastructure with a fabric solution, they can meet the demands of residents as the city expands. In addition, the reduction in IT workload has alleviated stress and freed up staff to focus on new projects to transform digital government services. With a resilient network backbone, they can now continuously add applications to enhance their citizens’ daily lives.
  • The County of Loudoun has updated their infrastructure to suit their diverse population in city and rural districts. A simple and straightforward networking solution has made it possible to migrate one of their largest office buildings to fiber technology without ever having to close for maintenance. As these updates are performed throughout the city, their citizens and government agencies have been consistently and securely connected. And when issues do arise, enhanced visibility enables them to identify, assess, and remedy the cause of the problem, rather than chasing phantom solutions.

All of these communities have one thing in common: People. Everyone is looking to minimize the minutia and live life to the fullest. The right network solution can bring ease to daily processes and peace of mind to your community. Find out how to make your community smarter with secure, flexible, and agile solutions from Extreme Networks.

About the Author
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Cammy Perry
Senior Content Marketing Specialist

Cammy is a Content Marketing Specialist at Extreme Networks, leveraging her expertise to craft thought leadership and engaging content.

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