IT man­ager touts ben­e­fits of smart city con­cept

The Intelligencer (Belleville) - - FRONT PAGE - TIM MEEKS THE INTELLIGENCER

Marc Coyle would like to see Belleville be­come a Smart City.

The Man­ager of In­for­ma­tion Sys­tems for the city, Coyle says a Smart City uses tech­nol­ogy and data to im­prove liv­abil­ity and op­por­tu­ni­ties for the city and its res­i­dents.

Smart cities have the po­ten­tial to im­prove ev­ery as­pect of com­mu­nity life — how peo­ple move around, how they live and play, how they earn a liv­ing, how they learn and are em­pow­ered to par­tic­i­pate in so­ci­ety, how they in­ter­act with the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, and how they cre­ate safe and se­cure pub­lic spa­ces.

A smart city is best de­scribed as an ur­ban devel­op­ment vi­sion to in­te­grate mul­ti­ple in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy. Smart cities are able to as­sist with the man­ag­ing and mon­i­tor­ing of city as­sets like wa­ter and waste.

“Smart City ini­tia­tives are an ef­fort to make us more ef­fi­cient and more ef­fec­tive in what we do and in­crease ser­vice lev­els,” Coyle said. “Like the on- de­mand bus­ing that we re­cently in­tro­duced, that would be a Smart City Ini­tia­tive. The LED light­ing and the so­lar pan­els on city fa­cil­i­ties are Smart City Ini­tia­tives. We can build on that to things like a wa­ter me­ter­ing in a house that checks 24 hours to see what the wa­ter us­age is and when you wake up in the morn­ing and you see you’ve used 50 gal­lons overnight then you’ve got a leak in a toi­let, so that can be very ef­fi­cient and it helps ev­ery­body from an ef­fi­ciency per­spec­tive and a con­ser­va­tion per­spec­tive.

“You could have a kiosk in a park that pro­vides cel­lu­lar ser­vice and from that we can glean how many peo­ple are us­ing the park and with the part­ner­ship with the cel­lu­lar com­pany we can ac­tu­ally see how far from home those peo­ple are, at what times they’re us­ing the park and also trig­ger an event if more than 200 peo­ple show up we know there is ei­ther a sched­uled event or some­thing is hap­pen­ing at the park, maybe some­one should be no­ti­fied and have a look and go down and see it,” he said.

“An­other ini­tia­tive is buses that have an app that shows where the bus is, very sim­i­lar to an Uber so you know you’re not wait­ing around for noth­ing. Those are all Smart City Ini­tia­tives and that is part of a larger con­cept called an In­tel­li­gent Com­mu­nity which is the In­tel­li­gent Com­mu­ni­ties Foun­da­tion ( ICF), that’s where you for­mally en­gage all of your stake­hold­ers to find out what the com­mu­nity is po­ten­tially lack­ing.

“We do some of these ini­tia­tives al­ready, en­gag­ing some­one for­mal like the ICF to re­view and as­sist us in mak­ing sure that if we don’t have enough skilled labour can we work with the col­leges to cre­ate that skilled labour so that it is avail­able. If we have peo­ple who need to have bet­ter English com­pre­hen­sion skills, can we go to the li­brary and of­fer some classes on English so that they are bet­ter able to ap­ply for a job or work in this com­mu­nity. The Smart City stays within the city’s bound­aries as far as its ser­vices, the In­tel­li­gent Com­mu­nity en­gages ev­ery stake­holder in the com­mu­nity to try to find out where the pain points are and how we can work to­gether to solve it,” Coyle said.

Right now Coyle said they are start­ing to en­gage much higher lev­els within the city. “With the se­nior man­age­ment team we’re hav­ing a tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion com­mit­tee to re­view all of these ini­tia­tives and make sure we’re work­ing to­gether, so if an ini­tia­tive is to be im­ple­mented for say Pub­lic Works where we do work or­der man­age­ment and the au­to­matic as­sign­ment of work, etc., we can de­ter­mine whether that be ex­tended to re­cre­ation so that they can also use that same work or­der man­age­ment sys­tem. In­stead of solv­ing a sin­gle prob­lem we’re now look­ing across the or­ga­ni­za­tion hor­i­zon­tally to see whether or not we can solve mul­ti­ple prob­lems and where we can take ad­van­tage of each other’s so­lu­tions.

Coyle says these ini­tia­tives will save ei­ther time or money.

“It’s rare that you get both, but it’s re­ally about try­ing to find those syn­er­gies. The best ex­am­ple we’ve had re­cently is the elec­tion. We in­tro­duced new tech­nol­ogy that al­lowed the voter to go in and have their card scanned at any poll they wanted, they pre­sented a bal­lot and then they go vote. It was much eas­ier, much cleaner, much quicker and all the re­sults were in by 9: 05. So that tech­nol­ogy in­tro­duced across that one is­sue made it eas­ier to vote for ev­ery­body, more con­ve­nient, we had quicker re­sults and that’s just be­cause we adopted the tech­nol­ogy and made sure it was ap­pro­pri­ate for the ap­pli­ca­tion.

Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties pay the In­tel­li­gent Com­mu­ni­ties Foun­da­tion and they come and do an eval­u­a­tion of the com­mu­nity and help guide them in ar­eas where they think the city can make the quick­est im­prove­ments.

Coyle, who is also a di­rec­tor with the Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties In­for­ma­tion Sys­tems As­so­ci­a­tion On­tario branch and the trea­surer for MISA Canada, said, “One of the nice things be­ing in­volved with MISA, I’m able to get a re­ally good view of ev­ery mu­nic­i­pal­ity, ar­guably coast to coast and see what they’re do­ing, where they get their wins and try to bring them back here and im­ple­ment them.”

An­other ex­am­ple is in Mon­treal where they are in­ves­ti­gat­ing ra­dio fre­quency iden­ti­fi­ca­tion ( RFID) tags on all of their as­sets.

“So if you go to a park and ev­ery time you put a waste bin or a bench you put an RFID and then with a scan­ning de­vice they can scan the park and find out what as­sets are there or are any miss­ing. Plus you can at­tach to it when you pur­chased it, from who, what it’s made of, its life ex­pectancy, all of these things and then you have a re­ally good idea of what as­sets you have there at all times, and if one goes miss­ing you can set a flag to say, hang on an ID went out, was that be­cause one went miss­ing, was it be­ing ser­viced or is it miss­ing and take steps to mit­i­gate that.

“Our coun­cil hasn’t been ex­posed to some of these new tech­nolo­gies,” Coyle said. “It’s very im­pres­sive tech­nol­ogy, it’s ex­pen­sive but the prices are com­ing down as more peo­ple adopt it and that’s where we jump in as soon as it hits a price point ef­fec­tive for us, where the cost is out­weighed by its ef­fi­ciency then we can adopt it,” Coyle said.

TIM MEEKS/ THE INTELLIGENCER

Marc Coyle, Man­ager of In­for­ma­tion Sys­tems for the City of Belleville, wants Belleville to be a Smart City by even­tu­ally adopt­ing and im­ple­ment­ing tech­nol­ogy and data to im­prove liv­abil­ity and op­por­tu­ni­ties for the city and its res­i­dents.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.