Deploying smart infrastructure, a journey needing to happen

Smart infrastructure connects many parts of the city both physically and digitally. Services that capture the relevant information enable the deployment and introduction of the appropriate assets as the solutions.

Smart solutions for resolving the demands placed in everyday events like traffic flows, energy, and water requirements, transportation utilization, or in managing energy peak demands or optimizing buildings.

Through digital understanding, you learn from what is in place to improve the future in designs, capability, and asset utilization through the use of intelligent data providing relevant insights.

A digital understanding can help predict many variances and assumptions, for example on load demands, on traffic flow, on shifting resources to balance the “system” for the immediate and future; all of these are based on the data collected and can be compared on the forecasts made.

To achieve this, you need a constant flow of ‘real-time’ data, not historical ‘lagging’ information, that is often out of date before you can evaluate it.

Modernizing the infrastructure

Smart infrastructure provides many of the solutions for the journey all cities must travel. 

Infrastructure for our cities needs a massive injection of new investment. These investments are not just in resolving many of the gaps of today’s infrastructure, but in the critical decision about deploying new technology and solutions, that build the future sustaining capacity, and these have significant long-term implications.

Cities have often outdated, antiquated yet critical infrastructure that has passed its ‘useful life’ in nearly all our cities. Regularly cities are patching these up to keep them functioning and going, yet for how long?  This legacy is in the equipment, within our buildings, transportation, different services, often essential services or necessary facilities, so they can still function properly. The cost of investing in the new or maintaining the old is a constant ongoing decision faced. Continually today, citizens are faced with the inevitable disruption of daily life, and that often lies in the breaking down of our infrastructure.

The challenges are significant in all that is needed to be tackled in cities. The decisions to be made on how we set about renovating existing infrastructure as this is often harder to solve than building the new. The value in extending the “useful commercial life” of a building or a highway is critical as we transverse to smart cities.

We need to ask continually is this a better sustaining “return” than investing in the new? The difficulties are not just when and where to invest, but in what solutions that are fit for future scaling out, to turn infrastructure into connected smart infrastructure. To help in this and many crucial decisions, it becomes essential to building out our intelligent, digitally reliant systems, for our future.

As we transition to smart cities, we need to explain all of what this means

Smart infrastructure investment will need a different dialogue to engage the citizen, as any radical pathway has its disruptive, challenging, and demanding periods to go through.

Just imagine reconciling the various stakeholders’ interests and what all of this might mean in their understanding of the impact on their lives future value and returns? Expectations are diverse, fragmented, and often resistant. We need better ways to communicate the needs and why the solutions offered are necessary and in the interests of all.

Offering solutions that are seemingly “dry” in understanding, just based only on digital and technology does need for a  different innovation model to be explained. It is not technology alone that are building the necessary physical houses, new hospitals or schools; it is projecting out a different view of the future where innovation has a crucial role to play that can provide a differentator seeking to improved quality of life.

We need to create and leave amply space for innovation to thrive

With increasing demands placed on a city’s infrastructure, there is a need for a  system change, one that will have a different cost/ impact relationship placed on us all. With so many critical issues to resolve in our infrastructure and cities, the potential returns from new inventions need a fresh impetus and restating. It involves the understanding of the value of future innovation and what this can bring.

Giving innovation enough space through technology can enable our solutions to move beyond just “smart” but to be designed to be highly adaptive and responsive ways, to resolve present-day problems. Ones that we can interlink the challenges, strengthen their dependence and offer solutions that benefit the citizen, to achieve a better quality of life, delivering a city ecosystem that connects and engages all to function well.

Innovation in the future holds the key to old and new alike; it delivers smart infrastructure solutions that can ‘break into’ many of our present problems to solve them and manage these more effectively through more intelligent insight, exploration, and actions.

Designing a roadmap of Smart Infrastructure Solutions

Cities around the world are expected to spend $41 trillion on smart city upgrades in the next 20 years; much of this will be through applying innovation in their designs. Large-scale infrastructure improvements projects are immense, they take years for completion, and these need financing and thinking through in a comprehensive manner.

A well thought through roadmap of solutions, based on sound and relevant information gives a much better chance to deliver the critical environment needed for reacting to the future. Cities can map out and visualize options and plan out future scenario’s using the data collected through having a digital smartness.

By providing a roadmap built on digital and technology understanding can help in different planning scenarios or options, ones that can predict sudden shocks or projecting response to various crises. Or modeling the flow of daily life in more informed, intelligent ways, gathered from the data of the city, that provides better planning and decision-making scope would offer a more dynamic and relevant realization of the need for future investments.

So much of our challenge today is to deliver improved solutions. These need to focus upon increased capacity; energy, mobility, water, sanitation, protection, health-related services, and this all requires critical information coming from connected data insights then explained to all stakeholders involved. To do this, a city planner or the elected officials need to manage the conversations in radically different ways, where engagement and inclusiveness are central for all; dialogues are consistent, frank and open, cohesive and constant, entirely understandable, and well explained.

As we prepare for the future, we do need to think differently

Smart infrastructure connects many parts of the city both physically and digitally. Services that capture the relevant information enable the deployment and introduction of the appropriate assets as the solutions. Smart solutions for resolving the demands placed in everyday events like traffic flows, energy, and water requirements,transportation utilization, or in managing energy peak demands or optimizing buildings.

The mission to make infrastructure intelligent is only at the beginning. Smart infrastructures provide the foundations to smart cities, to build and re-equip the physical assets deployed with their technology component.

Author: @paul4innovating

A transition advocate for innovation, ecosystems, and digitalization for the energy and IIoT systems

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