Government Officials See Potential Payoffs From Smart Cities Investments

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Government officials have favorable expectations for the benefits and value that smart cities technologies will deliver, according to a new research report from CompTIA, a nonprofit association for the technology industry.

CompTIA’s Building Smarter Cities report finds that half of local, state and federal government personnel surveyed think the Internet of Things (IoT), and by extension smart cities, will definitely provide value. Another 39% say it will probably provide value. The association gathered data for the study through an online survey of 172 government personnel with some degree of technology decision-making responsibility, conducted in June and July 2016.

“Improved decision-making made possible through new or better streams of data ranks as the highest perceived benefit,” said Tim Herbert, senior vice president, research and market intelligence at CompTIA. “Given the many layers of agencies, jurisdictions and constituencies, interest in data-driven decision-making is not surprising.”

Even small improvements in empowering government workers with the right data at the right time can pay dividends, Herbert said. Staff productivity and cost savings from operational efficiencies, both closely related to data-driven decision-making, rank second and third as smart city value proposition factors.

Accomplishing these goals will require an investment in staff training and technologies that optimize workflow, the report noted. Government officials are mindful of other challenges and obstacles to widespread adoption of smart cities solutions. Factors such as upfront and ongoing costs, security, complexity and interoperability need to be considered.

“Even the tech-savviest government staff may quickly find themselves in unfamiliar territory when it comes to systems integration,” Herbert said. “A smart cities pilot project managed by internal staff may become unmanageable when it expands beyond the pilot phase.”

In some cases public-private partnerships might be used to overcome expertise or staff time constraints. In other situations cities will rely on technology solution or managed services providers.

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