Meet the Smart Cities Summit speakers: Jan Bradley at City of Calgary
Smart Cities Summit is the go-to event for the government and technology decision-makers creating America’s future smart cities.
In the lead-up to the conference being held Oct. 31 – Nov. 1 in Atlanta, American City and County has the exclusive opportunity to discuss the leading projects the event’s key speakers are championing, and preview the what they will be highlighting at the conference this year.
Through use cases, partnership case studies and panels, Smart Cities Summit will address how new innovations are transforming infrastructure, public private partnerships, procurement, transportation and many other verticals within the smart cities space. This year there will be a greater focus on bringing connectivity to the heart of smart cities, an area where local authorities can save costs of future pilot projects long term and add real value for citizens.
The first speaker in this three-part series is Jan Bradley, the Director and Chief Information Technology Officer at the City of Calgary. As the Chief Information Technology Officer (CITO), Jan’s role is to enable city business units to use technology to deliver services to citizens. Jan shares her insight of the implementation of IoT within the City of Calgary:
Tell us more about your role.
I have been the Chief Information Technology Officer at the City of Calgary since January of this year. Working with a talented team of over 450 people, we work to ensure technology is available to 15,000 municipal employees who provide citizen facing services to 1.3M citizens of Calgary.
Can you explain the IoT implementations that you are currently overseeing?
The Innovation and Collaboration team in IT are working on a number of IoT projects in partnership with many of our business partners. Some examples include the work we are doing for the Fire Department to develop a sensor that detects when a needle deposit bin is full and needs to be emptied. This allows staff involved in removing the discarded needles to respond only to bins that are full and allows them to open the bins safely, reducing the risk of exposure to the discarded needles. We are also working in partnership with the University of Calgary on noise sensors. There are a variety of use cases in progress such as detecting where street racing is occurring, monitoring noise levels during events like Stampede and music festivals and detecting the impact of construction noise on nearby residents.
What has been the most important lesson you have taken from this project?
Coming into the role of CITO, one of the significant lessons that the LoRaWan work has demonstrated is the importance of future-proofing technology. The City of Calgary began investing in fibre many years ago and to date has over 500 km of fibre that is used to provide the connections needed to enable efficient service delivery. An example of how this investment contributes to Calgary’s smart city innovation includes connecting advanced signal controllers to the Traffic Management centre in order to reduce congestion by implementing lane reversals and responding to real-time incidents such as accidents, breakdowns or other events. Planning and future-proofing by the leaders in IT many years ago enabled the investment in fibre, combined with radio towers, to provide the foundational layers that enabled the implementation of our LoRaWan for less than $50,000.
What advice would you give to the cities just starting out on their smart city journey?
Smart cities are not created by municipalities alone. The partnerships and engagement with the community are key to delivering on the promise of leveraging the data and technology that is smart cities. Municipalities can improve their own service delivery by enabling smart technologies, and through effective partnerships we can enable others in the community as well. In order for this to work, engagement with the community is essential.
For us, this engagement includes relationships with utilities, telecommunications providers, economic development groups, businesses and academic institutions. All of these groups are key players in working together towards becoming a smart city.
Another important consideration for cities is to be transparent with open data, while remembering our obligation to protect citizen data. The security of IoT devices and the privacy requirements around deploying sensors is a critical element to delivering smart cities innovations in a way that builds trust with the community. When considering the noise sensors, for example, we work with our privacy and access team to make sure the privacy considerations of gathering noise samples that could identify a citizen are mitigated.
Why are conferences like Smart Cities Summit so important?
Being a smart city can have many interpretations and use cases. Just as important as engagement with our own local partners is the opportunity to find out what other municipalities are doing to become a smart city. These conferences provide fantastic opportunities to learn from each other, and equally important, is the opportunity for each of us to share our own experiences, successes and failures!
Whether you work in the public or private sector, Smart Cities Summit will help you ﬁnd ways to positively utilize emerging technology and create the future of smart cities.
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