Smart Cities use Civil Analytics to Drive Change

Posted on: May 01, 2017, by: Ann Kelly

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Big data technologies are changing the way cities work. Today, mayors and other city officials are tapping all kinds of data to make their cities safer, healthier and more efficient. From providing information to residents about available parking, to guiding health inspectors to high-risk restaurants to proactively identifying households that are most likely to experience a fatal fire and take corrective action that eliminates the risk - the use of civic analytics is on the rise.

Cities have just scratched the surface in using data to improve operations, but big changes are already under way in leading smart cities, says Stephen Goldsmith, a professor of government and director of the Innovations in Government Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. “In terms of city governance, we are at one of the most consequential periods in the last century,” he says.

So what’s powering this new interest in civil analytics? The growth of cloud computing and the cost efficiencies of storing information, machine learning and the ability to extract key pieces of information that can provide insight and analytics, the Internet of Things and the proliferation of low cost of sensors that track everything from gunshots to pollution levels and mobile devices owned by city residents who capture the information and feed it back to city hall.

From the New Orleans fire department smoke detector distribution program, to the Kansas City, MO initiative that uses computer equipped sensors to gather information about traffic and available street parking in a busy corridor, Internet of Things devices are being used to track city health and provide updated services to all residents.

Learn more about The Rise of Smart Cities read the full Wall Street Journal article.

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