The People and Services that Make the World Go Round

That’s Real Smart (Cities) – A Live Look In

Pivot3 Blog Series, Part 4

The final part of our series on Smart Cities looks at the most important component of any city – the people and the services they provide. Think about your doctors, teachers, police and craftspeople; these individuals make your city, they define its identity and they make it better. They are the ones that make your city continue to operate and even allow it to be optimized beyond your wildest expectations in the future.

As we look to the future (hello 2019!), one of the major challenges that Smart Cities will have to overcome is the collaboration between private and public entities, which truly need to work together to achieve the greater good of the city as a whole. There are many examples of these public-private partnerships occurring today, and I’d like to take a closer look at a couple of the ones that I have had the privilege of working on.

Recently, I was invited to work with a healthcare organization, a world-class institution focused on helping sick children get better. The organization was looking to leverage the power of IoT to make the hospital smarter in order to improve the patient experience and open doors to a more child-friendly environment to ease suffering and quicken recovery.

The solution we discussed used an “Internet of People” technology, aligned with the hospital-wide, opt-in public WiFi and it’s a pretty great idea. When a child visits the facility, an animated video featuring the hospital mascot welcomes them back by name and helps them understand that although hospitals can be scary and treatments may be unpleasant, they are there to get better.

The second use case, using the same technology, is related to asset tracking and combining that with improving the patient experience. Imagine being 12-years-old and having to go through an MRI scan (an intimidating experience for sure.) You are confined in a loud metal tube, being forced to stay incredibly still and not knowing what the potential outcome is going to be. Your parents are going to be just as worried as you are. Imagine now, that as you come into range of the imaging department, a small screen on your wheelchair or gurney lights up and it’s a video of a famous NFL quarterback telling you not to worry. He says, “you’re strong and I have been through hundreds of MRIs and while they’re scary, they’re there to help you get you better.” The video is also used to deliver the instructions to keep very still and go over what the experience is like. This process eases patient fear and makes the procedure relatable, while ensuring the patient arrives in the correct area.

Another example is a collaboration on a wider scale – the Boston police department is actively looking to work with local enterprises to “deputize” their video surveillance and scale their coverage of the city as a whole, in a massive effort to improve public safety. The ability to tap into the video of private businesses in light of the Boston Marathon bombings provided to be beneficial from an investigation standpoint and the police believe easier access to shared cameras is for the greater good of the city.

People make your city what it is, but there is an enormous duty of care on every citizen to make your city smarter, and by doing so, make it more attractive, improve the economy and truly turn it into one of the greatest (and smartest) cities in the world. Imagine the future possibilities.

Mike Beevor is the technical director at Pivot3, where he leads the company's safe city and smart city strategy. A 15-year industry veteran, Mike has held a number of technical roles across a wide range of startups, both in the field and in marketing organizations. He regularly presents at Pivot3 industry events and participates in industry panels, as well as performing the technical evangelist role for EMEA and APAC. A keen technologist, he has a specific interest in all of the ways that IoT and analytics can be combined to build the ultimate smart city.

Chelsea Collier