Did You Vote for Smart Cities?

On November 8, 2016, we not only voted for our elected officials, we also voted on referendums that would impact technology deployments to improve our cities.

For example, in the City of Atlanta, we voted on a 0.4% sales tax increase to improve our roadways and 0.5% sales tax increase to improve our public transportation system, MARTA. Voters passed both referendums increasing sales tax by 0.9% and demonstrating the need to reduce congestion and improve multi-modal (car, bike, pedestrian) transportation infrastructure in Atlanta. One key smart city program is $40 million budgeted to coordinate traffic signals to ease congestion.

The "perfect storm" for Smart Cities is brewing with increased ubiquitous network coverage, IoT devices becoming cheaper and smaller, and the federal administration emphasizing the need for smart cities with $65 million in grants.

Columbus, OH was recently awarded $40 Million grant from USDOT to become the country's first city to fully integrate innovative technologies – self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and smart sensors – into their transportation network.


At GSMA Mobility Live (November 1, 2016), the panel on Smart Cities provided the following key takeaways:

  • Cities are starting to look at their citizens as customers.
  • Their biggest hurdles aren't always the technology (i.e. departmental silos)
  • It's about solving problems for citizens, and not about implementing the latest technology

The next day (November 2, 2016), Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC Commissioner, stated smart cities is about technology, specifically IoT sensors.

Two weeks prior, the Wireless Technology Forum's Smart Cities panel discussed the challenges and the opportunities of smart cities.


  • Siloed government departments
  • Budget
  • Implementation challenges due to old technology


  • Helping kids get to their pre-K classes
  • Helping pregnant moms get medical care
  • Connecting people to jobs
  • Clearing traffic congestion
  • Improving productivity

What are vendors such as AT&T, Deloitte, IBM, and Cisco doing?

Where's the money in Smart Cities? Watch here to find out:

"Smart cities" are realizing that they need need to compete for the best and the brightest residents. In order to attract talent, cities need to treat their citizens as customers. Can we as a community overcome hurdles to make our lives just a little better in smart cities?