The Smart Cities Race is On

As cities compete to attract new businesses and delight residents, a System of Systems approach to infrastructure management emerges as proven best practice.

Posted: January 16, 2019

Monitor and Control

The Smart Cities Race is On

Trying to attract the latest corporate investment while convincing more of its own citizens to put down roots, cities around the world are jockeying to position themselves as innovative, technology-enabled, and eco-friendly places to live, work, and play. 

This race was no more evident than in the recent competition to attract Amazon’s HQ2, the company’s second headquarters based in the United States, and the economic benefit that would follow. The frenzy to woo Amazon provided clear signals about the vision that must be pursued by mayors, town councils, city planners, and other infrastructure providers to establish their cities as among the best places to reside.

Infographic: Fast Facts on Amazon's HQs | StatistaWhen the Smart Cities Council announced their 2018 Smart City Readiness Challenge winners, it was no surprise to see that all five of the winners were involved in the first round of bids submitted to Amazon.  A review of the winning cities’ projects reveals several common themes:

  • Cross-functional collaboration between utilities, transportation, safety, and other public services to enable more a comprehensive view across functions and reduce operational costs
  • An open and inclusive data platform that can aggregate data from multiple, existing systems and present a unified and transparent view both to the governmental service providers and the citizens themselves
  • The use of data-intensive analytics to predict the behavior of both people and the underlying infrastructure to enable more rapid responses, minimize disruptions and provide an improved citizen experience

If these cities were starting with a blank slate, infrastructure could be built from the ground up in a way that all these themes could be addressed.  But in reality, every one of these municipalities is already operating existing infrastructure and systems, many of which predate current technology trends and were built on stand-alone data architectures that do not communicate easily with other systems.

To address this challenge, a System of Systems approach is required in order to connect disparate systems, collect and aggregate data in a common repository, analyze data using the latest in predictive analytics, visualize the results of the analysis for the service providers and citizens alike, and act upon this new information in real-time.

As cities embrace this System of Systems approach, it opens the door to the building of integrated operational centers and mobility solutions that bring unprecedented levels of situational awareness to public infrastructure providers, allowing them to react faster to emergency situations or to prevent potential bottlenecks before they occur. 

One example of such an approach comes from Nevada, where Carson City’s Public Works Department leveraged System Platform powered by Wonderware to achieve their Smart City goals.


 As the race to build Smarter Cities heats up, please visit AVEVA’s website for more information on how our 30 years of experience in industrial automation and our System of Systems approach to Smart Infrastructure Management can pave the way to success for public service providers enabling them to create the best work, live, and play environment for their citizens.


Written By
Jarrett Campbell

W. Jarrett Campbell, Ph.D., is the Global Industry Marketing Leader for Smart Infrastructure at AVEVA where he is responsible for helping practitioners understand the value of AVEVA's engineering and industrial software solutions for the Smart Cities, Water and Wastewater, Data Centres, Transportation and Smart Airports, and Building, Facility, and Campus Management markets. Jarrett holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and completed his undergraduate studies at Georgia Tech. He has 20+ years of experience in applying and marketing industrial automation and software in the Semiconductor, Machinery, Oil & Gas, Chemicals, and Power Industries and holds over a dozen patents in the manufacturing and industrial automation fields. Dr. Campbell was recognized as a Certified Strategic Alliance Professional by the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals and has collaborated in the Smart Infrastructure market with companies like Microsoft, Cisco, and IBM. In his spare time, Jarrett's hobbies include Home Automation, Cycling, Soccer, and Pop Culture.

System of Systems Whitepaper  Learn why our System of Systems technology platform optimizes outcomes by  combining people, assets, process, technology. Read the Whitepaper

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