What Is A Smart City And How NearSky Can Improve Yours

can be reached at meehna@gmail.com
can be reached at meehna@gmail.com
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We are in the age of “smart”. Smartphone, smart car, smart home. And now we’re advancing into the smart city. But what is a smart city exactly?

  • NearSky provides an out-of-the-box solution for cities to transform into smart cities
  • CIMCON made updates to the platform in response to customer feedback
  • In offering an easy and economical solution, CIMCON provides incentive for cities to convert to smart solutions

Before we launch into that discussion, let’s first define what it means to label something “smart” in digital terms. Those letters stand for: Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology. Quite honestly, I just figured that out recently. Not so smart, am I? But once I knew smart was an acronym and what it stood for, I felt a whole lot smarter.

Now, turning an urban area into a smart city is much more complicated than getting Alexa to close your garage or wake you up in the morning. It requires a lot of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors collecting and processing data to optimize the management of resources. Those resources can include everything from traffic and transportation systems and power plants to water supply networks and community services. And, that data is coming from a lot of different sources: people, devices and other “smart” assets.

NearSky with Air Quality Sensor, Arch Street Philadelphia, PA

As you can imagine, that’s a lot of infrastructure that needs to be put in place, which can get very expensive and complicated. That’s where Cimcon and its NearSky platform come in.  Leveraging existing streetlight infrastructure, NearSky develops a “digital canopy”, creating a large Internet of Municipal Things (IoMT) to generate and process data.

A plug-n-play solution

In order to make conversion for cities easy, NearSky provides the hardware as well as the software, and also brings together other necessary partnerships. It’s as close as you can get to a plug-n-play solution.

The NearSky platform consists of a streetlight-mounted edge data processor, cloud-based data management software and the NearSky Connect marketplace of smart city technologies and services compatible with the platform. CIMCON has already implemented the system in several cities.

In response to early adopters’ feedback, CIMCON introduced its next generation of NearSky at LIGHTFAIR® International. The most significant update is the twelve ready-to-deploy smart city solutions. A city can choose a package that suits based on budget and need.

Flexible and scalable

Since the system is scalable, cities can add on at any time and implement more capabilities. By allowing cities to test the waters with a modular approach, NearSky offers a way to make the smart conversion less daunting. The decision to try the technology doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

The platform also provides improvements to reduce lifecycle management costs for smart city sensors and devices with over-the-air updates, and developer tools for creating edge-run applications for or citizen-facing mobile experiences. In addition, an updated processing engine that can handle multiple applications cuts costs, while more analytic capabilities allow expanded integration with visualization tools.

What’s in a name?

If the name NearSky sounds eerily familiar, maybe it’s because Skynet is the artificial neural network in the movie “Terminator”. It gets smarter than its human creators, and in a post apocalyptic future, takes over and tries to destroy humanity. So why would CIMCON want to tap into that association? Well, it’s particularly apt. All of our smart devices connect via an IoT that communicate wirelessly through the air or sky, if you like.

So, if you can’t beat ’em, why not join them?  Take the connotation head on and show how NearSky can be a benevolent and convenient tool at our service.

When cities see that going smart doesn’t have to be an expensive, complicated or scary process, more are likely to come on board sooner. That sounds pretty intelligent to me.

About the Author

can be reached at meehna@gmail.com
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