The Current State of Municipal IoT Deployments

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Smart City Las Vegas.jpg The NTT Smart Cities Solution for the City of Las Vegas
NTT Smart Cities Solution leverages IoT edge analytics for public safety. High definition video cameras, sound and motion sensors, and an array of IoT devices are integrated and deployed to monitor a location or venue to create a multi-channel solution. The solution, in turn, provides situational awareness, warnings and alerts to city agencies and venue security teams of incidents as they develop.

The system proactively provides early notification of potential and active public safety incidents to command and control authorities. If the city deems it appropriate they then notify the appropriate first responders. By leveraging advanced analytics including machine learning technologies, the system “learns” normal patterns and detects patterns that appear abnormal. The initial use cases are limited to specific types of incidents that can be detected through video and sound sensor analytics running on edge compute devices as well as social media monitoring. As the system evolves, we expect to expand detection capabilities to detect and alert to a wider variety of incident types.

Our current solution includes technology for “lost person” identification and “vehicle identification”, to assist should an Amber Alert be issued. It also includes wrong way vehicle detection. Future plans could also include facial recognition modules or other advanced detection components and may also include more automated incident response component for greater awareness of the developing situation.


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The authors of this Blueprint conducted an online survey of municipal government officials in January 2019 with the goal of finding out information regarding the current state of the municipal IoT deployments. (The survey was conducted online and received 37 responses from verified government officials with a breakdown as follows: 73% City/Town; 13.5% Special District; 10.8% County; 2.7% State)

The results support the notion that government officials believe municipal IoT will be extremely impactful; an overwhelming majority of respondents (89.2%) agreed, “municipal IoT will have a significant impact on your organization now or in the future.”

Will IoT have a significant impact?

Further backing up this finding, the Center for Digital Government, in an article published on November 9 th , 2018 presenting data from its 2018 Digital Cities survey, cited that 92% of respondents of their survey stated that the “IoT is impacting city strategic plans,” representing a 50.81% increase from 2016 when the number was 61%. Regarding which functional domains/areas respondents felt will be impacted by municipal IoT, with the optional to select all that apply, the top four domains were, in order:

1. Street Lights (78.8%) 3. Transportation (72.7%)
2. Utilities (75.8%) 4. Public Safety (72.7%)

Notable from the survey was that many other domains also broke the 50% mark. This finding is consistent with the broad impacts of IoT laid out by the authors of this Blueprint in Section 1, suggesting that government operations across the board will be transformed when IoT networks and related systems become commonplace in government agencies.

Which functional areas will be impacted?

However, the data also suggest that IoT deployments at the state and local level are still far from reaching maturity, and as a market, are still in the emerging / early stages of the adoption curve. Regarding the current phase of IoT deployments, 63.6% of respondents of our survey stated their deployment was in the Consideration/Planning phase; 18.2% stated in the Pilot phase; and only 9.1% in the Project Phase.

Put another way, the vast majority of respondents, 81.2%, respondents stated that they were only in the planning or pilot phases. This strongly supports the notion that Municipal IoT networks are not widely deployed at this time.

Current phase of IoT Deployment

Finally, in terms of the timeline for deployment, the vast majority of respondents, a combined 84.9%, said their deployments will take place in 2020 or later (i.e., 2020, 2021, or 2022 and beyond). This supports the theory that the adoption curve for Municipal IoT will be long and drawn out, lasting for several more years – possibly a decade or more – before reaching maturity and mainstream adoption. For readers familiar with Rogers’ theory of innovation diffusion, we are still in the Early Adopters phase and far from “crossing the chasm” between the Innovators & Early Adopters and the Early & Late Majority, where a technology innovation is considered mature.

Value Based Management
When will IoT be widely used?

This is a process of innovation – governments, researchers, and their private sector partners are working independently and yet as part of an informal, collective system where knowledge is being created, shared, refined, and rewritten.

This research demonstrates that while it will take many more years to reach market maturity and fully realize the transformative potential of Municipal IoT, this transformation nonetheless already under way in the Innovators and Early Adopters stages.