A new style of city management: measuring the city with the Smart City Monitor
Modern cities are complex Systems of Systems consisting of many interconnected subsystems. There is no single, “just right” approach to how to manage such complex system. Many factors play crucial role to a successful sustainability management, among them committed leadership and clear goals and transparency of performance and accountability structure.
Rapid ongoing changes show that anyone who needs to manage a city processes effectively needs measurements and actual data in real time. Various indicators of performance are widely used accordingly to international standards of quality of life and governance but each city has its own individual characteristics including the style of its management. It is impossible to copy someone’s success and paste it into another urban area that has unique own problems and opportunities.
At the same time most of the cities have many common problems and structure: public transportation, energy, environment, water supply and its quality, urban development, fire, health, emergency services, safety, recreation, education, waste, governing processes, finance, economy, urban development and various services for citizens and tourists. The processes are interlinked and diverse making their holistic vision, monitoring and analysis difficult to realize.
Developing effective performance and accountability management structure requires a lot of resources, time, expertise and commitment to replace non-productive activities.
Among all options existing nowadays Smart City Monitor is a unique digital transformation instrument answering to such demand for simple, custom and cost-effective data-driven management systems for local governance in urban areas to monitor and effectively improve the performance of mid-size cities with limited resources and budgets.
For which tasks can Smart city Monitor be applied?
- Automatically collecting all necessary data from different sources and systems existing in the city;
- Building clear holistic vision of performance and accountability in the city management;
- Improving the results and productivity of city administration and agencies;
- Systematically monitoring the sustainability and performance of various city departments and services;
- Having a custom set of key performance targets for every city processes that open to change;
- Supporting agencies which need easy tools to implement and share vision of urban processes with responsible partners and citizens;
- Understanding what all these city performance indicators are talking about in relation to any necessary urban object and their groups;
- Implementing new style of innovative forward looking city management;
- Setting city's goals and objectives and easy options to keep an eye on them;
- Having commitments to provide easy and simple city dashboard presenting status of the city priorities at a glance;
- Preparing to make city government responsive, accountable and cost effective;
- Establishing advanced command and operational control and information center for the city based on new technology being cost effective and easy maintained.
What is Smart City Monitor?
In short it is a data-driven adaptive and flexible digital transformation ICT that automatically estimates sustainability of urban processes based on large number of data from different sources. It helps in smart management, monitoring, analytics and improvement of the performance of city, departments and its service providers by dealing with big data streams in real time and transforming them into holistic vision of sustainability of the whole big system along with each of its components or subsystems.
The system can assist a municipality managers and employees and service providers in making quick and validated decisions, addressing critical needs and seizing new opportunities. Smart City Monitor as flexible solution that can be customized to each city needs and priorities. At a glance it is a real time city dashboard which provides overview of all urban objects which are in the priority list of the city management however supporting any necessary drill down analysis at any time.
Smart City Monitor is the cost–effective solution using common components and answering the digital transformation needs of many small and medium cities which are interested in practical prototyping of Smart City concepts. It facilitates experimenting with optional solutions in digital economy, business models, and novel services for urban stakeholders. It allows accumulating experiences and knowledge in answering to these complex questions in a systematic and transparent way in real time online using common mobile devices with minimum costs while opening new attractive job opportunities for local communities.
What value brings Smart City Monitor to in the city management?
First, the municipality receives the Open Urban Model of the Smart City which realises international standards of quality of life such as ISO 37120 and others. The model runs immediately on the local Smart City digital transformation engine after its subscription.
Such model includes complete urban structure and indicators accordingly to the standard providing metrics of the performance for the whole city and for its parts such as districts and other areas. Provided by the local data and linked to them, the model immediately open holistic view for the local governance. It can be gradually made more detailed and comprehensive by adding local objects, urban processes, indicators and data sources which city management required in the daily life and city priorities. What’s good in the city model that is ready for use, that the initial selection, analysis and creation of urban structure and indicators of performance is already immediately available and made in accordance to international standards. It saves time and money for the city budget to start using for monitoring and analysis in any necessary detail by the municipality staff and / or consultants. New structural changes, further upgrading and advancement of the urban model can be easily done with interactive model builder instruments. The city obtains copyright for its own local Urban Model and rights for its further development by the local Smart City team.
Second, the solution enables municipality to collect, digitally transform and analyze large amounts of local data about ongoing urban processes automatically in real time. It decreases overhead costs for all relevant routine activities and provides decision-makers powerful tools to monitoring and analytics of trends over time, examining cause of events and effects, improving control and sustainability. Hidden problems that previously might have been missed can be brought now to the surface promptly and proper decision and actions can be made in right time. Smart City Monitor can be seen as an accountability tool which just can help in city management improve city services and enables administrations to provide citizens with required transparency over the results and management achievements.
The administration receives powerful capacity to control and command, monitor, benchmark and analyse all city processes as a whole or by each urban object of the urban model linked to its open data sources e.g. organizations, service providers, residence buildings, streets, moving vehicles, recreation and sport areas, etc. While having holistic vision of the city, it provides drill down options for analysis of causes of problems, prompt notification alarms and control results of corrective actions.
The administration can use Smart City Monitor platform to provide community stakeholders with integrated view to major community processes and helps in quick and easy answering to common questions like:
- What is current state of our city? In transportation? In education? Environment? Waste?
- Why it changed last month? Or yesterday? Last hour?
- What were the causes of the problem and when it appeared?
- What were the values of those Key Performance Indicators which revealed the change for that particular date and time?
- What are the trends and benchmarks of change for the last year?
- How we can improve planning and development based on our evidence and realities?
And many others.
Where to start?
City municipality does not need much effort and costs to start own road to implementation of Smart City concepts.
Use available infrastructure and various existing data sources by the city agencies can be quickly linked to the city digital transformation engine. Take a lead and decide what the information it should be and who should be given access to it. The city management can build its own data access policies and performance metrics based on the available data sources. Then the Smart City Monitor will collect all big data streams and transform it into necessary and useful information for each stakeholder group improving daily quality of life, efficiency of operations and activities, its transparency and overall sustainability.
The Smart City Monitor engine performs continuous processing of large number of data sources in the various city objects and urban processes, calculates performance indicators for each object. Then it identifies the current state of each object among existing options and its influence for the states of the higher objects in the Urban Model hierarchy enabling digital transformation into the simple vision of the each urban object or process. Linked to various sensors, IoT devices (Internet of Things), SCADAs and other automated and information urban systems, the city objects can inform Smart City Server about their current state and operating conditions. Based on the results of calculations the Smart City Monitor immediately informs the city administration and necessary stakeholders to optimise the performance of relevant objects and the city as a whole. Relevant results are presented to stakeholders’ devices as city map with exact location of each object and dashboards and interactive reports providing necessary details of ongoing results, measurements, indicators, object statuses, quick search of events, alarms and notifications.
Click here to see example dashboard for some urban area in real time provided by Smart City Monitor online
The online demo application "Smart City Monitor" provides practical example of the solution implementation. For the purposes of clarity and simplicity the demo was made accordingly to definitions of relevant standard ISO 37120:2014 “Sustainable development of communities — Indicators for city services and quality of life”. It includes definition of city sub-systems as theme-objects and all relevant core indicators. The demo city map illustrates presentation of various city services and its performance for a sample city of 60 000 inhabitants. In real life city installations the Smart City Model may have much larger number of objects, indicators, geo-locations, open data sources and relevant events.
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