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What is a Smart Place?

Technology can connect infrastructure, business, communities, public service and individual citizens in ways that were previously impossible, improving economic and social well-being and transforming public services. But this research is about how that technology can be used better and more effectively to achieve these connections, not about the technology itself.

For example, service plans can no longer be confined to single or even groupings of public services organisations with a ‘producer-led’ mentality; they need to start with people, locations and communities, with a strong focus on the outcomes deemed important by citizens, businesses and politicians.

What do Smart Places Offer?

Smart Places provide robust IT connectivity via fully integrated fibre, wireless and mobile networks, delivering flexible, scalable and secure support for a wide range of systems, services and applications. A typical Smart Place will support one or more of the following:

  • Public WiFi
  • Internet of Things
  • Support for web and mobile-based apps
  • IP based intelligent CCTV
  • Multi-purpose, IP based digital signage.
  • Intelligent traffic management system
  • Electronic service delivery - e-governance, public participation and engagement

With the relevant infrastructure and systems in location, Smart Places can provide and respond to live status updates, enabling individuals to transact and access information and services in real time. This leads to an improvement in the value and range of services offered and the overall quality of life for people working, living and socialising in that environment.

Smart Place designs are now a reality with the availability of low cost internet, WiFi enabled devices, the Internet of Things, the IP enabling of legacy systems e.g. CCTV, traffic management, digital signage and the deployment of Public WiFi and location-based services.

Dark Fibre and the Role it plays for Smart Places 

Dark Fibre can be a cost-effective solution for Cities looking to implement a resilient, scalable and future proof Smart Places network infrastructure. Many Councils commit themselves to disparate service providers to deliver services into the Smart Place but fail to understand the high associated costs they face when they need to make any changes to their contracts.  So why is it that Councils renew these expensive contracts year on year? Is it because they are happy with the service they receive (possibly) or is it because they simply don’t know what other options are available?

Investing in a Dark Fibre network will ensure sufficient bandwidth is available now and in the foreseeable future to cater for all of their ICT requirements as well as Smart City solutions, including IoT. Also the Dark Fibre network infrastructure can be run as an open access network, attracting new businesses and inward investment into the area. Dark Fibre in simple terms is fibre optic cable that is placed underground in ducts (accommodating as many or as few fibre strands as required). It is called dark fibre as it only becomes lit once connected up to whatever kit is being used at the end. You no longer pay for the bandwidth you require, just the connection thereby ensuring total future proofing and peace of mind as the ongoing costs are known.

How to Initiate a Smart Place Initiative

To successfully implement a Smart Place Strategy, many stakeholders need to be involved. A Smart Place will benefit multiple areas, for example, Smart Lighting can substantially reduce the local council energy bill. For a Smart Place to take shape you need to break down the silos within local authorities to drive a clear vision across all stakeholders.

Appointing a “Smart Place Champion” can aid strategic planning as they have the ability to obtain information from various stakeholders and then build it into an overall vision that is then shared with all parties. A Smart Place Plan can be designed with collaboration across departments, and completed with a public consultation to focus on key issues such as transportation issues.

If you would like to know more about Smart Places or how Pinacl can help you initiate your Smart Place Vison Contact: Alasdair Rettie on 01745 535 300. Or email enquiries@pinaclsolutions.com

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