Coral Gables Creates a Strong Network Backbone
To quote the Center for Digital Government, Coral Gables “exemplifies the data-driven characteristic of a digital city with their business intelligence portals and dashboards, transparency and open data portals, smart city projects with IoT sensors and platforms, and utilization of Lean Six Sigma processes.”
Because none of that would be possible without a means of communication, the city’s first order of business was to create a resilient network to withstand potential disasters upon launching a smart city initiative in 2016.
“We are vulnerable to hurricanes, and we have been impacted by quite a few over the years. So, becoming resilient is not a luxury,” Rodulfo says. “We engineered our network to be high-speed so we can support a lot of digital services to the citizens, but we also built it following engineering best practices from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and other organizations.”
The result is a multilayered network with strong colocation and disaster recovery plans, which has allowed Coral Gables to continue providing critical services during hurricanes. The network was put to the test during Hurricane Irma, which took down communication lines and fiber optics while leaving 80 percent of the city without power in September 2017.
“Even though we had that scenario, we never lost critical communications for first responders because our network has become smarter and more resilient over the years,” Rodulfo says.
Smart City Projects Include Environmental Monitoring
After establishing a communications network, Coral Gables began initial projects, including the implementation of vehicle and pedestrian traffic sensors, smart policing tools such as license plate readers and CCTV cameras, and smart lighting, which contributes to creating a safer environment in the city.
“We can now tell if there’s a streetlight out on our principal commercial street, which is Miracle Mile, and we can have that taken care of as quickly as possible,” says Eduardo Santamaria, assistant city manager for Coral Gables.
Since that time, the city has deployed environmental monitoring systems. In collaboration with researchers at Florida International University, Coral Gables has implemented sensors in its canals and waterways to monitor both water levels and quality.