Where Is Colorado Springs on Its Smart City Journey?
The city has implemented several smart city solutions in recent years. The Office of Innovation places programs under 1 of 5 smart pillars (smart data, sustainability, utilities, services and mobilities) and prioritizes their implementation by aligning with Mayor John Suthers’ strategic goals.
Tamayo identified two foundational initiatives that put the city in a position to implement future programs. One is around connectivity, particularly the deployment of a fiber-optic network and 5G small-cell infrastructure. The Gazette reports that it won’t be long before the city’s first fiber-optic customers receive access, while full-scale fiber-optic deployment is set to be completed in 2028.
The other foundational initiative is data management. Tamayo says the city is developing a data platform that integrates all existing databases and cloud-based platforms that different departments have been using to improve security and transparency.
Other active initiatives include using sensors to create smart streetlights that collect weather data and smart trash cans that collect data on foot traffic and notify staff when they are almost full. Along with the smart streetlights program, the city is installing air sensors to collect localized air quality data. The Office of Innovation also produced an electric vehicle readiness plan to prepare for a transition to renewable energy, according to The Gazette.
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Tamayo says his office places an emphasis on creating digital equity. It helps bridge the digital divide by granting money to local nonprofits that fund projects to improve access to connected devices, digital skills training and one-on-one technical support.
“We want to address accessibility to technology and devices in underserved or disadvantaged communities, and training and education once these communities have access to the actual technology,” he says.
Down the line, the city plans to implement the Smart Fleet initiative to place GPS technology in city-owned vehicles. They can then track drive time, customer service time, snow removal and even harsh braking to improve safety and gas efficiency, reports The Gazette.
Tamayo says that the process of becoming a smart city is an ever-evolving one. He says he has ambitions to create a more comprehensive data integration plan, allowing the city to connect all its various Internet of Things networks. In the future, he plans to create a digital twin for the city to improve planning and decision-making.