“Infrastructure” is finally here! We’ve heard for years this was coming, and as details of the 2021 bill begin to emerge, we are seeing a big opportunity for cities to improve the safety and security of their infrastructures.

Deep in the 2021 infrastructure bill is a $500 million grant program geared towards improving urban living standards through many different technologies with an intent to unify and grow “Smart Cities” across the United States. According to an IDC study on Worldwide Smart Cities, Smart City investments are predicted to increase by $203 billion by 2024.  Simply put, if you’re in charge of improving the safety and livability in your city, you have a lot of work coming your way.

One area in which we see a lot of demand is the surveillance and access control of satellite buildings that are strewn across a city or county; we’re talking about pump houses, well houses, sewage pumps, park pavilions, water towers, and even the traffic cabinets at intersections.

The demand to secure these locations is not only coming from local governments but we see more and more pressure coming from the Department of Defense as well.  Managing and monitoring separate security systems at these many satellite buildings can be time consuming and expensive, which is why an increasing amount of city and county departments are seeing the need to increase data sharing and collaboration.  To do this, network connectivity is key.

Getting internet to satellite locations is not an easy task, as pulling fiber can be very expensive. Because of this, we see a lot of security systems where the data is stored and managed locally. This makes it time consuming and inefficient to manage. Not to mention, it limits a city’s capability to utilize the important data that is being collected.  Being able to pull all this information back to a central location and easily share this data with other departments will vastly increase your capability to grow and improve as a city. 

Luckily, there are solutions to get this done in a cost-effective manner:

  • Avoid Proprietary Solutions – A closed-architecture model will naturally create silos in both data and human resources. Simply put, it will stifle your capability to plan and grow into the future. A platform like Genetec is a great place to start.
  • Cellular Routers – Many cities already have partnerships with certain mobile carriers. There are several router options on the market that provide multi-carrier solutions. The cost of a cellular router can be similar to the cost of adding another phone to your account.  You’re live viewing capabilities may be limited, but this allows you to store your footage at a central location within the city or PD’s security system.
  • Surveillance Shouldn’t Be Your Only Concern – Thirty years ago, a mechanical key was the only solution. Since then we have seen a great deal of technological advancements, threats are constantly evolving and sub-contractors hired to work in these remote houses and cabinets may be overcharging for their services. A lot of time can be spent driving to and from a location simply to lock a door or gather data. Being able to monitor and manage access to your infrastructure remotely can save a lot of time and money while also increasing your capabilities. For example, Genetec’s Enclosure Management is a great solution that provides real-time information, visualization, and control of your traffic enclosures.  Ultimately, this not only improves security, but efficiency as well.

As cities continue to grow during this time of digital transformation and automation, it’s even more of a necessity to strengthen data sharing and collaboration across your city. Long-term plans that keep this in mind will only make you more agile and prepared to deal with the evolving requirements of our environment. 

Would you like help in your plans to become a Smarter City?  Would you like a demo of the many technologies we work with? Contact us to learn more or schedule a visit to Parallel’s Innovation Lab in Eden Prairie!