Smart Cities Made of Digital Dreams

November 13, 2019
Smart Cities Made of Digital Dreams

People today are immersed in the digital world and live on the edge of technologies. We lead connected lives in our connected homes, businesses and economies, and we are used to everything being at our mobile fingertips.

So naturally, when we cannot push a button to report a water main break to our municipality, we begin to wonder why our cities are not connected. We should be able to report broken traffic lights, get notifications of power outages and receive instructions on how to handle upcoming storms. Our cities should be as smart as we are.

And connectivity isn't just a must from the citizen's perspective. City and state employees expect seamless business operations. These civil servants want to remove siloed data to enhance information flows and boost operational efficiency. They want to use data to inform policy to better serve their constituents and drive sustainable development. And they want to manage traffic to optimize flows and reduce pollution in their communities.

The question is: Can we have a smart city built on digital dreams?

Yes, we can! And it is not a question of if, but when. This is the vision of millions of cities around the world, and we already have some shining examples. If you wonder what is taking so long — well, it’s not an easy task.

The range of challenges in front of our cities and communities is massive. Some are fundamental — old and brittle technologies that must co-exist and exchange data with myriad newer applications. Others are more complex. How do you deal with the ever-growing volume of Internet of Things (IoT)/sensor data and make any sense of it?

And there is also the perpetual challenges of having an abundance of projects with competing priorities, and limited resources to put towards any of them.

Read our eBook, "Application Modernization in the Public Sector," to learn more about best practices for application modernization and how an iPaaS can help you deliver your projects faster and more effectively.

The Town of Cary: A Shining Example

When there is a mountain to climb, you do it one step at a time. And this is precisely what the Town of Cary, North Carolina's seventh largest municipality, has done. It is a shining example of a smart city, utilizing technology and data analysis to optimize city functions and drive economic growth, while significantly improving the quality of life for its citizens.

The Town of Cary started by solving the data sharing disaster. There were just too many business units that were completely separated. Data was in silos, not to mention in multiple systems of record. Once the town solved the connectivity challenge, it started tackling day-to-day problems. Little by little, it was able to:

  • Solve road and traffic maintenances issues by “listening” for an event in its software infrastructure, which then triggers a sequence of CRM workflows while also pushing notifications to citizen via popular traffic navigation apps.
  • Alert citizens of a possible water leakage by integrating sensors data and then monitoring and detecting consumption beyond normal usage.
  • Accept texts from citizens about malfunctioning equipment around town and requests for trash pickups.

The Town of Cary went from reactive to proactive, and is now on the road to predictive. Amazing, isn’t it? We can't wait to see what Cary will do next.

So how did they do it? It took several different technologies, but when it comes to integration and data orchestration, Boomi was front and center. Boomi’s unified platform was able to unify all of Cary's business units and smart system. And if I were to take a wild (or perhaps I should say smart) guess, it probably unified their employee and citizens as well.

Building a Smart City With Boomi

How does Boomi do it? To start, integrations are extremely easy because Boomi’s intuitive UI with drag-and-drop mapping tools, pre-built integration processes, reusable components and vast library of connectors enable users to easily build simple to sophisticated integrations in no time.

But what makes Boomi both powerful and unique is the distributed runtime agent, the Boomi Atom. This allows integrations to be deployed wherever needed: on-premise or in a public or private cloud. The Atom will facilitate the connection and execution of the integration process securely, and if needed, will scale reliably.

The Boomi Atom lets IoT/sensor data flow to a company’s applications, regardless of deployment. It supports multiple IoT connectivity protocols and open standards, such as AMQP, MQTT and REST, and allows companies to run integrations and host and manage web services.

Pervasive application and data integration is at the core of our platform, but this is just one piece. Boomi Master Data Hub unifies data across systems, making it possible to model, synchronize, cleanse and enrich data spanning multiple domains.

To extend the reach of your business operations to partners, Boomi B2B/EDI Management facilitates data exchange. Our API Management offering centrally manages and enriches API interactions throughout their entire lifecycle. And Boomi Flow provides a low-code development platform to create customer journeys and automate workflows — from simple to sophisticated.

We offer a free 30-day trial, and encourage you to give it try. Before you know it, you may be building your own smart city of digital dreams.

Boomi helps state and local governments serve citizens more effectively and deliver sustainable projects. Find out more.

About the Author

Kristina Avrionova is a product marketing manager at Dell Boomi.