Solution Providers Applaud Government’s $65 Million Investment In Smart City Technology

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Thursday announced it will invest $65 million for smart cities technologies, awarded in grant programs for traffic congestion by creating new mobility services.

Solution providers like Robby Hill, CEO and founder of Florence, S.C.-based HillSouth, which offers IoT services for government clients, are cheering the Internet of Things investment by the U.S. government in smart city technologies.

’I like the idea… I think the play is for solution providers to leverage what they’re already doing with cities or government counties, and then repackage that with a smarter answer to the problem,’ he said. ’I think the challenge for VARs in government solutions is chasing something new, because new funding is hard to come by.’

[Related: Dell Adds Systems Integrators To Its IoT Solutions Partner Program]

Sponsored post

The grants will fund 19 technology-driven projects in local areas to fight traffic congestion and increase connectivity. In total, they will be leveraged to bring about $170 million in public and private investments for deploying smart city technology, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Hill, for his part, works with local governments to design and implement wireless meter reading as a utility, as well as deploying state law mandated body cameras in various police forces across the state.

These deployments lead to service opportunities for HillSouth – including backup management and day to day data maintenance and storage. As smart cities become implemented across the country, Hill said, these opportunities for solution providers will only expand.

’The biggest challenge for customers with IoT is that it means an onslaught of data that needs to be managed, indexed and used for business decisions,’ said Hill. ’They need to bring in extra help to manage that data… and in terms of backup recovery planning, these are services that us VARs are the best suited for.’

Stephen Monteros, vice president of business development and strategic initiatives at Ontario, Calif.-based solution provider Sigmanet, applauded the grants as helpful in IoT smart city initiatives such as one his company is embarking on. Sigmanet has been working over the past 18 months to plan, strategize and deploy solutions to digitize parts of the 21-mile Pacific Electric Trail in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

This solution, which utilizes cameras to track people on the trail, will help city officials set up a dual surveillance system that enables the city to accurately measure the number of trail users and analyze that data for transportation and safety applications.

The grants will play into the city’s connected transportation initiatives, said Monteros: ’That sounds great… this is what the city is focused on,’ he said.

Smart cities are one area of the Internet of Things market that more organizations are rapidly investing in – according to market research firm IDC, global spending on smart city and IoT technology will rise to $1.7 trillion in 2020.

"From automated vehicles to connected infrastructure to data analytics, technology is transforming how we move around our country, and some of the most exciting innovation is happening at the local level," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. ’These grants will enable cities and rural communities to harness new technologies to tackle hard problems like reducing congestion, connecting people to mass transit, and enhancing safety.’