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Solutions Provider GTS and Cradlepoint Help San Antonio Become A Smart(er) City

San Antonio is working with a Cradlepoint partner to scale up its traffic management system and meet high population growth expectations through smart city technology.

Before solution provider GTS Technology Solutions came into the picture, the City of San Antonio's staff members were unable to access almost half of the city's 1,400 intersections to help mitigate traffic.

San Antonio's legacy system, which officials need to access consistently to centrally monitor key applications, troubleshoot problems and adjust the clocks that synchronize traffic lights and flow, was paving the way for disastrous traffic headaches in a sprawling city that is populated by 1.4 million – and still growing.

"As the commutes for our motorists began to slow, we knew we had to implement a new solution that would address our network communication issues. However, this could be a huge, intimidating undertaking for a staff of just 16 individuals," said Marc Jacobson, a manager at San Antonio's Traffic Management Center, said in a press release issued by Cradlepoint.

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San Antonio began to work with vendor Cradlepoint and solution provider GTS Technology Solutions to modernize its traffic management system to meet high population growth expectations through smart city technology.

Austin-based GTS Technology Solutions, which works with government, education and private entity clients, specializes in rugged mobility and consultative services.

But more recently, the service provider worked with Cradlepoint to streamline San Antonio's traffic management system to support end-to-end communication across the city's network, and reducing the amount of resources needed to maintain the network.

"A lot of cities are starting to realize that the value equation of leveraging LTE is pretty powerful," said Herschel Sova, regional account manager for mobility at GTS Technology Solutions. "We work with Cradlepoint and the carriers to have a consistent message – pick a product we know we can support. Having those relationships with the manufacturers is essential for us to provide consolidated ecosystems of technology."

Before the city began utilizing smart city solutions, San Antonio's legacy network included a mesh of a dozen radio towers and 300 wired and wireless access points that served as reference nodes to the rest of the network. However, its legacy infrastructure performed inconsistently, only allowing staff to engage with about 60 percent of the city’s intersections, according to Sova.

That's a big problem for a city that has grown nonstop over the past five years, and whose population is expected to grow by an additional 1.1 million by 2040, according to the San Antonio Express News. Even without that projected growth, San Antonio commuters already currently face an extra 25 minutes of travel time per day compared to uncongested roads, according to navigation solutions company TomTom.

After joining the project in March 2015, GTS Technology Solutions worked with San Antonio to test the Cradlepoint devices the partner recommended for evaluation – the cloud-managed COR IBR1100 LTE routers.

After the testing process, the partner continued to work with San Antonio to plan out how many intersections the city could sustain to deploy and how many resources in the field it needed.

Being able to work with an array of manufacturers is essential for building out smart city solutions, stressed Sova.

"The biggest thing for me and our reps is working with manufacturers that are willing to roll up their sleeves and work arm and arm with us," he said. " GTS has built our name on having those deep relationships and getting that support."

San Antonio began using Cradlepoint solutions for cloud-managed LTE connectivity for its traffic network across the city's nearly 1,400 intersections – totaling about 800 Cradlepoint devices. The city now has visibility, consistently, across its traffic network and it can start gathering data and applying changes that help quicken daily commutes.

"GTS has unique capabilities around cellular capabilities, and that coupled with its knowledge of systems and networking components, professional services, and the relationships with manufacturers is essential to making a smart city work," said Adam Rodriguez, territory manager for Cradlepoint.

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