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Combining Technologies With The Internet Of Everything

by Lea Deesing, CIO, City of Riverside August-2016

Challenges in technology to meet needs of the utility sector

Meeting the demand for mobile applications is one of our biggest challenges. We currently have many City mobile applications available to citizens, and more on the way. We’re looking at ways to streamline the mobile experience for our citizens as they engage with our "virtual" city hall.

Open government data is another relevant issue. Government data and systems are ultimately paid for by the taxpayers, so we need to take the “boy scout” approach and return that data in better condition than we “borrowed” it. Providing data through an open government web portal is one way in which we can do that. Raw government data tends to be complex, so doing this right requires us to develop a well thought- out layer of abstraction to present data to the public in way that allows for friendly, yet meaningful, participatory governance.

The areas in the utility industry where solutions do not yet exist

If you have a solid plan A, plan B, and plan C in place, nothing should actually keep you up at night. Continuity of operations, continuity of government, system redundancy, backups, and cyber security should always be top priorities for governmental agencies. These are the things that will help you put that “plan B” in place, and allow you to sleep better at night.

Technology trends impacting utilities

I’m really excited about near field communications (NFC), which appears to be the vibrant, more capable cousin to the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. Combine these technologies with the “internet of everything” concept whereby more objects will have embedded sensors, many of these devices sensing and communicating with other devices, and you have yourself quite a dynamic world of computing. My thought is to incorporate NFC, RFID, or similar devices with spatial data into Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Such integration brings new meaning to situational awareness, opening up new possibilities for asset tracking, network routing, failure reporting, preventive maintenance, cyber security defense, and so much more!