Smart cities utilize the “Internet of Things” (IoT) sensors and technology to connect infrastructure components across the city to impact every layer from beneath the streets, to energy use, to water quality and quantity, to the air people breath. Data from all segments are analyzed for patterns to better inform how to sustainably manage the city. On the energy front, smart cities manage the power grid more optimally by monitoring building energy use and distributed generation of home solar systems and electric vehicles just as residents manage personal energy use with smart meters. Smart grids can enhance energy services by improving outage detection, field service operations and disaster recovery. Smart transportation optimizes multi-modal transportation, parking (smart parking), traffic management and (smart) traffic lights.
The Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) hosted a smart cities technologies event in December 2016 with industry experts Johnson Controls, Current – Powered by GE, Oracle and others. Using the information and discussion generated there, M-WERC is developing a framework/plan for implementing smart cities technologies to deliver to the City of Milwaukee. The same plan will then be used as a framework for helping other cities and municipalities in Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest to adopt smart cities technologies. M-WERC will launch a “Smart Cities Technologies working group” in May.