Cisco brings internet of everything to growing Canadian smart city

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Creating a connected city.

Mississauga, Ontario, looked to Cisco Systems to help leverage the “internet of things” to improve services, reduce costs and drive efficiency with real-time data in the Canadian city.

Mississauga’s population has grown to nearly 800,000 residents in recent years thanks to a growing economy and reputation as one of Canada’s safest cities. To support growth, Mississauga’s IT strategy established goals to improve services and drive operational efficiency using IoT.

“Just about every piece of equipment the city buys has the ability to connect to a wireless network,” said Shawn Slack, director IT and CIO for the city. “Snowplows, buses, fire trucks, [heating, ventilation and air conditioning] units and traffic lights are all capable of transmitting real-time data. Collecting and using that data to make better decisions will enable more responsive and efficient operations.”

The city is working to enhance its advanced traffic management system to make real-time traffic system changes in order to reduce congestion and prioritize transit and emergency response. In the future, this will allow for prioritization of snow operations vehicles, according to a case study by Cisco.

“The internet of everything enables the collection of data from sensors and cameras, which can be used to improve and accelerate service delivery,” Slack said.

The benefits of creating a smarter, more connected city

According to the city, traffic can be monitored in real time, allowing signal and traffic movement changes in response to accidents, construction or other issues. Flood-response decisions can be made and public communications and operations can be put into action immediately.

All city operations field staff have mobile access to service work orders in the field with real-time information access to support maintenance decisions. In the future, traffic signals could allow snowplows to pass through intersections without stopping, reducing service time, vehicle wear and tear and fuel consumption.

More timely communication with the public

In the past, the city was challenged to quickly notify the public about road closures, storm damage, flooding and other events. Now, it can post near real-time updates to its website.

The city now has a formal “bring-your-own-device” policy and paperless initiatives, supported by the 10-gigabit Ethernet-based wireless network.

“Within the next few years, we’ll require less office space while exponentially improving productivity,” Slack said.

Cisco and OnX bring connectivity

The city will continue working with Cisco and OnX for network design and enhancements, according to the case study.

“Cisco and OnX are extensions of our team,” Slack said. “They help us realize the benefits of the internet of everything faster.”

The city plans to gradually add more sensors and devices to improve visibility, efficiency and management agility.

“We’ll be able to automate certain field services, connect people with real-time information and introduce more self-service options via our website,” Slack said.

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Phillip Tracy