Black & Veatch: With Their Surging Populaces More Technologically Savvy, Cities Must Start Planning Digitally Connected Communities

New e-Book says digitizing infrastructure can lead to resilience,
sustainability and better quality of life, services

OVERLAND PARK, Kan.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Urban centers are growing more congested. Digitalization takes deepening
root in the American experience. Connected devices number into the
billions, stoking the influence of consumers at the epicenter of this
new on-demand, data-driven economy.

And now to no one’s surprise, they’re pushing their civic leaders for
innovations that enhance service delivery and quality of life. At this
dawning of the revolutionary age of the “connected community,” digital
platforms, data analytics and apps are being put in play to bolster
citizen and customer satisfaction and engagement.

It’s a promising, exciting story unfolding, and Black & Veatch is
telling it. The technology integrator’s latest free electronic book –
“Digitally Connected Communities” – encapsulates how stakeholders
ranging from states, regions, and municipalities to universities,
medical campuses, utilities and telecommunications carriers can reinvent
themselves through digital technology.

Perhaps the migration to connected communities is unavoidable, given the
ever-increasing disruption of digitalization. The 21-page e-Book,
replete with infographics and other compelling visuals, notes that
two-thirds of U.S. cities are investing in digital technologies. And
industries are changing: 70 percent of all U.S. jobs as of 2016 required
workers to have moderate to high digital skill or computer literacy, up
from just 5 percent just 14 years earlier. All the while, eight of every
10 Americans now live in cities, with that number expected to rise to 90
percent by the middle of this century. Those constituents are clamoring
for a better digital interface with those governing them.

All of that should incentivize city leaders to start the planning that
advances a community’s foundational infrastructure, already straining
and long in decline. Such roadmaps now are vital, given that
multi-pronged, capital-intensive digital infrastructure projects require
careful coordination and can have long lead times for everything from
financing and engineering to permitting and construction. Planning also
should feature foundational telecommunications, smart sensors,
cybersecurity, and data science and analytics, all of which can lead to
configurable, resilient and sustainable operations that evolve with
innovation.

Costs have emerged as one of the chief factors holding cities back from
adopting smart cities technologies, with many municipal planners
worrying it’s not affordable, according to Black & Veatch’s “2018
Strategic Directions: Smart Cities & Utilities Report
.” But
Fred Ellermeier, vice president of Black & Veatch’s Connected
Communities business, says smart city efforts often can pay for
themselves over time and support other developments, perhaps through
energy efficient systems or even Internet of Things (IoT) that delivers
a revenue stream such as digital kiosks that give users information
about local events and area amenities.

Smart city initiatives increasingly are stemming from customizable
public-private partnerships (P3), giving cities access to more funding
and expertise, Ellermeier said.

“As we note, innovation waits for no one, and the digital technology
ladder will only reach new heights,” he said. “It’s change for the
better.”

Editor’s Note:

About Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch is an employee-owned, global leader in building critical
human infrastructure in Energy, Water, Telecommunications and Government
Services. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of
people in over 100 countries through consulting, engineering,
construction, operations and program management. Our revenues in 2017
were US$3.4 billion. Follow us on www.bv.com and
in social media.

Contacts

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