The Evolving Role of Location Intelligence in Smart Cities

Matt Karli, Senior Professional, Product Management, Insurance and Spatial Solutions, CoreLogicMatt Karli, Senior Professional, Product Management, Insurance and Spatial Solutions
The vision for smart cities, complete with coordinated and connected utilities and buildings, imagines infrastructure that will allow humans to have a more efficient, safe and innovative lifestyle than we do today. The idea of smart cities combines technology, data and location intelligence to improve sustainability, transportation and emergency responses. Connected smart buildings and electronic devices will create an integrated network that leverages real-time data to improve the quality of life for a city’s citizens.

The evolution of truly smart cities is driven by the continued adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) devices in the home. These devices will provide both the technology and data that will power the future of smart cities. Today, voice-enabled smart devices control our home’s lighting and thermostats.

Eventually, homes will connect to cities, too. We are already seeing this in apartments where elevator operations are optimized to save tenants time, and heating, ventilation or air conditioning (HVAC) units are monitored to inform preventative maintenance or maximize comfort and energy efficiency.

The realization of smart cities will require us to leverage location intelligence to help identify complex patterns, spatial relationships, the proximity of interconnected infrastructure and systems, and more. Geographic information systems (GIS)are already used for infrastructure planning, asset management, field inspections and other analysis—and it can be used to provide precise and accurate location detail including property and structure attributes, rooftop geocoding, hazardrisk scores. All these items are key to understanding the complex relationships that will ultimately enable the reality of smart cities.

Impact to Sustainability

In some areas of the country, we are already seeing both public and private utilities themselves providing incentives to customers to install smart devices within their homes to optimize the energy supply chain. This will facilitate more effective grid management and energy efficiency.

Smart water meters allow utilities to have instant usage data to facilitate supply, conservation efforts and in some cases, even enforcement in areas with limited water supply. Additionally, this smart meter technology would immediately alert utilities of outages that customers are experiencing to speed service restoration.

Having a detailed understanding of the location of these seemingly disconnected devices allows city and utility managers to visualize the complex web of information each of these different endpoints is providing. With this intelligence in hand, they are empowered to make smarter choices. For instance, smart garbage bins communicate when they are ready for pickup, allowing municipalities or businesses to identify high litter areas. This allows for an opportunity to react in a timely fashion and supplement the area with additional trash bins.
Impact to Transportation

When location intelligence is employed by buses and other public forms of transportation, logistics and routing are optimized to maximize fleet efficiency and minimize fuel costs and unnecessary traffic on roads. But location intelligence isn’t only applicable to city owned fleet vehicles.

When combined with traffic information gathered in real-time by traffic sensors, it is easier to identify congestion-prone areas. Cities have implemented systems that employ this real-time sensor data to adjust traffic light timing to efficiently clear traffic delays and reduce unnecessary vehicle emissions. Variable speed limits will also be a reality through digital signage and artificial intelligence analyzing real-time traffic density.

And in many newer parking garages, parking spaces have indicator lights to demarcate the presence of an open parking spot, removing the endless task of driving up and down each row to find availability.

The combination of big data sets generated by all this sensor data with location intelligence will enable cities to improve public transportation, biking and walking routes and eventually pave the way for automated cars. The combination of data and location technologies helps planners design the most efficient routes and keep operations running smoothly. Even companies leverage location intelligence and spatial data to build predictive models for distribution routes that reduce fuel usage and last-mile delivery.

Impact to Emergency Response

Equipping first responders with location intelligence and geospatial data before, during and after a disaster can save lives. Insights into natural hazard risks and structural characteristics of properties drives simulation exercises to assist teams to be ready in the event of a worst-case scenario.

Providing city engineers with the current conditions of the impacted infrastructure and understanding the spatial relationship with other impacted infrastructure allows them to act quickly and decisively when time is of the essence. Understanding what surrounds infrastructure and what’s potentially putting that infrastructure at risk is critical for responders to understand.

Utility companies already employ vegetation management to prevent power lines from being impacted by downed trees during an ice storm or hurricane, and advancements in sensor technology combined with location intelligence pinpoint areas of concern and allow for timely mitigation before the storms arrive.

Creating an IoT-connected ecosystem within smart cities would enable detection of all manner of potential risks to infrastructure and decrease response time. Visual monitoring and social media chatter already allow police services to better respond to crime and identify witnesses with footage from the scene, and when you add location insights to these tools, the picture becomes much more complete.

The Future is Bright

Smart city technology in Barcelona, Amsterdam, Singapore and New York provides civic leaders and businesses the opportunity to deploy location intelligence to solve many challenges related to the environment, mobility, urban planning and more. The visionaries planning for long-term success recognize the need to improve citizens’ quality of life through data-driven infrastructure and artificial intelligence. We will continue to see investments in smart city technology as 5G adoption grows and our planet combats climate change.

About Matt Karli:

Senior Professional, Product Management, Insurance and Spatial Solutions

Matt Karli is responsible for the product management of the suite of location and jurisdictional geographic boundary products. He joined the CoreLogic team in 1998 as a Map Researcher for the Flood Services Department. He then transitioned to roles in both Operations and Data Acquisition before moving into his current Product Management role. Matt has overseen the formation and leadership of the team that created the ParcelPoint® product. He has experience in both product and project management, map interpretation, GIS, quality control, business process improvement, and operations management. Additionally, Matt is one of many patent holders at CoreLogic; he was part of a team that developed a product for unique spatial intelligence and patented that technology.

Matt earned a B.S. in Geography and Planning with a minor in Geology from Texas State University, where he also taught several undergraduate geology labs.