Smart City Charlotte Offers Opportunities

DC74 was pleased to host a Smart City event with local speakers from the City of Charlotte. The term “Smart City” refers to the integration of multiple technologies and data sources to manage city assets. These assets include transportation, power, water, waste management, and any other city service that can be optimized and improved through the use of real-time monitoring systems and data analytics. These technologies generate data which is then be processed and analyzed to diagnose, and tackle, inefficiency. The ultimate goal of a Smart City is to improve the quality-of-life for its citizens by increasing the efficiency of the services it provides.

We were pleased to have the following speakers at the event:

  • Rob Phocas
    Energy & Sustainability Manager – City of Charlotte
  • Holly Eskridge
    Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Manager – City of Charlotte
  • Christa Wagner Vinson
    Principal at Wagner Vinson Consulting

Opportunities for Charlotte that were discussed include:

  1. Smart City Energy
    Using sensors to turn off or dim power when people are not present, and spreading the Envision Charlotte program for energy savings in our uptown buildings.
  2. Smart City Transportation
    Using GPS tracking to view the real time location of buses and street cars in order to optimize fuel costs and transportation routes.
  3. Smart City Data
    Maintaining a public data repository that anyone can access. See Charlotte’s Open Data Portal.
  4. Smart Infrastructure
    Maintaining sensors that can detect lead content in water or that can monitor water levels for local streams in real-time.
  5. Smart City Mobility
    In order for communities to benefit from the Smart City opportunity, the data has to be mobile, inter-operable, unconstrained.
  6. Smart City “Internet of Things” (IoT)
    Using proximity data to point out nearby tourist attractions or points of interest, when the next bus is scheduled to stop, or the open and close times of nearby stores.

Issues to consider when rolling out Smart City technologies include:

  1. Intellectual Property
    Who owns the data being collected by the city?
  2. Security
    What happens if hackers access the systems? What could they see or what kind of problems could they cause?
  3. Privacy
    With all these metrics and monitoring systems, how do you protect the privacy of ordinary people?

Lessons Learned from other Smart City deployments:

  1. Smart Cities have found that as they deploy technology, the need for increasingly large data storage and bandwidth become evident.
  2. Smart Cities have found the need for strong cross-functional collaboration.
  3. Multi-vendor technology will become the norm, making integration key to success.
  4. Much of the Smart City technology is bleeding edge; it’s an immature market.

It is clear that Smart City has many opportunities for Charlotte, but it is still early in the technology life-cycle, and there many issues that need to be considered. We don’t know all the answers, but we do know the future of Smart Cities is going to be exciting.

DC74 has a broad array of solutions for data storage, bandwidth, computing and routing. If you have a project in mind where we can help, contact us at We’d love to work with you!