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What is a “Smart City”?I love Mesa sign

In short, a Smart City is one in which the latest technologies and data-driven insights are leveraged to improve the quality of life, civic engagement, economic development, service delivery, and community vibrancy for its citizens, businesses and visitors.

A Smart City is actually about people versus tech itself. A Smarter Mesa is where modernized communications infrastructure, Internet of Things (IoT) connected smart systems and data work together to provide responsive solutions that enhance the live, work & play experiences of people in our community.

In 2018, the City of Mesa engaged ThinkBig Partners, LLC to assist in the development of a Smart City Master Plan. Most importantly, this effort included engaging our citizens, businesses and the public as we identified the key strategies & priorities for building a smarter Mesa!

The Foundation for our Plan

The following pillars provide the foundation for our Smart City Master Plan.

Smart-City-diagram

 

Smart Community - create an engaged, inclusive & equitable community that provides a high-quality life to all Mesa citizens

 

Smart Downtown - create a vibrant, attractive downtown that is thriving with live work & play activities for both residents & businesses

 

Smart Environment - protect the environment and create sustainable options where possible

 

Smart Government - create a responsive, engaged city that makes decisions based on data & understands citizen needs

 

Smart Infrastructure - modernize essential infrastructure to provide essential city services and preserve a high quality of life in Mesa

 

Smart Public Safety - create a safe and secure environment for all citizens

 

Smart Transportation and Mobility - create accessible, equitable & safe multi-modal transit options along with creating the ability to move easily throughout Mesa.

Smart Cities or IoT technology can bolster economic development, spark downtown revitalization, provide revenue-generating opportunities, decrease operational costs, improve service efficiencies, and foster inclusiveness, engagement and quality of life for people in Mesa.

The following Smart City or Internet of Things (IoT) technology solutions are either in place or in progress to achieve these benefits. All align with the City Council Strategic Priorities that provide the blueprint for building a Smarter Mesa!

FirstNet - FirstNet is a dedicated communications network that provides first responders exclusive access to bandwidth and prioritized connectivity during emergency situations.Image of officers

Compatible Camera Systems – In cooperation between City depts. all camera systems deployed by municipal security, transportation, and others follow similar standards for allowing multiple streaming destinations, so down the road we can send those streams to computer vision and analytics systems if we so choose.

NextGen 911 – Improving upon the systems to take and respond to emergencies with Text to 911 and new ways to get data from mobile users with E911. The new CAD system under construction will allow emergency dispatch to use all the data we can give them to direct help where it’s needed.

Intelligent Traffic Systems – The deployment of sensors and data networking to every traffic signal in the City making traffic studies quicker, allowing the collection and analysis of traffic information, and giving emergency dispatch camera views of accident scenes at City intersections. In two pilot areas on Dobson and Superstition cameras and sensors at the streetlights automatically adjust the light timing in response to traffic.

LED Lighting Pilot & Study – Deployment of high efficiency LED lights capable of controlling the light temperature and supplying a place to power and connect antennas and smart sensors. Once deployed in an area the City can centrally control light timing and color based on the neighborhood’s needs. The nodes on top of the lights can be used to create and/or transmit data back to the city. Renting access to the nodes can be lucrative as mobile carriers deploy 5G networks.

Image of person working on computerFire Deployment Analytics – Through data analytics Fire can now determine the best place to station apparatus and other equipment based on the likelihood of a call in any given area of the City.

Smart Irrigation Controllers in Parks – In monsoon season Parks employees no longer need to travel to every facility to stop the sprinklers. The City saves over 80 trips every time it rains by managing the watering centrally. The controllers also alarm if a sprinkler head breaks or a leak is detected, saving water, time and valuable parks greenery.

WiFi in Parks – Broadband access in public spaces helps bridge the digital divide, giving all residents access to the internet, and gives us a backbone for City deployments of sensors and controllers like the Parks irrigation controllers.

MesaNow - MesaNow mobile app provides a central hub for services and information, including providing the ability to access utility accounts and make payments, check out news, calendar, parks and other resources, review road restrictions, report an issue…and other features.

Downtown Broadband and Wi-Fi Expansion -Provide Wi-Fi and gigabit fiber connectivity to the downtown district, enhancing the experience and engagement of businesses, residents and visitors.Image of Dana Park shopping

Data Governance & Open Data - Data-driven decision making in support of delivering outstanding service to our community continues to be a key City priority. In 2018, the City of Mesa upgraded and expanded the City data available on our Open Data Portal (https://data.mesaaz.gov/ ) , including Open Budget, Open Expenditures, City Council Strategic Priorities, and datasets related to Energy & Utilities, Permits & Licenses, Financials, Recreation & Culture, Zoning & Property, Neighborhoods, Public Safety, Transportation/ Transit, OpenGIS, and featured stories and highlights on other key services. This initiative is guided by an Open Data Leadership Board comprised of executive City leaders; this past year, the City created a Data Governance Administrator that closely partners with the Information Technology Department and other City departments on the development and implementation of key strategies supporting City strategic priorities.

Strategic Planning & Analysis – The City’s strategic Business Intelligence team helping city management make data-based decisions.

Facilities Automation - Enhance existing building automation system and add sensors to automate and monitor HVAC, lighting, security, life safety and other building functions, enabling the City to realize cost savings and other benefits.

Automated Water/ Energy Metering Infrastructure (AMI) - Implement smart meters and supporting infrastructure for Utilities services to improve customer experience, enable cost efficiencies, and provide information for decision making. Key features include real-time consumption, predictive analytics on use & patterns, automated turn on & off of utility services, outage notification, and more!

Image of shoppers downtown MesaAutomated Vehicle Location (AVL) - Automated Vehicle Location solutions are used by City departments to track City vehicles using a GPS system and managing City vehicles’ location, speed, idle time, and other data. AVL has provided enhanced functionality including the ability to perform turn-by-turn routing, enter Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) pre and post-vehicle inspections information, and integration with Transportation’s work order management.

Food-to-Energy Anaerobic Waste Digester Pilot - Pilot converting food waste processed through the city’s anaerobic digester to ultimately produce energy.

Launchpoint - LaunchPoint, the City’s technology accelerator, provides entrepreneurs & small companies business development assistance, networking & training opportunities.

Mesa K Ready - Mesa K-Ready helps children, and parents, prepare for kindergarten. Using a tablet device, educational app, and learning activities at City museums, parks and libraries, Mesa K-Ready helps children in our community start kindergarten ready to learn.

Hacktivate Mesa - Hacktivate Mesa (held on January 19th this year) is a two-day experience for local area high school students to discover, study, analyze and present data about an issue or challenge facing our community. Data science experts from local colleges, businesses, and the community will mentor teams of students as they learn how to access City of Mesa open data, develop skills in analyzing data, and explore solutions to community issues. At the end of the event, students present their discoveries and awards for best presentations will be given.

Thinkspot – Mini-makerspaces in all City Libraries allowing innovative citizens free or inexpensive access to the tools of creation.

Arts & Cultural Interactive Events – Examples include the Main Street Prototyping Festival, Southwest Maker Fest, "HellImage of stage at AZ Celebration of Freedomo Lamp Post", and other projects designed to put the Arts in STEAM. These events highlight Mesa as a place of innovation and our community as a destination for artists and maker entrepreneurs.

ImagineMesa - City of Mesa residents, businesses & visitors have shared ideas for shaping Mesa’s future via this popular online digital forum. ImagineMesa inspired idea generation & conversations regarding community priorities, with thousands of followers sharing hundreds of unique ideas 24/7 via smartphones, tablets and PCs. Since ImagineMesa.com’s launch in June 2017, more than 65,000 people have visited the site & 10,000 people have shared, commented or supported an idea. Ultimately, citizen input obtained through this campaign was used to evaluate, prioritize & provide recommendations to the City Council for vision setting and budget planning.

Innovation District - Create a physical space & environment for entrepreneurs, academic innovators, city staff and citizens to work together to explore solutions for improving the quality of life for our community.