What is a Smart City?
The following excerpt about a Smart City is based on the book Tomorrow’s Jobs Today, available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.
A Smart City is a technologically modern urban area, often a municipality, that uses several digital technologies, like sensors, to collect specific data. Information and insights gained from that data are used to manage assets, resources, and services efficiently and improve operations across the city. Smart cities provide a delightful experience to residents and businesses while enhancing existing services and even solving problems for the community.
One of the key features of Smart Cities is the use of interconnected devices and real-time data analysis. This means that everything from traffic patterns to energy consumption is constantly monitored and optimized to reduce waste and increase efficiency. For example, sensors can detect when a street is empty and adjust the lighting accordingly, reducing energy consumption and costs.
Smart Cities also prioritize sustainability and the use of renewable resources. This includes implementing green initiatives like solar panels, wind turbines, and smart waste management systems. By reducing waste and promoting renewable energy, Smart Cities are able to lower their carbon footprint and contribute to a healthier environment.
In addition to improving sustainability, Smart Cities also have a significant impact on the economy. By utilizing technology to make transportation, communication, and energy systems more efficient, cities can attract new businesses, create more jobs, and increase overall economic growth.
Overall, Smart Cities are a new and innovative way of thinking about urban living. By prioritizing efficiency, sustainability, and economic growth, these cities are able to create a better living experience for their residents while also contributing to a cleaner and healthier planet.
What’s it like to work in this field?
Kevin Gray is the Chief Information Officer for the City of Burbank, leading an IT department responsible for administrative and network management, geographic information systems, and technical services for over 1400 city employees.
Before assuming this role, he served as VP of Global Media and IT for Viacom, one of the world’s premier entertainment entities, overseeing an international team across six continents. He received his bachelor’s in information systems from California State University, Long Beach, and is a certified Scrum Master and Project Management Professional (PMP), SAFe Program Consultant (SPC), SAFe Government Practitioner (SGP), and a UCR Executive Design Thinking Program Advisory Board Member.
It’s safe to say that Kevin knows a thing or two about running an extensive IT program. But it’s been a long career path that brought him to this shining city upon a hill. He began his professional journey at Orion Pictures, administering Unix systems and directing DreamWorks’ data center operations. That early hands-on experience with application design and database administration prepared him for various future IT leadership positions at Viacom and, ultimately, the CIO role with the City of Burbank.
Kevin started on a service desk at the entry level in IT. And he’s been lucky enough to have grown up through all aspects of it. He says climbing that ladder one rung at a time has let him experience all the technology disciplines. It enabled him to see the forest through the trees—the big picture. It taught him how to design operations, develop a strategy, and equipped him with a vision to incorporate it all. That experience is what best prepared Kevin to lead. And now, he can thoughtfully pull together a clear plan for running an organization, understand how to innovate, and drive change through a specific business unit and an organization.
ALIGNING GOVERNANCE AND STRATEGY
One of Kevin’s focal points has always been aligning IT governance with an organization’s business strategy. But what are the practical ways IT teams accomplish that alignment, and how do leaders foster the relationship-building component of that strategy to accomplish that objective? Kevin says the first key to achieving that goal of synchronicity is to focus on the people developing the strategy. It’s easier to align on the shared goal when you’re in alignment with the people you’re partnering with.
“You must be a true partner with the business,” Kevin says. “The technology is the secondary piece. You use technology to find the solution to the problem the business is trying to solve.” And Kevin reminds us that business problems don’t always stay the same. They change constantly. They change based on economic conditions. They change based on market conditions. They may change based on who might be occupying the seat that you’re trying to partner with.
To read more about careers in Smart Cities, pick up a copy of Tomorrow’s Jobs Today!