Utah Freedom Coalition

Smart Cities and Utah: Is There a Connection?

What is a Smart City?

Originally posted in August of 2021


A 2018 Smart Cities Report here

Our other post on Smart Cities with PPT etc

There is a range of definitions of a smart city, but the consensus is that smart cities utilize IoT (Internet of Things) sensors, actuators, and technology to connect components across the city.

Lux Research, an innovation research and advisory firm, has a report that suggests the world will deploy 1 trillion sensors by 2020. This connects every layer of a city, from the air to the street to underground. It’s when you can derive data from everything that is connected and utilize it to improve the lives of citizens and improve communication between citizens and the government that a city becomes a smart city, said Esmeralda Swartz, head of strategy and marketing of the software business unit for Ericsson.

A smart city can be described as a city that incorporates the capabilities of web connectivity, analytics, mobile solutions, sensors, data collection and other technology. This can include surveillance systems utilized by law enforcement, smart congestion-mitigating traffic systems, LED streetlights equipped with motion sensors, smart grids and smart water systems.

List of Global Smart Cities

Executive summary

What is a smart city? A smart city uses IoT sensors and technology to connect components across a city to derive data and improve the lives of citizens and visitors.

What does a smart city do? Oftentimes, a mobile app is provided to give immediate access to data, communication channels, and more so that people can do everything from avoiding traffic jams, to finding a parking spot, and reporting a pothole or an overflowing dumpster.

Why do smart cities matter? The world is becoming more urbanized, and by 2050, more than 60% of the world’s population is expected to live in cities. Making these cities better places to live is essential to quality of life by making them more sustainable and efficient with streamlined services.

Who do smart cities affect? It affects everyone on the planet.

When are smart cities happening? This is happening now.

Where are smart cities happening? Early adopters of smart city technology were European cities, but US cities have quickly picked up steam and are incorporating technology into municipal infrastructure.

Who is making smart cities happen? Public and private companies, as well as federal, state, and city governments, are getting involved to make it easier for municipalities to adopt new technology. Private and public partnerships are becoming a smart way for cities to add technology.

How they work and what are the components and Companies Involved?

Companies such as Intel, Cisco Systems, IBM, Verizon, Silver Spring Networks, Build.io, GE Lighting, Ericsson, AT&T,and Siemens are among those providing smart city solutions. Associations such as TM Forum, which is a leadership collaboration of seven cities created in 2016 to push the creation of smart cities around the globe, are also spurring development, as reported in TechRepublic.

In 2015, the Obama administration announced a new smart cities initiative to invest $160 million in federal grants to create software and IoT applications to help local communities improve city services. And the White House announced in late 2016 that it would make an investment of $80 million for smart cities, expanding upon an initiative that began in September 2015. This includes $15 million to improve energy efficiency through data gathering, $15 million for research in improving transportation, and $10 million for natural disaster response programs.

The future of smart cities will involve advanced and low-latency applications that leverage big data analytics and real-time video and information sharing, enabled by symmetrical fiber or 5G wireless networks


The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 interlinked goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. The SDGs were set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly with the intention of achieving them by the year 2030. The SDGs were part of a larger resolution known as the 2030 Agenda, or Agenda 2030.

WEF- World Economic Forum “Transforming the spaces in which we live, work and play to enable a more sustainable, resilient and prosperous future for all.” In June 2019, the WEF announced they were collaborating with the leadership of the G20 to lead a “new global effort to establish universal norms and guidelines for implementation of smart city technology”. The move brought the WEF into the fold of global organizations focused on bringing the Smart City vision to life. 

GSCA- Global Smart Cities Alliance

Verbiage and Common Words and Phrases related to Smart Cities:

Innovation Zones Link “According to a draft of the proposed legislation, obtained by the Review-Journal but not yet introduced in the Legislature, Innovation Zones would allow tech companies like Blockchains, LLC to effectively form separate local governments in Nevada, governments that would carry the same authority as a county, including the ability to impose taxes, form school districts and justice courts and provide government services, to name a few duties.”


The smart city industry is projected to be a $400 billion market by 2020, with 600 cities around the globe expected to generate 60% of the world’s GDP by 2025, according to McKinsey research, as previously published in TechRepublic.

By converting urban areas to a smart city foundation, it becomes easier for government agencies to address needs, to extend equitable solutions for efficiency to all people living in the area.


Smart cities affect everyone, whether directly or indirectly. People who live in smart cities or who are visiting smart cities have the immediate benefit of being connected to the governing body for information and services. The quality of their lives can be improved with better traffic management, waste removal, snow removal, and more. Those who don’t live or visit a smart city are affected simply because of the lack of connected services and communication available to them.

A smart city also benefits the environment. Water and energy usage are sustainability issues, and a common thread across all smart city projects is how a city reduces CO2 emissions.

Following are the benefits or advantages of smart city:
➨It helps people to live, work and play with others while requiring fewer resources.
➨It makes life easier by operating community’s systems efficiently including physical systems (e.g. transport, power, water) as well as administration.
➨Smart energy systems help in conserving energy which helps in reducing costs.
➨It employs real time monitoring to address water leaks, sewage and drainage issues.
➨The use cases such as smart parking, smart lighting helps in saving time and money.
➨Production: It provides organic food, safe products and reduces cost of delivery.
➨It helps in controlling water, environment and conservation of animal populations.
➨It helps in smart waste management, recycling and reuse.
➨It makes mobile payments easier and creates online ordering apps.
➨It has delivered intelligent rail and other transit solutions. The asset tracking, smart roads, fleet management has become possible due to smart city solutions.


  • Easier to attack and take down The Dangers of Smart Cities
  • Security and Privacy –The Risk and Rewards of Smart Cities
  • Article: Smart Cities-Digital Prisons: “But despite the growing number of smart cities around the world, no global framework exists for regulating how data should be collected in public spaces (such as by traffic cameras or Wi-Fi hotspots) and subsequently used.”
  • Government Surveillance
  • Sensors Power Supply- Battery, wireless, wired. All have limitations. We’ve never made the amount of batteries needed to run all the sensors. How would we get wireless power?
  • Urban Data collection isn’t the answer to eliminate traffic, poverty, crime.
  • Data can be edited to fit a political or financial narrative.
  • Urban sensing (which captures how people interact with each other and their surroundings),
  • Geotracking (which records the movement of people), and
  • Real-time analytics (which processes the vast amount of collected data).”
  • Ransomware attacks

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of smart city:

➨Business models to roll out smart technologies are still under developed.
➨Even if money was available, most of the smart technologies are still in their pre-commercial stage. Cities lack technology related skills and capacity.
➨Cities find it difficult to work across departments and boundaries.
➨There are concerns about data privacy and security.
➨Councils, businesses and other involved parties do not fully understand value and benefits which the data can generate. It makes it difficult to release the business case for implementation.
➨Its adoption requires knowledge on different technologies in order to use it. Without training people find it irrelevant to their daily lives and difficult to use.
➨Also refer advantages and disadvantages of smart home >>.

  • Reaction to the inclusion was rapid. The Intercept spoke with a senior staff attorney of the Electronic Frontier Foundation who said the ‘SMART’ money will buy more surveillance using facial recognition. The industry has yet to convince critics alleging face biometrics introduce racial and gender bias and misuse by law enforcement of the technology’s safety.
  • Big Tech Takeover
  • Also of concern is how this technology, if not the funding, will become tangled with relevant military programs as has happened with other software and hardware being deployed to monitor and quell dissent.
  • How do we utilize the data to score cities consistently by what is valued in our human habitat?

Cost and Funding

Half a billion dollars was written into the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed Wednesday by the U.S. Senate to pay cities to experiment with technologies for ‘Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation,’ which could include remote biometric systems, sensors and drones.

Article: Fact Sheet-Obama Admin Creating of Initiative for Smart Cities



Smart Cities and Utah Related Organizations and Initiatives

Utah Ignite: 1 of 30 Smart Gigabyte Communities in US

Article: Integration of Immigrants through Smart City Technologies

Article: SLC chosen as test site for self-driving cars, part of Smart City goals.







• Smart Economy: It provides high quality high paying jobs while supporting local business to compete globally.
• Smart People: They are knowledgeable workforce who use information and technology, embraces creativity and innovation and explores new ways of doing things. They are supported by community leaders, mentors and are the needs of the employers today and tomorrow.
• Smart Governance: It ensures that things available in the city are effectively used to fulfill better living.
• Smart Environment: It helps in achieving good growth while protecting resources. It harmonizes living and workspace. It balances energy supply and energy use.
• Smart Living: It provides opportunities for healthy lifestyle for all the citizens including quality healthcare, education and safety.
• Smart Technology: It uses latest wireless technologies such as zigbee, zwave, bluetooth, LoRaWAN etc. in addition to IoT (Internet of Things) network architecture. It helps in automating household devices and more.
• Smart Energy: It uses smart grid to provide continuous electricity with facility to conserve the power/energy. Refer advantages of Smart grid >>.
• Smart Healthcare: It uses latest facilities to patients including remote monitoring etc. to provide better healthcare.
• Smart Mobility: It uses modern transportation systems using latest technologies to have smart mobility solutions for human beings

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