Smart Connections Consulting: The Smart City Mavericks

Bill Pugh, Co-Founder & Managing Partner
Over the years, there has been a lot of discussion around “Smart” Grid and Cities and the wild wild West of solutions being deployed to solve the multiple use cases. These use cases co-mingle data, infrastructure and of course connectivity.

Connectivity is the foundation and one of the most important components delivering on the promises of smart cities, smart grids, smart buildings augmented with other wired and wireless technologies to improve cities’ and municipalities’ operational efficiency and improve the liveability of citizens.

However, when it comes to the smart city solution delivery, most OEMs focus on the O/T(Operational Technology) side and want to deploy new sensors and additional wireless networks. They are not paying a lot of attention to the integration on the I/T(Information Technology)side and the implications associated. Each time a new system or solution is deployed, there is an increase in acquisition, operational and maintenance costs, and additional exposure to cybersecurity threat vectors, which has already been noted by the continuation of ransomware attacks and security exploits.

This is where Smart Connections Consulting thrives.

One of the top 20 strategy and technology consulting firms, Smart Connections Consulting takes a systems-based approach that addresses the cities’ or utilities’ transformation initiatives from the inside out.

“We engage our clients where they are and help them chart a methodical path to where they want to be. We get down to the specifics of their transformation initiatives, (Is it a connectivity effort? Is it a data strategy for cross functional organizational data sharing?), but we make sure to include the core cybersecurity and business operation systems” says Bill Pugh,Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Smart Connections Consulting.

Smart Connections creates an execution plan which is a by-product of documented use case requirements. We start by addressing the clear gap areas, (is it process, People or technology?) Meaning, Smart Connections Consulting does not approach the solution purely from a technology perspective.
Next, we address the operational efficiencies, process modifications, and core I/T infrastructure changes needed to solve the use cases. This is the most often missed part of the transformation project, aligning I/T operations, cybersecurity and business systems to the deployment of new technology in the O/T space.

An early example, Smart Connections Consulting helped Palo Alto utilize its traffic data as a means of improving flow through the city. Smart Connections worked with the city to deliver a “Digital Twin” of their connected intersections by leveraging streaming data. This equipped the city with the ability to see in real-time where congestion was and the impact that could be made by augmenting the signal timing. Secondarily, insights can be provided for other organizations within the city, e.g., sustainability can share their environmental data for any given corridor to help show that the improved traffic flow has helped reduce CO2 Emissions, or cyclists and pedestrians can be given priority in busy intersections, and all of this can be viewed via a single pane of glass.


We engage with clients where they are and help them chart a methodical path to where they want to be

In another case, Smart Connections partnered with the County of San Mateo to extend their Public WiFi, augmented with PLTE (CBRS) for service delivery into East Palo Alto. This is a foundational step to improving digital equity.

“I would like to note that Smart City’s and Smart Grid are actually the by-product of “Digital Transformation” initiatives and they truly rely on each other, we must continue to make progress by truly embracing digital transformation from the inside out,” says Pugh. Smart Connections believes this will become a much larger conversation over the next 3-5 years as the infrastructure bill so clearly articulates.

Company
Smart Connections Consulting

Headquarters
Austin, TX

Management
Bill Pugh, Co-Founder & Managing Partner

Description
A strategy and technology consulting firm with its roots firmly planted in delivering solutions, Smart Connections Consulting takes a service based approach that addresses the city’s or utilities’ digital transformation initiatives.

Smart Connections Consulting