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BPM Can Bring Smart City Dreams Closer to Reality

Joshua Hoffman
January 26, 2016

The business process management industry has been evolving as organizations in diverse sectors need software that can align processes, data and applications across diverse workflows. In response, BPM tools have reached a point where they can support end-to-end process efficiency in environments where Internet of Things tools are generating data that will then be accessed by both software and human users to inform everyday operations. The smart city is a prime example of this capability, and BPM solutions can help municipalities achieve their dreams of a futuristic burgh.

Looking at the smart city dream

The smart city is a fairly straightforward concept - connect everything from traffic lights and street lamps to parking and electric meters to the city's network, track that data through software and use it to make better decisions. Of course, like most projects that feature IoT functionality, most municipalities aren't working toward a full smart city vision. Instead, they may update their traffic lights or utility grid, just to name a few examples. However, the smart city movement is growing.

A recent study from Navigant Research found that there are currently approximately 235 active smart city projects, a significant gain over the 170 initiatives that were taking place as of the third quarter of 2013. At this point, most municipal entities are focusing on energy, transportation or government, as 85 percent of projects are used in one of those three segments. Ryan Citron, research analyst with Navigant Research, explained that an increase in projects isn't the only issue at hand as more cities work to deepen their integration with smart city technologies.

"The expansion of smart city projects is happening not only in terms of the quantity of projects being developed, but also in relation to the level and variety of integration being pursued," said Citron. "This expansion is expected to increase as governments continue to recognize the tremendous associated benefits of smart cities, including improved economic opportunity, sustainability, and quality of life."

Taking smart cities to another level with BPM

Making data actionable is one of the major challenges that comes into play with efforts like smart city programs. Core BPM functionality lets you align data with processes to ensure users get information in the right context. From there, they can also act as an application development platform, letting you take that data that fits within processes and ensure users can access it in the most efficient way possible. Accelerating app development plays a vital role in supporting smart cities, and BPM software makes it possible.