In the smart city of the fast-approaching future, a light pole may text you about an open parking spot
in front of your favorite store downtown — or the nearest open electric vehicle charger. Residents will
be able to get real-time air quality alerts via sensors on local electrical transformers, and pedestrian
foot traffic data collected by streetlights will be leveraged for economic development; for example,
enticing a world-class chef to open a restaurant.
As cities in the United States and around the globe expand their role as hubs of economic development,
population concentration and technical and cultural innovation, the concept of making cities “smart”
has become a key focus for local and state policymakers and their residents. The technology — and
specifically the need for digital platforms that will provide the backbone of many smart city initiatives —
could also open major opportunities for utilities to build new partnerships with their customers and
develop innovative services and business models.