Interoperability is defined as the ability of a system or a product to interface and operate with a variety of existing systems without any access-related restrictions.
Although the concept has been around for many years, it remains largely unknown outside of technical circles. And yet, interoperability is an issue of major logistical importance for today’s municipal administrations, from both an operational and a financial point of view.
Open data is essential to interoperable communications systems
Smart cities have been working for many years to implement scalable, open data–based models to ensure multiple systems can work together seamlessly and share information in real time. A few examples of these functionalities are:
- • Real-time updates on the number of available parking spaces
- • Status of snow clearing operations on major arterial streets
- • Traffic and congestion reports
- • Public transit schedules and delays
- • Operating hours for sports arenas and community facilities.
System interoperability is vital for smart cities in 2020, especially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has profoundly changed how municipal teams interact with residents. As a result, a number of transactions have been moved online, among them:
- • Permit applications
- • Municipal tax payments
- • Registration for recreational activities and day camps
- • Communications with residents.
Once the city has access to the necessary data, it can be uploaded to a website, a digital signage network or interactive kiosks located within municipal buildings or set up at other high-traffic areas.
In 2020, city administrations have nothing to lose and everything to gain from building a close relationship with providers of digital solutions that can leverage the data at their disposal through high-performance APIs.
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