Home » News » Smart Transportation Laying the Groundwork for the Smart City

Smart Transportation Laying the Groundwork for the Smart City

Ken Hosac

The following is a guest post by Ken Hosac

Ken Hosac is the Vice President of IoT Strategy and Business Development at Cradlepoint. Cradlepoint is the leading provider of cloud-based wired and wireless WAN networking solutions for Distributed and Mobile Enterprises. Cradlepoint solutions provide the strongest wireless and broadband performance while delivering proven network system interoperability. Ken has been with the company for 8 years. He is a graduate of Stanford University with an MS in Manufacturing Engineering.


Gartner estimates there will be 8.4 billion connected ‘things’ in use in 2017. This number is up 31% from 2016, with Gartner further estimating that by 2020, there will be more than 20 billion devices connected through the Internet of Things (IoT).  

Leading from the front

Consumer uptake of connected ‘things’ is steadily progressing. Companies are offering connected refrigerators that send mobile alerts when you are low on milk and connected front door locks to dispense with the need for keys. It seems that if it can be connected, it will be connected.  

In the enterprise we are seeing widespread deployment as part of the more general drive towards digital transformation and increased mobility. A report from MarketsandMarkets predicts the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and enterprise mobility market will grow from more than $35 billion in 2016 to more than $73 billion by 2021.  Organizations in both the public and private sectors are already using IoT for mission critical infrastructure and to offer people access to things like emergency services. By the end of 2017, IDC predicts that two-thirds of the CEOs of Global 2000 companies will have digital transformation at the center of their corporate strategy. 

The enterprise drive for IoT adoption, increased mobility and digital transformation is the foundation of the smart city movement. Healthcare, emergency services, retail and education are all rapidly advancing and demonstrating that with secure and reliable connectivity, connected devices are already making a significant impact on the world.

Connectivity everywhere

The GSMA has predicted that by 2025 the majority of the world’s cars will be built with some form of connectivity. In December of 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed a for vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology, while the Transportation Department is developing guidelines for vehicle-to-infrastructure communication and testing the technology around the country.

There are a number of benefits delivered by in-vehicle network connectivity, such as value-added passenger services, streamlined work processes, increased fleet security, and access to essential information on the road.

Even lighting networks are helping vehicles get smarter. Connected street lights are forming information networks around towns and cities and will form a backbone of connectivity for other smart city services – from intelligent parking systems to traffic management. Cities seeking to minimize the impact of traffic and pollution are using Internet-connected sensors and meters to update parking maps in real time. Drivers can access data through a cloud application that allows them to quickly locate open parking spaces.

Driving change with in-vehicle connectivity

Transportation technology has developed rapidly over the past decade, and wireless connectivity has played a key role. Many company and government fleets now include reliable and always-available Internet connectivity to keep up with these innovations, and to enable improved productivity, fleet management and extended services for passengers and public servants.

There may be some hype around IoT, but evolving in-vehicle connectivity is already demonstrating the transformative potential for the future. One important area where this is now being seen is emergency services. A range of in-vehicle IoT applications are already achieving significant usage, including:

  • Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) and electronic record transfer systems being used by police and ambulances to streamline deployment efficiency.
  • Connected dashboard cameras are being used to enable remote incident examination and collaboration. Emergency scenes can be assessed in real time to accurately determine the right number of officers or paramedics to deploy.  Connected cameras are being used to remotely spot stolen vehicles, theft, illegal dumping and suspicious activities.
  • Connected ambulances are giving paramedics access to electronic health records for more effective decision-making. Information such as treatment plans, potential drug interactions and previous health history is critical to ensuring patients receive personalized, accurate care regardless of their location. Records can also be updated with new information, ensuring emergency room personnel have all the stats they need when the patient arrives.  
  • GPS location services allow ambulance units to be tracked and located quickly and accurately, even if the paramedics are too engaged to communicate via phone. Knowing where each and every ambulance is at any moment means dispatchers can more quickly route response vehicles to the most critical scenes, and notify hospitals about arrival times.

Transportation technology has advanced exponentially in recent years with the ubiquity of 3G, 4G and LTE networks and the adoption of cloud connectivity, and every indication is that this trajectory will continue. Whether it is mass transit Wi-Fi, real-time connectivity for first responders or service fleet database access, in-vehicle networks are transforming how organizations connect from the road. As consumer IoT adoption continues to rise and enterprises strive for a sustained digital transformation, the smart city foundation will continue to grow in strength and diversity.  

About the author

Nick Hastreiter

I write about the future of business. I approach this by interviewing founders, CEO's, and other game changers to share their vision for the future of their industry.