IoT and street furniture: the maintenance potential

With an ever increasing number of commutes, it’s clear that humans are becoming more and more “nomadic”. The amount of people travelling within a regional area each day is forcing decision-makers to redefine methods of transport for their citizens and to rethink public space. And that is precisely the objective of the smart city: "enhance the quality of life of city dwellers by using new technologies that rely on an ecosystem of interconnected objects and services to make cities more adaptive and efficient." as defined by the CNIL (the French National Commission for Information Technology and Individual Freedom). So how can street furniture use the Internet of Things (IoT) to keep pace with the evolution of public space? And in this context, what is the role of maintenance?

IoT, a development challenge for local governments

The city is as much a place of transition as it is a common space for sharing. This is why smart street furniture and IoT are increasingly present in cities: smart benches, solar and compact bins, free-floating bicycles and scooters, etc. In particular, this kind of street furniture solves many challenges in terms of comfort, ecology, safety, etc. all while optimizing the management of urban development and various services.

By responding to the needs of citizens, smart street furniture therefore contributes to improving their quality of life. Indeed, thanks to IoT, many services can be optimized using the data generated by street furniture. For instance, thanks to smart sensors, it’s possible to improve waste collection by organizing it based on how full the trash cans are. Sensors can also indicate any unoccupied parking spaces in the vicinity. 

In addition, while street furniture furnishes public spaces and improves the residents’ quality of life, it also contributes to the creation or preservation of a local identity. Innovation and development are also at the heart of territorial marketing strategies.

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All news related to ongoing interventions are available from Mobility Work mobile application's newsfeed, available on iOS and Android.

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At present, street furniture offers innovative services that have never been available before. Equipped with digital screens, they allow the user to search for information about the services in a given district using a geolocation system. It is safe to assume that the anonymous data generated by these searches will undoubtedly make it possible, in the long term, to improve local services by analyzing user trends.

And that is the core purpose of smart city street furniture: to produce new data in order to adjust public policies in terms of development and urban planning.

Maintenance: paving the way towards smart cities

With the evolution of street furniture, maintenance plays a central role by combining different maintenance strategies with high-performance software to ensure that all public equipment is operating normally. 

With regards to corrective maintenance, connected objects can directly send a notification to the maintenance center to report a failure or even accurately indicate where the problem is. As a result, technicians detect failures more easily and are able to respond more quickly with the right equipment. 

IoT can also help with another type of maintenance: preventive maintenance. Using the Internet of Things, technicians can plan ahead and schedule the intervention before the failure. For example, thanks to IoT and the industry of the future, a community with the right tool can monitor its public lighting system in real time as well as view its history. This monitoring leads to better community management at several levels: not only can agents plan maintenance schedules and organize their days, but the purchasing department can also better anticipate the quantity of spare parts to be purchased and calculate the budget. 

cmms maintenance management software dashboard

Mobility Work CMMS is provided with an analytic tool to help you analyze all your maintenance data and adapt your strategy

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Perhaps the most important development challenge is "evolutionary" maintenance. As we have seen above, smart street furniture makes it possible to collect data that helps to better understand the new trends and needs of residents. The analysis of this data enables public decision-makers to draw conclusions about the "user experience" and to facilitate their decision-making.

CMMS: maintenance through collaboration

Data collection remains a sensitive issue. Therefore, it’s important to consider that this evolutionary maintenance can only be implemented from a collaborative standpoint. To be effective, collaboration must exist at different levels: between staff within the same territory, between different territories as well as between residents and decision-makers. 

Hence the importance of choosing the right CMMS software. In fact, among the many solutions available on the market, only a select few are truly effective. Often difficult to learn and to use, most traditional software isn’t engaging enough for field teams to enter all their maintenance data, even though the data is essential for monitoring and tracing operations. What’s more, these conventional software programs are often designed to cater only to certain technical trades and therefore do not encourage communication between the different teams working together. Mobility Work was born from this observation. 

The Mobility Work CMMS software, with its intuitive and user-friendly interface, enables technicians to discuss maintenance issues together in addition to maintaining a history of their interventions. Furthermore, it also provides a permanent overview of the condition of the street furniture to the stakeholders involved in the decision-making process, namely the administrative and political staff of the local authority as well as the companies or trade unions responsible for the management of street furniture. They can sign in at any time to follow the latest maintenance news using the newsfeed or to analyze their data in the application's dashboard.

Moreover, as we know, cities are interconnected and cannot be considered alone. Designed as a social network, Mobility Work pushes the boundaries of the city to create a new territorial network focused on maintenance. Thanks to this innovative aspect, it promotes the exchange of good practices between territories.

In conclusion, street furniture is changing to become more and more connected. As a result, public space is evolving to provide greater comfort and safety for users and citizens as a whole. IoT makes it possible to push the limits of traditional maintenance by considering maintenance from the perspective of continuous improvement and sharing.

So through collaboration, it encourages the community and all its stakeholders to account for the new uses that are made of public spaces in the framework of urban planning policies. By choosing the right CMMS software, local authorities can place the citizen directly at the heart of the city's development while improving the availability of street furniture through maintenance.

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