By Tom Szubka, CAPP

These days, everything around us is getting smart–your phone, your watch, even the light bulbs in your house. Smart can make things easier–in some places you can have groceries delivered to your door by hollering at Alexa without getting out of bed. Smart can be annoying–Alexa can also holler back at you when it is time to wake up (to put away the groceries that just got delivered).

Smart has been coming fast at us for the last several years and maybe faster because we’ve gone through the pandemic. Yet, it seems that some cities, communities, and large institutions have a hard time keeping up. We know Smart has come to the parking and mobility world, but then why are there places still using “old-fashioned” parking meters and still collecting cash with a cigar box?

To be fair, Smart can be overwhelming, especially if you are a large institution, city, or community. These places have limited resources, a diverse citizen base, and have been historically reactionary with technology and policy advancement. Missteps in the public sector are overwhelmingly scrutinized, unlike in the private sector where the same paths are part of the research or product development cycle. There is far more incentive to get it right, then to keep up.

Still, it’s important not to be left behind and organizations that have not already done so should start trying to understand what to expect when beginning their journey into the realm of the Smart. Maybe it’s time for a 101, introductory-type webinar

Tom Szubka, CAPP, is a senior consultant with Walker Consultants. Along with his colleague, Tania Schleck, he will present an IPMI webinar: “Getting Smart: Strategies for Getting Started with Creating Smart Communities,” on December 15, 2021. The webinar offers 1 CAPP point.