What It Means to Become a Smart City

SaskTel has helped various communities throughout Saskatchewan become smart cities. Not sure what it’s all about? We spoke with SaskTel Smart Communities Lead, Amardeep Verma, about what it means to be a smart city, the benefits, and how to become one.

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Amardeep Verma, SaskTel Smart Communities Lead

Being a smart city means the municipality has embedded digital technology that enhances the residents’ quality of living in that specific community. Data, playing the most important role in being a smart city, is collected and analyzed. Data-driven decisions are then made to improve efficiency in service delivery and achieve outcomes around planning, budgeting, resourcing, and scheduling.

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How is the data collected?

The data can be collected through human touch points, sensors, or connected devices from where the readings or items of interest are relayed over the networks. For context, something similar would be a water meter reading where the sensor transmits the readings to automate the manual meter reading process while delivering accuracy, efficiency, and timely revenue realization.

Do you have to be a city or can you be a town or village?

SaskTel has been actively working with communities of all sizes and types in their journeys to become smart cities. For example, we have worked with a number of communities including Melfort and Whitecap Dakota First Nation to make the transition.

How can communities get the most value out of becoming a smart city?

While each community has different priorities and objectives, the smart city approach delivers common benefits to all. Becoming a smart city allows communities to make better decisions that drive operational efficiency, citizen engagement, satisfaction, better long- and short-term budgeting, and improved quality of life. Communities may see population growth and business attraction, making the community a better place to live, work, and invest.

Who would you say benefits the most – administrators, residents, taxpayers?

The benefits of an efficient, safe, and prosperous community touch everyone directly or indirectly. For the most part, we work with municipal administration teams and the council who represent the residents and tax-payers. But there are times when we work with residents directly. For example, we worked on a project to digitize the city hall where we engaged a focus group of residents. Becoming a smart city takes everyone and shows unique benefits to each individual.

How do you get started on becoming a smart city? It all starts with a conversation. Encourage your town or municipality to reach out to Amardeep, request a call back, or call 1.844.SASKTEL (1.844.727.5835).

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