Creating a smarter city
By Colten Kamlade, Staff Reporter
The City of Coquitlam has announced that they will be considering adopting a plethora of new technological initiatives to help solve city problems.
Work first started on the project back in 2016, but was only presented to city council this year. Some of the ideas that have been presented include interactive touchscreen kiosks set up in public spaces, WiFi access at Spani Pool, and piloting Skype for business and video conferencing.
Danny Bandiera, manager of information communications and technology for the City, said that although these initiatives may sound costly, the benefits of such improvements were far reaching. Moreover, he said, the city will actually end up saving money.
“In addition to saving money in the long run, these initiatives will help us in improving our citizens’ services and customer experience, develop smart transportation solutions, maintain public safety and security, migrate towards a smart city, empower staff to be better at what they do, and improve operational efficiency and productivity,” he said in an email interview with the Other Press.
How much the initiatives will actually end up costing, however, is still up in the air.
“The cost of these initiatives has yet to be finalized and primarily depends on the scope of the initiatives that will be brought forward through the budget process on an annual basis,” Bandiera said.
A couple of the most interesting ideas on the table are video analytics software to help police respond to safety concerns and a new citizen mobile engagement app. The latter, according to Bandiera, has been highlighted as a key priority for residents of Coquitlam.
“[By using the app] residents will be able to locate Parks and Trails, WiFi spots, be reminded of city events, report an issue, and more,” he said.
The analytics software would be utilized by the RCMP to reduce risk during events.
“Current technology trends in public safety are related to the growing use of video analytics to track and predict crowd dynamics in situations such as events, and to use this technology to proactively react to potential safety issues,” he said. “We will continue to work with the RCMP and support their needs in crime analytics, as well as proactive use of visual analytics to sustain Coquitlam’s level of public safety.”
According the City of Coquitlam website, the creation of the Technology Roadmap has involved considerable research. This includes a community survey, input from the Coquitlam Youth Council, advice from a technology consultant, and a review of staff needs.