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As usual, you get up early in the morning to go to work, leaving your house about the same time as all your neighbors. As you drive, you begin to notice that you’re catching all green lights on the main thoroughfares, and cross traffic has less time for its signals. Still, fewer cars are waiting in lines than you remember from a few years back. On the highway, several extra lanes in the direction of heavy traffic open up for you (something that will happen the opposite way on your way home later). You see that new on-ramp lights are being used to allow a few cars at a time onto the highway, when traffic is at its heaviest. At some point, your GPS notes an accident ahead, and you’re rerouted to reduce any delay. Then, since a public event is taking place near your office, the GPS redirects you through a less congested area to a suitable parking lot.

Once you’ve parked and emerged from your vehicle, you realize it’s taken less time lately to travel from home to work than it did in the past. And that’s despite ever-growing numbers of new businesses cropping up along your route. But why?

While it may be subtly, we are gradually moving into more information-sharing and adjustments to how we live and work in our communities through the concept of “smart cities.” sums up the situation as follows: “Cities and communities across the globe are seeking to deploy advanced technologies such as Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) and Internet of Things (IoT) to improve the quality of life for their residents. Such a system involves cyber-networking devices and other supporting systems working with physical infrastructure. When applied to transportation, health care, utilities, and other sectors, these CPS and IoT could expand and improve services, promote economic growth, and enhance quality of life.”



Fig. 1. Smart City/Community Concept (

While many smart-city applications will not be directly noticed by the residents of a community, some of them and their associated concerns (such as cybersecurity) are similar to those in industry. Applications include, among other things: efficient use of energy; utilizing machine learning and AI to determine which roads require repair, based upon the rate of degradation and traffic; optimal use of public transportation; interaction between utilities/services and privately owned buildings and businesses; improved communications; even management of drug-addiction programs.

At this time, many smart-city projects are used for demonstration purposes, and they’re not limited to cities. A good example is the Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN), which is a consortium of counties in North-Central Indiana. The purpose is to use a suite of IoT systems and communications through agricultural, manufacturing, academia, and other stakeholders funded by the Eli Lilly Endowment to provide information to the agriculture sector and next-generation manufacturing and promote economic growth. Many of the systems in this example are test beds and demonstration projects promoting the use of IoT to reduce costs and optimize operations that, in turn, improves profitability of existing agricultural and manufacturing enterprises and attracts new one to the region. Learn more about the WHIN program at .

In our next article, we will discuss how the concepts around manufacturing IoT, smart-grid, and smart cities are envisioned to improve quality of life, worker safety, and competitiveness.TRR



Click On The Following Links For Recent Articles On Smart Technologies/Concepts And Electrical Reliability

“What’s So ‘Smart’ About A Smart Grid? (July 3, 2021)

“Electrical Resiliency & The World Of Microgrids” (July 11, 2021)



Howard Penrose, Ph.D., CMRP, is Founder and President of Motor Doc LLC, Lombard, IL and, among other things, a Past Chair of the Society for Reliability and Maintenance Professionals, Atlanta ( Email him at, or, and/or visit



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