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Author's profile photo Marlyn Zelkowitz

Citizen-Centric Innovation with Internet of Things (IoT)

Welcome back! 

The first blog on Internet of Things (IoT) in public sector discussed why governments are jumping on the bandwagon to fund research and innovation projects. With expected potential value of US$ 930 – 1.660 trillion in cities alone, funding innovation makes sense. This second blog focuses on use cases. And with seemingly limitless possible use cases, where to begin? 

IoT Use Cases in Public Sector

The four major IoT use case areas, especially for smart cities, are:

  • Asset and resource management – buildings, facilities, lights, wastewater sewers and treatment, storm drains, equipment for heating, ventilation and, air conditioning, other equipment owned or operated by public sector, etc.
  • Transportation and traffic management – roads, bridges, subways, buses, autonomous vehicles, traffic lights, tolls, etc.
  • Citizen experience – citizen and visitor experience, collaboration between citizens and stakeholders, and digital delivery of services
  • Public safety and health – monitoring, detecting, and preventing crime; emergency response, monitoring air and water quality, and improving public health through remote monitoring and treatment.

IoT in Action – Public Sector Examples

Asset and resource management

Two excellent examples of IoT in public sector exist today in the Government of the City of Buenos Aires. The Government of the City of Buenos Aires, Argentina was a finalist for the 2015 Smart City Award at the Smart Cities Expo World Congress for Real Time Flood Situational Awareness.  They use SAP HANA to analyze real-time sensor data from storm drains and the SAP Mobile Platform to ensure streets and drains are clear to mitigate risks caused by seasonal torrential rainfall.

Overall, the Government of the City of Buenos Aires manages some 700,000 assets, streetlights, parks, bus stops, buildings and bridges with the SAP HANA Platform. This asset management includes replacing 91,000 street lights with LEDs controlled by Philips’ CityTouch, which interfaces directly with the SAP HANA platform. This customer testimonial video tells the story.


Transportation and traffic management

The Port of Hamburg has a goods turnover of 140 Million Tons each year. Numbers are expected to double by 2030 – a serious challenge for the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA), which has little geographical space to expand. To accommodate growth, the port needs to make sure that trucks are only in the terminal when needed. By connecting ships, trucks, people, and everything in the Port, truck drivers save 5-10 minutes per truck and tour, for a total of 5,000 per day over 40,000 trips.  The smartPORT logistics platform is built on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform to connect supply chains end to end.  T-Systems provides connectivity with integrated telematics, upgraded mobile terminal devices, and geo-fences for communication integration. Overall, HPA has doubled the cargo handling capacity by improving traffic management and logistics.

Public Safety and Healthcare

The City of Boston Department of Public Works (DPW) uses in memory data, analytics, geo-spatial information and sensors to manage snow responses. Released in February 2015, the SnowStats web application provided the public’s lens into Boston’s snow response. This site displays real-time information on the City’s snow preparations, plowing and clean up. By simply entering an address, the constituent can easily understand the current response activities, snow storm projections, equipment and staff on task, progress clearing that immediate neighborhood, and the actual plows and drivers working nearby. Driven by data from the internal SnowCOP (Common Operating Picture) solution, SnowStats provides peace of mind while humanizing the response efforts for the city’s residents.

DPW relies on SnowCOP not only for SnowStats data, but to manage the plowing of the 850 miles of roadways in the city. SnowCOP is a user-friendly command center for those actively managing the response and providing status updates to City leadership. Within SnowCOP, the users can view the real-time progress through either an analytical dashboard or associated map to understand

  • What resources are needed by neighborhood?
  • What activities are each vehicles engaged in currently?
  • Where are citizens most requesting plowing?
  • What streets have been plowed and which ones have not?

For more information please see:

Boston Snow Journal

Snow Tech

Live SnowStats

WBUR Article

PDF of ESRI App Site:


Today’s blog addresses actual public sector use cases for internet of things. And we didn’t even touch the building blocks of IoT, however, someone else already did. For the curious seeking more information on the building blocks of IoT, I refer you to this excellent blog:

We invite you to share your potential use cases, ideas, and experiences with IoT in public sector on SAP Community Network.

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      Author's profile photo Ryan van Leent
      Ryan van Leent

      Hi Marlyn,

      Prior to joining SAP I worked on a Care Coordination project in Beijing where the Government was interested in improving public health and wellbeing through engagement with local social services. It occurs to me that much of what was being done by social services was in-home health monitoring, which could be replaced with IoT monitoring.

      Also, in some jurisdictions hospitals are now fined by the Government for readmissions of patients with the same complaint and within a certain timeframe after discharge. Again, IoT monitoring could assist health and social care providers to intervene and prevent the patient's condition deteriorating to the point of requiring readmission.

      Thanks for another interesting blog post 🙂

      Kind regards,


      Author's profile photo Marlyn Zelkowitz
      Marlyn Zelkowitz
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Ryan,

      Thanks for chiming in and sharing your experience.

      You are spot on: healthcare will be a big area of public sector value for internet of things. Today, doctors, nurses and other caregivers can monitor patient conditions with EarlySense devices under the mattress. These devices are deployed in over 200,000 hospital beds. If caregivers could deploy a sensor under the patient mattress at home, then we might shorten hospital stays and improve quality of life for the ill, especially those with chronic conditions that only require hospitalization to monitor certain vital signs. Remote monitoring and telecommunications could also allow more patients in remote locations to receive adequate care.

      We can only begin to imagine what changes are possible with IoT. The possibilities are limited only by our imaginations. I'm looking forward to the journey!

      Kind regards,