The City of Los Angeles Information Technology Agency (ITA) introduced the SmartLA 2028 strategy, a concise summary of their vision, approach to being a Smart City, and roadmap to accomplish said vision by 2028.

The city envisions a highly digital and connected urban environment, and residents will experience an improved quality of life by utilizing existing and emerging technology to meet urban challenges. And to do so, the city invested and continues to invest in infrastructure, digital services, and data tools to become a globally recognized Smart City. But Smart Cities are much more than purchasing software or installing next-generation streetlamps. A Smart City is an integrated and intelligent urban ecosystem comprised of multiple components that must integrate to benefit the public.

Data, for example, is a unique component of a Smart City. And relevant data tools and practices enable effective cross-department, government-to-resident, government-to-business, and machine-to-machine information sharing. The City of Los Angeles identified practical uses of data to reduce government spending, improve operational performance, create new service opportunities, and identify inequalities in government service delivery.

But the ITA identified a series of strategic challenges that the city must overcome to increase the capabilities of Smart City Infrastructure, fundamental physical technology required to deliver connectivity across an urban environment. For example, with the broad adoption of IoT sensors, the city needs to improve shared usage across both City departments and the private sector to maximize sensor investments to improve public services.

Additionally, many who embark on the ‘Smart City” journey over-invest in physical infrastructure and directly associate the infrastructure itself with being “smart,” but this negatively impacts the overall Smart City programs.

Unlike infrastructure or data, digital services are evident and tangible for residents, businesses, and visitors, but the City of Los Angeles must continue to improve user experience and customer journeys across all digital services. Additionally, the city faces various challenges limiting its efficiency in delivering digital services, such as departments with varying levels of expertise result in inequitable digital user experiences; difficulties in technology procurement and contracting resulting in slow IT deployment; and users with multiple digital identities from a lack of centralized user credentials.

Further, smart cities require collaboration amongst departments to deliver best-in-class services to the public. To date, the City of Los Angeles departments, along with the ITA, have informally worked together to coordinate Smart City efforts.

“Our vision is becoming a reality. As a three-time U.S. Digital City Winner (2016-18), the City of Los Angeles has been investing and continues to invest in the infrastructure, digital services, and data tools to be a globally recognized Smart City,” the report stated.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk State and Local Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.