Revitalizing the Heart of the Heartland It may be the thirty-seventh-largest city by population, but Kansas City, Missouri, is one of the smartest cities in the United States. Along the two-mile corridor of the Kansas City Streetcar, a $15 million public-private partnership has supported deployment of 328 Wi-Fi access points, 178 smart streetlights that can detect traffic patterns and open parking spaces, and 25 video kiosks, as well as pavement sensors, video cameras, and other devices. It’s all connected by the city’s nearly ubiquitous fiber-optic data network. “I like to call it the smartest 54 blocks in the nation,” says Bob Bennett, chief innovation officer of the City of Kansas City.
The successful use of smart city technology has been a key component in bringing people back to Kansas City’s core. “Ten years ago, we had fewer than 5,000 people living downtown,” says Bennett. “We have seen a 520 percent growth in the number of residents in downtown and a 400 percent growth in development investment. I believe our Smart City project has played a prominent role in getting people excited about living here.”
Putting Information to Work
With devices generating data day and night—plus more than 4,200 existing datasets—the city needed a solution to turn data into tangible outcomes. It turned to Xaqt, which provides an urban analytics and intelligence platform that helps policymakers better innovate how cities function.
“By providing integration, governance, analytics, and a user front end, we make city data useful,” says Chris Crosby, chief executive officer at Xaqt. “Whether it’s an individual looking for a parking space or a manager looking at violation rates across the city, we can serve up the right insights and data based on role.”
Xaqt delivers its services using Amazon Web Services (AWS), which provides the agility and scalability required by its growing roster of smart city clients—without the cost and complexity of managing traditional infrastructure. “Using AWS makes our solution high-performing and scalable, enabling us to deliver cost-effectively on client needs large and small,” says Crosby.
The solution ingests streaming data using Amazon Kinesis, processing more than one million real-time events per day for Kansas City alone. Aggregations, queries, and analytics are performed automatically as data arrives, typically by serverless AWS Lambda functions that are billed only when they run.
Amazon Redshift functions as a long-term repository for city and regional data; Amazon DynamoDB is used for application-specific databases. Xaqt uses AWS CloudFormation to create and manage resources, Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) to launch resources in a virtual network, and Amazon Cognito for user sign-up and sign-in.