When government agency assets are not proactively managed, it just takes one infrastructure issue for a situation to escalate.
- Downed powerlines are credited for igniting the catastrophic California wildfires in 2017 that killed 46 people and caused upwards of hundreds of millions of dollars in damage – 10,800 homes and buildings destroyed and 1.2 million acres burned.
- Over 47,000 bridges across the United States are rated structurally deficient and need urgent repairs, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s 2019 Bridge Report.
- The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates there are 240,000 water main breaks per year, wasting over 2 trillion gallons of treated drinking water.
Government agencies have long used asset management tools to monitor and keep track of infrastructure such as roads, bridges, water mains, powerlines and more. But as populations grow and resources are spread thin, maintenance can be more and more difficult to keep up with.
Don’t let this challenge become the next public safety crisis. In order for a city to be both efficient and proactive about keeping an eye on its critical infrastructure, it first has to be smart.
What does it mean to be a “smart city”?
Smart cities use the power of technology and insightful data to do more with less.
A smart city uses the data a modern enterprise asset management (EAM) system gathers to become proactive rather than reactive. Using software to categorize assets from low-priority to critical allows agencies to free up their time and allocate resources to the most important cases. By making smart choices in how they manage their assets, government agencies gain the capability to address infrastructure needs long before problems arise.
More data, less problems
Local government agencies often have tens of thousands of assets, sometimes even millions. While many are highly visible, others are hidden – think of water mains or underground sewer lines – and others get lost in the details, like the vast networks of street signs, lights and signals. By removing the complexity of tracking overwhelming inventories of assets, EAM provides deeper insights into all of your assets that go far beyond monitoring stats like age, use, cost, condition and maintenance schedule. The most advanced EAMs can smartly identify trends around your infrastructure – what’s deteriorating quickly, how different assets are performing and how much longer they’re expected to last.
Towns and cities incur a multitude of small yet costly daily disruptions from less-than-ideal management of their assets and infrastructure. Identifying and solving problems before they appear so city services can run efficiently is a key aspect of successful EAM. It enables agencies to prevent system slow-downs before they escalate to full-blown system failures, so you can minimize repair and replacement costs. In fact, the Federal Highway Administration reported that each dollar spent on improving roads, highways, and bridges brings a return of $5.20 in the form of lower future road and bridge maintenance costs, lower vehicle maintenance costs and improved safety.
Often, a government’s assets are spread out across a wide area, and time management quickly becomes an issue. City employees who trek back and forth multiple times between offsite locations and the main office are wasting valuable time and ultimately, taxpayer dollars.
The most advanced EAM systems extend cloud-based GIS capabilities onto a mobile platform, allowing for substantial efficiency gains, including smarter use of employees’ time. Using a mobile app, agencies have better and more easily accessible visibility into employees out in the field, so assigning maintenance teams to work sites becomes less of a guessing game. As a result, teams can ramp up performance and complete their tasks and accompanying paperwork on the go – all on one unified platform.
What does the future of EAM hold?
As technology capabilities continue to evolve, so must public sector leaders. Smart asset management isn’t just about preserving the longevity of assets for longevity’s sake – it’s about making sure the powerlines don’t fail, the bridges stay up and the roads stay smooth and steady for the citizens they serve. Smart asset management can ensure cities and towns lead their citizens confidently and securely forward.