One of the largest public-administration software providers, CentralSquare, has absorbed a new tool to help government clients address crumbling infrastructure with asset management software.
CentralSquare, whose software purportedly helps governments serving 75 percent of North American citizens, has added asset management to its toolbelt with the acquisition of Lucity Inc.
Announced Tuesday, the deal makes Lucity the latest company to fall under the CentralSquare banner, after Superion, TriTech and Aptean were consolidated last September in one of the largest-ever mergers in the gov tech market. Superion had absorbed 911 false-alarm detector CryWolf prior to that, in March 2018.
For CentralSquare, this latest acquisition adds a critical, missing component to the company’s cloud software suite. For Lucity, which serves larger cities in over 40 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces, it expands the platform’s reach.
“For over 30 years, Lucity has been the market leader in providing software that enables communities to understand which physical assets they own, how the assets are performing, where repairs are needed, how long the assets will last and how much it will cost to replace them,” said Lucity President and CEO Don Pinkston in a statement. “CentralSquare brings an existing customer network of over 7,500 agencies and enables Lucity’s software to reach more communities across North America as they grapple with solving increasingly complex asset and work management needs.”
Shortly after Tuesday’s announcement, CentralSquare CEO Simon Angove told Government Technology his company became interested in Lucity after conversations with clients. Facing strained budgets against deteriorating infrastructure, local governments pointed to asset management as key to their future operations.
Data from the American Society of Civil Engineers corroborates these concerns: The ASCE gave American infrastructure a D+ rating in 2017, estimated that local governments will have to invest $4.6 trillion by 2025 to boost that to a B+, and estimated that poor infrastructure costs the average citizen $3,400 a year in disposable income.
“Part of our mission is, we provide technology that can serve as a force multiplier to agencies that, with limited budgets and resources, allows them to do more with less. And it was clear talking to our agency customers that this is particularly important in the area of managing assets and infrastructure — bridges, roads, drinking water, sewage, et cetera,” Angove said. “But most budgets for maintaining and upgrading assets and infrastructure is insufficient, so they’re looking for solutions that can help them extend the life cycle of their assets and reduce the maintenance costs associated with it, while at the same time improving quality of service and health and safety in their communities.”
With Lucity’s platform added to the CentralSquare suite, Angove said, the same solution now provides oversight of people, functions and assets of government. Agencies will be able to manage their operations on a single device, see how each asset is affecting their community’s finances and make budget decisions by analyzing permitting data.
“If new permits are being issued at a high volume in a community, it allows the agency to better anticipate that there are going to be additional asset and infrastructure needs in that community building roads, building bridges, building water mains, and that they can more accurately set aside capital reserves to do that,” he explained.
Angove touted the public safety aspect of this, too: If an AI application can predict where traffic accidents are going to happen as a result of potholes or poor drainage, for example, CentralSquare can prioritize work orders according to which assets need to be fixed first. And wildfires, often caused by broken power lines or transformers, might be averted by preventive maintenance.
Angove wouldn’t say whether the company sees more acquisitions on the horizon, but he didn’t rule it out.
“We’re always looking for ways to add applications to our platform where it makes sense, so inorganic growth is part of our strategy, along with the double-digit organic growth that we enjoy today,” he said.