You cannot imagine modern life without technologies: we depend on our devices, the Internet, and mobility so much that if someone took it from us, we would no longer function normally. Just like our life, technologies never stop in progress and each year we get more and more ways to make our environment more powerful and convenient for our existing. One of such methods that have developed rapidly during recent years is building smart cities – the ones that use the newest technologies to make the life of citizens easier and more comfortable.
Technologies that make a smart city
A smart city is based on connected objects, a sensor network and data management systems that collect and provide information on the weather conditions, air pollution level, energy use, traffic flows and other factors that impact our lives. Then, this data is analyzed in real-time letting citizens, businesses and E-government know about the changes and make appropriate decisions and services.
Many of the world`s cities and metropolises have already taken steps towards transitioning to becoming smarter and center their efforts around the quality of the air, energy savings, traffic circulation, etc. The creation of smart cities is a new way to make the life of citizens more progressive: the use of digital technologies (IoT, Blockchain, AI, VR, and mobility) is inserted into the physical infrastructure to make its residents get the best service.
The IoT (Internet of Things) is the spine of a smart city that keeps everything connected: it offers advanced connectivity of all smart devices, home appliances, medical services, vehicles, buildings, infrastructure and other important things of the city life. The main concept is that everything should be connected to communicate and function as a whole. People can have access and control all of this with the help of body devices that get smart solutions to every problem and situation.
All the amount of data generated by smart cities would be useless without a thorough analysis which is processed by AI. The data is analyzed to give more information and value from improving traffic to autonomous ride-share vehicles, all controlled by mobile apps. The use of AI lets the management of a smart city understand precisely how the city works from the inside: it can help in route planning, drone delivery, postal services that function autonomously or healthcare facilities – and this is just a small part of a smart city eco-system.
Key components of a smart city become the technologies of Virtual and Augmented Reality. They both require a massive amount of data delivered fast to provide AR and VR experience in real-time, on the move. For these purposes, it is important to get 5G networks working across the world which could guarantee the success of these technologies.
Although this technology has transformed the world of the global digital economy, it is still pretty new for the smart cities environment. Integrating Blockchain here would play a huge role in connecting all the services in a smart city and providing security and service transparency. Smart contracts generated by Blockchain can be used as agreements between people directly without 3d parties which will make the process of transactions safer, easier, cheaper and most of all – much faster.
A large part of every city makes a transport system. Today, according to statistics, an average person spends 15% of driving time in a traffic jam and around 20% looking for a parking lot. In a smart city getting to work would be much faster, safer, comfortable and with a far less stressful experience. Transport apps will provide car-sharing schemes, mobile parking spaces, and real-time traffic and public transport data to offer you the quickest route to your destination (using a bike, car or a bus). When you walk, the smart street lights would increase their luminosity as you come by and decrease when you go away, saving a huge amount of energy without sacrificing your security.
Smart cities of today
Do you still think that a smart city is just the unreal future? Barcelona, New York, Dubai, Amsterdam, Singapore, Stockholm, and many others have already started applying technologies in their everyday life to make the life of citizens progressive and comfortable.
1. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
The idea of a smart city was initiated in 2009 and right now embraces over 170 projects collaboratively developed by residents, government and businesses. All of them run on the interconnected platform with wireless devices. Amsterdam states that the main goal is to save energy, reduce traffic and take care of public safety. A number of houses have already been provided with energy meters and smart traffic sensors let the drivers know about current traffic conditions to choose the best routes.
2. Schenectady, New York, the USA
The city has upgraded all its 4 400 street lights to LED technology for saving more energy. The Wi-Fi network and a new software named Municity5 simplifies the work of building inspectors, and city police use it for uploading dashboard video from their cars without getting back to the police stations. There is also a program that displays the routes and locations for snowplows and the residents can report about the code violations, garbage pickup and other problems directly to authorities.
These are just a few examples of how advanced technologies can help to make urban life better and the citizens` life easier. The main thing here is that people do not have to move to specifically built smart cities, they can make their own city smart and enjoy living in places they already know. Smart technologies are a smart combination of old and new and it is often where the actual technical revolution is taking place.