Earlier this week I recorded an interview with IoT Central Contributor and leading IoT recruiter Bill McCabe. We talked about smart cities and I revealed something you probably didn't know about me. Have a listen.
Earlier this week I recorded an interview with IoT Central Contributor and leading IoT recruiter Bill McCabe. We talked about smart cities and I revealed something you probably didn't know about me. Have a listen.
Guest post by Andrew Hamilton
It’s time for a better paradigm of urbanization. Conventional models, while still solid, are no longer up to the heightened challenges of the present. Exponentially improving technologies for the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence are enabling urban developments with much higher levels of efficiency and flexibility to conserve resources, promote security, and boost the quality of life.
The key development is not the technologies themselves, but their integration around a holistic view of urbanization that enables a series of smart services. Instead of focusing on single services, or specific buildings or highways, leading organizations around the world are using IoT and analytics to optimize infrastructure generally and evolve with changing needs. While getting there will take a great deal of investment and expertise, the result will be places where residents thrive in unexpected ways in their personalized urban developments.
The Future of Urbanization
To understand the business opportunity, it’s helpful to break urbanization down into three phases. Over most of history, Urban 1.0, this happened with little general direction or coordination. People gradually moved into towns and cities, and new and old residents adjusted largely on their own. Urban 2.0 started in the early 20th century, as reformers launched ambitious city plans to improve the cityscape and its governance.
Urban 3.0 came at the beginning of the 21st century, as planners applied computers, automation, and systems thinking to improve efficiency and coordination. This smart urbanization brought many advances. But its focus on solutions for a specific area (a building, street, or factory), or sector (transportation, energy, waste), led to static efforts that failed to realize many potential gains. To take a simple example, buildings got sensors that turned off lights when not in use. But those sensors failed to learn from all the data they were seeing, and they didn’t connect to air-conditioning and other systems.
It’s time to go to the next level—Urban 4.0. The Internet of Things enables residents and planners to monitor and adjust much of the urban infrastructure. These sensors generate a flood of data, but with machine learning, cloud communication, and advanced analytics, we can optimize planning and operations across multiple components. Buildings can have smart controls that adjust lighting and HVAC according to expected usage, and that predict and indicate when equipment needs to be repaired, replaced, upgraded, or modified altogether. We can also monitor energy usage across a portfolio of buildings, and share efficient practices such as overnight battery storage to reduce demand in peak daytime periods.
Developers and officials can now “future-proof” their designs by calculating citywide dynamics over time. They can look on a city as a living organism, where all the components have to be healthy for residents to thrive.
Urban 4.0 goes beyond the direct provision of municipal services. It helps companies take advantage of telecommunications to improve the quality of life. Residents can choose to provide data on their wants and needs, along with their geo-location. Businesses granted access to this information can serve urbanites more efficiently and boost their margins. While these offerings, at least in theory, will eventually be made available everywhere, they’ll initially concentrate in large, mixed-use urban developments to gain scale economies. That’s because many of the large developers are better funded than cities, and eager to distinguish themselves in the marketplace. Thanks to IoT and AI, their developments will make full use of ubiquitous connections.
While technology is pulling the world to Urban 4.0, serious social and environmental challenges are pushing. Developing countries are in the midst of an urbanization wave the world has never seen, both in scale and rapidity. China alone expects 200 million new city residents in the next 10 years, or 15% of its population, and other Asian countries are similarly shifting. We’re seeing the emergence of supercities, such as the agglomeration around Shanghai, which could exceed 100 million residents by 2050. That’s when 70% of the world’s population is expected to be urban, up from 54% today. Such a massive concentration could overwhelm those societies.
Even developed countries, many of which have little absolute population growth, are still seeing a continual move to metropolitan areas. City centers are attracting residents, reversing decades of suburban sprawl. Despite early predictions that the internet would encourage people to live and work anywhere, they’re voting with their feet and concentrating in urban clusters. Those same cities, often suffering from decades of underinvestment, are now struggling to handle the newcomers and their high expectations for services.
Besides the usual difficulties of serving people unaccustomed to urban ways, cities face heightened environmental constraints. Unchecked growth in previous decades has left many areas choking on traffic and smog. Managing water and waste is a challenge in many developing countries and even some developed ones. Climate change has added to the urgency to reduce emissions from vehicles and factories.
Cities will increasingly compete with one another for high-value investment and trade. The winners will be those that combine efficient services with a good quality of life, enabled by integrated technology.
Enabling the Transformation
Government officials, developers, and their suppliers around the world are increasingly interested in this integrated transformation. They’re eager for new approaches that take optimization to a new level. The trouble is, most cities are focused on short-term fixing and maintaining legacy infrastructure. They’re reluctant to commit to new systems, especially since those emerging IoT and AI technologies are still in flux. Rather than fancy technological solutions, they want to lay the foundation for new possibilities that can be built gradually and evolve with the changing city.
Fortunately, the marketplace is similarly evolving to help make that possible. Instead of transactional relationships around one-off projects, some vendors are now willing to work and plan with cities and developers as long-term partners. Instead of the conventional vendor relationship, these providers are taking on some of the risk and responsibility for improvements. This is especially true for large mixed-use developments within cities.
Rather than implement point solutions, they’re signing on for 10- to 15-year journeys with developers, suppliers, and officials. They’re learning from one another and residents along the way. And because the vendor expects to be involved over the long haul, its teams can take the wider perspective to encompass multiple systems in a building or multiple components in a city. This long-term perspective is also essential for combating the inherent uncertainty of such complex developments.
Another innovation is “smart infrastructure as a service,” where the client owns the asset but the vendor builds and operates it, and simply charges the city or private client for usage. Here, the vendor takes on most of the financing and risk, and works with the user to provide continued satisfaction and development. Both of these steps can go a long way to realizing ambitious city dreams.
These partnership-oriented approaches, however, fit poorly with established vendor-management practices, which tend to focus on RFPs for projects limited to a single product or service. Developers will need to adjust their mindset, at least for the more ambitious integrated developments, for both financial and operational reasons.
To fully realize these possibilities, it’s not enough for city governments and private developers to evolve toward this more integrated, partnership-based approach. Vendors must as well, and move beyond specific areas, such as design, IT, or mechanical. To make integration work, vendors must be able to speak the language of architects, construction contractors, and engineers. They have to make the business and the technical case for the project at the same time, with the help of an ecosystem of industry partners.
Integration in the Real World
What does this holistic approach mean in actual urban development? For example, the island city of Maui, Hawaii, is rethinking its energy infrastructure. Most electricity comes from expensive imported fossil fuels. Municipal officials wanted to build a few large solar power plants, to take advantage of the abundant sunshine. Then they expanded their view and considered transportation dynamics. They realized that most vehicles in the future would run on electricity, not oil. Instead of centralizing electrical production, it would be more efficient to locate it where people would likely charge their cars. With this holistic perspective, Maui officials are shifting their energy investments and licensing. They’re looking for help from sensors that can track evolving patterns of consumption. By preparing the island for charging stations, they’ll reduce not just oil imports but also air pollution.
Mixed-use urban projects are a major opportunity for businesses, especially in the burgeoning cities of Asia. These projects range from single buildings to clusters
of towers with millions of square meters of floor space. Despite those projects’ enormous scale, the owners are working to integrate smart services in energy, water, telecommunications, predictive maintenance, video analytics, security, traffic, and parking. Everything will run on a single IoT-driven platform and command center—even projects that include office, retail, hospitality, and residential areas. Embedded sensors and analytics capabilities will enable property managers to continually adjust and optimize building operations and the ongoing resident experience. Expected to open in 2021 and to serve 60,000 people daily, it will be a demonstration site for existing sites as well as greenfield applications. (Hitachi Consulting is assisting on the project.) The developers expect to deploy many of these smart services to existing properties throughout their international portfolio.
Southeastern Australia is another case in point. Sydney and Melbourne are two of the most expensive cities in the world. In response, people are sprawling out to faraway suburbs, which damage both the environment and quality of life. To address these issues, private enterprise in partnership with government is considering the creation of eight new densely settled cities between these two metropolises, which are about nine hours apart by car. High-speed rail would connect the eight cities with the two endpoints, so each one would be no more than an hour’s ride from either Sydney or Melbourne. The satellite cities would have all of the amenities and efficiencies of urban life, while reducing energy use and aggravation and preserving the environment.
The worldwide pressures for urbanization are powerful, and the opportunities from smart, integrated infrastructure are compelling. Over time, we expect holistic urban development to become the norm, facilitated by cities, developers, and vendors taking the long view. Companies that stay with the old approach to urbanization will lose out.
About Andrew Hamilton
 “Urbanization and the Mass Movement of Peoples to Cities,” by Bret Boyd, Grayline, Jan. 17, 2017. https://graylinegroup.com/urbanization-catalyst-overview/
To cope with the increasing population, hyper-urbanization, globalization as well as to ensure economic and environmental stability, cities are now focusing on becoming smart cities. Smart City is a concept of utilizing technologies and connected data sensors to enhance and become powerful in terms of infrastructure and city operations. This includes monitoring and managing of public assets, transportation systems, citizens, power plants, water supplies, information systems, civil bodies, and other community services. As per the new study from Navigant Research, the global market for smart city services is expected to reach $225.5 billion within the next decade.
Connected technologies and IoT solutions play important roles in transforming cities into smart cities. Implementing smart city with IoT and connected technology helps enhance the quality, performance, and interactivity of urban services, optimize resources and reduce costs.
The global market for smart urban infrastructure in smart cities, include advanced connected streets, smart parking, smart lighting, and other transportation innovations. Here’s how they work:
2. Smart buildings utilize different systems to ensure safety and security of buildings, maintenance of assets and overall health of the surrounding.
Industrial environments present unique opportunities for developing applications associated with the Internet of things and connected technologies which can be utilized in the following areas:
Smart city services include services for public safety and emergencies. Below are the key areas where IoT and connected technologies can help:
Here’s how cities can implement smart energy management:
IoT and connected devices enable smart water management in the following ways:
Smart solutions for tracking wastes help municipalities and waste service managers the ability to optimize wastes, reduce operational costs, and better address the environmental issues associated with an inefficient waste collection.
Implementation of a smart city comes with enormous opportunities to transform the lives of people and improve the overall city infrastructure and operations. Smart sensor networks, Internet of Things (IoT) and connected technologies are the key solutions for smart city implementation.
What if a modern office could live on its own? What if it became an ecosystem that could function clearly, without any extra controls, providing all that is needed to support work activities? Sounds too perfect, doesn’t it? However, here we are going to consider the office of the future and focus attention on crucial issues that the IoT office is able to solve.
A Few Words about Smart Office Forecast
According to MarketsandMarkets research, smart offices will be a driver of tangible growth. The current smart office market is valued at USD 22.21 bln, with this expected to reach USD 46.11 bln by 2023. This means there will be a strong demand for IoT programmers in this area.
The Internet of Things is gradually immersing all spheres of life. Smart cities, Smart homes, Smart vehicles – it is reaching almost every system in which we need to control components remotely and/or implement their interaction. The Smart office is no exception. While we can currently see a bold border between these various just-emerging technologies, in the future the border is likely to disappear and several related smart areas will merge in a whole global IoT concept combining all existing similar systems – smart cars, smart homes, smart buildings, smart offices, smart infrastructure, smart cities... In other words, when speaking about the direction of IoT in one area, we touch on other areas because all of these mutually link to each other. The result is a common impact. A Smart lock is adopted by Smart buildings in Smart cities. A Smart car merges with a Smart home at the technological level.
Having said and recognized this, what however will the Smart office look like?
The smart corporate reality already exists, and advanced tech-savvy owners have endorsed the idea of intelligent digital workplaces responsive to the needs of the staff. Currently though the technology is still driven by human capabilities and market demand – it may take up to 20 years for the Smart office to have evolved and deployed enough to be a common illustration of the ideal future work space.
The Internet of Me, or IoT in HR
A human in the context of the system – a player in the context of the team. The Smart office concept can be considered in terms of it being an item in a community involved in a closed system that is designed to provide what is needed for efficient work. We can start treating the IoT system through ‘The Internet of Me’ approach.
Popular HR editor Steve Boese has discussed his vision of HR innovations. In his opinion, the Internet of Me takes the IoT concept a step further by integrating increasingly personalized products and services into corporate culture. Thus, in the same manner that a group of people begins from a single person, such a personalized approach will find the best way to create an efficient management system. If we keep track of following issues that Smart office technology resolves, we’ll see that each issue is a problem for every employee, and we therefore see that the main mission of the IoT office is to help the employee to do their work smoothly, to easily incorporate separate employees into a solid team, and to take control of and facilitate working and personal needs in the office.
What challenges will Smart office solve?
Speaking generally, IoT allows us to automate all office activities, including parts of the workflow to deliver more efficient work results and the work environment to form the conditions and the highly-equipped workspace where an employee has all they need at hand. Any network system consisting of some items integrated as with each other or directly with processing equipment can be considered as a future IoT system. So, we need to manage this network of objects to:
IoT office solutions can serve employees as well as employers. In the Smart office context, implementation of IoT technologies can not only speed-up workflows but cover the most topical business issues. Let’s consider them.
1. An intelligent environment to make convenient conditions for work
The Smart environment provides the capabilities of a smart building. For example, the organization of an office can include automation of electric lighting and work equipment, an intelligent security system (biometric and remotely-controlled locks), smart counters to collect statistics on electricity consumption, office microclimate specifications and differences, checking of the water supply, ensuring sufficient household and office supplies, and smart support for staff requests.
When an employee enters the room, sensors identify the visitor via motion sensors or other access controllers and send signals to the lighting system and all equipment inside the room to be switched on. Lighting, computers, conditioners, air-humidifiers all start working at levels pre-set for the employee’s comfort.
On one hand, the Internet of Me works because all the conditions are changed to be favorable for the employee. From the business perspective, the intelligent environment is beneficial for employers because its usage considerably reduces office maintenance and ongoing costs.
To provide such operations, the room is equipped with sensors that detect the environmental status and devices such as air-cleaners, air-conditioners, humidifiers, lighting wall switchers, and smart plugs, which execute programmed commands according to various scenarios:
2. Smart reception service to automate meeting visitors
The smart reception desk helps to unite in-house office life with some activities from outside. If we recently had a receptionist who met visitors, in case of automated reception service, it could work in the following way – a customer uses the wallpad to call the necessary employee, and the IP camera sends the employee a notification and a recorded image of the person waiting for him.
3. Smart meeting rooms
This works well in big companies of 200 persons and over. In this case, visiting a colleague can be difficult – finding a mutually convenient time and place, for example. However, the inner smart meeting system organizes all arrangements and discussions to avoid over-loading them when things are busy or under-loading when things are calm.
The smart meeting system can have several connected devices and software to provide all opportunities. Firstly, it is a web or mobile service to enable preparations for the upcoming meetings, and secondly, it is a service for remote control of devices. For example, you can customize your presentation remotely through a projector in advance, and coming to the smart meeting room, you can control the whole demonstration through your smartphone.
We should also mention that using AR and VR technologies at the junction of the IoT office can massively expand the opportunities for remote meetings – especially when thinking about very long distances.
4. Smart security zone
Security inside the office can also be smart. It’s not just the outside wall that needs to be secure for many offices. The system is outfitted with door sensors, IP cameras, motion sensors, smart alarm integrators and others, providing fully-automated control of every action in the office during the day, when staff are working inside, and at night, when all people have left the office. We can treat security in general, but overall it means more ways of control, enabling control over employees’ actions to avoid information leakage and intervention against insiders. A separate direction is the use of smart locks, smart cameras, smart tracking software, etc.
5. Smart space management service
Speaking about smart office opportunities, we shouldn’t forget about the personal necessities for employees. One example concerns the automation of restrooms and kitchens. The employee can use connected devices when – for example – going to get a coffee and relax in the lounge zone: the system will tell him before he goes there how many people are there and whether the zone has free spaces for him.
To sum up the smart office opportunity, we see that there are many corporate scenarios where IoT can make a difference to the enabling of business activities, rather than spending resources on redundant actions. This is the main idea of IoT development as a whole: the technology helps to make a system efficient, reducing all expenditure and increasing its potential.
Photo Credit: Tayloright
"Trends in Smart City Development" is a new report from the National League of Cities featuring case studies about how five cities – Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chicago, Charlotte, N.C., and New Delhi, India – are using different approaches to implement smart city projects.
The report also provides recommendations to help local governments consider and plan smart city projects.
A "smart city" is one that has developed technological infrastructure that enables it to collect, aggregate, and analyze real-time data to improve the lives of its residents. The report suggests that any smart city effort should include explicit policy recommendations regarding smart infrastructure and data, a functioning administrative component, and some form of community engagement.
You can read the full report here. (PDF)
The capital city of Ohio has proven to be a true innovator among U.S. Smart Cities, and has even been awarded the winner of the Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge. Columbus was chosen thanks to the city being a leader in innovative ideas that will transform the city to become greener, more efficient, and easier to live in. This is the first Smart City award in history, and it comes with some significant benefits for Columbus and its residents.
The most important, is a massive $40 million grant from the Department of Transportation. This will be supplemented by up to $10 million from Vulcan Inc., Paul G. Allen’s project and investment company. This $50 million will go towards a number of city initiatives, and is in addition to around $90 million that the city has already raised from private investors and partner companies.
Plans for the Future
The plans that secured Columbus the win are both ambitious, and holistically minded. Rather than just tackling one or a few different areas of the city for modernization, Columbus plans to invest in a number of different areas to benefit private residents, while supporting important sectors of the economy and attracting new investment.
A new rapid transit system will connect consumers to the main retail district of the city, and self-driving electric shuttles will be a major aspect of this system. This will not only provide easy access for consumers, but it will connect residents to jobs in the central districts of Columbus.
Healthcare is another major focus for smart innovations, and the new rapid transit systems will provide residents with easier access to facilities.
In addition to the rapid transit system, Columbus will implement new RFID technologies that will help to streamline toll payments, monitor traffic flow, and plan for future expansion and improvements based on road usage patterns.
A Worthy Winner of this Unprecedented Award
Columbus is the perfect city to be made the inaugural winner of the Smart City Challenge. Their innovations will help boost the economy and improve quality of life in one of America’s largest business and educational centers.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.
For more info visit our website at IOT Recruiting
Communications technology is progressing at a phenomenal rate, especially when it comes to wireless communications and the ever growing Internet of Things. While many observers and media outlets focus on the benefits of devices and how they will impact consumers, producers, and service providers, there are also huge benefits to be gained by modernizing cities, and progressing towards a smart city model.
A smart city is any city where technology is used to improve public services, safety, and efficiency, and the development of such cities will have major economic and social benefits for individuals and organizations within them.
Major Benefits of Emerging Smart Cities
While many of the consumer technologies in the IoT industry have focused on consumer convenience and entertainment, smart city technologies are aimed more at improving quality of life and providing economic advantages within urban areas.
One major area of focus for smart city developers, is transportation. Smart city planning requires that transportation is completely integrated, with mass automation. Big data plays a significant role, as connected sensors record data ranging from traffic statistics, to public transport vehicle location, or even the number of pedestrians who are using a major controlled crossing at any time of the day. A smart city will collect this data to aid urban planning, making it easier for cities to plan new infrastructure.
A smart city can also better manage its transportation infrastructure in real time. Sensor data can help to reroute traffic using electronic road signs, or could automatically adjust signal light timing at major intersections, depending on real time congestion and traffic flow. Rather than urban planners reacting to accumulated data over long time periods, smart cities will have immediate access to sensor data which can be interpreted by machines almost immediately, allowing for traffic management changes to occur within minutes, rather than days or months.
Safety in large cities has always been a major concern, and a significant area of expenditure for governments. Smart traffic management aids road safety, but other areas of personal safety can also be improved with smart cities. Automation can control lighting in public areas, allowing for increased security. Sensors can alert public services when maintenance needs to be performed on street lighting and traffic signals, and data can be used to increase efficiency of maintenance schedules, resulting in cost savings for large cities. Public cameras can deter and detect crime, and sensors can be used to detect gas leaks, fires, or air quality risks in public spaces. With the integration of location beacons in emergency vehicles, fire, police, and ambulance services can better coordinate coverage in high risk areas, and respond to incidents with increased speed.
The benefits even extend into utilities. Sensors on electrical lines can detect faults and control electricity flow in real time. Water lines can also be monitored by IoT connected sensors, allowing for the real time detection of leaks and flow problems. Advanced sensors can even test for water quality along mains. Sensors on gas lines will also increase safety and reduce waste from inefficiency. According to data from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, wide scale smart energy sensors could save the United States up to $1.2 billion dollars per year, and efficiency improvements with other utilities would only add to the potential savings.
Significant Advantages for Stakeholders and Residents
The worldwide smart city technology market is expected to be worth almost $30 billion within the next seven years, a figure that illustrates the huge level of interest from cities and their technology partners.
Smart cities are not just about reducing the costs and resource requirements of the cities themselves, because the benefits will be directly felt by all who live and work within these urban areas. Convenience and quality of life can be improved, and city savings may translate to reduced local rates and taxes, while allowing for increased investment into key infrastructure and public services.
What do you see as the future of smarter cities. Please call if you would like to discuss and see how we see them unfolding Click here for a free Consultation
Originally Posted by: Doug Webster
With the announcement of the Cisco Solution for LoRAWAN™, Service Providers have an integrated solution that enables them to extend their network reach to where they’ve never gone before – i.e., offering IoT services for devices and sensors that are battery powered, have low data rates and long distance communications requirements. The solution opens new markets and new revenue streams for Service Providers, and can be deployed in a wide range of use cases in Industrial IoT and Smart City applications such as:
Our Cisco Mobile Visual Networking Index estimates that while LoRa is in its early stages now, these types of Low Power Wide Area connectivity means will quickly gain traction and that by 2020, there will be more than 860 million devices using it to connect. One of the reasons for such forecasted aggressive adoption, especially in North America and Western Europe, is that LoRa® works over readily available unlicensed spectrum. Cisco is a founding Board member of the LoRa® Allianceformed in January, 2015, with a goal to standardize LPWA Networks in order to stimulate the growth of Internet of Things (IoT) applications.
Cisco has been working with a number of Mobile Operators who are trialing and deploying LoRa® networks to target new low-power consumption IoT services such as metering, location tracking and monitoring services. Many Mobile Operators are looking at LoRa® as complementary to NarrowBand IOT (NB-IOT), an upgrade to current mobile networks that drops the transmit power and data rates of the LTE standard to increase battery life. As NB-IOT networks, devices, and ecosystems will not be commercialized until 2017, LoRa® gives Operators (and all SPs, in fact) a way to gain a head-start on offering new IoT services based on various new low cost business models.
Cisco’s approach to IoT is to deliver integrated solutions that enable SPs to support different class of services aligned with specific pricing models across unlicensed (Wi-Fi, LoRa) and licensed (2G/3G/LTE, and soon, NB-IoT) radio spectrum as demanded by the IoT application. Our multi-access network strategy for IoT is complemented by the Cisco Ultra Services Platform (USP) – our comprehensive, virtualized services core, which includes mobile packet core, policy and services functions. Cisco USP delivers the scalability and flexibility that Operators focusing on IoT need as more and varied “things” get connected to their networks.
Cisco continues to integrate and evolve solutions such as LoraWAN™ to help Service Providers of all types capitalize on new IoT opportunities and transform into next-generation IoT Service Providers.
Earlier this week Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen announced that he was teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to offer a $50 million prize to the winner of a “Smart City” competition aimed at promoting high-tech solutions to traffic snarls.
The aim is to show what is possible when communities use technology to connect transportation assets into an interactive network. The Smart City Challenge will concentrate federal resources into one medium-sized city, selected through a nationwide competition. Funding of up to $40 million in funding will go to one mid-sized city that puts forward bold, data-driven ideas to improve lives by making transportation safer, easier and more reliable. DOT will partner with Vulcan, Paul Allen’s venture arm, to offer an additional $10 million to the winning city to support infrastructure for Electric Vehicles.
Photo: Courtesy of Cisco via Flickr
February is the deadline to submit proposals for transit innovations and DOT’s experts will select five proposals as finalists. Each of the finalists will receive $100,000 in federal funding for further development, and the winner would be announced by next June. The competition is open to U.S. mid-sized cities, which is defined as cities with a 2010 census population between 200,000 and 850,000. You can see the guidelines here.
Fifty million dollars may not sound like much compared to overall spending on transportation, but for cities of this size it’s a great start for creating a smarter city.
This week’s announcement is one of many smart city competitions announced over the years, and surely there will be more to come. Cities are where the majority of people will live and by 2050 some estimates predict that as many as seven out of 10 people on Earth will live in an urban area. The continued population increases will exceed the capacity of human administrators.
Cities will have to get a whole lot smarter.
This is why you are seeing more and more contests for cities to get smarter, and for them to be more open. Witness cities like Glasgow who won the UK’s Future Cities competition, Barcelona’s Smart City ecosystem, India’s Smart City Challenge, the Obama Administration's Smart City challenge, and New York’s efforts to build a smart city.
What this means is that sensors will be woven into every aspect of daily life. By 2020, the number of thermostats, pressure gauges, accelerometers, acoustic microphones, cameras, meters and other micro-electromechanical measuring devices linked to the Internet is predicted to reach 50 billion worldwide, a number predicted by Cisco.
Think solar powered WiFi connected trash cans to let rubbish collectors know when they are full, sensors to alert public works directors of clogged sewers, traffic cameras connected to an IP network to notify engineers in a central location of mounting traffic jams, air quality sensors to monitor pollution and rooftop acoustics sensors triangulating sounds of gunshots.
These contests are a way to drive industry towards a new era of more efficient and responsive government, driven by real-time data. The role of the IOT will also drive new economic opportunity and business development, centered around the creation, analysis and intelligent use of these data feeds. The benefits are many: increased cost-savings, bolstered civic engagement, and strengthened public health and safety.
Cheers to more contests and to the winners, which will be all of us.
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