How Smart Cities will shape the future

Just what is a Smart city?

There are many factors that come into effect to determine a Smart City. Broadly speaking though it is an urban area that uses different types of electronic data collection and sensors to supply information to manage assets and resources efficiently within that city. For example, management of traffic and transport systems, schools, hospitals, energy supply networks to name a few. This information is usually collated from devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT).

The need for Smart Cities is driven by many factors. Environmental changes, particularly climate change means we must improve our way of living. Urban growth is increasing at a rapid rate, meaning many of our cities infrastructures are struggling to cope. Our social and spending habits have changed to a more on-line world. Finally, there is the pressure on local government finances. As technology has increased ten-fold, then this is one answer to the problems we have created.

Therefore, the aim of a Smarty City is to use technology to enhance the quality and performance of a city. This will in turn reduce costs and energy consumption.

What makes a city smart?

As there are many elements and variations towards making a Smart City, let us look at 3 examples from around the world.

Amsterdam

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The Amsterdam Smart City initiative, https://amsterdamsmartcity.com began in 2009 and currently includes 170 projects collaboratively developed by residents, government and businesses. Some of which include:

  • Amsterdecks is an urban network of water quality monitoring decks that provides access and information about water in Amsterdam.
  • Measuring canal traffic, the aim is to avoid traffic jams on waterways.
  • The Green Living Lab is a living lab in a nature where education and research into healthy urban living takes place.
  • A city that senior citizens enjoy living in and which encourages healthy and active aging. 

Stockholm

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One of the leading lights in the Smart City stakes, Stockholm has a four-pronged attack to make this city smart, http://international.stockholm.se/governance/smart-and-connected-city/

  • Green IT uses information technology to reduce negative impact on the environment, as well as lowering the energy consumption and environmental impact of the IT sector as a whole.
  • E-services provides support in everyday life. Applying for permits, schools, elderly care or to plan a rout to work amongst others.
  • Kista Science City is the place for anyone working in ICT (Information and Communication Technologies). Since IBM and Ericsson moved to Kista in the 1970s, over 1,000 other ICT companies have followed suit.
  • Through Skoab, the aim of the City’s fibre network is to build a competition-neutral infrastructure capable of meeting future communication needs.

Columbus

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Columbus, https://www.columbus.gov/smartcolumbus competed against 77 cities nationwide to win the Smart City Challenge in 2016. With $40 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation and $10 million from Vulcan, Inc., a Paul G. Allen Company the city has many ongoing projects, some of which are:

  • Biking, driving and taking the bus are obvious ways to travel, Smart Mobility Hubs at selected spots have been set up so residents can easily get around the city
  • A new system that uses camera technology will spot potential human-bus collisions and alert bus drivers to it. Making neighbourhoods safer in the short term, and the data captured will shape safer bus route decisions in the long run.
  • When people gather for local events, technology tells users where parking exists to help reduce congestion

And as for Vigiles home town?

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Bristol has a programme called “Bristol is Open, https://www.bristolisopen.com.

The Bristol is Open project will effectively turn Bristol into a giant laboratory and look at how big data can be used to solve problems such as air pollution, traffic congestion and assisted living for the elderly. The network could also be used to collect and understand data from the city’s trial of self-driving cars. Bristol is one of four UK cities currently testing driverless car technology as part of a government scheme.

Indeed, Bristol has now overtaken London as the smartest city in the UK according to this article.

Great news for the burgeoning tech scene within the city!

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