What does it mean to live in a “smart city?” Can it win a spelling bee? Does it speak multiple languages? Can it perform complicated algebra problems or handle a corporate job with ease and gusto?
WHAT IS A “SMART CITY?”
Not necessarily, but chances are it learns at a rapid rate, and makes your life simpler in the long run. Usually, a “smart city” will combine technology with general infrastructure to bring about new and improved forms of law enforcement, transportation and utilities to its vast numbers of residents.
A report developed by Cisco Systems states that over 60 percent of global citizens will reside in high-powered cities by the year 2050. Thus, these areas need to implement applicable IoT-platforms now to remain steady and prepared.
GETTING READY FOR THE FUTURE
One of those steps involves improving things like traffic signals. Cities like San Diego and Jacksonville, Florida have attached sensors to streetlights, thus developing “smart LED streetlights” to alert drivers about open parking spots and ongoing traffic problems. Streetlights are amongst the most cost-effective methods for keeping a city smart as every street has them, and adding sensors and HD cameras is a relatively inexpensive process. Additionally, data collected from these lights can be used for predictive analytics, saving these cities money by performing maintenance only when it’s needed rather than on a routine basis.
But a recent study analyzing the world’s smartest cities places New York in fourth place, followed by Shanghai in third, London in second, and Singapore in the top spot, and the study praises these four cities for their readiness to embrace IoT technology.
THE WORLD’S SMARTEST CITIES
New York made its way onto the list as the study’s only U.S.-based region thanks to to its investments in online services, digital culture, cybersecurity and an “openness to adapt policies and processes.” In other words, it’s willing to accept change. The printing press eventually turns into the typewriter; the typewriter into the desktop computer. The Yellow Pages turns into an online directory, while landlines are inherently replaced with iPhones, and New York simply steps back and enjoys the ride.
Additionally, the Big Apple has installed Wi-Fi kiosks in its five major boroughs, offering residents free online access and Internet services, while a civic tech hub for developing digital tools opened last February. A virtual reality lab will make its mark on the state sometime next year.
But Singapore, which earns the number one spot on the list, is moving quickly. Recently, the South Asian hub invested nearly $3 billion (approximately one percent of the nation’s gross domestic product) into its new Smart Nation plan, a project designed to connect the country’s multiple networks through IoT sensors. Furthermore, the plan calls for an analytics department and autonomous vehicle testing zones for those “self-driving” cars that dealerships have been touting for the last few years. Singapore is also developing a digital model of the city to assist in future planning and an intelligence office that will invest over $100 million into urban pilot projects.
And do you want to know what’s funny? If you went around talking to the people of these cities, they probably don’t sit around studying history and linguistics every waking moment. Maybe they got average grades in school, or they don’t carry advanced degrees. The difference is that the areas housing these residents are willing to accept the technological changes that occur every day, and not only are they standing aside – they’re making room for them, and opening their arms in welcome.