I’ll say over and over that technology is great and that it can make life easier for everyone. But did you know that whole communities are getting smarter? Smart cities are adopting technology in a variety of ways to improve the way their government operates and the way people navigate their city, interact with their officials, and acquire services. Take a quick read through this post to see just some of the things that are currently happening in some of the smartest cities.
Some cities have embraced renewable energy sources and are converting some of their more traditional power plants to wind, hydro, or solar power. Using intelligent monitoring of the city’s energy sources, the city can keep their power grid more stable during peak times of year while saving themselves (and hopefully their consumers) some money. It will also cut down on global warming and improve the health of its residents. One more great way to reduce energy is by installing smart lights in buildings and smart sensors on streetlights that dim when nobody is around. Encourage the use of ride sharing, bike sharing, or carpooling reduces air pollution, reduces traffic, and can improve the lives of residents. Cities can also replace aging government vehicles with smarter cars that are safer, more energy efficient, and can make communication between offices and the fleet much easier.
Other cities have embraced the ease of the internet. They have made their websites easier to navigate and moved more services online – everything from renewing driver’s licenses and paying for municipal services to apps that help people find parking spaces or bus schedules. Some cities want their citizens to use online services so much that they offer free wifi to residents or provide lots of hotspots to encourage use. Local leaders also have made more of an effort to be approachable through social media accounts and posting their event calendars so that people are able to have more interaction with them.
Mass transit can really improve with smart technology and the Internet of Things. Monitoring traffic patterns and then adjusting traffic lights can improve traffic flow and make pedestrians safer. Cities can also monitor busses, trains, and other mass transit and then be sure to adequately supply transportation to meet demand. And we’re working on automated driving and safety features to prevent accidents.
Some cities, like Dubai, are even embracing technology to bring better healthcare to its citizens. Through video chats, doctors can see more patients. They can also send patients home and use smart technology to continue monitoring them. Telemedicine can also help transfer medical records between providers with ease and allow for more communication between patients and doctors.
Technology can take the guesswork out of city planning. Cities can compile crime data to determine where best to allocate resources like police and fire departments. They can use population density studies to learn where new public buildings like hospitals, schools, or libraries should be built. Studying traffic patterns can determine which roads need to be expanded or where traffic lights should be installed.
There are so many amazing things that cities can do with technology. What would you love to see your city embrace?