First inventors showed interest in making phones smarter through a transition from the old to the screen-touch, Wi-Fi enabled, sleek, high-end designs in the market today. This transition birthed android devices, iPhones and many others.
Then came the concept of home automation which sought and still seeks to eliminate as many manual processes in the typical home as possible. The next step would be to extend this technological advancement to an entire neighborhood – the smart city concept.
Technologists and Their Dreams of a Smart City
Ideally, a smart city is a network of smart homes, smart cars, and smart roads in a given environment. It is a futuristic city where automation is in most sectors of the city. Hospitals, law enforcement, sewage disposal, electricity distribution, water supply and the likes all handled automatically by machines, that is the goal of the smart city. How data and technology help bring this technological utopia to reality is what this article is all about.
Over the years this has been one of man’s greatest pursuits, an age where people used machines to enhance the quality and efficiency of tasks. Traces of automation are now in most sectors of the economy; today we have supercomputers handling weather forecasting, drilling, collation of election results, drones acting as spies instead of humans and many others. The smart city plans on using ICT as a means of transforming working environments and the human life in general.
What Role Does Data and Information Play in Building Smart Cities?
The organization of knowledge for the practical purpose is technology. This implies that the whole structure of the smart city is built solely on technology. Technology has revolutionized the life and living of man in every way conceivable; faster and more efficient electric trains have replaced the coal engine trains; airliners have replaced the hot air balloons; cars have replaced carts pulled by horses; ballpoint pens have quilts, just as the electronic mail is fast replacing the post office.
Pieces of information gathered, especially for computational or scientific reasons is Data. Data collation and computation has also evolved over the years. Before the Hollerith Electric Tabulating System, it took over 8 years to complete the 1880 census in the United States of America. Similarly, election processes took significantly long times while costing huge sums of money and manpower. Today, processes that involve data collation are significantly easier, through smart technologies. These will even getter smarter and better in the future.
What would be the ideal?
An ideal smart city makes use of Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is a network of mechanical and electronic devices designed to gather, collate, analyze and transfer information across infrastructures. City’s authorities will intelligently manage this information for the general purpose of increasing the value of the life of its residents.
Trends Affecting the Smart City
With technological advancements constantly flooding our industries, it is only natural to see it affect every aspect of the smart city we are striving to build in the world today. It is important to note that a smart city cannot be built of technology. Data of yesterday not even that of today because of the swift changes experienced in technological growth. Smart cities have to be adaptable and flexible in order to keep up with the fast-paced technological and data changes.
The IoT – small electrical devices that serve as sensors, data recorders, data transmitters will continue to play important roles in the actualization of a smart city. We will need to place them more strategically. For the purpose of reading changes in data over the entire city and transmitting them to relevant authorities. And this is for the constant development and advancement of better cities. In developing cities is estimated to grow at a rate of 30% per year till 2020.
What are the recent improvements?
Technology has experienced a boom in the last 50 years and is still advancing quickly. If a city is to truly remain smart it has to keep up with the speedy pace at which technology is changing. For instance, experts estimate that by 2020, drones will replace the delivery companies in smart cities. By 2060, portals will be the new transportation method for cargoes. This will be a heavy blow to sea liners. All of this is made possible by data and cutting-edge technology.
Data is One of the Keys
Data processing speed will experience a tremendous improvement. The first computers were only able to save a limited amount of data, some 14 digits. But today, supercomputers are able to perform millions to billions of information per second. This is a very crucial aspect of building a smart city especially when we take size into account. For instance, the data poll coming from a smart city the size and population of Oklahoma is nothing compared to cities the size of Beijing.
Still on speed, we can be sure that the development of 5G network will greatly improve the turnaround time of internet access. The time lag in both websites and on devices will be reduced to minimum levels.
The relevance of data and technology to a smarter city can be summarized in the following sentences. Our cities will not get any smarter without advancement in science and technology. Science and technology will not get any better without the efforts of scientists and technologists who work tirelessly to give the globe ground-breaking inventions. These ground-breaking inventions will never come into existence if there is no information –and without data, there can’t be information.
It is true that not every part of the world is in tune with the most recent trends in technology especially as it concerns automation and the internet of things. But this does not prevent the advancements from coming. We can all be sure of these trends which will get us there faster. New research for practical data, aggregation of both big and small data for analysis and use, general improvements from nano to macro technology.
Prasad Dusane is a blogger at smartcitygeek.com and he writers about how India is transforming with its smart city development mission, and educated citizens with simple tips like how to find pan status uti by name.