How Smart Cities Use Technology to Make Life Better
Smart cities look to the future by embracing innovative digital technologies and green strategies. This article explores how some cities are already smarter than others.
What is a smart city?
A smart city is a place where citizens, government and the business world can instantly connect and interact in real-time by using the latest available digital technologies. It is a city striving to reduce its environmental impact and where things can get done faster, easier and safer than before.
If you are still looking for the right coins for your parking meter, or waiting in line to receive and fill-in some government form, you might still be living in a dumb city. In this day and age, there could very well be apps for all that.
As more than half of the world’s population currently resides in cities – a figure that’s expected to rise to more than two-thirds by 2050, facing the unique challenges of climate change and rapid urbanization with the smartest tech-solutions becomes a priority.
In this article, we’ll showcase examples of how digital technology has managed to provide solutions to everyday problems faced by cities, citizens and businesses around the world.
Efficiency and Transparency
The small city of Trikala has only recently been dubbed as Greece’s first smart city. If you wanted to get a broken street lamp fixed in Trikala any time before 2004, you actually had to try to call the Mayor. A street lamp could have stayed broken for up to one month.
Today, the city’s e-complaint system – coupled with a smartphone app – handles anything from waste collection, parking enforcement, stray animals and broken tree branches. According to the municipality, issues are now resolved within 8 days on average.
Through the digitization and interconnectivity of city services, the process of dealing with urban issues in Trikala has become more transparent. Citizens no longer need to know local politicians personally to get things done.
Crime and Safety
New technologies have proved particularly successful in monitoring and eventually preventing some of the criminal activity which is commonly encountered in large urban environments.
Indian megacities like Mumbai and New Delhi have long struggled with sexual violence and harassment against women. The use of mobile apps like Safecity, have enabled women to avoid trouble hotspots in their cities and to instantly report abuse taking place in public spaces.
By identifying crime trends and their urban locations, the data collected by various smartphone apps enables local authorities to act and prevent crime based on easily accessible and real-time information.
In order to reduce greenhouse emissions and navigate the ongoing environmental challenges of climate change, the cities of the future will require green policies and smart energy management.
Vietnam’s most populous city, Ho Chi Minh City, has recently developed a green scheme which aims to utilize solar energy from rooftop panel systems installed on the city’s skyscrapers. As the country has one of the fastest urbanization rates in Southeast Asia, it is crucial for city authorities to establish a sustainable urban energy policy based on renewable energy sources.
When it comes to connected and smart city streetlights, Miami in the United States is the world’s leader. The city uses 500,000 smart LED streetlights which reduce electricity costs, lower emissions and improve maintenance within its jurisdiction.
How smart can you get?
Whether you are a citizen, a governing body, a small or a large business – life in the smart city will be as good as your digital strategy and assets. If we want to live in more intelligent cities that cater to our evolving needs and concerns, our goals and imagination will have no choice but to evolve in line with our tech-capabilities and environmental targets.
Smart citizens and consumers have no time or money to waste on cumbersome state bureaucracies and technologically-incompetent businesses. Contemporary business and governance practices will have to learn to operate in cities that respond to data-inputs in real-time and offer smart public services.
Ultimately, our progress and prosperity will depend on our ability to collect and understand data – the gold rush of the twenty-first century. The smart cities of the future will rely on the successful implementation of digital strategies and clever use of the vast amounts of data fostered by the digital revolution.
At Bocasay, we are specialized in equipping businesses with the technological infrastructures and know-how to succeed in the world’s new digital landscapes. Get in touch to find out more.