Smart Cities Will Support The Livable Future
The notion of smart cities is not very new, and we have heard of it for a long period of time. Most of the time, we hear it from high-profile political leaders in their rallies and state and local level leaders. However, as our society becomes closely connected to technology, the future may not be very far. Some of the most advanced cities in the world, like Singapore, Dubai, Oslo, New York, London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, etc., have already started to adopt the concepts and practices of smart cities.
So, what is a smart city, and what makes a city smart? A smart city is a city that uses modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to improve its daily operations and the lifestyle of people. These technologies are typically referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT), indicating close connectivity between millions of people and devices required to ensure day-to-day operations. This has led to improvements in infrastructure, service delivery, operational efficiency, and quality of life.
ICT As the Key Driver of Smart Cities
The injection of ICT in multiple applications that impact people’s daily lives will be the foundation of the smart cities of the future. The following is a description of major technologies that will find most applications as we move towards a smart future:
Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the primary technology that shapes the design and building of smart cities. IoT refers to a vast network of millions, if not billions, of connected devices that exchange data at regular intervals. For example, there may be a smart grid that can send electrical power to homes and industries, depending on their needs.
Similarly, the transportation systems can be connected to the cloud providing information about the status of vehicles in the city. Furthermore, environmental sensors can keep track of pollution, emission, and waste levels providing valuable information to planners and policymakers.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence is one of the most exciting fields inside Computer Science which has shown tremendous potential for the future. At present, they are at the heart of technologies such as self-driving cars and industrial robots. In smart cities, AI systems can be used in traffic management, security and surveillance, sustainable development, and governance. The major objective of employing these systems is to make sense of the enormous volume of data produced by the IoT infrastructure.
Big Data and Cloud
Big data and cloud are the major technologies required to ensure the success and survival of IoT systems. Without the capacity to store, process, and interpret billions and billions of data points being generated every day, the spirit of smart cities cannot exist. Big data technologies based on distributed or cloud computing systems will handle this monstrous volume of data. Cloud-based technologies are already a major requirement for most industries today.
ICT For a More Livable Future
ICT has the capacity to cause a drastic improvement in the lives of people compared to what it is today. Some of the reasons why ICT-based smart cities will be better to live in are given below.
Improved and More Accessible Infrastructure
The major infrastructures of development like education, health, and transportation have already seen improvements with the integration of ICT. Online learning has become a great relief for educators and students, and its importance has been magnified due to the recent coronavirus crisis. Similarly, ICT has a great potential in healthcare delivery and service.
Remote health monitoring can help doctors monitor distant patients with the help of connected medical devices and electronic medical records. In the wake of the pandemic, as hospitals got crowded with virus-infected patients, remote monitoring immediately became essential. Furthermore, smart ICT solutions have helped cities deal with traffic congestion and optimize transportation services to commuters.
With the integration of ICT, it will be possible to measure waste and pollution from homes and industries. Likewise, smart power delivery systems can assist largely in energy savings by providing only according to needs. Intelligent waste collection, classification, and treatment systems will improve the practice of reusing and recycling.
One of the major requirements for smart cities is to improve the sense of safety and security among people. In the last decade, we saw an increasing threat of both domestic and international terrorism in all the continents of the world. ICT will provide law enforcement and intelligence agencies with vital information that can be used to tackle possible threats early on. For example, intelligent cameras equipped with facial recognition and object detection systems can report suspicious activities in crowded and public places.
Although the concept of smart cities looks bright and vibrant, it is not free of challenges. The major threats that must be addressed for the implementation of smart cities are as follows:
In smart cities, the greatest challenge is to ensure the security of data being generated daily. Electronic medical records, financial records, and government records are critical data in smart cities. Illegal hackers have continuously improved their techniques and practices to breach some of the safest spaces in the world. If we want to build cities that operate and thrive on data, security must be the number one priority.
In smart cities, there is a need to advance and expand surveillance systems to ensure a greater level of security. However, some may argue that an increased amount of surveillance is a breach of the right to privacy. Therefore, planners and policymakers must find a compromise between safety and privacy to gain wider public support.
Stay Updated in Technology with Top World Business
In this blog, we have learned the concept of smart cities and how Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) will be key in building these future cities. Similarly, we also learned how smart cities could improve the lifestyle of people through better access to infrastructure and sustainable development. Lastly, we discussed the challenges that we have to face during the design and implementation of smart cities.
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