Evolution of Intelligent Cities

City corporations around the world together with technology majors have begun using IoT and Big Data to run cities efficiently. Indian cities can learn and adopt fitting solutions for improving operational competence of their cities

The United Nations projects that the number of people living in the Asia Pacific’s urban areas will increase from less than 40 percent in 2000 to 50 percent by 2020, and the number of people aged over 60 in the region to triple to more than 1.26 billion by 2050. Population boom in cities world over is bringing both challenges and opportunities, which is why urban spaces are focusing on using innovative technological solutions and data to improve their liveability and enhance their economic development and sustainability.
With Internet of Things (IoT), cities can embed sensors enabled smart and connected devices in our urban living environments. It will enable us to collect and exchange data that can make citizens’ lives easier, and increase the efficiency of civic amenities provided by municipal corporations to increasing population of urban dwellers.

Innovation and Cities

Urban future looks bright, less polluted and more comfortable. It is expected that people’s lives would be greatly improved if the right technological solutions are put in place.People can enjoy less polluted air by IoT enabled devices making cars, buildings and factories energy efficient and environment friendly. Sensors embedded electronic devices such as air conditioners and LED lights can automatically operate to improve comfort and reduce energy usage.

Health monitoring devices in our homes will allow healthcare providers to track the medical conditions of the elderly and provide care in a timely way, without the need for patients to travel frequently to clinics and hospitals.Connected healthcare may lead to wearable devices that help us become healthier, first with fitness apps and then with monitoring applications for medical supervision for special needs.

Taiwan’s YouBike, the shared public bike system uses Intel IoT technology to keep track of thousands of bicycles, in real time. Also in Taiwan, Chunghwa Telecom is trialling Intel IoT technology on light poles, which will not only reduce the energy usage of each light, but will also monitor rainfall, temperature and air pollution—and then analyze this data to help identify new ways of improving citizens’ quality of life

A smartphone app might connect to smart traffic and public transport networks and recommend the best route to go to work. And with intelligent traffic light phasing and smart parking technology, commuting from one place to another in cities can become safer, faster, and less stressful.

Intel Technologies on its websites illustrates the usage of IoT solutions in improving quality of life for citizens in urban spaces. Taiwan’s YouBike, the shared public bike system uses Intel IoT technology to keep track of thousands of bicycles, in real time. Also in Taiwan, Chunghwa Telecom is trialling Intel IoT technology on light poles, which will not only reduce the energy usage of each light, but will also monitor rainfall, temperature and air pollution—and then analyze this data to help identify new ways of improving citizens’ quality of life.

Saensuk Municipality in Thailand is working with the technology major to pilot a three-year smart city plan that will benefit its 200,000 residents and the 1.7 million tourists who visit annually. Among other initiatives, it will offer a smartphone app that works with Bluetooth units installed in key attractions to provide tourists with interesting facts about those locations. These advancements in technology are enabling municipal and government organizations to capture and analyze data from an increasing range of devices.These systems are also providingcity leaders and managers with insights and trend forecasts through the data extracted from all sensor embedded devices. The data is widely being used for making precise services and amenities available to the right community.

Solving Urban Challenges

Intelligent cites are not in the too-distant-future. Many of the technologies which are making lives easier are being used in some global cities already. In a country like India, making the whole cities smart or intelligent at once may not be feasible but local bodies in collaboration with Resident Welfare Associations and community groups can build from the bottom up rather than from the top down. We can start with a single street or building and implement the technological solutions to solve the pressing problems of that particular community.

A report on technological intervention in urban spheres published in the Harvard Business Review says that the city of Nice, France, started by focusing on a single boulevard – and through adjusting street light intensity based on pedestrian and traffic peak periods, and on real-time weather conditions such as fog and rain, the city expects to save 20 percent to 80 percent on its electricity bills.

These technologies can help in solving the problems associated with aging populations. IoT technology can improve the quality of senior citizens’ lives.UK company MimoCare has developed a system to monitor seniors in their homes. If there’s a significant change in their activity or, say, a cooker has been left on too long, the system will send an alert to relatives. Similarly, there are many companies which are launching apps which can help visually impaired or other differently abled to access civic services, go shopping, book tickets and avail other services required to do everyday tasks.

These technological interventions in urban management can help in tackling growing urban problems by strengthening the running of
urban systems.

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