Based on several recent studies, over 55% of the world’s population is based in urban, metropolitan areas, which means that over 3.5 billion people reside in cities as opposed to rural, bucolic regions–a number that is expected to rise to 5 billion by the year 2030. As such, our society has been pushing the confines of technological advancement in an effort to improve our lives, augment logistical necessities, and provide new-age solutions for a quickly-modernizing landscape.
This brief article will focus on highlighting some of the most impactful technologies, systems, and infrastructural developments that comprise both the present and future of today’s smart cities.
An Interconnected, Efficient Environment
From our smartphones and tablets to the laptops and other digital implements we’ve come to rely on in today’s day and age, it’s safe to say that smart technology has imparted us with a streamlined assortment of tools and gadgets to enhance our daily lives, but the most pertinent advancements are a bit more extensive and far-reaching:
- Smart Parking: Reducing the average time required to find a suitable parking spot will reduce CO2 emissions by over 400 tons per year in the world’s largest cities, which is why engineers and programmers are highly focused on establishing integrated smart technology to expedite parking procedures.
- Smart Grids: With a newfound focus on eco-friendly energy management, many of today’s budding smart cities are beginning to implement cohesive grid technology to oscillate, redirect, and transmit power more appropriately and efficiently, which helps large cities save billions of dollars each year and mitigate energy waste along the way.
- Tele-Care: Superfluous hospital visits negatively impact our healthcare systems and continue to cost millions in lost time each year, but it’s important to note that tele-care monitoring systems are quickly changing this integral arena. With remotely-operated examination provisions and medical smart technology, patients can now obtain top-notch healthcare and expert advice without ever having to leave their home or workplace.
- Sustainable Tech: From energy-efficient solar panels and smog-reduction towers to bladeless wind turbines, carbon capturers, new-age water purification systems, and countless other green advancements, the future of smart cities is looking very bright indeed.
The Internet of Things
Commonly referred to as IoT, the Internet of Things is a fast-approaching concept that is set to take our society’s productivity, reliability, and logistical constancy to the next level. In its simplest form, the Internet of Things revolves around connecting all of our digital and electronic devices to the Internet (and to each other).
From our cellphones and computers–which are already integrated into global networks–to some of the more obscure products, such as coffee makers, washing machines, refrigerators, and wearable devices, almost everything we use on a daily basis will eventually be integrated into our data systems and web-based networks.
As a matter of fact, there will be over 26 billion integrated devices by the year 2020, which means that your car will soon be able to analyze your calendar and identify the most expeditious routes; your office printers will recognize supply deficiencies and automatically order new provisions, and your alarm clock will instantaneously correspond with your coffee maker and shower to begin brewing your morning mug and warming up your bath water.
The Internet of Things allows for virtually unlimited connections, integrations, and opportunities to enhance our lives–many of which we cannot fully understand or comprehend in the present day. But on a larger scale, next-gen technology will grant us with more cost-effective products, increasingly effective services, and most importantly, the ability to expand and illuminate the human experience in an unprecedented manner.