The world’s population is increasingly ageing and urbanisation seems to be happening overnight. Urbanization is mostly a good thing since it leads to improved livelihoods for those who manage to get a piece of the urban life and hold on to it. However, cities now face increasing strain on available resources and infrastructure. To address these challenges, governments are warming up to the concept of smart cities, embracing the use and implementation of new technologies in transportation, energy, hospitality and other areas with an overall goal to improve the quality of life for their citizens in a sustainable fashion.
A smart city is an urban development plan that utilizes various ICT solutions to manage a city’s community services securely. Smart cities use data from hospitals, water and waste management networks, transport systems, libraries, power plants, law enforcement databases and other service areas.
This sharing of data across various city assets improves the efficiency of services provided to citizens. City officials can interact directly with their communities and monitor changes in real time through embedded sensors which collect data from citizens to improve their services. City officials analyze the data received through the sensors and process it to discover new patterns, ideas, innovation hacks and pain points for their citizens. On one side the smart city concept tackles inefficiency through actionable insights that make the most efficient use of a city’s assets.
In this way, a smart city is a city that employs the use of technological solutions to enhance existing processes and optimize the delivery of services, encourage sustainable use of resources while at the same time reducing the costs involved in all these processes leading to a high quality of life for its citizens, its visitors and its businesses.
Smart cities’ goals should be to:
Increase energy efficiency and increase the use of renewable energies through smart power grids. Environmental pressures, potential cost savings and the emergence of new concepts like electric cars are all advantages of increased energy efficiency.
Incorporate wearables with technology that enables practical functions and features like activity trackers to track heart rate, blood pressure and other lifestyle conditions. Wearable technology will enable manufacturers to receive feedback from embedded sensors without needing intervention from the human wearer.
Integrate connectivity into manufacturing processes to better run factories. The smart factory moves from the traditional supply chain processes to a fully connected system that uses data from operations and production systems to learn and improve the entire value chain on-the-go.
Apply omnipresent computing to a home environment through advanced systems for security, lighting, air conditioning and entertainment, among other uses. A smart home will offer improved quality of life by automating control of home appliances and assistive services.
Create, restore and extend the human body capabilities through neuroimplants, brain power boosting drugs, human germline engineering ( changes made to the genes of our reproductive cells -the egg and sperm), nutritional supplements, prosthetics, growth hormones etc.
Create secure, smart contracts written in software that are capable of automatically enforcing without intervention by a third party. Smart contracts will be made possible by blockchain technology.