The Dawn Of The Modern City

City dwellers rejoice! Over the next decade, modern cities will experience radical infrastructure changes as telecommunication technologies continue to advance. As cities nationwide begin implementing infrastructure overhaul projects with state-of-the-art wireless technologies, citizens will see strong, secure, and reliable coverage powering everything from smart streetlights to artificial-intelligence-based crime detection and prevention.

So while most folks think of smart cities as simply a city with free WiFi, the potential is far greater than just streaming the latest season of Silicon Valley when you’re on a picnic. Everyone, from tourists to long-time residents, can benefit from smart parking, more efficient public services, and intelligent security systems.

Smart Cities Around The Globe

Some major cities have been looking to technology to improve the lives of citizens – and rightly so. Connectivity can positively impact nearly every aspect of city life, whether it’s with an Internet of Things (IoT) water system measuring the pressure, level, flow, and chemical content of municipal water, or an optimized energy system gathering data to prevent blackouts and cut energy costs.

Amsterdam has been piloting hundreds of initiatives city-wide to benefit important aspects of daily life like mobility, energy use, and education. One such pilot is Smart Flow, a traffic and parking management system that helps drivers find parking in the city and reduces the time spent circling the block – which also reduces traffic congestion, air pollution, and noise. And in New York City, interactive kiosks have replaced 7,500 old payphone booths to provide folks with: free device charging stations; access to city services, maps, and directions; free phone calls to anywhere in the U.S.; and the ability to view public service announcements.

Singapore is also piloting new smart city technologies, like cameras and sensors to monitor the tidiness of their streets, letting their public custodians know when and where they should be spending their time.

Smart cities can greatly benefit from more intelligent security systems, especially as machine learning systems begin to monitor public areas and alert authorities on their own. Researchers from the United Kingdom and India have already developed software for camera-equipped drones that can “identify fights and dubious behavior in crowds of people” in real time. Researchers hope the system will one day be “scaled up to prevent crimes in open areas and at crowded events.” With more integrated security systems, crime alerts can be issued more efficiently, reaching more people and keeping the public safer.

The Future Is Now

As technology advances, these smart systems will begin to merge into a more cohesive network that will allow governments to more effectively serve citizens. Traffic will run smoother, public services will become more efficient, and security more reliable. The entire ecosystem of the city will benefit – whether that means having police respond to a crisis faster or making a public custodian’s job easier. Connectivity throughout an entire city will streamline services in a way that was once considered pure science fiction.

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