By 2050, it’s estimated that 66% of the world population will live in urban areas. Meeting the demands of a growing urban population while reducing its environmental impact, improving public safety, and optimizing efficiency will require transformative technologies and concerted planning.
Fortunately, we live at an amazing point in time when wireless, cloud, social, and information technologies are converging. This means we have an incredible opportunity to create and deliver innovative technology solutions that drive a safer and more efficient world.
Welcome to the era of smart cities.
As the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes a reality, I see three major trends of emerging smart technologies:
Devices, including things like meters, sensors and even cars connected to each other and everything around, are going to have capability well beyond the uses they were created for – imagine a world where they have the ability to communicate with each other and the network –providing unprecedented access to information. A time where even our street lamps, park benches, and trash cans will be part of an IoT network which can provide real-time data on a seemingly endless array of form factors. With the ability to communicate with each other, smart cities and IoT will enable positive impact on things like energy use, traffic flow and the use of city resources.
Real Time Connectivity
New services will require constant connectivity and the intelligence to facilitate real-time adaptability based on data from the mesh of connected devices. For example, advances in sensors, increases in computing power, and the availability of high bandwidth and reliable communication networks opens up new opportunities for law enforcement to detect and fight crime or for environmental sensors to monitor and respond to natural disasters. Ultimately, the smart technology era could lead to big advances in public safety.
The Autonomous Era
Devices will facilitate real-time autonomous adaptability based on data from the mesh of connected devices. This will require the confluence of low-latency wireless connectivity, computing intelligence, and distributed cloud resources.
A Real-World Example
There is a lot of talk at the moment about the connected car and how it will create safer roadways through collision avoidance and other smart capabilities such as real-time traffic and weather data, secure over-the-air software updates. Additionally, autonomous driving can have a significant impact on city infrastructure and energy efficiency in urban areas.
Imagine the way that a smart car interacts with a smart stoplight. The car communicates with the light to know that, if the light is red, the car will stop. However, this communication is also one piece of data among the countless pieces of information being analyzed in real time. All the cars in the entire city are communicating together, giving municipalities the data needed to adjust traffic lights in real time to enable the most efficient traffic flow.
This sort of capability could provide incredible economic impact. Currently, vehicle congestion typically erodes a country’s GDP by one to three percent. Optimizing traffic flows could help reduce the time wasted as well as environmental impact and infrastructure wear-and-tear.
At Intel, we understand that the systems required to make smart cities a reality need an unprecedented integration of wireless connectivity, computing intelligence, and distributed cloud resources. In addition to groundbreaking technology, careful resource and infrastructure planning is crucial to smart city implementation. We’re excited to lead the industry in transforming businesses and the way we live through exciting, innovative IoT solutions.