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Tech

Building a smart city is possible by adding connectivity and enhancing it as a modern layer upon the emerging layer that is already in place. But it is also possible to strategize, build and repair having the smart concept in mind right from the start.

The first version mostly characterizes the visionaries, which could barely wait for modern tech to come around. It also reflects a reality where synchronizing public authorities with the private sector is difficult. Concepts, meetings, funding, establishing an agenda, explaining the projects and implementing them usually take a few years at least.

Apparently the second way allows for late entries into the smart city team to catch up, perhaps even in a more decisive way.

Once the technology is here and the purpose and the numbers align – every city-related action can embed smart devices, sensors, and systems. Later on, connecting activating them may be just a matter of software.

But do the right premises exist for this step-based strategy, where smart comes first? Or do we have to learn to set such premises as a premiere? Thinking smart first can save time and money. Besides, there are so many urban centers that fit the profile, as they have not yet made any steps towards the smart concept.

We found a few highlights on this topic in a ReadWrite post – see below.

 

A human centric approachfor the smart city

 

All those who think ahead in industry (and society in general) keep reinforcing this mantra. Advanced technology is here to better the lives of humans. It’s not about profitability only, nor should it be about hidden faults and traps that would trigger further maintenance cycles. It shouldn’t be about “deploying technologies to improve “tech” or devices per se”, either.

Connecting devices and spaces that weren’t in the digital loop so far is just one step. Done right – and with the right ethics – it should clear the way towards other advancements in society and technology. The whole idea is to make our lives better. Perhaps we could use what we’ve learned from our past and make technology materialize what we know better now.

So, smart city concepts should be all about planners serving people via technology. No nonsense, no lack of logic, no product placement or push architecture that counteracts the organic needs of a city’s inhabitants.

 

A governance model that listens to the local businesses

Since organizations (companies) that activate in the cities are in fact conglomerates of people having a shared purpose, their needs come next in line. Plus, due to the current infusion of digital technology in all things business, companies do use connectivity in an intensive way.

A network that enables data streaming to and from businesses is part of a smart city. Real-time data goes in (respecting GDPR, of course), smart decisions move forward the internal activities, and a better output makes customers happier. Connectivity also powers partnerships, R&D, educating the smart(er) humans of tomorrow and so on. Coming to work knowing that utilities, food, healthcare and entertainment are more accessible may generate better ideas, stamina and creativity.

 

Examples of smart city focal points

Just by running the scenario of a usual day in our head we can find quite a few examples. Smart trash collection could see that proper sized cars come on the streets whenever the bins need collecting. Smart public illumination could mean the lights are on when it’s dark and off in line with the sunset. How about smart traffic – for real?  Food delivery at lunch that keeps its promise of freshness. Maybe even allows and guarantees you the trajectory of the ingredients – from the farm to your plate. Better recycling of the food packages… A smart ambient system indoors. Smart parks and green areas, watered and tended as needed. A sensor network powered parking system. A better system of informing people about the shows, exhibitions and events taking place in the city.

Los Angeles loses an insane $19.2 billion per year to time wasted from traffic congestion on its roadways, while New York City loses $33.7 billion annually — or $2,982 per driver

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By simply programming a smart thermostat, homeowners can save an average of $180 a year

For such things to become the usual, visionaries need to step forward. Planners and public authorities need to shift their mindset. Not the least, cities need smart software engineers, developer, coders, QA testers, digital problem solvers.

Does your company have a smart city concept that needs developing? Do you need a reliable software solutions partnership? Contact us and let’s start shaping the future together.

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Tech

City planners and technologists joined forces at Smart Cities Week 2018 in an exercise of simulation for businesses. The theme was the future the smart city, which is not at all far-fetched. All around the globe initiatives for intelligent, connected IoT-based urban centers are in various stages of development.

To understand the full scale of requirements, challenges and multiple tasks involved by such a mega structure, we browsed a recap of the simulation, as featured on IoT for All.

 

Things to expect when involved in a smart city project

Although the increased specialization in the technical field over the years may not equally put all participants in a project in a similar strategic posture, certain major challenges are bound to affect all. Even if layered in complementary projects, micro projects and various team types, the professionals who are part of the overall team do have to acknowledge the bigger picture.

What would a few of the common challenges might be? Lateral thinking is one of them. For the success of such a venture, those who make decisions, as well as those who decide for their own subsidiary area of responsibility need to bring an indirect and creative approach to the table.

Balancing the budget against what are indeed the much needed strategic investments is yet another must. Investing in new technologies blends together with retrofitting older structures. However, blending means seamless integration. The participants need to think things through. They also need to have a can do attitude, to grasp the big picture, as well as be quickly aware of the possible pressure or blockage points.

 

A process of bartering and flexible adaptation

The simulation in cause was extremely interesting due to the fact that it reunited city planners with the specialist in technology.  While the professionals in urban planning brought an approach forged during the specifics of their everyday activity, some of the technologists had their first opportunity to see how and why this type of project is different.

City planners are often reluctant to changes, stick by their budgets and need to understand the technology and translate it into financial lines. Understanding the technology alone took a while for some of the participants. The technologists had to meet them halfway in relation with certain issues.

Collaboration and strategy are key on the road to a functional smart city – as the author repeatedly underlines it. The aim and the measurement elements is the citizen quality of life – a notion that seems at hand, but needs defining. It also requires a sustained activity on the line of planning, so it would indeed materialize into better services, better living conditions and so on.

 

Keywords for activities related to the smart cities of the future

We selected a few keywords that might not be the first things that come to mind when contemplating the idea of smart city:

  • Multiple stakeholders
  • Constrained budgets
  • Challenging social dynamics

Other keywords are less surprising:

  • Economic growth
  • Intuitive infrastructure
  • Public-Private Partnerships
  • Collaborative processes

Materializing smart city projects may involve a sum of integrations. Some software solution can be adopted into such a project, while they previously existed in the private environment. Others can regard custom-made software programs and applications.

Whatever the case, having the right partner in software engineering is of great use. Our company is an example of such a partner – with the experience accumulated in our projects along the years, we can tackle IoT and mobile challenges related to the major ventures of the future.

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