The Future of Smart Cities: What Improvements Are Needed

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According to the United Nations, 68 percent of the world’s population will reside within urban zones by 2050. A large portion of these urban areas will be smart cities by then, where residents use mobile applications and various other digital services to interact directly with private and governmental institutions. It’s likely that all of those interactions will be made with AI-managed bots rather than humans – and virtually impossible to tell the difference.

As the world moves into the future and technology advances, more capital cities around the world will transform into “smart cities.” Smart cities rely on IoT technologies, Big Data, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and other technology designed to streamline public and private services.

The needs of smart cities will drive future innovations, improve and optimize governance, and improve the environment. However, a few steps must be attended to and implemented before cities can be called “smart.”

Infrastructure Improvements

Improvements to a city’s infrastructure include robust wireless and fiber broadband that enables connectivity and cloud services to store, update, maintain, and monitor data. Countries like Australia are upgrading their broadband services as can be seen in this NBN roll out map.

The cloud allows for crucial data to be stored off-site, facilitating ease of accessibility. This means a smaller number of system failures, covered by swift acting disaster recovery protocols to minimize the devastating results.

Data Freshness and Better Security

Once upon a time, it was all about speed. Now as the age of sensor data has taken center stage, Internet speed has taken a back seat. Experts from MIT say that the environments of the Internet and Location-of-Things don’t require data to be transmitted quickly but rather that data must be fresh.

MIT has been researching better methods that ensure sensors distribute salient data for analysis. Since all the data can’t be sent at once, finding a solution isn’t easy. The biggest reason being there isn’t enough bandwidth for such.

Self-driving automobiles, drones, and various other IoT gadgets require consistent, up-to-date data if their users want them to work correctly. For example, a networked collection of vehicles will meet disaster if they’re fed old data. So, differentiating stale information from pertinent data holds more weight than the amount of time it takes to reach those self-driving automobiles. And this idea applies to most if not all IoT devices. In reality, it’s a radical change in paradigm.

Robust Security

Smart cities possess the ability to deploy and monitor fundamental public services that include utilities, public transportation, public safety, among other services. Hence the need for a robust cybersecurity stance.

Thus it’s crucial these services are free from vulnerabilities whether physically or virtually. Technologies such as blockchain may be much safer than the cloud, providing a set of security measures that help future smart cities stay impervious to breachers.

Decentralized Management

Blockchain technology complements artificial intelligence and machine learning, the two sentinels charged with the task of monitoring smart cities remotely.

Decentralizing city management tasks remove human errors. Additionally, these technologies identify issues and rectify them before they become serious problems – disaster recovery missions are handles in a matter of moments rather than days. The monitoring of utility consumption by AI and ML lower cost, decrease the carbon footprint and improves the overall quality of life.

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