Tomorrowland: The Rise of Smart Cities

By 2030, more than 5 billion people will live in urban conditions. It is clear that the population density of that magnitude calls for some extensive optimization. The modern metropolises are already highly-polluted, erratic, and dysfunctional, facing citizens with the tedious hustle and bustle on a daily basis.  Thus, smart cities are the bright future of the urban development, bringing forth boosted quality, efficiency and interactivity of man-made environments.  

The state of interconnectedness

Smart cities utilize the rapid advancements in information and communication technologies in order to manage city assets like public schools, water supplies and waste management facilities. Thousands of sensors and network components are dotted across the physical space comprised of buildings, infrastructure, and utilities. This instigates an exciting living experiment with the prime goal of making the life of citizens of concrete jungles easier and more convenient.

Management of complex urban flows and responding to the wide array of challenges in a timely fashion is a daunting task. Officials must be able to interact with the local community directly, as well as to obtain real time data on city infrastructure. That is why they harness the power of cloud-based services, real-world user interfaces, and the Internet of Things. The cutting-edge sensors are integrated with real-time monitoring systems, making a rich pool of data available to all stakeholders.

Smart Cities and The Internet of Things

As a result, they are able to store and feed data, or build their own applications based on the insights.  Furthermore, electronic cards with encrypted identifiers are employed to log in a variety of e-services. With a growing amount of citizens using them, government representatives are capable of aggregating data on their preferences and habits. Some would say that this is associated with many security risks, as well as privacy violations. Although this notion rings true, it seems that potential benefits outweigh the risks.

Reaching for the sky

The advent of smart cities produces the whole ecosystem of support services. Open-data initiatives such as New York’s BigApps strive to improve the community with smart applications. Cities like Santander monitor the levels of pollution and noise, while other European metropolises undergo a service boom in the areas of discovery, identity management, and security. The aircon repairs in Sydney are on the roll, due to the proliferation of smart buildings. Speaking of those, a four-storey police complex in Perth presents the embodiment of the smart future.

It holds energy management system, central HVAC plant, air handling unit control, chilled beam controls and other advanced capabilities.  Business premises, hospitals, universities and other specialist facilities have also taken advantage of this technology. Many entrepreneurs and managers boast about large scale integration platforms reducing the complexity of operating the facilities. Similar trends are taking off throughout Australia, and intelligent, automated structures are building blocks of the broader undertaking to transform the booming cities of today.

HVAC & Smart Cities

Of course, the capacities for collecting, processing and analyzing mountains of data are highly-dependent on the seamless functioning of the cloud. As luck would have it, the security bar is constantly rising, and new solutions are introduced at a mind-boggling paced. High above, another tech frontier is explored, with the Global Positioning System satellite network overseeing the evolution of smart cities. Not even the sky is the limit anymore, and human ingenuity and engineering prowess will continue to show us a way into the world of tomorrow.

Tomorrow comes today

Smart cities are an answer to the great challenges of the 21st century’s perpetual urbanization, a solution promising to spur a better quality of life, more efficient allocation of resources and enhanced decision-making process. New models of collective action, tech integration and collaborative practices should put an end to the all-present haphazardness of our urban settings. Bear in mind that the civilization has only scratched the surface, and we cannot wait to witness the many novelties that are just around the corner.   

Feature image: Hears Tower, Billy Hathorn, Wikimedia Commons

About Dan Radak

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