Smart Cities

October 1st, 2018 by admin

Upwards view of city buildings overlaid with network-like imagery

Smart Cities are a buzzy term for using technology to help solve public problems. If we put fire detecting cameras around all of Los Angeles, to help alert the authorities and create faster response times, this would be a Smart City feature. There is a little bit of ambiguity here, but basically: Technology + Internet + City = Smart City. Some key examples would be Singapore. The City-State proclaimed its goal a few years back to become the first Smart Nation, and has backed that up with a number of innovations meant to aid citizens and law enforcement. Among these are sensors and cameras that detect if people are smoking in unauthorized zones, as well as when and where people litter.

San Francisco has the largest Smart Parking network in the world, where sensors detect if a parking spot is empty and sends that information to an app on your phone. The highly populated city was notorious for parking difficulties, and this idea ensures that the spots that are available are all easily accessed.

Tech Down the Road 

Smart Highways are in the same vein as a Smart City. By integrating existing technology into road infrastructure, several existing problems are solved. Smart Highways could be powered by solar panels on the pavement itself. With that energy, frost and ice could be melted, saving thousands of lives yearly. Lights in the pavement could help drivers see at night or during a storm, and sensors could detect when an accident is taking place and flash warning lights so more cars don't get caught in the carnage.

Really the Smart City movement is about government incorporating existing technologies into infrastructure. There is a lot of possibility for good here, though there are some concerns with privacy. For now we can see how these small scale projects work out.

- Kender Ostlun

Posted in: Technology