Smart Cities Are No Longer Optional

By Nathan Rockershousen, Technical Writer

The invasion of connectivity has influenced large cities around the globe to embrace the Internet of Things (IoT) as the all-purpose solution for improving the quality of life. As the population of people living in cities continues to grow, the multitude of wasted resources will increase from an already large amount. In order to support the changing infrastructure of city life, smart technology needs to be further implemented in the form of devices and vehicles in order to reduce the consumption of valuable resources such as energy, gas, and water.

Smart technology has barely reached its threshold of possibilities at this point in time. There has only been a handful of European and American cities that have begun to implement new technology. That being said, the success of combining IoT technology with the physical city infrastructure in the few existing smart cities has provided cities stuck in the past with overwhelming evidence of how the lives of citizens can be vastly improved with smart technology. The issue is not in cities not being able to access the technology; there are several industry leading companies such as Cisco, Intel, Siemens, and many more, that are creating smart solutions with innovative technological advancements. It is a matter of cities being willing to take a leap of faith towards a future full of efficient and cost-effective solutions.

The municipalities that have already embraced the IoT have drastically enhanced the quality of city life while reducing spending and easing the pain of city congestion. There are a couple of great examples of how cities in the United States have implemented this technology. San Francisco has begun to integrate sensors into their streets and parking spots to help drivers avoid traffic and find open parking spaces quickly. San Antonio has smart LED streetlights, which can alter their brightness levels in instances of fog or rain to improve the road visibility for drivers. These are among the many innovations that are making cities easier to navigate and live in while improving existing safety standards.

As more cities begin to adopt the features of what has been deemed an IoT revolution, it will be important that there are standards in place. These standards will make the most innovative tech much more synonymous solutions in cities around the globe, which will assist in distinguishing solutions that work from solutions that don’t. Ken Briodagh, writer for the IoT Evolution, describes the need for standards:

“As each city seeks to address its most pressing needs, or move toward the implementation that has the most potential for success, the leaders need to start working together with each other to share knowledge and intelligence about these projects so the successful ones can be replicated and the failures won’t be” (Read more: iotevolutionworld.com).

As IoT technology starts to become a more central part of city infrastructure, standards will begin to develop at a much more successful rate. Converting a city into a smart city will not happen overnight. It is unrealistic to expect the immediate integration of smart technology around the world, but what can be expected is cities seeking solutions in IoT for their specific and pressing needs. As time goes on there will be a global peak in the production of IoT devices; if cities continue to have success in improving the quality of life with smart technology, then the widespread adoption of the smart city is an inevitable, but necessary step in creating a more resource-efficient society.

How Singapore is Envisioning the Internet of Things

By Joe Duncan, Marketing

Many of the countries in the Global Far East have made definitive innovations to the Internet of Things (IoT). According to the OECD, Korea is leading the world in devices online per 100 inhabitants at 37.9, with the next closest competitor ranking in at 32.7 (The US weighs in at a measly 24.9). In addition, China’s efforts to establish a solid base in the Internet of Things has been intensive; GSMA reported in 2015 that, “China leads the world in the adoption of M2M services, with 74 million connections at the end of 2014, representing almost a third of the global base.” And although these numbers are compelling, Singapore’s vision for a Smart Nation has already begun to show what a Smart City might look like.

The Smart Nation Initiative, as the Prime Minister’s Office explains it, “adopts a people-centric approach to rallying citizens, industries, research institutions and the government to co-create innovative solutions.” The idea is that government, big business, startups and everyone else would get involved in the creative process. Government agencies are releasing much of the data gathered from sensors around the city into the public domain for use in analytics and as a good-faith invitation to participate in the generation of IoT solutions. Public transit is already partnering with mobile applications like Beeline and MyTransport to ensure streamlined service in transportation, but maybe the most exciting development so far has been in their emphasis on smart home technology.

The Housing and Development Board of Singapore has extended smart home solutions to 3,200 homes in the Yuhua estate, including “elderly monitoring systems that provide peace of mind to caregivers of loved ones, and Utility Management Systems that help manage household utilities usage.” Singapore intends to extend the Internet of Things through a collective community of sensors and a unified platform. As far as specific technologies are concerned, maybe Singapore isn’t any farther along than anyone else. Products for the IoT are still developing to their fullest potential, and there is still so much progress yet to be made before the smart home is a widespread occurrence.

On the other hand, Singapore’s developments do show a great deal of movement in the big picture. By creating an environment where the IoT can thrive by facilitating city-wide programs and encouraging the expansion of Smart initiatives. In effect, Singapore is working to support a network infrastructure with public sensor data and extensive connectivity. The benefit of this will be that products released into this setting will have more initial use-cases, a higher rate of acceptance and will be able to interact with the IoT infrastructure already in place.

Learn more, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJjPeKc-ekE&index=2&list=PLmGkYf0auQJyhg7DmHJZuXQrCWNw_qd9D