Smart cities are here today -- and getting smarter
Big Data, mobile, sensors, social media are already in use, but security and privacy are issues.
Computerworld - Smart cities aren't a science fiction, far-off-in-the-future concept. They're here today, with municipal governments already using technologies that include wireless networks, big data/analytics, mobile applications, Web portals, social media, sensors/tracking products and other tools.
These smart city efforts have lofty goals: Enhancing the quality of life for citizens, improving government processes and reducing energy consumption, among others. Indeed, cities are already seeing some tangible benefits.
But creating a smart city comes with daunting challenges, including the need to provide effective data security and privacy, and to ensure that myriad departments work in harmony.
What makes a city smart? As with any buzz term, the definition varies. But in general, it refers to using information and communications technologies to deliver sustainable economic development and a higher quality of life, while engaging citizens and effectively managing natural resources.
Making cities smarter will become increasingly important. For the first time ever, the majority of the world's population resides in a city, and this proportion continues to grow, according to the World Health Organization, the coordinating authority for health within the United Nations.
A hundred years ago, two out of every 10 people lived in an urban area, the organization says. As recently as 1990, less than 40% of the global population lived in a city -- but by 2010 more than half of all people lived in an urban area. By 2050, the proportion of city dwellers is expected to rise to 70%.
As many city populations continue to grow, here's what five U.S. cities are doing to help manage it all:
The city of Scottsdale, Ariz., has several initiatives underway.
One is MyScottsdale, a mobile application the city deployed in the summer of 2013 that allows citizens to report cracked sidewalks, broken street lights and traffic lights, road and sewer issues, graffiti and other problems in the community.
Developed by App-Order, a company that specializes in applications for municipalities, MyScottsdale runs on Android and iOS devices and allows users to choose from a list of problem categories and make a report. Citizens can take pictures of a subject, such as a flooded street, add a description and then email the report into a call center that then routes it to the appropriate department.
In addition to citizens, other users of MyScottsdale include city crews working in the field, such as firefighters, police and transportation workers, who use the app to help identify and quickly resolve problems such as safety hazards. City workers can send and receive information on their devices using a secure wireless network that covers the entire city.
"The world is becoming much more mobile; so many people have smartphones, and we're trying to capitalize on that to enhance services for citizens," says Brad Hartig, CIO of Scottsdale. Through the app, the city has received dozens of reports of problems including graffiti, city code and zoning issues, street and alley concerns, and traffic signs and signals.
- Market Overview: Digital Customer Experience Delivery Platforms Forrester states that businesses today struggle to understand and use the tools necessary to create and manage unified, multichannel digital customer experiences across...
- The Growing Demand for Rich Media This white paper discusses how IBM Customer Experience Suite Rich Media Edition can automate rich media workflows, from collaborating with creative agencies and...
- Intelligent Imaging for Improved Banking Performance and Profitability A new generation of "Intelligent Imaging" solutions has emerged that is helping banks remove the burden of paper in legacy processes, like loan...
- Shifting Gears: The Value of Customer-Driven Quality in Manufacturing In today's competitive manufacturing market, the customer must be the center of the quality universe. This paper details how manufacturers can improve customer...
- Is SQL Server AlwaysOn really as powerful? Tips and Tricks from the field With the introduction of AlwaysOn, Windows Clustering Services is now more critical than ever.
- What Does it Take to Deliver a Superior Customer Experience? The Two Top-Rated Online Retailers, B&H Photo and Crutchfield Electronics, Share Their Secrets Discuss practical CX tools and service methods such as contact center agents and the use of realtime speech analytics to help contact center... All Emerging Technologies White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!