Today we are going to review how 7 Smart City mainstays can benefit future “megacities” in the challenges they will find during the following years
Future cities will house the 70% of the world population in 2050. For that year, these cities will increase their population in 2,500 million people, changing absolutly the way we actually live. These new megacities, with more power than many countries, will rise in a world that will reach 10,000 million people population. How can the human kind control this situation? The answer is not simple, but the transformation of the actual urban areas into Smart Cities seems to be the solution to this challenge.
But, how can a Smart City face a challenge of this size? It´s true it seems difficult, but remember that every Smart City proyect integrates multiplate information and communication technology (ICT) and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, managing information about services like schools, libraries, trasportation, hospitals, power plants, water supply networks and many other community services. This integration, looking to improve efficiency, could help this new megacities to manage all the demand of a huge social mass.
This, apparently, is the theory, but the latest Smart City projects have shed light on this issue, teaching us how this kind of technology can help us in the future. It´s true they are actually little steps in our path to the cities of the future, but these steps are pointing the way. Today, in Velatia Networks, we are going to show this way by analysing 7 keys that are critical to make our cities smarter and for preparing them for the following years. Let´s go!
1. Global Information (Big Data)
Information is the key. This phrase, very popular in journalism is completly suitable for the future cities challenges. There is no strategy without information, and Big Data is positioned as the tool to detect every incidences in our cities. Actually we produce millions of impacts that can be recorded: maills, social media comments, or Google searches. These datas, that have to be treated with privacy in many cases, are also very useful to detect trends and any kind of problems that could happen in our cities: citizens suggestions and complaints, emergencies, products demand, etcétera.
The tecnhology known as “Big Data”, that basically tries to use predictive analytics, based on this huge ammount of datas we´ve talked about, can help us, with crucial information ,improving administration services, combating possible crimes, boosting some businesses competences and even offering products that are clearly connected to the needs of customers. That´s why this kind of methodology will be positioned as a key to enable future Government´s efficency in their services for the citizens.
2. Energy efficiency
Actually the energy waste in our cities is a non solved problem. There is no future without energy efficiency. In the next years we have to face this area by investing in our electrical networks, seeking to innovate them. Smart Grids, the technology that is called to revolutionaze the electrical grid, is the key for the energy efficiency. Future grids will manage the energy demand by intermediate sensors, allowing to redirect the energy excess of one area to another area with energy requirement, while at the same time drives the energy produced by the renewables instaled in one skyscrapper to the mall beside. This kind of technology, based in the mix between information and energy transportation, that is also enormously difficult, is being deployed, step by step, by companies like Ormazabal, experts in the future Smart Grids scenario.
By the other side, the energy demand managament solutions will rise also like another ally for the energy efficiency. To identify specific initiatives that add value to the city, in terms of improving efficiency, linked with the energy plan of the companies present in these cities, has to be on of the requirements of future cities to optimize their costs.
Althought the energy efficiency is a crucial challenge, is not the only one that megacities will face. The way we waste our resources and how do we manage them will be another of the keys for our future cities. If we actually manage them with traditional garbage collection methods, recycling systems have to be improved looking for a better use of our wastes. For 2050, the wastes produced in cities will grow up more than a 70%, a data that supports why the waste management will rise as a big problem if we don´t bring to the table real solutions.
The sewerage, what some people think is, while it may appear redundant, something residual, is actually very important and will rise as crucial in the next years. These kind of megacities will have to deal with huge ammounts of residues, so the sewerage has to be really prepared to work towards an ecological management.
Citizens quality of life has to be one of the core strategies of the city administration. Actual IoT systems help our quality of life by ensuring our citizens safety. Issues like violence control or crowd control, monitorized by street cameras, will help the police to detect crimes and try to solve then as quickly as is possible to avoid risks.
Other aspects like smart street lighting will also help our safety, giving us safe ways to return back to home when there is no natural light and also respecting the environment.
Companies like Ikusi, that has been exploring this field for years, will rise as benchmark for the cities cared about ther citizens.
Imagine how works an efficient delivery company. Companies like Amazon are structured in a very powerful logistic platform, a platform has to inform to all the involved employees (logistic department, delivery department, etcétera) about every change of the customers. This is how a future city should solve public transport problems. A sensor detects a problem and notices the citizen about it, offering him a solution proposal: another transport way, for example.
This is also a shared problem in traffic management and parking areas. Current big cities have huge traffic and parking problems that produce large delays and economic losses. Future cities have to manage these problems, and Smart Cities appear like the best way. Imagine a traffic light with a camera that notices about the traffic flow, enabling a control center to reconsider the programmed traffic stops, redirecting cars to another location and avoiding the usual traffic jams at rush hour. Something that is also useful for parkings. Apps that notice users about where they could find parking lots have to increase their scope in the next years.
Nowadays the environment protection is one of our biggest concerns. The way we see our world has changed and the climate change is the biggest challenge of humannity for the next years. Thus, our future cities can´t be conceived without a green awareness. These issues, that will be definitive in our fight against climate change, have to be integrated in our cities, even if we consider that in some years our cities will house much more people, what means more pollution.
The air quality will be one of the biggest problems that future cities will have to manage. More popullation means more cars, what means more smokes, what also means pollution and health problems. This being the case, future cities plans will have to think about the cohabitation of green areas with our future needs.
Even if we change the actual climate situation, the consequences produced by the bad practices committed during the last century will appear. That´s why future cities have to be prepared to face natural events like floods, drynnes or high winds, that have been boosted by the impulse of the climate change.
The more people lives in a city, the more risks appear to the health of the population. The disease control, by deploying health plans for citizens (vaccines, medical examinations, medical coverage…) will be another key that have to be present in the future cities.
Megacities will also have to supply every kind of emergencies, minimizing the waiting times with efficient tools, something that each city has to be prepared for, even more knowing that future hospitals will have to deal with a older population with cronical diseases.
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