City Insight

    Smart Cities and the Impact of Integrating Technology into Cities

    Most modern consumers are well aware of the concept of the smart home. By installing smart home technology into their home, consumers will gain more control and will also be able to retrieve vital information about their home’s energy consumption. Of course, a single residential dwelling is a small component of the bigger community. Smart cities leverage smart technology to a greater extent and give city leaders the ability to better monitor their city and better serve their constituents. Below, you will learn more about the impacts of integrating technology into any city.

    Data Analysis and Crime Prevention

    Over the past few years, law enforcement agencies throughout the nation has begun to rely heavily on technology to keep the citizens of their community safe. Social media is witnessing sharp increase in number of users. Large social media website have been used in past to carry out crime and cause harm to both individuals and communities. Analyzing social media and trying to view private Instagram data can help law enforcement spot people that may sympathize with terrorist ideology. Having information about suspicious people can help in bringing down the crime rate. Smart city technology can also help. In some cities, information associated with crime is being collected in mass and then analyzed in an attempt to predict future crimes. Simultaneously, more cities have decided to install smart streetlights, which are fitted with gunshot detection technology.

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    A Cause and Effect Concept

    First and foremost, consumers should understand that smart technology often follows the rules of cause and effect. Data is collected over a period of time. Then, the data is analyzed to locate predictable, recurring events. Finally, the smart technology will carry out a specific action based on the actionable information collected. As an example, smart cities can use technology to monitor intersections for trucks carrying freight. The system can determine precisely when these trucks approach and then turn the lights green. This effectively reduces idling and traveling time, while simultaneously decreasing the environmental impact of such automobiles. Such technology has already been rolled out in some of the most populated cities in the United States. Many of the cities are trying to explore the option of Intelligent Public Transport (IPT) as a part of traffic management. This can only be achieved with extensive use of information & communication technology.

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    Collection of data

    By using intelligent algorithms, these technologies may be able to identify the location of a crime as soon as or even before it can occur. In return, this ensures the victim will receive assistance far quicker than ever before. With massive increase in computing power and modern equipments data collection is quicker then ever before. Data collection and methods of data processing enables city managers to make most of the collected data. Meaningful data is highly valuable in all industries and the task of managing cities cannot be done efficiently without collecting and processing data. Further, data presentation and analysis again becomes an integral part of all presentation made to public and city councils.

    Great Efficiencies in All Categories

    City officials often have a difficult time maintaining efficiency in terms of traffic, energy use, and water usage. Relying on data collection and processing from smart city technologies can help. A recent study carried out in Boston confirmed that smart cities were able to achieve greater efficiencies in managing water usage, energy consumption, and even traffic flows. The 5-year study involved 5,000 subjects. The study confirmed that collection information about the city’s energy usage and processing this data made it possible for city officials to make cost-effective changes.

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    For instance, they were able to pinpoint the areas where energy was waste and where it was needed the most. This worked in a similar fashion with traffic congestion. Since many actions are predictable, the smart city’s technology and algorithm were able to determine when traffic was the heaviest and in which direction the majority traveled. This gave city officials the ability to switch traffic lights to better accommodate the traffic flows at any given time. Truly, big data and technology integration in cities will have a major impact in the future.

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    Public participation & monitoring by use of technology

    in most of the cities, public participation is the end stage of the plan making process in form of objections/ suggestions which are invited after the draft plan is prepared and brought out in the public domain. Therefore, in terms of overall approach to planning there is hardly any public participation. But it has been identified and established at various forums that people should be involved prior to this stage also. Public participation should start at the inception of the project, as this would also help in prioritizing issues. It has to be given due importance at all stages to make the whole process more meaningful, transparent and realistic.

    Involving people at different stages is a crucial task but keeping a record and inventory of all suggestions/objections received is difficult. Using advanced and improved methods of data collection can help in greater involvement of people. Tapping users on social media websites has proved to be effective and cost effective measures for many cities. People get updates from concerned authorities and departments in real time. A very important feature of all cities is good citizen access to information. Whether it is regarding city specific data or the measures being taken by municipal bodies or information relating to various service providers such as transport and similar information relevant for potential investors has to be conveniently available. This could be through multiple channels – internet, mobile apps, radio, TV, print media, etc.

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