To talk about what changes we might see taking place on our everyday life when regular cities transform into smart cities, we are going to need more than a single post. So let us just start with the first part of major changes that will be perceived as a city becomes smart.
Smart parking allows drivers to know whether there are free parking spaces, where they are (with navigation options) and how much they cost, comparing travel time and cost with public transportation. And not only that, but making available parking spaces that are only used during office hours on business days at evenings and weekends to visitors of theaters and museums. Peer-to-peer ride services like Uber and Lyft with personalized transport information that gets realtime IoT data from public transportation along the way of traveling combined with smart traffic control systems that uses intelligence to optimize the traffic flow will contribute both to convenience and to reduce congestion.
That will be improved when people have a subscription to transportation services that allocate shared self driving cars to pick them up and these autonomous and connected cars can securely reduce the distance between vehicles to increase the capacity of the roads.
Smart street lighting can reduce consumption and become brighter when movement is detected, use drones to get images to assess danger before sending human beings to potentially harmful situations, big data and data analytics may provide insights likelihood of crime in certain areas and to determine its causes, emergency apps with location and audio/video alert the nearest central police station, and acoustic sensors throughout the city could immediately identify a gunshot.
Smart generation of energy is to depend more on a large number of nodes with small capacity and saving high capacity fossil fuel generation to situations when renewable power sources cease to supply the demand. These low capacity nodes will be inter-connected in a smart grid that consumes and generates energy, besides data transportation, enabling end-user energy management. Also, every smart city should have its own micro grid, that is a local grid, with local sources of energy and local loads, that operates as part of the whole smart grid, but also on a stand alone basis, when needed.
By transporting data through energy distribution networks, consumption of electric energy can be measured hourly, allowing utility companies to change price according with the demand and to introduce gamification concepts to apps that show users' usage, encouraging users to lower their consumption during peak times. Another interesting thing is the implementation of IoT on household devices that can understand when the energy price raises or when it is peak time so it stops working during this times.
Excess of heat, from the one produced by buildings during summer season to that produced by facilities like data centers, can be stored or redirected to other uses.
The best scenario is the combination of many of this technologies to form an living system where smart grid tell IoT devices when energy surpluses or shortages exist and this information is available to the consumer in real time.
To achieve this, it will be required a great level of cooperation between government and companies to align technological developments, standardization and regulation that supports the transition to a smart solution.
Water is considered one of 21st century's biggest urban challenges. Some smart solutions on this matter are leakage detection by using sensors through the distribution network to measure real-time pressure, flow and quality, pollution detection of bodies of water, advanced warning for flooding and predictive maintenance planning.
Even the waste can be smarter! Smart cities would have sensors on each waste container so garbage trucks would have optimized routes to collect the containers that are reaching their limits, skipping those that are not full yet.
As discussed before, electric energy would have higher costs on peak times. So, smart buildings must have a system that match energy use to occupancy and to dynamically adjust power consumption on peak times. Using renewable energy is good business too, as it can reduce the usage of energy to a minimum and even selling any excess of energy produced.
Having data of real-time usage and activity level during the day, cleaning service could be optimized to focus on those areas. Smart refilling systems would also use IoT on coffee machine and towel dispensers, so they could be refilled when needed. Garage entries can be automated to raise the gates when a known car arrives and LED lights would also point out the route to its reserved parking space.
Everything that uses energy can be operated by electronic devices in a smart home. Lights, heating, the television, the coffee machine and other everyday appliances can be operated through smartphones, tablets and laptops. Many of the technologies applied to smart buildings will have similar variants in smart homes, such as automated garage, match energy to occupancy and energy control at peak times, and smart and automated refilling of products. Other more specific ones are landscape and environment control for pets and plants, online home monitoring and health monitoring but using sensors to monitor breathing and heart rate.
Increasingly, "health care" becomes focused on staying healthy instead of focused on curing diseases. That said, the trend of "quantified self" (self-discovery, self-knowledge, self-awareness and self-improvement) is possible through the use of wearable and mobile devices.
The amount of information on diseases and treatments will help to empower the patients, who should be the focus of a new health care process, unbundling them from specific paths of health care process. Insurance systems will see to emerge a new paradigm when new technology make it possible to obtain individual risks of becoming ill and health data of every customer.
Big Data and Deep Learning will interpret medical data to establish the right diagnosis and define the best treatment available. New robotics will support patients at home as long as possible. Last but not least, 3D-printing will disrupt prosthetics and implants industries, not to say real-life models of a patient for surgery practice.
Stay tuned with our blog to see our next post, where we will talk about other transformational changes.
Nobiletec is a multi-national consultancy firm specializes in B2B, B2C and P2P FinTech solutions.