The May issue of TEST Magazine primarily focuses on smart cities and devices. This is because technology has the power to make cities around the world more efficient and tech-savvy. Throughout the years, I’m sure we can all say we’ve witnessed tech taking over the way the world works – now it’s even managing transportation systems, power plants, traffic, law enforcement, schools and other community services. It’s no wonder that an array of civil societies want to be a part of this technological revolution.
Aspects of cities are beginning to connect with the Internet of Things (IoT) devices, because of its potential to completely change how a city works by enhancing the performance, quality and interactivity of urban services, as well as simplifying a person’s typical day by improving the quality of life.
IoT gives organisations across private, public and non-profit sectors the opportunity to implement connected sensors, lights, and meters to collect and analyse data; which will help service quality, automate processes, and provide feedback to users. This, in the long run, helps create a smart city through smarter decision-making.
Despite this, it depends on national governments and whether or not they want to support certain development processes – not forgetting the financial aspect – £10million should be enough to see good results of a smart city. But, even so, the budget would have to be spent wisely.
Security in an increasingly connected world is a concern for many, bringing in an array of different debates. Interestingly, for a smart city to be as effective as possible, it needs all data points as connected as possible. In other words, data silos need to be avoided. For example, if one system is used to store data about our waste container levels and doesn’t pool that data with footfall, we wouldn’t be able to predict a full bin based on foot traffic (page 6).
Another issue raised is the confidentiality of data. Locational services and sensor analytics could create unexpected risks. The reason breaches occur is because functionality and customer orientation are still the highest priority for vendors, but even in times of increased connectedness, security and data protection is still neglected (hopefully the new GDPR will fix this).
Nevertheless, I believe we should embrace this interesting time of life where we can focus more on broader human needs by helping to design an environment to suit our personal needs and unique ways of thinking.
I personally can’t wait for the day when I get to sit in a car without having to drive it, my windows open when it knows I’m too hot, and the kettle turns itself on because of knowing I’m thirsty and in need of caffeine. Not forgetting, it would be great to have a robot to do my hoovering – or is that just pure laziness?
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Written by Leah Alger