If you’ve ever heard of smart city technology, then you’ve probably heard about the efficiency and progressive growth that goes along with it. There are over 170 cities in the world that have introduced smart city technology projects, but that number needs to keep growing. By analyzing and collecting data throughout an urban area, a smart city will evolve into creating a more efficient way of life for its citizens and help to boost economic growth.
Here are 9 reasons why smart cities are more needed than ever:
- Smart cities improve public health.
- Smart cities help improve public safety.
- Smart cities can cut down on traffic.
- Smart cities can help citizens connect with local officials.
- Smart cities improve response times to utility outages.
- Smart cities provide better access to public services.
- Smart cities improve learning and education.
- Smart cities improve access to humanitarian efforts.
- Smart cities improve community engagement.
After reading through the list of benefits that smart cities can offer their citizens, do you think it sounds too good to be true? Let’s take a closer look at each of these reasons to see why we need smart cities more than ever.
1. Smart Cities Improve Public Health
Traditionally, you visit the doctor when you’re under the weather to receive treatment and medication. After a waiting period, you’re finally invited into an exam room and talk to the doctor about your issues.
Traveling to the doctor’s office, waiting, and being examined–the whole event has taken up most of your day. So, what if a smart city could help change all of that?
Smart cities will help improve public health access by implementing tools to help reach all of its citizens.
These devices can help monitor a person’s health and prevent a possible health risk. Tools such as heart-rate monitors, glucose-level readers, or sleep-pattern assessments can be used to transmit data to a doctor in real time, aiding in the prevention of diagnosing a potential health abnormality.
As already seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth and virtual doctor visits have increased the levels of patients gaining access to public health services. People who couldn’t physically travel to the doctor’s office or were in danger of an in-person visit increasing the risk of infection have found convenience through virtual or telehealth visits.
Collecting Health Data of Specific Groups
Monitoring the health of a specific group or neighborhood can be very beneficial to a community in a smart city setting. Suppose there is an outbreak of illness in a targeted area. In that case, it will help public health officials to isolate the affected population and make it easier to investigate the source of infection.
2. Smart Cities Help Improve Public Safety
Installing security surveillance and alarm systems in your home helps give your family peace of mind and a feeling of safety. So what if that sense of security reached not just your personal home but your whole community?
A smart city will help improve public safety measures and response times to emergency services.
Video Monitoring Systems
A store or business may have a surveillance camera that’ll help record when a crime has taken place and can be shown to responders investigating the incident after the fact.
So, what if that surveillance camera was already connected to a police network that could send a dispatch team while the crime is taking place? Or if a patrol car parked on the same block of an ongoing burglary can receive a live feed of the incident? This will help cut down on the crucial minutes or even seconds of response times.
Public Safety Connection
Neighborhood watch groups have been put in place for decades, helping create a network of neighbors that let each other know recent events going on in their collection of homes.
But what if you could take the concept of a neighborhood watch group and expand it to include an entire urban area?
These networks of citizens already exist in the form of mobile apps such as Nextdoor and the Ring doorbell systems. They help alert citizens in the area of crimes taking place, road closures, emergency alerts, and potential weather risks.
3. Smart Cities Can Cut Down on Traffic
The morning commute is dreaded by almost everyone that has to drive a car or take public transportation. Unexpected delays, construction, and road closures can make life more stressful. Wouldn’t it be helpful if there was a way to improve commuting times and your quality of life by taking the stress out of getting to work in the morning?
Our smartphones and mobile devices keep us more connected than ever. If the citizens of a city are all connected on a single network of traffic, this will help smart technology create a more efficient and faster commute by controlling traffic signal timing and public transportation routes.
If you have monitors installed on heavily trafficked roads and streets to let construction and maintenance crews know the beginning of a problem, preventative repair may take place and won’t be as costly or time-consuming as a full repaving of a stretch of road.
4. Smart Cities Can Help Citizens Connect With Local Officials
If you’ve ever felt disconnected from the local government officials in your area, you’re not alone. More than half of a states’ residents don’t know the name of the governor or state representative, so it’s more than likely they won’t know their local elected officials either.
With smart city technology creating a network between citizens and the local government, this can change that fact.
By creating a community platform each citizen can utilize on their mobile devices, they can actively participate in local government decisions. Citizens will have access to their area’s government officials and can get to know them and their viewpoints.
Citizens will become directly involved in the city’s issues by having direct access to updates from city council meetings, upcoming elections, and opportunities to give their input, whether virtually or at an in-person gathering, which they can learn about through the app.
5. Smart Cities Improve Response Times to Utility Outages
When inclement weather is in the forecast, and there’s the possibility of a loss of power, blocked roadways from flooding, or other utility outages, most people try to prepare for the worst and feel very inconvenienced.
Although the location of where bad weather strikes can be unpredictable and hard to prepare for at times, smart technology can help make utility outages a little more manageable, with faster response times and more efficient and preventative maintenance.
In a smart city, utilities are connected through a network by sensors and monitoring systems throughout the infrastructure of gas, water, and electric lines, helping to detect outages, leaks, or other problems in real time.
Electric companies can dispatch workers to grids that lose power during a storm the second it happens. If a sensor picks up a water leak in a pipe, timely repairs can be made before the leak becomes a costly and damaging situation.
6. Smart Cities Provide Better Access to Public Services
If your city has public parks, libraries, transportation, or parking lots and garages, you’ve more than likely utilized one of these services.
But how often have the bathrooms at the public park been out of order? Or knowing the bus you catch after work is going to be an hour late without any warning? If you’ve got smart city technology in place, these problems can be solved.
In a smart city, public services at parks will have monitoring devices and sensors that can count the number of visitors in a day. Collecting that data can determine how many times an area of the park needs to be serviced and cleaned, making a more enjoyable experience for everyone.
If the arrival of the bus you take every night has an updated route in real time, you can be made aware and patiently wait at the bus stop for your turn. This is partly due to the network of passengers that have a mobilized bus pass that helps track the location of the bus and relay that information to future passengers.
7. Smart Cities Improve Learning and Education
In a world where technology is constantly evolving to make life more efficient and easier, it’s important for people to be up to date on how to use mobile devices that keep them connected to their community.
Smart cities are for everyone, young and old, and they can help improve education and technology literacy.
Smart technology can also be implemented in the public school systems. Monitoring and sharing data in public schools can improve the health and safety of its students. Additionally, sharing information with teachers in real time about students’ skill levels can be helpful.
By collecting data in public schools, smart city technology is helping improve education by ensuring an accurate amount of time is spent assessing individual students’ skills and working to increase their learning outcomes.
And by having access to data collections done in their communities, students will learn data analytics and increase their skills they someday will be able to translate into a future career.
Once all of the citizens become connected through one network, learning through collaborative effects will help improve your smart city’s overall quality of life.
8. Smart Cities Improve Access to Humanitarian Efforts
Have you ever looked for local food banks or meal giveaways in your area only to find outdated information on a defunct website? Maybe you want to find volunteering opportunities near you, and you can’t find any general information other than going to individual organizations’ pages for signing up.
If there’s one place where smart technology can have a positive effect on an urban area, it’s by enhancing and improving access to humanitarian efforts performed throughout the city. Monitoring devices in a homeless shelter can count how many beds are occupied and can make information available to the public when a space is available.
A pop-up soup kitchen in a public park can reach the people in need the most by broadcasting the location in real time to all available mobile outlets and public message boards. For those looking for emergency housing needs or financial assistance, citizens can get answers in real time of what services are currently available to them.
A network of citizens offering goods and services to those in need in real time should be implemented in all urban areas across the globe and is an excellent example of why smart cities are more needed than ever.
9. Smart Cities Improve Community Engagement
Have you ever gone to work or school and someone is talking about a great festival they went to over the weekend or the great local concert they saw last night that you didn’t know about? And you feel like you were left out of the loop and think they must have some sort of inside scoop.
What if you were also on the inside scoop, as well as all of your neighbors? You’d never miss an event you wanted to attend again!
In a smart city, you can stay active by being connected to a network that gives you updates on events happening in your area in real time.
By participating in a network of your community, you can find more information on meetings, events, classes, new business openings and old business closings, and so much more.
Community mobile applications such as Meetup and groups on Facebook have already implemented this type of smart technology that connects you with local groups in your area that share your like-minded interests.
Becoming more engaged in your community and meeting more people you wouldn’t have met organically improves the quality of life for the citizens of a city.
When you know more about your community and its people, you’re more willing to take care of your environment and share in growth with your neighbors to become a progressive and integral part of society.