As the 3.5 billion+ people living on Earth grow to more possibly than 6.25 billion by 2050, government infrastructural budgets are under pressure with no new revenue in sight. Dr Kiessling says:
“Until recently, excessive austerity measures were the only solution in sight. The flipside? Such budgetary responses are damagingly counterproductive because cities simultaneously compete to provide a superior quality of life to their citizens. They need to attract growth industries and meet the demands of their skilled workers and no one wants to cause children in a town bereft of amenities. It is no surprise that politicians are reluctant to commit political suicide by slashing their towns’ infrastructural comforts.”
“Smart, connected objects are set to become commonplace in our cities. The respective services will see us interacting with our surroundings in an entirely new way, and the business models behind them are poised to take off impressively. Analysts at Machina Research (a firm focused on the emerging opportunities associated with new forms of connected device) expect sales revenue from Smart City and Public Transport solutions to grow from $8.4 billion in 2012 to approximately $29.2 billion by 2020. M2M connections (machine to machine – wireless connectivity) in this segment are forecasted to increase from 72 million to 747 million.”
It seems approximately 30 percent of the drivers we see in our inner cities are not actually going anywhere, they are looking for a place to park and clogging up the roads.
Smart technology and sensor-aided parking systems can guide drivers to available spaces, avoiding detours and searches.
A partnership between Deutsche Telekom and Kiunsys which has devised an intelligent parking system with sensors that find spaces, and smart lamp posts that guide you to the nearest spot, is on trial in Piazza Carrara in Pisa, Italy.
This is a system designed to speed up parking, ease congestion, cut emissions with the aim of better utilizing existing resources
Streetlights are another example of potentially unnecessary costs. Why don’t they start dim and grow brighter as darkness deepens? Why do they operate all night in areas rarely visited after sunset? Couldn’t sensors simply switch them on when a passer-by is noticed? And, surely a smart lamppost would report such glitches automatically?
Researchers claim cities can reduce their electricity bills by up to 70 percent and their maintenance costs by up to 10 percent.
The vision doesn’t stop there. Consider just how ubiquitous streetlights are. Once you have an intelligent mesh of street lighting, you have effectively wired up an entire city. That constitutes an excellent foundation for other applications like traffic monitoring or garbage disposal management. More and more solutions will enrich this scenario, efficiently building on what you already have – unless we are silly enough to break the system by fencing its components in.
Closed systems are a cul-de-sac that becomes more disastrous with scale, and cities are huge and complex entities. Open standards are imperative if you want to embrace new possibilities as they arise.
Bit by bit, companies like Deutsche Telekom
“are assembling and offering packages to solve infrastructural and budgetary problems the hi-tech way. Just like private consumers since the late 1980s, cities are going to realize that ‘cheaper’ and ‘better’ go hand in hand because that and digital technology will evolve. Plenty of municipal headaches are going to be cured, and it’s a world we can look forward to as citizens, too. Instead of closing opera houses, local politicians may even be able to open a new swimming pool.”