Smart Cities: A Brave New Digital World

Written by Himanshu Sareen on 30 April 2013

Inspired by a post a few weeks ago regarding the digitisation of New York City’s beloved institutions, the team at Icreon has started to think about the increasing prevalence of smart cities. 

Masdar City. Copyright: Nigel Young, Foster + Partners

From Brazil to The United Arab Emirates to South Korea, nations and their governments are embracing the idea of highly connected cities, ones focused on self-sustainability and energy efficiency by way of technology. Ubiquitous connectivity of information systems also provides a tremendous opportunity for the IT market as a whole. 

The importance of megacities cannot be denied. At this moment over 50% of the world population live within cities; by 2050, 6.3 billion people will reside there. In order to adapt to such growth within metropolitan areas, IT services and networks may be the answer. 

CISCO is collaborating with South Korea to create the future city of Songdo, where escalators know when people approach and telepresence embedded homes and offices. Masdar, a city in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, will be a completely sustainable city with solar energy farms and a complete ban on petroleum vehicles. Masdar will also boast an ultra-secure IT protection framework.

Governments have already adopted new technologies such as mobile devices, data analytics and powerful web applications in order to better administrate and communicate to the public. Issues such as poverty and environmental disasters can be alleviated with the help of smart cities for advanced communication and warning systems. 

Powered by smart electric grids to prevent brownouts, intuitive crime reporting systems which highlight problem areas and traffic analysis for reduced congestion, smart cities provide a growing market opportunity for IT firms worldwide. The potential for mobile and data analytics integration with smart cities from the perspective of an emergency worker, government official or city resident is also exciting. 

Politicians will gain unforeseen insight into the sentiment of their constituents through social media analytics and psychographic profiles. Ambulances will communicate with traffic systems in order to find the fastest route to an injured person, in real-time.

As mega-cities become an undeniable aspect of our reality, there is significant optimism in terms of solutions to sustainability, energy conservation and the reduction of poverty. Through a convergence of social innovation, technological progress and advances in construction, mega-cities are destined to change the way the world lives and works.

Categories: Design, Technology