- Published: 26 October 2022
The future of smart cities promises to look vastly different than the present − and it's clear that coming years will bring more mind-blowing advancements to a town near you. From London and Paris to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Barcelona, Europe consistently remains home to many of the world's most technically-advanced cities. But given the dawn of exponential technologies such as 5G high-speed connectivity (capable of rapidly transmitting and processing huge volumes of real-time data) and quantum computing that is able to crunch numbers many times faster than modern supercomputers, tomorrow's growing smart cities promise to get even smarter.
Backed by the potential of machine learning where equipment learns and gets smarter with each interaction – which is itself poised to be a $96.7 billion business by 20251 – breakthroughs are set to further multiply here soon.
The Future of Smart Cities: A Sneak Preview
According to global consulting firm Deloitte, three differentiating factors will define the smart cities of tomorrow 2: enhanced quality of life, greater economic value and improved sustainability. The Center for Strategic and International Studies notes that these high-tech habitats will increasingly leverage Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud technologies 3 and the data they generate to help government leaders be more efficient, resourceful and responsive to citizens.
However, with Barclays Bank predicting that smart cities have the potential to generate $20 trillion in economic benefits by 2026 4 on top of it, it's no surprise that government leaders and technology firms are racing to raise the bar further with each passing year.
Here are a few areas in which you can soon expect to see marked changes:
- Autonomous Buildings, Facilities, and Services
Offices, industrial centres and residential buildings will soon be more self-aware and better able to self-regulate heating, cooling, lighting, parking systems and water usage on a city-wide scale. By integrating smart sensors with intelligent devices, smart cities of the future will be able to adjust themselves to minimise pollution, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and self-initiate building or equipment upgrades and repairs.
From waste disposal systems capable of tracking when bins are full and need emptying to sewer systems able to monitor and head off the spread of adverse health conditions, tomorrow's towns won't just become more situationally aware and self-sustaining, they'll also increasingly be powered by intelligent learning systems that make fast, automated, and highly data-driven decisions.
- Electric and Self-Driving Vehicles
An electric vehicle (EV) revolution is nearly upon us , as electricity-powered transport prepares to quickly expand from cars to buses, trains, scooters, subway cars, and boats. With fleets of self-driving trucks and robo-taxis already preparing to hit the streets, you can also expect autonomous vehicles of all shapes and sizes to play a prominent role in shaping tomorrow's smart city.
But innovations here won't just include automated chauffeurs, you can also expect to see city streets and vehicles embedded with sensors capable of tracking the position of every object and pedestrian on the road, allowing for better real-time traffic management – and able to issue immediate, life-saving alerts to any auto driving on them.
- Simulations, Digital Twins, and Real-Time Insights/Decisioning
By making finely detailed digital replicas of entire cities and their infrastructure, leaders will also soon be able to better simulate and predict real-world encounters and events − and plan preferred responses around them.
This means not only being able to prepare for environmental concerns and emergencies, but also design public transport, city infrastructure and public services to be more cost-effective and efficient.
Using data platforms and computer modelling, it'll not only be possible to enhance everything from road design and residential development to crime and disaster prevention programmes.
Crowdsourced feedback, insights, and data from citizens will also be capable of being used to promote mass participation in data sharing and insight, allowing city leaders to quickly spot emerging challenges and opportunities as they arise. This information will also be used to promote greater fairness and equality through communities, helping smart cities provide residents with more equitable access to housing, infrastructure, amenities, jobs, and healthcare.
- Augmented, Virtual, and Extended Reality
Technologies such as augmented reality (AR – aka the insertion of digital pop-ups over real-world images) and virtual reality (VR, or the accessing of immersive computer simulations by donning a 3D computerised headset) will also play defining roles in tomorrow's smart city.
For example firefighters' helmets that can display 3D maps of buildings and every object in them. Alternately, imagine housing developments and public works designed by architects and engineers using high-tech goggles and touch-sensing gloves to sketch out their shape and map out different building configurations with the wave of a hand. That's before you consider their impact on field workers who'll be able to videoconference with colleagues and customers, show what they're seeing, on the ground and get remote help on-demand.
Added to that, sporting or entertainment events – in which spectators and fans will be able to enjoy a 360-degree, 8K high-definition or live drone feed without ever leaving their couch.
- Advanced City Planning and Development
By tapping into growing treasure troves of data and analytics, smart cities of the future won't just be better designed to accommodate more green spaces, eco-friendly transport and charging options.
They'll also increasingly be crafted to put any resource or amenity you'd need within short walking or cycling distance. Insights provided from high-tech services and solutions will help these cities to cultivate more circular economies and sharing of resources, for example by helping towns to place more urban farms or cutting-edge community centres in areas where they can help improve access to technology and eliminate ‘food deserts’ 5. Mind you, that's before you consider how e-bikes, hyperloops 6, and other shared mobility options will only continue to advance.
- Cision: Machine Learning Market Size To Reach $96.7 Billion By 2025, Based on Rising Usage of Data Science & AI Technologies For Driving Business Processes
- Deloitte: Smart Cities & Urban Transformation
- CSIS: Lessons from the Pandemic: The Future of ‘Smart Cities’
- Barclays: The future of Smart Cities
- Heathline: What Are Food Deserts? All You Need to Know
- ZDNET: What is Hyperloop? Everything you need to know about the race for super-fast travel
Quelle/Source: eon energy, 18.10.2022