Cities are without a doubt one of the most revolutionary achievements of recent human history. While the first civilizations started as hunters and gatherers who lived as nomads from one place to another, we now live in densely populated cities that rely heavily on technology and infrastructure. Their rapid growth has lifted many out of poverty while increasing our quality of life. In order to keep this up, cities will face many challenges. How we decide to confront these upcoming challenges will shape the cities of the future.
As we experience the beginning of a new decade, it is important to pause and take a look at where human civilization is going. Urbanization is not going to disappear anytime soon. On the contrary, as the UN has stated, cities will most likely keep growing. It is estimated that by 2050 around 68% of humanity will live in cities. This will entail guaranteeing the necessary resources and conditions for humanity to prosper.
The cities of the future will face some major difficulties. This is particularly important for governments and entrepreneurs all over the world, as they are the ones who will execute the transition from the current city model to smart cities. In a smart city, technology and innovation are the drivers that help use resources in an efficient and sustainable way, helping improve its citizens’ quality of life along the way.
We believe that one of the best ways to face the challenges of transitioning towards sustainable smart cities is to use the power of algorithms paired up with IoT friendly technologies and Big Data. This implies using well-crafted apps that can help meet the demands of growing urbanization. This post discusses views on some of the ways apps will help define the smart cities of the future.
Lifestyle and Culture
As smart city apps become integrated into everyday life, we will surely use them as a tool for boosting our social lives. Apps that share information on cultural events, tourism, and nightlife will help define the social lives of cities. The possibility for users to communicate, review venues and businesses, and organize events will become extremely important.
One innovative way in which smart city apps can influence lifestyle matters is through the use of augmented reality. Apps that help users visualize cities through the lens of a particular issue will deliver great value. This is particularly useful for those cities that wish to give the user a walkthrough of its history and culture.
Mobility is an issue in almost every major city. One way to tackle this problem is through the help of apps that can incentivize the use of alternatives in an efficient way. Apps that make possible ride-sharing or alternative mobility methods like rented electric scooters will surely grow.
IoT beacons will become very important for mobility, especially in public transportation. Integrated public transport systems that work with the use of cellphones rather than public transport cards are sure to be a thing of smart cities.
Dealing with a city’s administrative matters does not have to be a burden. There is a great potential to make public administrative processes more efficient by harnessing the power of apps that can easily automate certain tasks. AI is an interesting alternative to help citizens cope with their problems in an easy manner and at any time of day.
As urban density affects mobility, the possibility of managing city-related matters at a distance is also a major feature that smart city apps can deliver. They have the power to reduce the time spent on tedious tasks like requesting a permit or paying bills.
Old Age Well-being
As cities grow there is a risk of entire populations becoming too individualized. This will particularly affect the old aged population that does not have the means to receive proper care. In order to face this challenge, smart city apps can expand social support networks to reach the elderly in a cost-efficient manner. By using these apps, cities can help improve the elderly’s emotional state and quality of life.
Technology is changing how security systems operate. The use of tools like facial recognition poses privacy challenges, but the technology has arrived and it is here to stay. How cities respond to this challenge will greatly affect citizens’ quality of life. Although not quite like a nightmarish Minority Report scenario, apps will be able to deliver valuable information on security matters like where someone was at a given moment, and whether someone might be a possible crime suspect.
Keeping people safe and well informed is a necessary requirement for smart cities. However, as the effects of climate change become more intense, and as the unimaginable occurs, cities will have to keep up with the challenge of responding to disasters. Disaster response apps will help cities become more resilient and prepared in order to answer to catastrophes. Making sure everyone is properly prepared, looking up for someone, or even informing communities about a given situation are some of the features these apps can fulfill.
Great smart city apps will differ from low performers thanks to their ability to collect and process Big Data. Although data presents a great opportunity to make better decisions, collecting it will become one of the most important matters that cities will have to deal with. Data compliance regulations need to be in place in order to protect individual privacy, but this should not restrain cities from becoming smarter.
The data processing power of cities becomes extremely important. Having the possibility to look at the data in real-time is a major asset that cities can and should take advantage of.