Why Smart Cities Will Prove to be a Game-Changer for Business, Your Health and Our Humanity
The times they are a-changing, and fast.
We’re all plugged into the internet almost 24/7 via our mobile devices and anxiety sets in if we’re separated from them. We are immersed in technology and, whilst we are drowning in ever more emails, mobile apps are delightfully making our leisure and work time more enjoyable and productive. So can new tech make us smarter and the cities we live in healthier, ultimately helping us to enjoy a longer life?
Web summit 2.0 in Dublin 2016 saw the great, great, grandson of Ford General motors founder William Clay Ford Jr. chart his vision for the future of smart transport. Bill Clay Ford (as he prefers to be known), waxed lyrical about his vision not for more car sales, but for cleaner, driverless cars which will revolutionise transport. “We want to have an even greater impact in the next 100 years than we did in the first 100 years”. Greener, smarter traffic beyond gridlock is Ford’s new vision which he hopes will enable Ford “to try to make people’s lives better”. A worthy epithet no doubt but is it achievable in the next 30 – 50 years?
Since the mid 1990s we’ve had European Healthy Cities driving new health programs in inner cities in an attempt to improve access to health and exercise. We’ve seen motivation programmes created to inspire ordinary people to dramatically improve their health in straightforward ways such as giving up smoking and reducing alcohol consumption.
With better infrastructure in terms of roads, rail, public walkways, cycle greenways and city paths, there are huge opportunities to harness the power of social media, apps and technology to create smart healthy citizen networks which help communities to function at their optimum health levels in tune with their environment.
The internet was primarily developed to drive ecommerce. Our lives have been transformed by new ways of shopping and social interaction. We now bank online, book holidays and flights, access public services and communicate with our friends using an array of private social networks such as Instagram and Facebook.
Technology oils the wheels of our everyday lives saving us valuable time and inspiring us to experiment with new ways of leisure interaction. Internet technology has positively disrupted business and our everyday lives.
Weather & Air Quality Monitoring
Cheap energy efficient sensors are being used to collect data and harness it to produce a range of useful information. Using variables such as temperature, air quality, pressure and humidity statistics, these data feed into artificial intelligence systems and help us decide what activities and tasks we should carry out when. For example, how many cars should be allowed into the city limits at what time or whether we should go running or walking at certain times of the day when air quality and weather conditions are not at their optimum levels.
Drones to manage major incidents
Add to this mix the use of drones which can be used to monitor traffic, deliver medication or even medical care. This can include diagnosis of medical conditions and providing the ability to assess major incidents and enable clinicians to provide emergency triage advice on how best to treat major incident victims who may be otherwise difficult to access.
Mobility apps will notify us when our neighbours are going shopping and will enable us to car share enabling us to split car fees and reduce traffic and ultimately pollutants. Delivery costs will be dramatically reduced via the use of crowd sourcing apps which will maximise timely deliveries to our locale.
The internet already enables us to harness the power of Shopbots and Geographical Information Systems intelligence apps to reduce the cost of products. Just like we plug in our mobiles when we drive to ensure they are charging on the go, we may also plug ourselves in to our cars to monitor our stress and blood pressure levels and prompt cars to move to autopilot if we are tired or not performing at our optimum levels.
Artificial intelligence networks
The power of mobile apps will enable citizens to turn themselves into smart apps and feed their data into artificial intelligence networks to analyse movement, exercise, and other key variables including diet. This will enable doctors to monitor calorie intake, exercise output and variables such as blood pressure, blood oxygen and sugar levels. Medical professionals can then provide recommendations of when and how we should exercise, rest or sleep for maximum benefit in managing pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart conditions.
One thing is certain, the possibilities to create smart interconnected cities which serve their citizens are endless, but will require buy-in and a shift of consciousness for every member of our communities. We must be proactively involved if we are to harness technologies and build cities and businesses to organically serve our citizens. We must be our own visionaries and take ownership of our cities and technology to improve our cities for the good of all humanity.
Technology is changing rapidly. If you would like to harness the best of today’s exciting technologies to benefit your business and competitiveness now, then you don’t have to wait for the future.
The first step to this new world is to let us know what help you’re looking for. What do you want to achieve and why? If you can articulate these aims to the team at Grant McGregor Ltd then we’ll do our best to help or to guide you to the best sources of help. And we’ll be very human about it.
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