Envisioning healthy cities of our future

5/9/2019

Imagine living in a city where traffic lights communicate with autonomous vehicles, smart roads collect rain water and aged care facilities transmit information about residents to hospitals.

Thanks to cutting-edge innovation, various components within our cities have grown increasingly interconnected - allowing digital technologies to expand and become more refined.

Today, global telecommunications companies are working alongside governments across the globe to ensure that smart cities are better equipped to utilise artificial intelligence and blockchain technology for their communication systems.

Some of these initiatives are working to make traffic management and parking easier and street lighting more efficient using AI-directed applications. Other companies like Atlantic Power Exchange allow urban residents to buy and sell energy to their neighbours via blockchain technology.

Increasingly, smart city initiatives include:

Smart street lighting to reduce energy consumption by staying dim when no cars or people are around, then lighting up as sensors detect someone is coming;

Smart city energy initiatives to promote renewable energy by allowing rooftop solar owners to sell to each other or by operating microgrids that can produce energy on-site;

Smart waste management solutions to improve waste removal services through smart waste reciprocals that measure fill level and prioritise collections; and

Smart water technologies to help improve the sourcing, treatment, and delivery by tracking consumption patterns. Sensors could automatically alert a city to water leaks so it could fix them as quickly as possible. Smart water systems can also measure rainfall and provide real-time flood analysis for flood control.

These are just a handful of technologies working to support the emergence of smart cities. And over time, a successful smart city should, in theory, be able to respond to incoming data much like a single intelligent organism, seamlessly and efficiently providing itself with exactly what the city and its citizens need on a real-time basis without wasting any resources and eliminating human error.

With some of the biggest companies, organisations and governments working together to invest in and develop smart cities, we can expect to see urban areas continue to evolve and transform in ways we could only have imagined.