Tomorrow’s smart cities

Standard Digital | September 11, 2013

How do you fancy living in a city with which you can interact? A city that acts more like a living organism, which can respond to your needs. Around the world, such cities are already being built, from Masdar in Abu Dhabi to Songdo in South Korea. Now the chaotic city near you may be in line for a makeover.

In future, everything in a city, from the electricity grid, to the sewer pipes to roads, buildings and cars will be connected to the network. Buildings will turn off the lights for you, self-driving cars will find you that sought-after parking space, and even the rubbish bins will be smart.

But how do we get to this smarter future? And is it a future we even want?

Technology firms such as IBM, Siemens, Microsoft, Intel and Cisco are busy selling their software to solve a range of city problems, from water leaks to air pollution to traffic congestion. In Singapore, Stockholm and California, IBM is gathering traffic data and running it via algorithms to predict where a traffic jam will occur an hour before it has happened. Meanwhile in Rio (Brazil), it has built a Nasa-style control room where banks of screens suck up data from sensors and cameras located around the city.

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