Digitizing the Future: Key Smart City Solutions For 2021

As the technological revolution continues to change the processes that drive day-to-day lives, IoT, AI, machine learning, Big Data, and other innovations will become our mainstays

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The COVID-19 pandemic changed the face of the Earth, shattering decades-old working patterns, bringing numerous businesses to a grinding halt, and claiming millions of lives. Even so, the COVID-19 outbreak will not eventuate as the most devastating pandemic in history—not even close. In the future, maybe 10 to 20 years later, the world will look back and admire the quick response to the pandemic worldwide which resulted at the beginning of its end within a year.

Think about this: In March 2020, we were just becoming acquainted with COVID-19: hoarding groceries, preparing for a long lockdown, accepting masks and sanitizers as daily use commodities, and saying goodbye to our offices as we shifted to work from home. Come March 2021, and we’ve already entered into the first phase of vaccinations, bringing hope to millions who have been impacted by the virus.

Thus, the reason why this pandemic will not eventuate as the most deadly one in history is that we fought back with science and technology. Armed with tech, we were able to continue to stay at home without being cut off from society. Similarly, businesses were able to use tech-driven solutions to continue working remotely, helping their organizations stay afloat.

And, with the help of science and tech, there are now vaccines being administered as I write this. The fact is, technology, which has pervaded every part of our lives from education to real-estate, from food ordering to entertainment, has been our saviour during this pandemic. And it is, indubitably, the way forward.

This brings us to the central focus of this piece: smart cities. As the technological revolution continues to change the processes that drive day-to-day lives, IoT, AI, machine learning, Big Data, and other innovations will become our mainstays. Soon enough, they will not just transform businesses or industries, but also entire cities.

What exactly is a smart city?

As the name suggests, a smart city is a living space that uses technology to address the most common challenges being faced by society, particularly urban society. In the simplest terms, a smart city runs on data. Data is collated from numerous touchpoints every second to improve services and amenities offered to citizens. Someone residing in a smart city can expect better transportation, higher accessibility, greater sustainability among other solutions that aren’t just convenient but are also empowering. 

While Smart Cities made their debut a while ago, the COVID-19 outbreak has made a stronger case for a world that runs on technology and can easily overcome crises and resource constraints. In the present, though, there are already certain smart city technologies that have become common.

Sustainable energy

In order to make our cities smarter, sustainable energy will play a huge role. This is because every action which we take can be in harmony with nature without causing the environment any harm. Sustainable energy solutions such as solar power, electric vehicles, organic food and an efficient resource management system will allow earth to breathe easy again and improve the quality of life for the current generations as well as the ones to come in the future.

Advanced technological infrastructure

The growing presence of artificial intelligence, IOT and ICT has allowed for greater efficiency in our civil infrastructure facilities. This helps in data analytics thereby preventing any issue to get out of hand. For example: A smart bus equipped with advanced technology can map and document passenger flow to suggest which the peak hours are thereby identifying the right time during which the bus must make maximum rounds.

The same goes for a water reservoir equipped with advanced technology as it will be able to notify the cleaning staff when they should clean it as well as tell what the water level is at any given time. The more infrastructures we have with advanced technology the greater benefits will be reaped by everyone.

Smart parking solutions

A lot of people lose their precious personal hours due to long traffic jams with more than 30 per cent of the same caused by improper parking. Smart parking solutions will not only help people find parking spaces easily but inform the state authorities as well about the peak parking areas to help them identify where they must build a new parking facility or allocate more space in an existing one.

Safer gated communities

Both urban and rural areas are no strangers to thefts be it vehicle theft or robbery of any other valuable items. IoT-enabled safety barriers as well gates help identify the vehicle and only allow the ones which are registered. This allows passage of only the people living in the community as they have RFID tags. Apart from the residents' visitors whose entry has been approved on the system get an easy pass as the security guards can check their approval.

E-governance

Departments managed by the government are increasingly providing their services online which not only reduces the time for the public but allows greater transparency in the system reducing corruption and favoritism. By adopting e-governance solutions officials will be able to go through more applications in less time and the public at large will be able to get through the process quite quickly.

It is exciting to anticipate how smart cities will change our lives, making them safer, more convenient, and seamless than ever before. I believe we will experience this reality sooner than imagined.