Despite our species great technological leaps over the last twenty years, cities have been mostly left in the lurch. But all of that is changing as governments look to put the smart into smart city.
If you Google ($GOOGL) pictures of your local city from 20 years ago and compare the infrastructure to what you see today, you would notice a lot of similarities. While the rest of our society has gone through massive technological advancements, cities have been lagging behind. But there is hope.
As it has become increasingly clear that we are in the early stages of a new industrial revolution, governments have paid closer attention to our cities. For example, in 2021, New Zealand organised all of its local councils together into a “Smart Cities Council”. The goal of this council is to coordinate and collaborate on integrating technology into its governance. This concept is called ‘smart cities’.
What exactly is a smart city? The term encompasses various technologies that boil down to a simple concept: using a combination of monitoring, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and related technology to address economic, social, operating and environmental challenges.
An example of a company leading the charge in the U.S., Cisco Systems’ ($CSCO) Kinetic allows municipalities to store, access, use, and analyse their data on a single cloud platform. The platform’s integrations include everything from roads and trains to ATMs.
Our last example is Dublin, Ireland-based Accenture ($ACN). The company has partnered with Microsoft ($MSFT) to create a ‘joint transport platform’. This cloud-based platform provides a combination of real-time data and analytics to help municipalities track and improve upon congestion, maintenance and road use.
Finally, Melbourne, Australia-based SenSen Networks ($SNS) combines cameras with proprietary AI technology to solve a range of city issues. A few examples include ensuring trucks have the proper parking permits based on licence plate scanning, real-time infrastructure audits, and speed, distracted driving and bus lane enforcement.
The future is bright, and as humanity continues to migrate into cities, there are plenty of opportunities for innovation to improve everything from congestion to safety.