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The Future of Smart Cities

With all of the technological advancements we’ve seen these past couple of years, the idea of a smart city is not as far-fetched as it once seemed. A more sustainable and efficient urbanscape is well within reach with the development of the internet of things (IoT) and big data analysis.

It’s exciting to think that we can soon be living in the technological future that has been portrayed so many times in the movie industry. What will this smart city look like, though? What can we expect to see in 2018 and beyond? Although smart cities aren’t widespread yet, here’s a sneak preview of how intelligent your city could become.

Big Data and IoT

A smart city’s main purpose is to make things better for everyone and everything involved. This means not only improving the lives of citizens but also the environment. The goal is to manage the resources found in an urbanscape in a way that’s both sustainable and inexpensive, benefiting both the people and the world at large.

In order to do that, a lot of data has to be accessed and analyzed so that the best course of action can be taken. This is where big data and IoT come in. When utilized together, large amounts of information can be gathered and studied to see where energy wastage is occurring and where improvements can be made.

As IoT tech becomes more and more implemented into the everyday objects we use, and these products communicate with one another, a more comprehensive set of big data can be looked over. Some potential uses of big data include:

  • City water systems can be monitored and measured by sensors to see if there are any leaks or blockages that will affect water pressure and flow.
  • Water contamination can also be detected and made aware of to the professionals that can help.
  • Smart energy systems can also efficiently use resources due to the collection of big data.
  • In addition, data scientists can derive how to improve the economy, crime and healthcare by deducing patterns from the data gathered by IoT.

Smarter Hospitals

Speaking of healthcare, hospitals can greatly benefit from the technological advancements of the smart city revolution as well. With almost country-wide access to smartphones and laptops, telemedicine is beginning to be a common practice in many hospitals today.

A great amount of time and money is saved when a patient can video chat with their doctor instead of scheduling an appointment and driving to a physical location. No longer would patients need to take time off of work or school or spend the money on gasoline if their doctor deems their health concern as not life threatening.

It will also be easier to share a patient’s data with other medical facilities due to Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR). Although many hospitals are adopting electronic health records, it doesn’t mean they’re implementing systems that are compatible with each other.

To bypass this incompatibility, FHIR interprets between the differing systems so that patient data can efficiently be sent and read by the professionals who need it. IoT is also useful in the medical field with different mobile apps that assist with the remote monitoring of patients’ vitals and the personalization of treatment methods.

This technology will also revolutionize how medical studies are performed due to the ease of wearable tech. With so many people already owning at least one wearable device, data can be collected on a massive scale with little to no effort on the patients’ or researchers’ part.

Innovative Transportation

The way you get around a smart city will also be different from what you’re used to now. With the marriage of IoT and vehicles, transportation will never quite be the same. It all has to do with sensors. When strategically placed, these sensors can connect with GPS services to help you get to your destination as efficiently and quickly as possible.

This technology can also aid in the pursuit of safer driving with modified seat belts that can sense how tired you are or if you’re under the influence. If the sensors deem you’re not physically able to drive, your car won’t even start. IoT sensors further help accident prevention by sensing where other cars are on the road and will even take control of the wheel if it detects an impending collision.

Or better yet, cars will drive themselves for you. Although concerns have come up more than once on the safety of autonomous cars, these vehicles are expected to be even safer than human drivers and operate in a way to consume the least amount of gas possible, benefiting both the planet and your wallet.

Who knows what the smart cities of tomorrow will actually look like. Our imaginations often run wild with the possibilities the future might hold. However, the technological advancements we see today can give us a glimpse of what the next smart city can look like.

Urbanscapes will be run more efficiently through the collection of big data and the use of connected IoT devices. Hospitals will be better able to care for their patients and transportation will run more smoothly than ever. Even though we don’t know what the future holds, we can still look forward to a smarter tomorrow.

About the Author

Avery Phillips is a freelance human based out of the beautiful Treasure Valley. She loves all things in nature, especially humans. Leave a comment down below or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or comments.


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  1. Great article. I would add ‘AI’ to the big data and IoT sentence, since AI will be needed to determine the best, actionable decisions from that vast amount of data that IoT will generate in the near future. Humans won’t be able to run analytics; for some urgent scenarios in real time; many decisions will have to be made on the fly.

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