4 Key Benefits of Smart Cities Technology
Michael Zeto | Vice President of AT&T Internet of Things and General Manager of Smart Cities
The city of the future is here. Through the Internet of Things (IoT), smart technology solutions are connecting citizens to their communities in new, exciting ways and creating an environment that is safer, more efficient, and sustainable for the future. Here are four benefits of smart cities.
In the most aspirational sense, smart city solutions use technology to put people first and drive citizen engagement. From free Wi-Fi at bus stations to interactive touch-screen information kiosks, smart cities help keep citizens connected to the community they love.
Imagine a city where a person in a wheelchair can chart a route to the local park using curb cuts and avoiding barriers. She can then connect to the park’s Wi-Fi, receive upcoming events notifications, and take e-lessons about the trees and flowers in bloom. These aren’t pipe dreams. They are smart city solutions in action.
With intelligent infrastructure, smart sensors and cameras enable cities to remotely monitor the conditions of roads, bridges, buildings, parks, and other venues, through applications that are as easy to use as the smartphone we’re accustomed to. Maintenance crews can identify slick roadways during freezing weather or detect bridges that may need repairs. And that’s just one use case.
Smart lighting solutions are another example of intelligent infrastructure. We can retrofit existing street lighting and use IoT solutions to help cities monitor traffic and road conditions. This helps cities identify and proactively manage road closures or other potential interruptions before they become a problem.
Smart cities technology is helping to improve how citizens get from point A to point B. Digital signage lets commuters know in near real-time when the next bus or train will arrive. Citizens can rent electric bikes with the tap of a smartphone at stations across the city – helping to reduce traffic. And at large, cities can better manage traffic patterns of pedestrians at stadiums, parks, and busy intersections.
We're also starting to realize the full potential of IoT to connect cars to each other and their surroundings. Smart cities will play an important role in connected vehicles being able to communicate with things like traffic lights and other transportation infrastructure. This connectivity will help assure and accelerate the adoption of automated vehicles.
Public safety stands to benefit in a big way as cities become more tech-driven. Take drones, for example. Imagine if paramedics could see what was happening at a car accident before they arrived. The potential to deploy a connected drone and collect information from the scene of an emergency could help EMS personnel make key decisions and jumpstart their response.
We’re also connecting first responders with wearable cameras to provide “see-what-I-see” capabilities to support search and rescue. And gun fire detection technology can help law enforcement determine when and where a shooting occurred.
Smart cities will continue to evolve and transform how we work, live and play. Investing in smart cities technology is a commitment to address the needs of citizens today and in the future. And it’s a commitment that AT&T will continue to make.