This article is animated by the interim results of an ongoing Erasmus+ project named Smart technologies by design (Smart by Design).
The project is being carried out by the following partners:
Technologies make cities smarter
Disruptive technologies have the potential to transform the way cities currently operate and they are at the core of nearly all upcoming smart city’s solutions. After a decade of experimentation, smart cities are entering a new phase. Although digital solutions are only one of the tools needed to make a city great, they are the most powerful and cost-effective additions seen in many years.
According to the McKinsey Global Institute, digital solutions could improve some quality-of-life indicators by as much as 30 percent. Real-time crime mapping, for instance, utilizes statistical analysis to highlight patterns, while predictive policing goes a step further, anticipating crime to head off incidents before they occur. Another example of these solutions is the Internet of Things sensors on existing infrastructure systems which can help crews fix problems before they turn into breakdowns and delays.
If we examine our history, we realize that we live in constant change. Humans have faced all sorts of changes, economic, political, climatic, technological. In the different industrial revolutions seized, adaptations made by humans can be perceived, along the 1st industrial revolution, railway arrived with the steam engines which enabled transportation of goods causing all the farming, demographic and transport revolution.
Afterwards, the 2nd industrial revolution arrived, emerging new energy sources like oil and electricity, which with its utilization, first technological innovations took place. These technological innovations produced an improvement in the quality of life of people, first personal computers and internet appeared which located us before a 3rd industrial revolution, not only in a technological one but in a scientific and a cultural one.
With this 3rd revolution, fast technological advances force humans to assimilate more concepts in shorter time, information, productivity and everything reaches scales not previously reached and under this context the 4th industrial revolution appeared, where we really perceived and realized that we live in a constant change, as mentioned at the beginning, achieving small or big progresses which are changing the world.
A vision for cities of the future
The city of the future must meet the needs of its residents. Yet in surveying residents of 25 major cities, McKinsey finds that a fifth of those cities falls short of delivering satisfaction. Respondents cited numerous inadequacies: crime, congestion, fire emergency response, waste management, active mobility options, police security, lack of basic utilities, public transit, as well as poor quality of housing and government services. Given the fierce competition for talent across cities, dissatisfied urbanites are likely to vote with their feet and leave for more attractive environments. (Source: Thriving amid turbulence: Imagining the cities of the future; Capital Projects & Infrastructure, Public Sector October 2018, McKinsey & Company).
In order to not lag behind due to inactivity, the city leaders must know how to use the newest and most advanced technologies, which is progressing faster than expected.
We have realized during the implementation of the project and as a result of the study that the most important and those with enough predictive potential to transform the cities into smart cities are the following technologies (technology areas):
Smart by Design