IoT Making Cities Smarter

  • January 25, 2018

    IoT Making Cities Smarter

    The internet of things certainly holds the keys to the smart cities of the future. The American Enterprise Institute or AEI takes us through some of the innovations benefiting tomorrow’s cities at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

    Data Improving Cities

    Many of the exhibitors at CES displayed personal assistant devices like smart speakers. Analysts estimate that now one in every six Americans owns a smart speaker such as an Amazon Echo. The ubiquity of smart speakers and other IoT devices presents a whole new platform for consumer services. Seamless integration of smart speakers in homes and businesses present a new way for people to buy and consume services. These devices also hold key insights to make cities better. By allowing real-time data to flow by way of IoT devices, cities can tailor their resources to their citizens in an intelligent way. As consumers benefit from companies and brands creating better experiences through data, they can expect the same from their cities in the future.

    IoT in Unexpected Places

    To quote Thomas Friedman in his book, Thank you for Being Late, “There was a time when you might have referred to someone as “dumb as a fire hydrant” or “dumb as a garbage can.” I wouldn’t do that anymore. One of the major and perhaps unexpected consequences of technological acceleration is this: fire hydrants and garbage cans …” The article also highlights the integration of IoT into garbage cans, fire hydrants and street lights. These simple city staples equipped with connectivity and sensors can help improve city safety and sanitation. According to the article, smart cities aim to improve three areas; safety, public engagement and transportation.

    Apps for Fixing Potholes

    Bostonians are already using a smartphone app called “Street Bump” to alert city municipalities to pot holes and troublesome disturbances and hazards in the road. The app uses an accelerometer to detect where the bumps and potholes lie so that the user doesn’t need to stop, take a photo and send it in. After collecting enough data, the app estimates the size of the pothole and its GPS coordinates. Cities can leverage collective real-time feedback to strategically utilize resources and in turn gain constituent satisfaction.

    IoT won’t only shape better experiences for constituents in cities, it will also provide more transparency for government decision making and the use of taxpayer dollars. Better data from IoT will also help with swifter, more efficient city planning leading to a healthier and safer future in America’s cities.