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Smart Cities: A Story Of Possibility

December 12th, 2017


Imagine a world where we can make intelligent decisions about how to design towns to suit the needs of the people that live there: data-driven designs that allow for safer, monitored public spaces, with intelligent lighting with access to connectivity in parks and on pathways that react to us automatically to direct us where we need to go.

“The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it” – Mark Weiser, Scientific American (1991)

This is a story of possibility.

In Smart Cities, we can easily find and book a parking spot, charge our electric vehicles and then walk down to the local communal garden. Here, primary school students work with local high school and University students on building and maintaining farming robots, promoting inclusivity and curiosity in the community.

The revenue from selling the organic, local vegetables can be reinvested in technology projects, creating a sustainable cycle. After tending to the garden, the University students catch an automated bus to the local library – a learning hub where they can seamlessly collaborate with peers hundreds of kilometres away, allowing us to retain and attract talent, creating flourishing, prosperous and innovative regional centres.

Imagine we can accurately predict a thunderstorm approaching, and automatically warn asthma sufferers to stay indoors; on hot days we can make sure we check on all the people at risk, and we can ensure that nobody is lost during a flood or bushfire. The elderly will have better access to health care, whilst retaining their independence and social connection, and our children will be raised in a safe, knowledgeable environment.

We can promote a healthy lifestyle, where we are encouraged to park a little further away, to understand what we are eating, to reduce pollution in our towns and to share our successes and failures so others can learn and grow with us.

We can power it all using the sun, and store energy more efficiently for when we need it. If we have too much, we can securely trade it with a nearby community who needs it. Local businesses will thrive in a more connected, open-source world, where access to talent and data is abundant. We can attract tourism, invite disruptive entrepreneurs and incentivise our societies to think green, act responsibly and be more active.

Nothing in this story is beyond the realms of possibility – we can start to implement these solutions today.

Ben Hancock – National IoT Solutions Lead, AFN Solutions

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