Smart Cities and Internet of Things: Creating Livable Cities

A phrase that I first heard roughly 8 years ago now is “Smart City”. At the time it was really no more than a concept of what might be in a high-speed networked future. Deploy a high speed network, automate some things, connect some things together and it all becomes “smarter”. It seemed to mostly be a technology based perspective of what an urban area could be.
Fast forwarding to 2014, we held a workshop in Auckland, New Zealand in February of that year. During our typical day one of a workshop, the learning day, we had a presentation about the goals of Auckland. What stuck with me from that presentation was their goal to become not a “smart city”, but instead a “livable city”. Livable to me implies that it’s a better place to live, work, learn, and visit because the daily things that we as humans do are simpler, better, more coordinated and less frustrating. Livable makes it more people oriented.
My view of a smart city is one that has an ultra fast broadband infrastructure base and represents potential. Making this livable, which should be the end goal, are the public service and citizen applications that overlay onto the infrastructure.
What enables these applications?
That comes from another term getting more and more attention, the “Internet of Things” or IoT. Sensors and actuators are becoming more ubiquitous every day. The sensors and actuators create data, which can be transformed into knowledge, and can be used to predict events and make decisions.
By integrating the infrastructure, the sensors, and the applications, we make the city more livable for those working, inhabiting, learning in, and visiting the city. By being more livable, the city becomes more attractive to people, thus driving an overall improvement in the standard of living.
So I believe that the formula is Smart City + IoT + Applications = Livable City
The ng Connect Program currently has a number of projects in various stages that are part of the above formula. There is healthcare and smart campus in Taiwan, environmental sensing in Dunedin, NZ, video streaming for tourism in Chattanooga, Connected Bus Shelters in Auckland, and more.
ng Connect is helping to make cities more livable and I’m excited to be a part of it.

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