Struggle is a word many city-dwellers associate with the daily commute: traffic; the search for parking; the hunt for the perfect cup of coffee with the shortest queue.
All this boils down to one thing – time; namely, how much of it we spend stuck doing things we don't need to be doing.
These are hours that could be spent working, helping the kids with homework, or contributing to the community.
The true promise of a smart city, to many, is simple: getting these hours back.
Implementing systems that make our days more streamlined therefore make our societies more productive. A number of these systems were on showcase at the Consumer Electronics Show, a major benchmark for the technology industry hosted this month in
Many of us already use GPS to plot our driving routes. As our cities get smarter, these systems will become ubiquitous, meaning speed limits can be calculated, adjusted and enforced on a car-by-car basis.
Traffic as we know it today will cease to exist as our cities communicate to every commuter the perfect route, and the exact speed needed to avoid causing a jam.
As we are driving, our cars will also communicate with our cities to find the best parking – not parking that's open, per se, but parking that's statistically likely to be open based on the historical patterns of the location.
Current systems being tested by the likes of
And, all the while, our smartphones are communicating our location to local stores, placing our orders based on preferred coffee shops and their current customer load.
Our order will be placed at the perfect time, based on full knowledge of the traffic we'll encounter and how long we'll need to walk from our parking spot, to ensure our piping hot espresso is ready the moment we walk in the door.
The time we save from that whole process, potentially hours a day, we'll put into new project plans in the morning, and time with kids in the evening. Billions of dollars in productivity added to our cities through technologies being refined today.
The billions of micro-mechanical sensors, or Mems, required to make these cities a reality will need to be more energy efficient and powerful than those in existence today. Backed by the
In the future, when a parking space communicates with your car to tell you it's empty, a bridge communicates with the city to say it's overloaded for the weather conditions, or a sensor inside your body communicates with your smartphone to tell you to avoid the whole drive and take a sick day, there's a real chance you'll be able to thank
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