Smart Cities Expanded

There is no doubt that Smart Cities is very much in law to help our communities safer and better places to live. But as with any new technological development, there are risks. What are the components of a Smart City? What are the problems? More importantly, can governments continue with the technology?

People, when they hear the term "Smart City" for the first time tend to think about energy, especially the arguments about the move towards sustainable and ecologically friendly energy. But energy production is only part of the Smart City concept. "I don't just like talking about energy when talking about smart cities," says Yasuhiro Kawai, researcher at Nikkei Business Publications, organizer of SCW 2014. "Smart Cities is much more than that. A Smart City is, in its heart , a concept that introduces technology to create positive changes and make people's lives better. "

There is no template to make a city smart, and the first step every Smart City program has to take is a local approach to solving local problems. These approaches can then be extended to include a larger area, but it is important to start small. The possibilities of applying technology in a society are many.

A major example in Japan right now is how many commuter train companies in the country have integrated their monthly train pass with an RFID chip, giving consumers an electronic wallet of various kinds. Each major railway company had its own system about seven to ten years ago, and each system was basically incompatible with others. The Suica network of JR East, for example, could not work on the Icoca terminals operated by JR West. Pasmo, operated by Tokyu, only operated on Tokyu-powered lines. A casual observer can be forgiven for believing that this attempt to use smart city technology was not very smart.

Since 2009, most systems have created mutual agreements and now riders can transfer over rail lines with only one card. The point of purchase has also been integrated. Mr Kawai raised this as a point to start small. "It really looked disorganized in the beginning. You had all these systems and they didn't work well together. Now, as technology and operating system support technology is improving, they're almost seamless," he says.

Connecting cities and lives

Furthermore, Kawai points to the pilot program in the city of Katsuragi in Japan's Nara prefecture, east of Osaka, where a group of seniors have signed up for medical monitoring bands. As Kawai explained, the population of the village has thinned over the last few decades, as most young people fled for the larger cities of Osaka and Tokyo to live. It has left a sparse population of older people who are not so connected to society as in previous generations. The medical bracelets monitor a person's vital signs and will notify a nearby hospital over the Internet if a problem is detected. It is just a pilot program, but it is also a very true example of how even a small rural town can get from the Smart City technology.

Perhaps the most invited target for Smart City upgrades is an infrastructure in a community and the cars that drive their roads. There have been several notable advances in infrastructure science, and the most notable is perhaps the concept of solar path.

A couple of contractors in Sandpoint, Idaho (USA) have developed a 1.5 meter hexagonal solar panel cover in heavily tempered glass which can withstand the elements and the constant de-icing of cars and trucks on the road. Thousands of these panels, interconnected and connected with software, can provide a smart driving surface that can do anything from illuminating roadways at night to describing pedestrians crossing a street while providing electricity to the community and understood to the electric cars that will drive on these roads.

Cars also get a makeover, and human drivers can soon be outdated. Autonomous cars, as they are called, are cars with sophisticated on-board navigation software that can choose the most efficient or safest ways to take their passengers. Although Google has stolen most of the spotlight in this area, Audi, Volvo and even MIT are investigating self-driving cars. Many of the cars themselves have just done it from the lab and are on limited street tests. But it does not take much to bring these two developments together to imagine a city where electric, self-driving cars navigate on illuminated roads that generate power for society.

Challenges and opportunities

However, for all its advantages, Smart Cities has several obstacles to overcome. Perhaps mainly among them is the acceptance of some people in society. What could be the problem? The problem turns out twice. First, people usually want to see a concrete economic benefit from an investment in society. "For example," explained Kawai, "if you invest community resources to place sensors on a bridge to notify maintenance of the necessary repairs in advance, then it is good. It actually saves money. But the people don't usually see the benefit. small problems become major problems, but that does not mean that people recognize it as a concrete improvement. "

While getting people to see that things like community maintenance are taken care of before they become big problems, a roadblock to Smart City outlet, another, greater concern is about what the technology represents. The ubiquitous location of technology in everything that anyone does, from smart cards to smart cards to mass transit to street cameras, in addition to the geolocality functionality found in today's smartphones, has increased the fear of creating a "Big Brother" state where the concept of integrity becomes a forgotten relic of the past.

The implementation of a Smart City program is a delicate operation. Mr Toshiya Mochida, also by Nikkei BP, suggests starting small. "Start with a small area in your city, with a technology for a particular purpose. Try it for a while and invite feedback. The most important thing is that governments and organizations should be transparent about their goals. What information should they collect and why?" Data collection by governments and organizations is an important issue, notes Mr. Kawai. "A large majority of the information will only be archives, close somewhere, never be seen or heard again. But it's still out. Will it be handled? Should it be destroyed? These are things to think about," he said.

Governments are also a potential problem for the development of Smart City. Laws often do not follow changes. The technology usually goes faster than governments can respond and leaves many technical advances in a legally gray area. The biggest example mentioned is the copyright law when it meets the emergence of the Internet in the late 1990s. Copyright laws created in the mid-20th century did not foresee the complexities discovered when record companies fought for Napster and other download services, and legal frameworks are still being developed to ensure that artists are fairly compensated for work.

Self-driving cars seem to be the next chapter where technology advances faster than the government's ability to regulate it. A California Highway Patrol Officer interviewed for this article said, "This opens a whole new area of ​​road rules. We need to review license, insurance, security standards, all of these areas. Until we get it worked out I can't see this going normally "Currently, even with a smart car, a qualified, licensed driver must be in control of the vehicle.

The jackpot issue is of course "Where will Smart City technology be in 5 or 10 years?" Although it is tempting to do so, you cannot use technological advances over the past decade as a roadmap for the future. If you were in 2004 you tried to chart what would be in 2014, can you really see how a simple cell phone, which had basic calls and maybe mail / text functions then becomes "the computer in your pocket" as smartphones are now? Pioneering technology that is now being investigated – and those not even thought of yet – will undoubtedly change the world and our way of life until 2024. Technological development is immediately iterative and explosive. Even a certain technology can branch to several applications. Exercise articles, for example, appear to fade in the training and training circuit, but they prove to be worthwhile among the elderly and people who need constant monitoring.

One thing is certainly – technology and those who develop it will continue to change how we live. The Smart Cities concept is tested and it is an exciting and ongoing experiment.