The world is changing. The place that previous generations grew up in – and even our own – are very different to the one that we’re living in now. It could be a very exciting time for us as and could be a great thing for those of us that run our own businesses.
Living and working in a smart city can benefit us in many ways. Personal assistant systems are now ever-present in our homes, whereas at the start of the 2010s, they were pretty much unheard of, for example. Just think of the ways they can help you with various tasks and enhance your life.
There are many ways smart cities are affecting us positively, and there’s no reason to think this should be limited to our home lives. These are just some of the ways that they can help us during our working routines as well.
If you have a commercial building that you use in a smart city, then they are more efficient and use less energy. The amount of energy that’s used is then analysed and that data is collected. Using smart grids is part of the development of a smart city, and using smart streetlights is an easy entry point – that’s because they use LED lights which save money and pay for themselves after just a few years.
Using energy-efficient LED lights with digital communications is “revolutionising urban lighting structures”, says Susanne Seitinger of Philips Lighting. It’s transforming them into information pathways from which we can collect and share data, offering new insights.
Overall energy usage is also part of a smart city. Many of us may have smart meters in our homes now, and there’s also hardware and software technology that will allow for the potential of better grid optimisation, says Herman Chandi of CommunityLogiq. Buildings that actively monitor energy use, and report this, can reduce costs.
This refers to the technology, and the data that travels across this technology – according to Tom Blewitt of Principal Engineers, UL. Being able to seamlessly move in and out of different systems is essential to realising the promise of smart cities. This means technology needs to perform to expectations and make use of information, while data needs to be unconstrained when moving across systems.
So how can this be applied to your business? Let’s say you have an inspection report to complete for your client: you can use a system where you can record this information, but also to streamline marketing processes and develop customer relationships, which will save you time. You can also automate some of your work and allow system access to other people within your team.
Investing in public spaces means smart cities can be places where people will want to spend more time. In Barcelona, a fibre-optic network has been implemented throughout the city providing free, high-speed Wi-Fi. The city has also integrated smart water, lighting and parking management, saving €75 million in city funds and creating thousands of jobs in the smart technology sector.
In the Netherlands, the traffic flow, energy use and public safety are monitored in Amsterdam, and are adjusted based on real-time data. In the US, cities such as Boston and Baltimore have smart trash cans that relay how full they are and determine the most efficient route for sanitation workers to take.
Smart technology continues to improve, and urban centres expand – and they will become interconnected. In the UK there are plans to integrate smart technology in future developments, and to use data to make better decisions about upgrading its infrastructure. Making these decisions could have a positive effect on the economy.
Businesses need smart cities
Smart cities represent a chance for businesses to transform and move forward in a sustainable, innovative way. There will be opportunities for businesses to generate revenue by providing new services or systems, or to use the data generated from the increasingly digitally connected infrastructure.
Did you know that two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities by 2030? If this new data is captured, this will prompt better decision-making and create solutions to some of the most complex problems for business. However, organizations will need to adapt to these changes as well as put solutions in place for them to succeed.
The rate of urbanisation means that businesses need to adapt to smart solutions to deal with the increased pressure and competition in the urban environment. Businesses need smart cities to thrive, with public and private sectors working together to realise the benefits.