“The Future is Cities”
This was the headline of the winter 2014 edition of MIT Spectrum. Half of the world’s population now live in urban conglomerations and in 2050 that will be almost three-quarters of all people on earth. In China, 300 million people will move to the city within the coming 15 years. In 2028, China will re-rig the complete infrastructure as it is in America today. India will witness an increase of the urban population of 250 million, and in Africa the increase will be 380 million. Despite the fact that cities will have to accommodate 90 per cent of the population increase, 80 per cent of the worldwide CO2 emission and 75 per cent of energy use, the city will remain the place where people will want to settle. The reason is simple: 80 per cent of our prosperity is created in and around cities.
But if the future is cities, when will the Internet changes our cities like it changed our lives?
There are three elements that establish the smartness of the Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud and Things (SMACT) forces and how this will change our cities on the basis of three smart concepts:
The deep penetration of connectivity in urban surroundings. The Internet of Things leads to an increase in omnipresent connectivity: ranging from people’s homes to cars and from trashcans to the LED lights in offices. The smartphones in people’s pockets serve as data collectors as well as mobile gateways that enable providers to make all kinds of data services available.
Seeing the city as a sensory platform
A smart city functions on the basis of a number of platforms on which it gathers data that, having been analyzed, are made accessible to the city’s governors, shop owners, consumers, municipal administrative departments, citizens, companies and other parties, by means of apps, dashboards and APIs. Investments in this platform come from companies, municipalities and inhabitants who buy IoT products.
Eye for (digital) human behavior
By making use of new technology, the smart city will develop a new, higher level of smartness. The way leading to this higher level runs via people’s (digital) behavior in the areas of purchasing, driving, environment, power consumption and health(care). SMACT will help us gain better insight into how the city and its people function and behave, which will affect the digitally controlled behavior of the city itself.