Smart cities and WiFi

Smart Cities and WiFi

Cities worldwide are harnessing the power of telecommunications and fast paced technological developments to get themselves connected and working smarter and more efficiently in terms of use of resources, improved service delivery and quality of life, while supporting the low carbon economy.

By 2020 it is estimated that there will be 26.5 billion physical objects embedded with technology in an industry worth $1.9 trillion by that time. Therefore key stakeholders in IT needs to understand the opportunity, the value and their role in developing Smart Cities.

Better services

According to the European Commission, digital technologies translate into better public services for citizens, better use of resources and less impact on the environment. By generating huge amounts of data then using that data intelligently, the possibilities are endless and the operational costs of delivering services will come down.

The topic of smart cities is vast and incorporates a range of areas from green technologies to stricter, more measurable governance to improve efficiency around transport, buildings and other public services, amongst other things. All of these require digital solutions to get the cities properly connected.

Cities that don’t embrace the digital evolution won’t be able to keep up and will lose the consumer dollar. The benefits in terms of public service will be significant with everything connected – from traffic lights, to street lighting, to parking information. Another trend will be the growth of open, accessible data that will be used to develop the apps that will deliver information to people’s fingertips, via mobile devices.

It’s expected that up to $40 billion will be spent on smart city technologies by 2016, making it an incredibly exciting market for businesses to be involved with. This also means things are moving very quickly as innovators come up with the technologies to deliver what cities need in terms of information and connectivity.

Efficiency & information sharing

Smart cities these days extend way beyond free WiFi and bus stop information displays. While some of us are still getting to grips with the roll out of controversial app-based schemes such as Uber taxis, certain cities across the globe are leaps and bounds ahead.

Boston taxis carry technology to identify potholes as they pass over them and send this real time information with a grid reference to public services officials who can then implement the necessary repairs. Major transport hubs are also jumping on the “smart-wagon” with airport’s installing smart toilets which send alerts to cleaners after a certain number of people have entered. Many cities are also investing in making their motorways and highways “smarter” by installing technology to monitor traffic, provide information to drivers and ease congestion by using variable speed limits. Railways are looking at RFID sensors on the lines and tiny cameras, to help report back via WiFi when lines are obstructed or damaged.

The success of these schemes can only be measured through the creation and sharing of data; something that Connect2Social enables.

How venues benefit

From retailers to concert stadiums, helping visitors move around a city by pushing out information that will help them travel more easily, improve their environment and spend their consumer dollars in venues that genuinely meet their needs, is beneficial. If traffic is moving steadily, parking availability is communicated and sales and promotions are shared with them, consumers are more likely to invest their time visiting city and town centres, plan to come back soon, hopefully stay longer, and potentially spend more too.

Connect2Social sees location services taking off massively in the next few years with smartphone-savvy citizens and existing users of legacy IT systems being the driving force for more location content and services to rival virtual environments. The outdoor WiFi market will rise from $15bn a year to 37bn by 2018; the indoor WiFi market will be considerably more, representing an addressable market that needs a business model to reap its projected rewards.

By allowing venues and outdoor public spaces greater connectivity, the future will be a digitally-led, improved experience for consumers and businesses alike – with less wasted resources and much more efficiency.