How to Make Cities Smarter?

Do you remember the Jetsons and their city of the future? They lived in flying saucer-style highrise apartments, drove personal spaceships and, most notably, had so many machines that made their lives easier – from brushing their teeth to preparing their meals. In the 1960s this is how our smart future looked like – fully automated, with exciting, flashy tech.

Much has changed since the 60s, including our perspective and goals. We are less focused on traveling around on moving pavements and more concerned about having safe parks for recreation. We want fancy cars (flying ones, too), but only if they are environmentally friendly. We also understood that to have smart cities we need to build functional networks that interconnect all the functionalities of a city – to be more efficient (cost and otherwise) and provide a better quality of life to its inhabitants.

Life-changing networks

In San Pablo, CA the increasing rate of gun violence needed to be handled in an efficient way. ShotSpotter’s AI solution was chosen to save lives and keep the streets quiet. ShotSpotter uses smart streetlights to register gunshots, triangulate the exact place from where the shots were fired and alert emergency forces with an accurate location. Patrol officers now receive alerts in under 60 seconds. Thanks to ShotSpotter gunfire was reduced by 74% in the community.

An even better example might be the smart waste management system in Nagpur, India. City officials realized that they had an impending garbage crisis on their hands. They attacked the problem by building a multi-faceted system – starting from garbage collection with tracked trucks to smart garbage bins equipped with weight sensors. They also made sure to separate food waste from the rest. The former is turned into fertilizer, while the latter is burned in their waste-to-energy plant.

Nagpur’s municipality created an interconnected system that syncs the operations of several different municipal services into an overarching, cost and energy-efficient network that can be expanded and changed in the future – if the need arises. Which brings us to another important lesson the past decade of intensive smart city development brought us: the evaluation and deployment of new software into a city’s network needs to be done with even more care than ever.

It’s not only that municipal grids are responsible for an immense amount of personal data pertaining to their citizens, their lives and activities. You also need to make sure that your chosen technology can fulfill the required task while seamlessly integrating with the legacy system.

 

Complexity, privacy, interoperability

Saying that smart city networks are complex is an understatement. They are not just complex – they are also unique. Their building blocks added and changed during the years, based on the rising needs of the city. And while there is a dramatic increase in smart city solutions, it’s difficult to decide which one would fit a specific system best and deliver the KPIs expected from it.

And then there is the time factor. While historically, governmental organizations are the slowest to move ahead with the integration of new solutions, when it comes to new technology adoption, speed is of the essence. Just like any other institution, they need to get the best solution working for them as fast as possible, that also fits their specific system like a glove, and can be integrated without exposing the legacy system during evaluation.

prooV’s one-stop proof-of-concept (PoC) platform saves money, time and resources and streamlines PoCs even in the most complex environments. A prooV PoC is safely removed from production in the prooV Cloud and is carried out on a perfectly mirrored set – including databases, network connections, APIs and more. The full process can then be monitored and adjusted from the prooV platform – where solutions are compared and measured based on unique KPIs.

prooV’s smart prediction tool will tell you everything about how your software will behave once released into your environment, how it will meet your KPIs and more. While keeping your legacy environment safe and intact – and ready to grow further, for a better urban future that might even include (fingers crossed) flying cars.

This article is based on prooV CEO Toby Olshanetsky’s presentation at the opening of the International Innovation Center in Las Vegas.

 

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