Citizens also have a role to play in smart cities
A major technological breakthrough is not often recognised instantly. When considering the major developments such as mobile phone technology, GPS, for example, we can reflect in many cases that the true significance of these accomplishments were not fully grasped at the time.
This analogy could apply to smart cities. We have all heard of smart cities and the benefits they could bring us, but until we feel our own lives are improving, it is difficult, if not impossible, to understand the accomplishment. We know they are designed to make us happier people and our lives easier, but do we really recognise, at this early stage, quite what scale of technological revolution awaits us?
If not, we should make this clear. A new industrial revolution is under way and it will revolutionise how we live in our city. Put simply, machines will collaborate with each other and will respond and adapt to our behavior. They will provide feedback and deliver a solution which is most convenient to us. To make our lives easier.
In order to use information to improve lives, we will need effective data use and information technology infrastructure. The Internet of Things, cloud technology, big data and high performance computing will be integral to the process.
Systems can provide real-time urban traffic information to the traffic control centre who can deploy their traffic control personnel to manage locations strategically. Many systems are being developed not only to assess the current conditions of the present, but also a predictive analysis of potential future conditions.
This process is already under way. Following through HH Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of Dubai’s vision for becoming a smart city, several projects are underway to link the Emirates government services and the public through the use of smart devices accessed freely using high-speed wireless internet connections. All government departments in Dubai are on board, including the Dubai Police, Roads and Transport Authority, and Dubai Municipality.
“A new industrial revolution is under way and it will revolutionise how we live in our city”
“Machines will collaborate with each other and will respond and adapt to our behavior”
As Dubai’s road network becomes ever more congested due to urbanisation, with the urban proportion of the world population predicted to rise to 62% by 2030, there will likely be more accidents on our roads. Dubai police have an application which enables users to report a traffic accident, check the status of an application, make a fine payment or report a crime. Dubai with technology infrastructure built into its very core, is certainly at the forefront of the smart city movement. It is large enough to launch ambitious initiatives, without being too big to be able to control.
There is more in the pipeline. Remote sensor devices throughout the city will allow for the management of education, health care and security functions. Through the use of smart meters, Dubai will rationalise the consumption of water and electricity. It plans to generate and conserve energy through renewable solar panels.
Those who reside in Dubai and all cities involved in the smart city revolution have a responsibility to make this work. What is crucial at this stage is to realise how influential each of us can be and how even a small input now can reap huge rewards for all of us as citizens of Dubai.
As residents we can all claim some responsibility for improving the six pillars and 100 initiatives central to the strategy of making Dubai smarter including transport, communication, infrastructure, electricity, economic services and urban planning. Without smart citizens, these targets would not have been achieved.
Make no mistake, the revolution is well under way, and it will affect every aspect of our daily lives. As citizens, will we be smart enough to recognise what is happening around us now, or will it slowly sink in over time?
To make this work now, to empower people, bring together people information and infrastructure and create value in the digital ecosystem, we need everyone on board.