Ever since the first implementation of a smart city was proclaimed with the installation of the smart meter, there have been a lot of liberties taken with the term “smart city” (in fact, the concept has been around for 10 – 15 years). I have seen stories that claim cities were smart because they have their street lights or a water system wired to respond to environmental or usage changes. It was more about how the central city government used technology to optimize existing systems, such as these street lights and water management.
While these early systems certainly qualify as a component of smart cities, the real definition of a smart city is one that can dynamically respond to the changes in all of the systems that affect the lives of the citizens. I have scribed about this, in detail, in past writings, but this is not what I want to rehash at this time.
What this missive is about is the next iteration of smart cities – smart cities 2.0, to borrow a tradition from the software industry.
Smart cities 2.0 is a paradigm shift in how smart cities are perceived. With the evolution of Internet of Everything/Everyone (IoX), next-generation sensors, wireless platforms, power platforms, semiconductor technology and much more — smart cities 2.0 involves every element and segment of the city.
More specifically, these innovative and evolutionary systems can be used to capture data from virtually everything and everyone. Supported by massive computing resources, evolving artificial intelligence and machine learning and complex software, this data can, literally, provide intimate information about every component of the city.
That is what we have been waiting for. The end result is obtaining secure data that improves everything from greenbelt maintenance to traffic management, public safety response and parking. Smart cities 2.0 is a proactive overlay that is capable of predictive versus reactive behavior.
However, just because we have a next-generation does not mean we have a plan. In fact, there is much debate about how this next-generation model will be deployed, especially considering the fact that the governments are the major players. We all know the difficulties in getting governments to adopt a standard model and, thus far, there is not even a well-understood, replicable model on the table that city management can discuss. So the implementation of smart cities 2.0 will have a bumpy road ahead.
However, at least there is a direction. How long it will take to gain traction is anybody’s guess. There is also incentive. Smart cities are a win-win for both sides – government and citizen. Perhaps that will put some fire into the process.