Smart Cities: New Tech Built on Ancient Needs

Advances in Smart Cities technology are satisfying age-old needs for connected communities.

The concept is Smart Cities is not new. Communities have been working to create connected infrastructure systems that increase comfort and safety as well as resiliance and responsiveness. “Our point of view is that the idea behind Smart Cities is not novel. The kind of drivers that drive the need for Smart Cities have been in existence for centuries,” Aniruddha Deodhar, a principal for IoT Solutions at ARM , told Design News. “That includes integrated waterways to make the community more resilient. "eople want an integrfor example, people have also always wanted an integrated city of information and resources.”

ARM, DesignCon, Smart Cities

Deodhar takes it further, explaining that connected communities are not even restricted to populations pf people. “The idea of Smart Cities is not even limited to humans. These networks exchange information to make the community more resilient, responsive, and comfortable.”

Deodhar will present his ideas about the development of Smart Cities at DesignCon in Santa Clara, on Feb.1, in the keynote presentation, The Technology Behind IoT Enabled Smart Cities.

Though the need for connected communities may not be novel, there are aspects of  modern cities that put new pressure on the need to connect. “Climae change, aging population, and pollution present new requirements for Smart Cities technology. People in these cities also need to be sheltered in more intelligent and responsive buildings,” said Deodhar. “The IoT helps us address these challenges and makes the cities more resilient, more responsive, healthier.”

Cities Are a Conglomeration of Interests and Stakeholders

The technology for connected cities is improving, but the deployment of the technology is still just beginning. “My view is that the Smart Cities is still in the nascent stage. That’s partly because a city is not a homogenous entity,” said Deodhar. “Cities have airports, homes, and factories. They are different stakeholders with different value chains and incentives. The city is a collection of all those smaller ecosystems.”

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Connecting a city requires the coordination of multiple technology vendors all pulling in the same direction. “In smart lighting, it’s often done for the city by a vendor. It’s connected to cloud storage and other vendors, and it’s connected to other infrastructure such as traffic lights,” said Deodhar. “You can’t deploy that without including other entities. All of them need to be brought into a Smart Cities solution.”

The Roadblocks Are Technology and Community

If the technology exists, what’s keeping cities from becoming fully connected ecosystems? For one, all of the smaller ecosystems have to be coordinated. “The barriers are a mixture of technology and community,” said Deodhar. “Having high speed infrastructure, and security is a concern. Managing assets around the city is a big problem, so there is a need for a platform to manage these assets.”

Smart Cities, ARM, DesignCon

The technology platform is not enough. Various

Comments

"Smart Cities" brings to mind those cities described in the book "1984", written by Orwell a long while back. One major driver, not touted in this posting, is "sustainability", which is gained by moving people into much smaller dwellings much more closely packed. Of course, this would require much closer "regulation", another term for loss of personal freedoms. So while the technical challenges engage a bunch of eager engineers, the hidden agenda is actually incredibly ugly.

For those doubting this, search for "UN agenda 21" and see what I have described. While a loss of many personal freedoms will not bother those with an attention span so short that they never notice the loss, a large segment of humanity does not fit that description, and those folks would not find life in a world with vastly reduced human rights very enjoyable. So the smart city may be a fun project for some engineers, it may not be a good idea for anybody else.

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