|By Esmeralda Swartz||
|December 4, 2014 01:00 PM EST||
‘Internet of Things’ Transforms Smart City Living
In the last blog, we explored real world examples of smart cities and highlighted one such example in the São Paulo state of Brazil. What makes this an exciting model for other cities to evaluate and perhaps emulate is that it touches many city services that we can all relate to. It also makes the impact of a smart city on industry and society highly visible.
Where does it all start? With infrastructure. Although it may not be the sexiest word that comes to mind, it is the underlying structure that supports common city services. While infrastructure is mostly hidden from the city dweller, without it current and future cities would not exist. All the layers that comprise a smart city are impacted: subterranean, ground and airspace. What is changing is that it is not just acceptable to modernize an aging infrastructure; all of the smart city layers need to interact like a living organism with things serving a plethora of uses and when interconnected providing novel new services. Lighting is no longer just lighting, when you link for example the energy efficiency and long life of LEDs with the additional control and smarts that result from connecting digital light sources into an intelligent network, lighting can play a much broader role. Connected through sensors, smart lights can provide information to diagnose problems, provide energy savings based on time of day/year/season, and vehicle and traffic patterns, and predict when they are about to fail and need to be replaced. Networked sensors across city layers can make the city more livable and transform and personalize interactions for smart digital citizens with their city. The Águas de São Pedro journey also started with new infrastructure.
New equipment was installed around Águas de São Pedro, which made it possible to offer higher speed broadband to the entire city, benefitting small and mid-size businesses looking for IP VPN and Internet solutions, and offering subscribers high-speed access to videos, streaming music and games, and other online or cloud services. The ongoing transformation also includes digital solutions in the areas of education, tourism, health and public administration. For example, Telefônica Vivo, through Telefônica Vivo Foundation, will take tablet devices, increase the Wi-Fi broadband from 2MB to 25MB, and train public school teachers in the city to bring education innovation to the region. Students will have access to an online library with approximately 11,000 titles and 1.3 million subscribers, and an app will be made available to enhance the relationship between school and family to help improve students' grades.
In the area of tourism, digital devices are installed in public areas, highlighting city attractions along with maps, events and other tourist information. An online guide can be accessed through the Web or app, with listings for restaurants, bars and stores. City residents and tourists alike can access the Internet using Wi-Fi hotspots, in addition to a service that offers hundreds of newspapers and magazines online.
In the health field, digital technology is being used to improve the productivity and efficiency of health professionals through mobile devices and applications. It will be possible, for example, to manage medical appointments and the patient process online. A call center is available 24 hours a day, with specialized nurses to answer queries about health, and content about public utility information.
Águas de São Pedro uses smart lighting systems in public areas, security and traffic monitoring, and public parking tracking, with Ericsson providing the smart lighting and parking solutions. The public power system can be remotely controlled and monitored for the power consumption of each light point, reducing electricity waste to almost zero. In addition to contributing to environmental sustainability, remote monitoring will report any failures that occur and allow for remote maintenance, leading to cost savings and efficient operation. Smart parking provides real-time information on the availability of parking spaces, offering greater convenience to citizens, businesses and tourists, as well as enhanced fuel economy for motorists.
This is just one example of how smart digital citizens and societies can take advantage of Internet of Things to transform their physical world and build a sustainable, livable city that is shaped for their own unique experiences.
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