Networks Europe Issue 13 January/February 2018 - Page 13

SMART CITIES By Dennis O’Sullivan, EMEA Data Centre Segment Manager Eaton Smart cities are no longer a thing of the future; they’re already transforming our urban landscapes, communities and way of life. Technology has paved the way for new innovations to make everything from bin collections to public transportation easier, faster and more environmentally friendly. And with 70% of the world’s population due to be concentrated in urban areas by 2050, these advances will be critical to ensuring that the smart cities built today will continue to thrive in the future. Current state of smart cities A number of countries in Europe and Asia have already begun to harness the power of technology to drive their smart city initiatives forward. Barcelona, for example, has introduced sensors that have been fitted to lamp posts and street lights across the city to manage the flow of traffic, road pollution and crowds. Measures have also been introduced to monitor rainfall and analyse irrigation levels in the ground so that water can be preserved, especially in case of a drought. From Yinchuan’s smart bins and transport systems to Songdo International Business District, a $35 billion purpose-built smart city near Seoul in South Korea, Asia – especially China – has become a melting pot of smart city projects. Yinchuan, in particular, has put a huge emphasis on maintaining an efficient and clean waste system throughout the city. Waste bins automatically compress the rubbish, disperse the odour using air conditioners and alerts the local government when it’s time for them to be emptied. They’ve also done away with plastic payment cards by using facial recognition technology as currency for public transport. Residents can even use a mobile app to order groceries that are then delivered to local fridge lockers. As a result, public transport queues are reduced, traffic is better managed and citizens are in more control of their everyday needs. The problem at hand Smart city innovation has undeniably paved the way for the world’s future. Yet we seem to be ignoring one key underlying issue: how can we effectively power smart cities far into the future without becoming a drain on the world’s finite resources? Every tracked journey on public transport, communication to a home thermostat, or shop p