When will we be living in smart cities?
1 expert and 2 parents have answered
Okay, so it's pretty cool that I can not only have a conversation on my phone, but also with my phone – but why stop there? What if I wanted to, say, have a chat with a postbox, or ask a window for the weather? We're actually not far off, with our bustling metropolises already morphing into smart cities.
What is a smart city? Basically what I just described – and I wasn't being facetious about the postbox. It's the internet of things coming into our everyday life, where the objects, services, and even buildings you pass by every day become a connected, 'smart' network. When we talk about smart houses, we mean (for example) an alarm clock that also draws the blinds and turns the kettle on for you; a smart city could have an infrastructure where traffic lights, emergency services and self-driving cars sync up to put an end to traffic jams! (Maybe that's wishful thinking).
On a smaller scale, bringing the internet into the mundane could be as simple as QR codes on boring surfaces that link to information – a community board that links to online forums or adverts, for instance – or fun stuff like Hello Lamp Post where you literally are talking to street furniture. Really, we're not far off all that; billboards include URLs to product's websites, you can scan film posters to watch their trailers... our cities are already kinda smart, but their IQ levels are gonna shoot right up.
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Given the investment going into Cities that will fund the super broadband connectivity required I would envisage at least 15 years. Applications are way ahead of infrastructure and have been for many years. Having seen Interactive TV in the late 80's to mid 90's that you control and watch what you want when you want, like we see today with Tivo and similar I can't see major developments coming to fruition for a while yet.
It will happen though that's for sure.
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The problem with a lot of British cities is that they are based on Victorian architecture and infrastructure. A prime example of this is our rail service. We were world leaders but on the continent they saw what we did and they improved it. This is why when you got to places like Sweden and Germany you will notice they have double decker trains. To replace our bridges would cost too much money so we have had to go for longer trains. To truly live in city of the future you need to start from the ground up. On the outskirts of Dubai they have truly built a city of the future. It has started off by looking at energy creation and has come up with interesting ways of generating wind and solar energy from the shapes of the building. There aren't any cars on the streets because there are cars underneath the city. They run on tracks and are driverless. You basically push a button and it takes you were you want to go. That is probably as close to the future as you are going to get at the minute, but it does require that complete rebuild. The current infrastructure is the barrier to advancement in my opinion. Of course there is a shorter answer. The minute you come up with the future it has become obsolete. Just look at Star Trek to see how the current is more futuristic than the future!