The concept of creating “smarter cities” has been kicked around for quite some time now. Revamping an entire city’s infrastructure is not an easy feat by any means. Singapore, a place known for embracing innovation, is on the verge of becoming the world’s first smart city. With a strong focus on digitization, things are finally starting to fall into place.
Making Singapore Smarter Is Challenging
After nearly two years of running the Smart Nation initiative, Singapore is slowly transforming into what experts define as a “smart city.” Given the nation’s rather small size, it is much easier to achieve such a feat in that part of the world. With high-speed internet access available to everyone on the island, and more mobile devices in existence than residents, things are starting to look positive.
Many things have changed over the course of those two years, though. Singapore is a nation where the vast majority of residents live in public housing, a number that will surprise quite a few people. This is an optimum situation for experimenting with Smart Nation ideas and technology, including sensors to measure energy consumption, water usage, and other things. All of this information is recorded and shared in real-time.
In return, these sensors are tied to smart applications, which provide residents with valuable feedback. Wasting less water and energy or improving waste recycling are just two of the things being experimented with. The government, which also receives the data, can then improve its urban planning and maintenance of public housing.
But things go much further than housing or waste disposal. The healthcare sector is in dire need of newer technologies which can act in a “smart” manner. Singapore is testing their Elderly Monitoring System, a collection of in-house sensors which track movement. A lack of activity will send warnings to family members to ensure that they check up on the people residing in the home.
Perhaps one of the areas of our society that needs smart technology more than others is transportation. Self-driving vehicles are rather prominent in Singapore, and autonomous taxis are starting to become more common as well. The government is using different sensor types to track transportation and traffic, allowing them to improve traffic conditions faster.
While all of the above may sound futuristic to a lot of people, it is not unrealistic to expect to see similar initiatives in other cities and countries over the coming years. There is a lot of information out there that is not being recorded or used correctly. Big data, and more importantly, smart data, are the driving factors of smart cities. In the end, these are initiatives that nearly everyone can benefit from in some way or another.
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