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Smart Cities, Yes There are Apps for That

Smart Cities, Yes There are Apps for That

We have Smart Phones, Smart TVs, Smart Homes…

What’s next What’s now?

Smart Cities.

This morning I attended Verizon’s “Internet of Things” Smart Cities seminar in Tampa, Florida. The point? The technology is here. Are there barriers to implementation? Yes (such as cost). But it’s not a question of whether or not it will happen. It’s a question of when will it happen here?

“Cities will become smart cities. When will your city get smart?” – Dan Burrus (Futurist, Technology Strategist and Trends Forecaster)

A smart city is a city that has embraced smart technology. At a high level we are talking about a city, but ultimately we are referring to all the parts and systems within that city.

Through modern technology a city can have smart parking, video monitoring, intelligent lighting, smart traffic management, smart waste, smart water, predictive public safety…and more.

Here are five examples of smart technology and mobile apps being put to use, right now, in cities around America.

1. Smart Parking

Companies such as Streetline install sensors in the pavement that detect when parking spaces are available. Through the use of a free mobile app, citizens can find available parking spots in real time, or use the app like a GPS to direct them to the nearest available parking spot.

From the Streetline website:

Experts estimate that 30 percent of urban traffic is caused by motorists looking for parking. [*Based on 2007 study by Professor Donald Shoup, University of California, Los Angeles]

Not that you needed to be convinced of why this technology is brilliant.

2. Smart Traffic Management

In 2010, the city of Phoenix Arizona embarked on a mission to reduce traffic congestion, and travel times for commuters.

Small, solar-powered routers were installed on traffic signals and video cameras were installed at busy intersections. The technology allows traffic operators the ability to monitor areas of high congestion and adjust the signal timing as needed.

A great example of this technology in use is after a big game. The lights can be programmed to stay “green” longer to allow traffic to flow out of the parking lots…faster.

Through a variety of mobile apps, citizens can view live video of roadways and spot congestion before they plan their route.

3. Intelligent Lighting

Intelligent lighting asks the question – why do we need all the streetlights on at full strength at times when few if any people are on the streets.

What if we could install sensors that would detect activity and allow municipalities to dim the lights during hours of low activity, and turn them back on at full strength if the sensors detected pedestrians or traffic.

4. Smart Energy Consumption

The Energy Engage Mobile App, by Siemens, allows customers to view their energy consumption in near real-time and adjust their usage to reduce their bill. Utilities can provide the app to their customers, who can then see how their bill changes as they reduce consumption…all in real time.

5. Smart Parking Payment Solutions

Here is a two-fold upgrade to pay-with-change parking meters. Many cities have installed parking meters that accept credit and debit cards…that is the first upgrade.

But, what if you don’t know how long you’ll need the parking spot? Do you overpay in order to avoid a ticket? What if a quick errand turns into an extra long line up….do you jump out of your spot in line to go buy more parking? Do you cut dinner short?

Smart Parking Payment apps put control back in your hands to monitor how much paid time you have left AND purchase more time …without going back to your car.

The HotSpot Parking app makes it possible…but it’s only available in limited cities. Perhaps your city could invite them in?

Smart Cities are safer, greener, faster….more competitive. They attract more businesses, entrepreneurs, workers and tourists. Smart technology accelerates economic growth…what are the costs of not keeping up?

* Photo by Verizon

Sara @ Big Fish

Sara @ Big Fish

Sara MacQueen is the Founder and President of Big Fish - we turn revolutionary ideas into reality through custom software design and development. Sara was named one of "25 Mobile Women to Watch" and has been interviewed by local and national media for her expertise in mobile technology and business. When she's not working, Sara enjoys hiking and cooking meals from scratch with ingredients found at farmers markets.

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