Smart cities: What’s next?

Today, urbanization is growing at an increasingly fast pace. By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. Already, economic stability, environmental sustainability and overcrowding have become growing concerns.

What’s the solution?

Right now, there’s a lot of hype surrounding the potential of smart cities, and justifiably so. The real estate, healthcare, and energy industries, among others, have made great strides in developing smart city solutions by leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT). Machine-to-machine (M2M) and human-to-machine (H2M) communications have brought about real-time data collection, process automation, and increased operational efficiency. And yet, in thinking about the strides we have made, verticals have yet to capture what is truly means to be connected; they are still operating in silos.

What does this mean for the citizens of today’s smart cities?

As smart and connected solutions develop, residents will consume their benefits directly via their mobile phones. There are a bunch of great apps out there already: one for your home or office, to control heating and lighting; one for your health, to connect you with your physician or pre-order prescriptions; one to help you get around, to give you directions, the time until the next train, or the fastest route to work; or, one to inform you of cultural events happening nearby. Day to day, these apps improve productivity, inform action, increase community involvement, and simply make your life easier – I know they do mine!

That being said, as Jordanne mentioned in her most recent blog post (Design Thinking for the Mobile Paradigm), our mobile phones are inundated with apps, such that we now have to toggle between several throughout the day. Building a conventional app is no longer an end-to-end solution.

Here at Flybits, we’ve decided that it’s time to change the mobile paradigm.

As a resident, what if you could have one app that unified the multiple apps you may already have – for your home, office, healthcare and travel, among others – into one, so that you could benefit from the features your smart city has to offer all from a common interface? Imagine how that could improve your productivity, efficiency, and community engagement. A unified app would increase the pace of development of smart cities, too. Residents could share the way they consume city services (via the data they generate) with companies and the government (assuming privacy is protected), in turn allowing these entities to inform and improve city services, such as garbage collection and urban planning, and public resources, such as parks and museums.

Connectivity means more than each industry buying into and investing in the hype of smart cities. It means collaborating, and inviting residents to contribute to their progress. The latter is made possible by empowering individuals with more informed decisions and actions within their communities.

So, what’s next? A mobile app to rule them all? We’re working on it.

Statistic source

“How to Feed the World in 2050.” FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS. 2009. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.

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