Friday, August 14, 2015
Securing the Smart City
Some would argue that our cities are already pretty smart. Glasgow has street lighting that brightens automatically as pedestrians or cyclists approach. Bristol is installing machine-to-machine sensors to supply superfast networks with data about energy use, air quality and traffic flow. Songdo in South Korea even has a waste disposal system that does away with garbage trucks and sucks your rubbish out of the kitchen via an underground tunnel network directly to the waste processing center. So what actually defines a smart city? According to the British Standards Institution (BSI) the answer is “an effective integration of physical, digital and human systems in the built environment to deliver a sustainable, prosperous and inclusive future for its citizens.” Unfortunately, explains Dr Gordon Fletcher, co-director of the Centre for Digital Business at Salford Business School, there are an awful lot of alternative definitions out there: “A straightforward summary is that [smart cities] all fall onto a continuum, from a light version which interconnects residences individually with various city systems (typically councils), through to a completely integrated system of residents, visitors and the various private and public organizational systems.” What is on the ground now looks less futuristic than we might imagine. But if we were to let that imagination fly, what might we expect in terms of the positives of a truly smart city?