Earlier this week, Uber announced the launch of its latest product “movement.’ Movement shares aggregate data of Uber traffic as it courses through the various main streets and side streets of the historic city. This can help city planners in identifying the volume of traffic across various routes, and the time taken. This information can help them optimize traffic routes as well as time the traffic signals correctly. The data also allows you to simulate futuristic scenarios and figure out where the roads need to be widened, the city expanded and the flyovers and other modern transportation contraptions built. It’s not just Uber. Waze has a traffic web services, and other map providers like Google, Bing and Apple can also make a potential difference in easing out traffic congestion across the city.
While traffic is one issue, there are a lot of other ways in which digital technologies can help cities, even in emerging countries. Let’s look at a few ways in which life can be truly delightful for you as a regular citizen, made possible by digital technologies:
- Civic Help: Let’s assume you have a street light that’s not working or a piece of road caved in in front of your main gate. Technology exists today where all you need to do is take a picture of the incident and upload it to a Facebook page of the city authority. Immediately you can be issued a ticket and you can track it to closure on the social network. Simple technology that leads to great outcomes.
- Air pollution: Worried about air pollution? Particulate matter in the atmosphere? Humidity? Worry not! Sophisticated devices exist today that can track multiple sensors whether they be ones for tracking pollution, temperature, humidity etc. At a low cost the city will be able to deploy a network of such tracking devices to gather and consolidate such real time data across multiple geographies. As an alternative, the city can also sanction a small network of drones that continually capture in the specific areas pollution in the atmosphere through the smart use of drone and sensor technology.
- Records management: One of the biggest challenges the country faces in the real estate market is the amount of verification with government agencies that needs to happen whenever land is being bought or sold in the country. Often times, buyers are worried about the genuineness of the property and worries whether land records have been illegally tampered with. This reduces liquidity and makes the market speculative.
With the use of new technology like blockchain, the land management records will be made almost impossible to tamper with.
- Law and Order: A variety of technologies can be used for maintaining the law and order. This includes being able to deploy a strong network of video cameras. Either government funded, or make it mandatory for all domestic and business owners to install cameras. Initiatives like the body camera being worn by the police is already making good progress. By overlaying data science and pattern recognition technologies, simple crimes can easily be predicted which is again a demotivating factor for the vendors.
These are but a few examples. A smart city initiative in Hyderabad could raise the quality of living of the average citizen, and also provide transformational experience around multiple areas like education, electricity, pollution, law and order, human rights, education, waste management, transportation, parking, crisis management, self-service, lighting, drainage management, effluent management, and many many more. Vive la smart city!
CEO of [x[cubeLABS.