How Will the IoT Affect Cities of the Future?

How Will the IoT Affect Cities of the Future?

Ever pondered what the future of our urban landscapes would be like? With a little help from the Internet of Things, it could be a highly tuned intelligent infrastructure designed for complete efficiency. Here are some of Innovate UK’s key predictions for the cities of the future in a guest post for IoTUK.

What Can We Expect?

With key technological developments which combine artificial intelligence with the IoT, we could be looking at the possibility of a city which thinks like a human brain. Here are some of the key changes we can expect:

  • Cities will become greener with less pollution and more space for walking and cyclists
  • Buildings will be self-sufficient, generating their own energy from renewable sources
  • High streets will be highly interactive and intelligent
  • Your daily commute will be seamless

The Revolution of Transport

With developments in greener automotive manufacturing and a huge step forward with the production of self-driving cars, we’re already seeing the infancy of the tech set to revolutionise the transport industry.

By 2050, our entire approach to driving will be vastly different. Autonomous vehicles will be commonplace – this means your journey will be spent catching up on work or watching your favourite TV shows. You won’t have to find your own parking space. The car will drop you off at your destination and will automatically assign itself to an optimised parking space in the vicinity.

There’s plenty of investment already happening in this area. For example, The Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles currently has a £100 million fund to invest in projects to develop CAV testing infrastructure. This is in aide of creating the world’s most effective connected and autonomous vehicle testing ecosystem. So where will it lead?

Public transport poses an ideal opportunity for innovation. Instead of buses with set routes and timetables we’ll see entire connected networks of driverless pods. You’ll be able to hail a pod via your phone and head to your destination, if there are any passengers going the same way, they’ll be picked up en-route.

The intelligent, inter-connected nature of this system will allow for an efficient and user-friendly transport option that will drive car ownership figures down. This will go some way to aid in the Government’s pledge for almost all vehicles to be zero emission by 2050.

Smart and Sustainable Buildings

Public buildings will begin to gather data about occupants and the local area. This will aide in their continual improvement and optimum care for users. The data buildings gather will allow them to operate at the ideal temperature for occupants and ensure they remain safe and healthy.

Buildings will be constructed with solar panel windows which will allow them to source their own sustainable energy. Data gathered will ensure they use this energy in the most efficient way. Buildings will also be able to determine whether any surrounding structures or vehicles need a top-up and will share their surplus resources.

The Future of the High Street

Through advances in Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN – a network technology that provides connectivity for a vast number of devices over long distances, using little energy), we’re likely to see the potential of the Internet or Things sky-rocket. This is going to completely reshape our High Streets.

Upon walking into a clothes shop, you’ll be assigned an interactive changing room. The store will already know your dress size, your upcoming social calendar as well as your style preferences. They’ll use this to offer intelligent recommendations tailor made for you.

The Emergence of Smart Cities

We’re already starting to see funding into the cities of the future. The CityVerve project in Manchester, for example, has been granted £10 million funding to develop IoT technologies in the urban landscape. This includes innovative bus shelters that notify bus drivers when commuters are waiting and smart air quality monitoring systems.

More Time for the Things That Matter

Future predictions like this are always followed by questions about the potential loss of jobs. Many believe this won’t be the case. Instead, service will become far more personal and focussed. These technological developments will create more time for us to spend on the things that really matter.

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Innovate UK
christiana.courtright64@cde.catapult.org.uk
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