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The Tale of a Smarter City


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"A city is more than just a collection of buildings, streets, parks, and people, and the many different entities engaged in many different trades.

It's a living environment of different cultures, peoples, ideas and systems that are interdependent yet all determine and shape the others identity."

For the video version with narration, click here:

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The Tale of a Smarter City

  1. 2. A city is more than just a collection of buildings, streets, parks, and people, and the many different entities engaged in many different trades.
  2. 3. It’s a living environment of different cultures, peoples, ideas and systems that are interdependent yet all determine and shape the other’s identity.
  3. 4. Take a closer look at any large city today and you’ll find another city pulsating within it, made up of interconnected systems of many different functions and activities.
  4. 5. Often invisible, and taken for granted, these incredible systems that undergird a city . . .
  5. 6. stretch beyond roads, utilities, and water supplies . . .
  6. 7. . . . to give us the means to move around, maintain our environment, keep our streets safe, educate our children, and generate new ideas.
  7. 8. And if we want to build a smarter planet ― where a new level of intelligence is being infused into the systems and technologies that make everything work ― there may be no better place to start than
  8. 9. in our cities.
  9. 10. Cities are a natural starting point because they are where multiple systems and infrastructures that need to become more intelligent come together; and where economies, physical structures, technologies, and populations are being transformed at a dizzying pace.
  10. 11. Indeed. Around the globe, tens of millions of people are pouring into cities.
  11. 12. Today, more than half the world's population are urban dwellers. And by 2050, that number will rise to 70 percent. That’s the equivalent of adding seven New Yorks to the planet every year.
  12. 13. Of course, more people means greater demand for vital services, such as transportation, healthcare, and public safety. Adding to the strain are ever-changing public appeals for better education,
  13. 14. greener programs, accessible government, and safer streets.
  14. 15. It means that older cities will need to update critical infrastructure,
  15. 16. and new cities will need to build adaptable, flexible systems to accommodate more people.
  16. 17. And in this way, cities are on the front lines of many of the sobering challenges we need to overcome ― like the demand for clean water to support billions of people who lack this most basic resource; or energy from renewable sources that will enable us to fuel green growth. 
  17. 18. The good news is help is at hand. The systems that underpin so much of how our cities work are becoming smarter ―
  18. 19. from intelligent electricity grids, to clever software and sensors that are being embedded everywhere: in cars, appliances, cameras, roads, and pipelines.
  19. 20. Just look at what’s already being built into cities around the world.
  20. 21. For example, Singapore, Brisbane and Stockholm are discovering that traffic isn’t just a line of cars: it’s a web of connections.
  21. 22. These cities are infusing intelligence into their entire transportation systems — streets, bridges, intersections, signs, signals and tolls — which can all be interconnected and made smarter. And now they’re seeing significant drops in congestion and pollution.
  22. 23. For decades power was something average city dwellers did not think much about.
  23. 24. Until it went out. And then it was all they thought about.
  24. 25. Until it came back. Well, not any more.
  25. 26. Today, energy is at the heart of our planet’s future and city inhabitants are becoming frontline advocates for putting smarter energy technologies to work.
  26. 27. Italy, Malta, Texas and Australia are using smart meters and instrumentation to make the power grids in their cities more stable, efficient and ready to integrate renewable energy sources and electric vehicles.
  27. 28. And we’re seeing the construction of smarter buildings where all systems work together ― where thousands of wireless sensors can monitor everything from motion and temperature to humidity, precipitation, occupancy and light.
  28. 29. Meanwhile, intelligent technologies are also helping us to better understand, improve and manage the water in our cities.
  29. 30. Smart water management in the Paraguay-Paraná River Basin of Brazil is helping to improve water quality for São Paulo's 17 million residents.
  30. 31. Cities are also becoming smarter in how they collect, analyze and use information.
  31. 32. Today information is flowing like mighty rivers from a trillion connected and intelligent things. The challenge is trying to pull it all together and make sense of it.
  32. 33. But all that is changing thanks to analytics and reporting tools that can sift through mountains of data for gems of intelligence.
  33. 34. Everyone knows good police work relies on good information. And the New York City Police Department is using business intelligence to access and analyze billions of records and zero-in on criminal suspects within minutes. This allows the police to consistently make the best possible decisions, leading to more accurate arrests and less crime.
  34. 35. Imagine what this new intelligence could do for city hospitals, improving research, diagnosis, drug discovery and treatment, and as a large hospital organization in Paris is discovering, facilitating seamless communication across all the different business applications – so they can track every stage of a patient's stay in the hospital.
  35. 36. Imagine what it could for city governments wanting to streamline access to information, processes and applications so everything can be located through one easy access point.
  36. 37. Albuquerque, New Mexico is using a business intelligence solution to automate data sharing among its 7,000 employees in more than 20 departments, so every employee gets a single version of the truth.
  37. 38. Imagine what it could do for our city schools. Miami-Dade County has built a transparent management system that helps identify and restructure low-performing schools and increase academic achievement for students.
  38. 39. These solutions, and many more, are contributing today to the social, cultural and economic well-being of our cities.
  39. 40. And they make a good textbook for building a smarter planet.
  40. 41. One of the lessons they teach us is that as with any intelligent system, cutting-edge technology is only part of the equation.
  41. 42. Cities are vibrant living systems that thrive on human and economic diversity, trial and error, creative thinking, and new forms of commerce, culture, science, and society.
  42. 43. And to make them truly smarter, one needs to have a keen eye for the ways cities work ― how all the different parts function and interact.
  43. 44. The flow of traffic.
  44. 45. The rush and activities of people.
  45. 46. The blending of the old . . .
  46. 47. . . . and the new.
  47. 48. And then let oneself think about all that a smarter city could be.
  48. 49. Click below for the narrated video: The Tale of a Smarter City
  49. 50. Click below for the narrated video: The Tale of a Smarter City