This time, we’ll kick smart machines up a notch and focus on Smart Cities.
What’s a Smart City? Here’s the Wikipedia definition: “A smart city is an urban area that uses different types of electronic data collection sensors to supply information which is used to manage assets and resources efficiently. This includes data collected from citizens, devices, and assets that is processed and analyzed to monitor and manage traffic and transportation systems, power plants, water supply networks, waste management, law enforcement, information systems, schools, libraries, hospitals, and other community services.”
Basically, take things like Smart Machines, the Internet of Things, and Big Data (something I haven’t yet covered), ramp it up to a community-wide scale, and you have a Smart City initiative.
Here are some examples of Smart City projects:
- Barcelona: Sensors have reduced the amount of water used in parks.
- Seattle: The city is using analytics to reduce carbon emissions with buildings. They have also implemented a smart traffic light system that adapts to changing road and weather conditions.
- Milton Keynes, UK: They have implemented a smart parking space system that helps locate free parking spaces in the city. They are also using remote sensor technology in recycling bins. Sensors in the bins tell recycling trucks when the bins are full, so they’re not driving out to an empty bin.
- Singapore: By 2020, all of Singapore’s vehicles will have mandatory satellite-navigation systems built in, so the city can monitor traffic volume and speed, and analyze traffic congestion issues.
- San Francisco: The city uses sensors to monitor parking spaces. They adjust the cost of parking based on whether spots are occupied or vacant.
- San Antonio: Streetlights are adjusted in stormy weather to improve visibility and reduce accidents.
- Chicago: The city is using predictive analytics to determine when trash dumpsters are full, which helps control their rodent population.
How does a Smart City initiative affect libraries? Here are a couple of thoughts. Not so much on how Smart Cities actually affect libraries, but on ways to help these city-wide initiatives out:
- Partner with the city on their Smart City initiatives. City governments might need help deciphering emerging technology, what data is needed to move forward, or what partnerships they might find useful for a project. A good public library should already know some of these things, and be able to provide help and leadership.
- Keep up with emerging trends. Sounds silly, but be a good example that the city can follow. Do it well, and share what works with local government.
- Smart Library initiatives. I’ve seen some articles and presentations recently about being a “smart library.” I love the concept – but I haven’t loved all the examples I’ve seen. Some of them are really just rehashing literacy, reading, etc types of initiatives and then calling themselves a “smart library.” Uhm … I don’t think that means what you think that means. But maybe I’m wrong!
Here are some articles about Smart Cities for more information:
- Becoming a smart city takes more than sensors and buzzwords
- The Top Five Smart Cities In The World
- Smart cities: 6 essential technologies
- Wikipedia article on Smart Cities
Thoughts? Please share!
Photo of Topeka Kansas (a not-so-smart city) by me.