November 3, 2022
What is a smart city? While it’s a term many of us have heard countless times, in reality few people actually know what it entails, and what a city needs to have to be classified as “smart.” So what will the cities of our future look like? IoT tech guru Jeff Mo from Chunghwa Telecom delved into the topic at this year’s IoT World and AI Summit Austin.
According to Mo, around 70% of people surveyed don’t know what a smart city is, though 70% also said they wouldn’t agree that where they lived was a smart city. Given the fact that we are seeing newly high levels of people moving into cities, it’s a perfect time to implement the technologies of tomorrow to make city living smarter, greener and more sustainable, as well as improve the understanding of just what a smart city is.
“There are three main aspects of a smart city,” said Mo. “These are mobility, energy and city management – meaning how things are connected within the city. We are using AI, big data and IoT to inform how we drive these aspects and create cities.”
For mobility, Mo says advancements in unmanned self-driving vehicles will continue to progress to incorporate more and more elements of the driving experience, including self-maintenance and self-charging. Developing wireless EV charging points would offer a low-cost, effortless charging experience that takes the manual element out of plugging in your car.
Ongoing high energy prices have already given governments cause to consider how to adapt cities to mitigate this problem, and Mo says we can expect to see the integration of solar panels into the original design of houses to create self-contained, self-sufficient clean energy homes.
“When people have their own energy, they don't worry about the prices and they are less dependent on the power grid,” said Mo. “Then, guess what? The power grid will have less expansion needed, which enables a lot of savings in the long run.”
Introducing new infrastructure to streamline a city’s energy and mobility also leads to a novel need – a city management platform to connect these assets.
“We always think about cities as giant machines with massive parts,” said Mo. “We have to have a management package that connects the parts.”
Chunghwa Telecom’s City Operating System (COS) seeks to do just this and can enable connections in everything from streetlights to grid management.
“The system knows when to turn on and off streetlights,” said Mo. “It knows when something’s broken and it can generate a ticket which is sent to technicians so things can be fixed immediately. When it comes to energy, the system can look into individual buildings’ energy readings and figure out how much energy is needed and notify the grid for better preparation.”
While we’re not yet at this point of total connectivity, innovators such as Chunghwa Telecom are making strides in this direction, creating systems to enable more capacity with less labor.
“So back to the main question,” Mo concluded. “What is a Smart City? I say a smart city is a collection of smart solutions, where everything is interconnected and everything is synced so we can do things in a smarter, greener and more efficient way.”
This article first appeared in sister publication IoT World Today. Click here to subscribe to their newsletter.