Smart Cities, Smart Buildings and Smarter Technologies

Smart Cities, Smart Buildings and Smarter Technologies

SMART CITIES AND smart buildings are characterised by a network of electronics and technology to collect data to efficiently manage assets, resources and services.

The overarching goal of the smart city is to alleviate the problems that plague modern life in densely populated areas and maximise resource efficiency.

Traffic congestion, crime, energy consumption, water supply, waste disposal and community services including schools, hospitals and libraries are all key concerns for local governments, councils and town planners where maximum efficiencies in these areas determine the liveability of a city both in the immediate term and in planning for the future.

Any modern smart city or smart building – or even smart open space – is underpinned by connectivity.

In simple terms, this means a network – specifically a wide area network or WAN – that wirelessly connects devices and technology to each other and the World Wide Web allowing them all to communicate across space.

The concept of ‘smart city’ is multifaceted and the parts of its sum largely open to definition as to what exactly constitutes it.

Free Wi-Fi? Electric Vehicle charging stations? Bicycle sharing programs? Traffic Light monitoring? Street light dimming? Smart garbage receptacles? All these are great initiatives but they are not inherently ‘smart’, per se.

They are all highly specific applications addressing highly specific problems using highly specific information communications technology ecosystems for a highly specific purpose.

The same goes for other smart city initiatives such as phone apps for parking, city service and facility directions and public transport payment systems, for example.

In many of these applications, purpose built sensors communicate with fundamentally basic single purpose computer programs to complete a predetermined task.

While these tasks may be very different this process is essentially the same.

Smart traffic lights, street lights and garbage receptacles – all essentially the same.

Parking payments, public transport payments, public facility directions – again, all essentially the same.

All are closed, rigid systems to address a singular problem that are not inherently smart.

While specific sensors have been developed and deployed for real time monitoring in areas such as water flow rates, traffic flow and power usage, a similar approach to monitoring people that is often used is problematic.

This approach only reveals ‘face value’ numbers such as aggregates of people passing through a point or assembled in a given building or space.

Typically it does not log individual users and how they navigate an area over time.

And typically it does not use AI to allow real-time alerts to be raised and decisions to be made, and to make sense of highly complex data sets.

This approach is exactly how utilities such as water and power are monitored – in terms of volume and distribution.

Individual people are not simple units that flow in the same, single pathways day-in, day-out.

Foresense Technologies recognises this and has developed a new type of approach for presence detection and the collection and collation of behavioural data.

While using specific smartphone app software for smart city applications is common, Foresense uses the smartphone hardware itself as a beacon to collect highly detailed data sets on how people act and interact in and with their immediate environment to provide real-time analytics of foot traffic inside and around any physical location.

In a similar way to how behavioural data is utilised online through careful analysis of aspects such as dwell time, session duration, and unique and return visitations the Foresense platform collects data through AI sensors integrating with visitors’ smartphones allowing accessibility in real time so highly-informed, proactive decisions can be executed as trends are actually emerging.

The technology presents a wide range of possibilities and opportunities for smart building and city applications to really drill down how different groups of people including workers, shoppers, students and tourists are using transport, recreational and cultural facilities, and educational, commercial and retail spaces in the city and its open areas.

Understand how much time people are spending in a specific area and the breakdown of their time spent across different areas.

In smart buildings, discover exactly how people navigate and use specific spaces such as commercial, retail and restroom zones.

In residential buildings communal areas such as foyers, gyms and pools can be monitored in detail, for example.

Breakdown the entire visitor experience from time spent on public transport or in the car through to their flow on foot through the city; the places they visit and how long spent at each individual stop.

Identify unique characteristics such as if a person is a new, unique visitor – or only visits 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, or just on weekends and nights, for example.

The platform can also use visitor data for tailored messages on- screen or via close proximity digital signage for advertising or informational purposes – for example tell office workers of public transport issues as they arise or let tourists know of lunch specials or department store sales.

Aggregated data can be used to establish peak demand times for specific sections within the city – or within any given building or public facility – to lessen wait times to keep movement flowing and alleviate congestion.

In this way Foresense can assist in commercially based decision making by identifying areas where demand exceeds supply to justify the purchase of new equipment or the construction of new facilities and places of business.

In a post-COVID world, Foresense can be used to monitor and control the number of people gathering in any given area to address crowd density regulations and even identify people who have not been recently received negative COVID testing where such laws and applications have been introduced.

The technology can even be used for security and safety concerns to identify suspicious loitering or access to a restricted area, or when a person is not moving as normal across any given space, indicating collapse or injury.

Foresense can improve upon existing alarm and video surveillance systems and address shortcomings such as the need for constant monitoring and the ability for seasoned criminals to bypass them altogether.

And because the platform is accessible in real-time, security staff can be deployed or police called upon when and where they are needed most to ensure timely response and the best chance of suspect apprehension.

By coupling the data sets obtained with the proprietary AI system, highly specific analytics can be utilised to move city planning forward into a new era beyond outdated predictive modelling methodologies.

It progresses the approach to developing a smart city further than a series of singular clever concepts such smart traffic lights and smartphone payments systems into a more highly connected data driven network between individual visitors and the city itself.

With highly specific information readily at hand Foresense Technology determines data driven actions to constantly improve efficiency of operations – and improve liveability and cost efficiency in the smart cities of tomorrow.