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.