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Intermixing Big Data and IoT to Create Smart Cities that Improve Life Posted on Aug 07 - 2016

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New business ideas are constantly on the horizon, and there is no way to stop them from reaching every corner of the globe. Since the beginning of time, innovative ideas have propelled generation after generation forward into the life we live today. These days, it is easy to see the progressive revolution, especially when it comes to collecting data, processing it and implementing it into our cities. With big data analytics, our generation has the ability to process large amounts of information, and use it to suit our personalized needs wherever we go. When big data and information technology are combined in our major cities, efficiency and effectiveness get stronger making the quality of human life better.

Transportation Systems

If the larger cities around the globe started investing in smarter transportation systems right now, by 2030 they would have the opportunity to save around $800 billion each year after.

This provides positive outcome in many ways:

  • Reduced traffic and vehicle accidents
  • Ability to travel longer distances in faster time
  • Minimize pollution and create cleaner air quality
  • Creation of new jobs for building the infrastructure

In addition, when internal city transportation is operational and efficient, this provides a good place for both established and new businesses to use as corporate hub. Businesses want to provide their workers and clients faster, reliable transportation. Many larger cities are beginning to use INRIX. This is a system that analyzes road data via networks and mobile devices. San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Commission was able to save more than $250,000 per year in direct data collection and contractor costs by using the INRIX system.

By monitoring transportation systems with big data collection, cities are able determine how to build more efficient transportation systems. They can pinpoint which city sections need better accessibility to transportation, and it can ascertain whether residents are open to creating new local initiatives to raise money for these systems which would improve their overall life situation. When cities implement these types of IoT technologies, they are deemed to be smart cities.

Law Enforcement and Crime

When looking into how law enforcement uses big data to solve crime, this analysis of data doesn't automatically make law enforcement the Big Brother. Big data analytics makes it easier and provides opportunities for law enforcement to focus on the real areas of concern.

Many local law enforcement agencies are beginning to use PREDPOL which is a police system that can predict when a crime will take place based upon analyzing three main data points including past type, place and time of crime. Additionally, the system uses an unique algorithm based on past criminal behavior patterns. With this type of technology in hand, law enforcement can deploy the right number of officers to a potential crime area before the criminal activity even happens.

When there are numerous crimes in a particular area, new outreach and education programs can be implemented in the surrounding area. Reading, Pennsylvania, has been utilizing PREDPOL, and their violent crime rates decreased by 19 percent while burglaries were reduced by 23 percent. This has attributed to the lowest crime rates in Reading over the last 35 years.

The same thing happened with crime in Santa Cruz, California. Burglary crimes decreased by 11 percent, while robberies saw a 27 percent drop. The FBI uses PREDPOL and other identification systems such as 3D facial photos, DNA, fingerprints and voice recognition to put criminals behind bars. Many smart cities have already started to implement these systems along their streets and in businesses. When big data and IoT are utilized in law enforcement agencies, high crime rates will be reduced and criminals won’t stand a chance to these smart systems.

Population Health

By 2050, the United Nations estimates that 66% of world's population will be located in urban areas. Since people will be living so close together, this means that healthcare policies will have to allow everyone access to some type of care, regardless of their background or financial situation.

When combining big data and health information, smart cities are able to predict major health outbreaks before they happen. Smart city residents will be able to receive their health care services by using simple mobile apps or corner kiosk. For example, Pulsepoint Respond is a mobile app that is being utilized in cities now. If someone within the city limits goes into cardiac arrest, the app is able to inform a certified CPR citizen in immediate area for help.

Additionally, smart cities have started testing whether elderly patients can remain at home instead of going into nursing homes and away from their families. These at home care systems use tablets with Skype integration and wireless home sensors that allow caregivers and patients to communicate. This makes it easier for doctors to conduct diagnostics, send medical images and report patient’s health.

The home sensors monitor the home and alerts if there are problems such as opened doors or fire and safety issues. The city of Oslo, Norway, is currently testing this system as I write this article. It concluded that a person could save as much as $85,000 annually if the patient was able to stay at home and not move into a nursing care center.

The Use of Energy

McKinsey & Company found that if all U.S. cities used this business data technology to their advantage, it could potentially save the United States over $1.2 trillion. More than 75 percent of the world's energy is used by people in urban settings. About 40 percent of this is consumed solely by street lights. Lansing, Michigan, started using a system that automatically adjusted street light usage to suit the needs of the residents. Amazingly, the city's energy costs were reduced by a staggering 70 percent.

It is predicted that there will be more than 100 million smart light bulbs and lamps in the world by 2020. Charlotte, North Carolina, implemented smart light systems to reduced energy costs by 8.4 percent and greenhouse gas emission by as much as 20 percent.

Santander, Spain, added over 12,000 sensors into their city infrastructure to reduce energy costs by 25 percent and on top of that waste costs dropped by 20 percent. This type of technology is still new, but it is already starting to impact the environment in a positive way.

The 2020 Predictions

Experts estimate that cities could be spending as much as $400 billion annually over the next 5 years. Many world governments have already started smart city initiatives that help their citizens create safer communities, smarter cities and better world. Source

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