The rapid advancement of technology and innovation today is propelling pivotal changes throughout industries, cities and the way we conduct our lives. Smart cities is becoming the new motto for blue-chip corporations, institutional actors and savvy entrepreneurs.
According to research conducted by the International Data Centre, the rise in the level of investments currently being pumped into the emerging technology sector for smart city applications will reach $80 billion this year. In addition, the growth rate of the technological development is expected to reach $135 billion in 2021.
Let us examine the top 4 innovations that will be transforming our urban lives and how this will inevitably lead to the evolution of the cities within which we currently reside.
Four innovations transforming urban lives:
- With many researchers predicting that nearly 75% of the world’s population will live in urban cities by 2050, aspirational scientists alike are increasingly turning to smart grids to power these cities of the future. The electrical grid will be capable of transmitting electricity more efficiently by connecting a network of transmission lines, substations and transformers. Many of the sensors that make up today’s smart grids are truly impressive and fit right into today’s Internet of Things (IoT) driven economy. They are constantly gathering data and utility usages around the cities that they help operate and this can result in better management that ultimately lowers cost for consumers. Take Synvertec for instance, an Israeli company rated by Early Metrics which has developed an innovative technology that enables inverters to play an integral role in electrical grid stabilization. Furthermore, gathering the data accumulated will also help smart grids combat many natural disasters, and governments and utility providers can ultimately have public infrastructure services up and running more quickly after power disturbances.
Sustainable Prehab Housing
A growing number of organisations are looking to change the way homes are built through the adoption of off-site prehab homes. From both a business and policy perspective there is much interest in off-site built housing as a possible solution to the critical housing shortage, specifically in the UK. This is for numerous reasons, firstly it can be built off-site and produced in almost half the time of traditional construction. These houses are built in a factory whilst foundations are being laid on site. It also requires a reduced requirement for scarce skilled labour, fewer construction accidents and consistent quality of build in comparison to traditional construction.
There are also many sustainability gains to be made, as a report by Systemiq and Ellen MacArthur Foundation highlighted the several environmental opportunities from off-site construction, which includes more energy efficient homes. Ultimately, with the population in cities expected to incrementally increase, prehab housing that will be faster and more economical should bolster local economies.
Fifth-generation wireless (5G) / Satellite-based worldwide internet for everyone
By 2020, the fifth generation of wireless standard (5G) is tipped to be the mobile network for IoT and big data.
5G connections will be based on user experience, enhanced services, system performance, business models and management operations. Researchers predict that 5G will be three times faster than the current 4G standard.
In addition, satellite-based worldwide internet is currently another option that is being explored by researchers. Following Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk has been focusing on the worldwide internet by sending almost 4,000 small satellites into low-Earth orbit that would beam back high-speed wireless signals to everyone on earth. Musk hopes to complete this project by 2020, in time for urban life in 2025
Companies like Gulplug or Ubiant (all rated by Early Metrics) are already disrupting and changing the mobile network landscape.
Future of Mobility
By 2025 many people and organisations will want personal mobility, therefore journeys will become more integrated with intelligent and smarter technologies. This will be enabled by single tickets or a membership to provide seamless travel on multi-modal transport systems. Residents in Helsinki are already using a single app to call up and pay for multiple modes of transportation.
It is clear that the amalgamation of technology, global talent and investment will culminate in the transformation of urban lives within the coming years and decades.