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How to grow smart cities

Shawn DuBravac, chief economist, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) | June 26, 2015
Consumer Electronic Association’s (CEA) Chief Economist, Shawn DuBravac, breaks down the concept of a smart nation into digestible bits and explains how cities like Singapore can become a smart nation, and how the consumer technology industry helps drive this change.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

From portable computing devices that give us anytime/anywhere connectivity to smart watches and wearables that capture and quantify our daily lives, technology not only enriches our lives — it changes the way we work, live and communicate.  And the driving force behind many of today's greatest technological innovations is the connected web of sensing devices known as the Internet of Things (IoT).

IoT connects us with people and information wherever we are. The massive amount of data that can be collected will allow us to make more informed decisions and even optimize almost every aspect of our lives, from our sleep patterns to our commuting schedules.

It started with our computers connecting to the Internet, followed by our phones and now our watches. Very soon we will connect our cars, our homes and even entire cities. Although fully connected cities might be some years away, envisioning what a future smart city might offer allows us to better comprehend just how transformative the power of IoT technology is.

Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020. In a discussion about the future of IoT at CES Asia in Shanghai May. Dr. Wei Sun, IoT global strategic initiative leader at IBM Research, said the Internet of Things has shifted from hype to the "accelerated development phase." Today, IBM estimates 90 percent of data generated by devices like smartphones, tablets, connected vehicles and appliances is unused. Companies like IBM, Google, Samsung and others are out to change that, harnessing the power of IoT to create smart, 21st Century cities.

Smart Cities, Smart Roads

In smart cities, our transport systems and energy networks and commercial buildings are sensorized and connected to the Internet, collecting and sharing huge amounts of data to ensure maximum efficiency. Our cars and homes are also connected, so every part of our daily routine is personalized and optimized.

Much of the innovation-making headlines at the inaugural CES Asia centered on IoT and connectivity. From in-car technology and wearables to drones and robotics, it is obvious that technological innovation — across a range of industries, such as automotive, 3D printing and robotics — is becoming more integrated and connected.

In his opening keynote address, Rupert Stadler, chairman of the board of management at Audi AG, unveiled Audi's R8 e-Tron concept car to the Asian market. The German car manufacturer has emerged as a world leader in automobile innovation and its piloted car, which was available for driverless test-drives around Shanghai, may be road-ready by 2017.


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