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What Will Smart Cities Look Like?

Updated on December 7, 2017

While city living as we know it is a fairly contemporary development, people have actually been living in cities for over 10,000 years. In that time, a lot has changed, and as various technological and sociological advancements changed how we live, cities became king.

Now, some of the world’s foremost cities, such as New York, Dubai and Tokyo, are centralised hubs for innovation and development - both in terms of technology, and living standards.

In the future, this long-term historical trend is set to continue, and by 2050, experts suggest that 75% of the world’s population will live in so-called ‘smart cities’. But what will these smart cities look like?

Automation through the Internet of Things

Perhaps one of the biggest innovations for city living in recent times is the Internet of Things (IoT) - where everyday objects are connected together using digital networks.

By exploiting these connections, IoT allows for new-found automation in our lives. This means kettles that can be programmed to boil at specific times, fridges that can order food, and even clothing that charges your phone.

These levels of automation open up a host of options for lifestyle changes. While there is already a few IoT devices on the market, at the moment we are only just scratching the surface as to what this sort of automation can do.

Automation across the city

Applying this technology to larger living areas is what smart cities are all about, using these networks to transmit data city-wide to improve services and living standards.

By 2030, for example, connected LED streetlights will use IoT technology to transfer data across the city. Using these networks, streetlights will be able to deliver vital information, allowing improvements to be made regarding traffic, air quality, public safety and parking within smart cities

This is only just the beginning, however, and by 2040, it is predicted that buildings will be run with AI personalities. Occupants will be able to communicate directly with the building like a giant, omnipotent Siri, to request heating and lighting changes.

By 2050, this concept will developed even further, and smart buildings will become fully automated ‘living buildings’. AI buildings will be able to respond automatically to variations in weather, and adjust to the needs of its inhabitants.

Flying cars?

For decades, Hollywood has lured us in with promises of hover cars, but so far this sci-fi dream has yet to happen. Until now. Uber are currently exploring this technology, and are set to trial on-demand flying taxis as soon as 2020!

By 2023, the forward-thinking company, who are also exploring self-driving cars, hope to actually be transporting paying passengers.

This, however, won’t be the only airborne transportation in the future. Fancy a takeaway in 2050? Delivery drones will be able to bring your favourite hangover food right to your doorstep.

Through all of these incredible technological developments, urban life in the future will be almost unrecognisable to today. As our needs continue to evolve, smart cities will take us to new, unimaginable places.


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