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OPLIN 4cast #510: Smart phones, smart watches…smart cities?

Posted in 4cast

We’re all generally familiar with smartwatches and smartphones. Berkeley Breathed, the creator of Bloom County, recently riffed on the trend with a comic strip featuring a smart tie. But what about a whole smart city?

For those of us in Ohio, the idea of a smart city likely came to the fore this past June, when Columbus was selected as the winner of the $40 million Smart Cities grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.  But what is a smart city? Interestingly, Wikipedia’s definition makes mention of libraries:

A smart city is an urban development vision to integrate multiple information and communication technology (ICT) and Internet of Things(IoT) solutions in a secure fashion to manage a city’s assets – the city’s assets include, but are not limited to, local departments’ information systems, schools, libraries, transportation systems, hospitals, power plants, water supply networks, waste management, law enforcement, and other community services. The goal of building a smart city is to improve quality of life by using urban informatics and technology to improve the efficiency of services and meet residents’ needs.

With the Internet of Things expanding already at a terrific rate, the implementation of city-wide smart initiatives is a logical step.  And many cities are taking steps in that direction–not just Columbus.

  • Atlanta taking part in Smart Cities expansion [Atlanta Business Chronicle] “Atlanta is also among 21 cities that have committed to guiding principles including privacy, security, sustainability and efficiency in their use of smart city technologies. This new initiative is led by the city of New York and also includes the newly formed Council of Global City Chief Information Officers.”  
  • White House plans to help with smart city projects [ReadWrite] “For those cities that want to become smart cities, The White House initiative will also be putting renewed energy into helping them.  The National Institute of Standards and Technology plans to develop a framework for IoT-enabled smart cities that should be published by this summer. Along with this, The Center for Technology in Government at the University of Albany, and State University of New York plan to produce smart city guidebooks specifically designed for small and medium-sized cities.”
  • Acer founder wants to see Taiwan smart cities come to life [ReadWrite] “If the founder of computer giant Acer has his way, Taiwan will be jumping into the smart city fray backed by public-private partnerships.”
  • U.S. Transportation secretary: Smart cities are next transportation revolution [State Scoop] “Though Foxx encouraged technology adoption, he echoed the remarks of city and state technology officials at the conference the previous day — smart cities are not about technology. ‘Let me tell you what a smart city isn’t,’ Foxx said. ‘Smart cities are not collective of different technologies; smart cities are cities that understand that those technologies are tools that connect to a larger plan for how a city is to develop.’”

From the Ohio Web Library: