Smart Cities: Concepts
Smart cities and smart grid systems are the future of cities. It’s amazing how much information can be shared and the speed with which information is exchanged in today’s society. With smart cities, information flows freely without the limitations of wires and cables. In turn, smart grid systems allow communities to effectively monitor their electricity use.
In terms of smart grid technologies, some smart cities are now integrating smart phone technology to manage their electric use. This is a fairly new development but already the potential is here. If it continues to take off, smart city technologies may become more important than copper wires in some communities.
Some smart cities use smart grid technologies as their main source of electricity. These can control appliances like heaters and lights and are capable of shutting down lights when the demand on the electricity exceeds a certain level. They can also detect when residents have been away from the home for an extended period of time and automatically turn off lights or appliances. It is a very smart system that has the potential to reduce energy costs and environmental damage.
Other smart cities have been experimenting with smart meters. Smart Meters are electrical devices that can detect power consumption and send an electronic signal to the central control board. When the demand on the electricity exceeds a certain level, a signal is sent to the smart city electric company. The smart city will then charge extra for the electricity, which saves money for residents of the smart city.
Other smart city applications are less ambitious. For instance, some smart cities have installed communication devices that allow residents to communicate with the outside world through Internet protocols. When residents enter a building or room and are not home, a wireless connection is set up to enable voice calls and data transfers. This allows for easy communication if the resident is in the area. It also allows for emergency situations where contact with an alternate contact can be established in a timely fashion.
A smart grid makes use of the smart phones or other wireless devices of residents to make payments and do other activities within the smart city. There are some smart cities that have already connected over 300 phone lines to the Internet for downloading information and doing other things. These smart phones have their own data cards and when these cards are scanned with a reader they can be used to make purchases at local stores or on the Internet. Some smart grid applications also allow for real-time traffic information that is collected by cameras mounted around the city.
Data obtained from the smart grid system can be uploaded into computers and software that can be accessed by various departments, boards, and committees throughout the city. The goal is to make the information easily accessible to all interested parties. The software can be updated via the Internet without any downtime. In fact, some smart cities are experimenting with email applications that allow city employees to schedule and submit emails in the workplace. This technology may eventually replace many email accounts currently used by city employees.
Although these ideas are still very much in the research stages, the smart grid concept is not a far off possibility. Some smart city technologies already have been put into place. Information technology is still developing at a rapid rate and new advances are expected every year. If you want to take advantage of some of these technologies in your community then talk with your local city government about how you can support the smart grid concept.
Deepak Wadhwani has over 20 years experience in software/wireless technologies. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies including Intuit, ESRI, Qualcomm, Sprint, Verizon, Vodafone, Nortel, Microsoft and Oracle in over 60 countries. Deepak has worked on Internet marketing projects in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange Country, Denver, Nashville, Kansas City, New York, San Francisco and Huntsville. Deepak has been a founder of technology Startups for one of the first Cityguides, yellow pages online and web based enterprise solutions. He is an internet marketing and technology expert & co-founder for a San Diego Internet marketing company.