Ever since the surge of smart home technology began, everyone knew this novel tech trend would have a profound impact on our lives. In the imminent future, though, smart devices may forever change the way we organize as a society. This evolution comes under the banner of smart cities—large settlements that are powered by, and to a large extent, run by advanced AI.
To what extent are we talking about? Everything ranging from operations based on big data, like power management and traffic control, and at a smaller-scale, household systems like HVAC and lighting. All these efforts are meant to make life simpler and our society better optimized and more energy efficient.
Let’s look at some of the key ways in which cutting-edge tech will transform smart cities in 2021 and beyond.
In the introduction, we have suggested that the transformation of smart cities will include very extensive infrastructure able to support everything ranging from city-wide systems to advanced home automation systems. Because of these increasingly high requirements for transferring and processing the related information, it should be obvious that the existing technological framework will need to be completely overhauled. The solution to this problem comes in the form of 5G wireless technology that is quickly growing from novelty to the household staple accessible in every corner of the world.
Conversational AI Becoming Truly Conversational
When virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant were first announced, everyone felt very enthusiastic about the prospects of being able to bypass complicated interfaces and utilize technology in a manner most suitable to humans—speech. However, the limitations of these early voice activation systems soon became apparent. But, with each passing day, conversational AI behind these platforms is becoming ever more intelligent. Nowadays, conversational AI is able to help manage smart apartments. In the near future, we will be able to use it in much more complex scenarios.
Transition to Clean, Sustainable Technologies
Sustainability and automation always go hand in hand. Looking at matters objectively, it would be hard to imagine all that effort being put into optimization of everyday urban processes only to leave their endpoints untouched. Therefore, expect to see the legacy equipment and installations slowly replaced by their sustainable alternatives. One of the best examples of this development can be found in the professional street luminaires powered by LED technology that will become the common staple of smart cities of tomorrow and push energy-inefficient incandescent systems out of the picture.
Greater Reliance on Green Power
Of course, the efforts aimed at increased sustainability won’t stop merely at attempting to lower the power consumption since this is likely a lost uphill battle. No matter how efficient our homes become, every new feature will inevitably ramp up the energy demand. The only way to deal with this growing reliance is to bring power production directly into the households of future smart cities. It is to be expected that the projects of this scale, such as community or rooftop solar, won’t go unsupported by the local and national authorities that will aim to lift some of this power production burden off their shoulders.
Machine Learning Reaching the Consumer Level
Calling machine learning an exciting new technology with broad availability in 2021 would be a stretch. However, it should be mentioned machine learning has been mostly reserved for large industries and not entirely in direct touch with end-point consumers. Processing requirements of smart households and smart cities will bring technology to the average consumer. The fortunate circumstance in this regard is that machine learning is very scalable and that real-time analyses can be performed even at the micro level without losing accuracy.
Higher Demand for Data Privacy
Last but not least, not all concerns regarding the viability of future smart cities will be related to the benefits of LED lighting and similar sustainability issues. Every smart environment is based on data flow. The more complex these systems are, the more information is left vulnerable to the attacks of hackers, poachers, and other cybercriminals. The security implications of such a scenario can be horrifying. Because of that, smart city dwellers will mandate far stronger data privacy than what it considered standard today for contemporary households. Rest assured, the security industry will ultimately answer this call.
We hope this short overview provides some general background about the key ways in which our current living environments are making steps towards becoming the smart cities of tomorrow. As we can see, the changes are more evolutionary than revolutionary and mostly based on continued development of existing tried and true technologies. That, however, doesn’t make them any less exciting nor understate their potential impact on our households.
Mike Johnston is an avid freelance writer and blogger. He’s a regular contributor to numerous blogs and online magazines, where he writes about entrepreneurship, small business, commercial and residential real estate, as well as technology and the environment. Mike’s goal is to create interesting and compelling content and then share it throughout the online community.