Smart City Tech: How You Can Help Build It

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Technology is changing how we go about our day-to-day lives, from the intelligent devices we carry around in our pockets to larger infrastructure projects like public transportation networks. As a society, we’re more connected than ever.

This article is sponsored by UNSW. By studying analytics there, you can help your city get smarter.

Increasingly, the information we generate about how we use our cities is being collected. And no, it’s not as scary as you might think. Below, we explore how this information is gathered and why studying analytics could ensure you play a part in building the smart cities of the future.

What is a smart city?

A smart city is one that uses technology to collect information about the way we use it. This data is then used to determine ways of improving the services run by operators, such as public transport providers and waste management.

This information is collected in many ways, one such way being via Internet of Things (IoT) sensors that communicate with other devices to exchange data. For example, in Melbourne you might use the app tramTRACKER to find out how long you need to wait for a tram. This is where a reliable data connection comes in handy – this exchange of data couldn’t take place without the internet.

A smarter city has a positive impact on the community

Getting around

In a smart city, getting around will be much more accessible and convenient. You’ll have better and more connected parking and public transport options, which will improve the way you get around.

As a way of responding to the connectivity of Australian cities, the government has developed the concept of a 30-minute city. A 30-minute city is one in which you can access the things you need – such as employment, schools, and services – within 30 minutes of home. Plan Melbourne is even working towards the much more ambitious concept of a 20-minute neighbourhood!

Lighting

Street lights can be replaced with LED bulbs that use smart technology to deliver lighting when required, helping to conserve energy. Recently, the City of Adelaide teamed up with Sensity to upgrade more than 60 street lights. The trial recorded that energy consumption decreased by 50 per cent, with a further 7 per cent reduction due to a motion trigger.

Waste and water management

Solar powered smart bins are improving waste collections practices around Australia. It works via a sensor that provides information about its capacity to a city’s waste management team. When it’s filled to a certain level, the team receives a notification that it’s ready to be emptied. These bins also feature a compactor that enables a 120L bin to contain up 960L of rubbish.

Water management is crucially important and will continue to be as climate change affects the extremity of conditions, such as drought. Smart solutions monitor water use, helping decision-makers make sustainable choices about its usage faster and more accurately.

Disaster management

IoT sensors can be fitted in areas prone to extreme weather events such as fires, floods, and hurricanes. They can monitor damage and keep people informed. If sensors are available in these areas, they can communicate any changes in air pressure or temperature, or if there’s the presence of smoke. This data could potentially indicate if extreme weather is on the way and allow people to evacuate in time.

The role of the data analyst in building smart cities

Data analysts play a crucial role in developing smart cities. In his article Big Data & Smart Cities: How can we prepare for them? Alexandre Gonfalonieri identifies three layers of data:

1. Collection, which includes data sensors and devices

2. Applications to process data

3. Adoption of tech.

Without analysts, there would be no way of navigating the second layer. To translate the raw data collected into actionable and tangible outcomes, analysts are essential to any smart city.

Are you ready to help make your city a smart city? One of the ways to play a part in these important innovations to the infrastructure of our cities is to study analytics. Discover more about a dynamic career in analytics today.


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