Did you know that we are constantly connected to the internet via our smartphones? Yes, that gadget in your pocket contains a wealth of knowledge about you. Have you seen those stories on the news about what happens when a person goes missing? The authorities are able to track them using the data – the GPS locator to be precise – from their smartphone.
Although this may sound a little like “big brother is always watching you” this couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, the information gleaned from your smartphone can actually improve your life, thanks to smart city data.
How Smart Cities Work
These smart cities in the UK use technology in order to determine things like which bus routes need to be altered and how often garbage should be picked up. They use smart city data from sensors placed in certain areas of the city, as well as what they gather from your smartphone. This works in a very specific way, and it involves a lot of constant monitoring and surveillance.
For example, if there’s a traffic accident in one area of town and everything is backing up, the town can use their smart city data system to alleviate the issue. They could send out police to direct traffic, a crew to get the broken cars out of the way, and then send out alerts to people heading that direction to warn them. Electronic signs can be changed to show detours.
Now the question is – how does the city know to do this? Well, they can collect data from people on social media complaining about the traffic jam. They could even receive a notification if someone puts a video of the accident up on YouTube. In addition to this, they might have sensors located in that area that pick up the information from the accident and note that traffic is running slow. They might even have cameras that recorded the accident taking place.
How Does This Involve Your Smartphone?
Now that you understand how smart city data in Ireland can work, you’re probably wondering exactly how you’re involved. What does your smartphone have to do with it? Essentially, you’re carrying around one of those sensors. Your phone can do a number of things. It has a GPS locator, you can send and receive text messages, and it can even handle smart city data apps. These apps coordinate with the sensors located around the city creating a large information hub.
While the city doesn’t care where you stop for breakfast each morning, they do care that the trash can outside of that restaurant is full. They also care that the roadway that you take to get there needs repairing. And they also must note if there are any traffic backups in your path. All of this data is collected into one central smart city data hub, where it’s analyzed and used to make the city better. It becomes their primary method of determining the next improvements to make.
Smart City Data and Environmental Conditions
Not only are these towns using their smart city data to make themselves run better, but they are also using it to improve environmental conditions. In the UK, many different measures have been taken in order to leave less of a smog-induced fingerprint on things.
Cities have started doing things like measuring the amount of exhaust in the air. They’ll adjust bus routes accordingly in order to avoid this build up. They also have turned to buses and other forms of public transportation that run on alternative fuels, and even have developed public bicycle initiatives. In order to make all of these things run properly, they need that smart city data that they collect from citizens.
We’ve covered exactly how cities use the data that they collect in order to create better living conditions. However, you’re more than likely worried about how this smart city data will affect your privacy. We live in a world where even the largest, and ideally the most secure, websites seemingly get hacked on a daily basis. This is problematic when you’re letting cities access the data from your smartphone.
You – and everyone else – worries that people might be using that information for the reason that is no good. Thankfully, there are some laws in place that protect you, including GDPR. This limits the data that is collected and the permission that everyone must have in order to use it. On top of this, the smart city data gathered by each town is well protected and very secure. In fact, one of the many things that these cities are doing is creating a town-wide Wi-Fi program that gives everyone secure internet access when they are out and about.
As you can see, they really have all of their bases covered.