Not only the big metropolises like Amsterdam, London or Barcelona; or the cities of rapid urbanization and growth like the Asian ones are only adapted for the incorporation to the new emergent technology.
Small towns can also benefit a lot from the advantages and improvements that these technologies can bring.
But it also has other drawbacks, for example limiting resources, speed of incorporation of innovation, legal obstacles and commercial or tourist competition with other larger cities.
On the other hand, small cities must know how to take advantage of their benefits, such as lower public pressure, greater interest from suppliers, which provides greater freedom of decision.
For a small city with limited resources it is important to identify where to invest the innovative improvement.
It is convenient not to waste economic resources in a simple replacement of an existing device that will not provide an adequate and sensitive improvement in urban life.
For example, the replacement of the parking meters will not help much to improve the city, however the regularization of the traffic lights, yes can improve the times and the driving quality.
The automation of risk or lighting in public gardens, streets or structures can help to save energy and resources in small cities. As also the automation in the rubbish collection and recycling of it.
DEVELOPMENT OF INTELLIGENT CITIES IN ASIA
Many initiatives to create smart cities have already begun in Southeast Asia. Specifically, 26 Smart Cities have initially joined to form part of the Southeast Asia Association, a platform for citizen collaboration.
Its objective is to develop in 100 small cities of the territory a sustainable and intelligent system that improves the lives of its citizens through the incorporation of advanced technology and 5G wireless connectivity.
Thailand looks for ways to accelerate its economy relying on technological innovation. The incorporation of AI artificial intelligence in its citizen services will help optimize productivity and efficiency.
For example, traffic is one of the important difficulties of many Asian cities. The Asian Development Bank estimates the cost of traffic congestion between 2% and 5% of GDP. A time and a cost that increases every year.
In the case of Bangkok, the capital of Thailand is planning solutions to improve the infrastructure of its roads and thus solve traffic problems. Promoting public, affordable and sustainable transport is one of its objectives to improve the quality of life in the city.
The incorporation of advanced traffic management systems would undoubtedly improve the country’s economic situation.
This solution has already been demonstrated in the “City Brain” project in the city of Hangzhou, in China. Where an IA system collects traffic data, analyzes it and uses it to optimally manage more than 100 intersections.
This AI system also has other applications, based on facial recognition and behavioral study. It allows to provide personalized services and products to its customers, for example in banks and ATMs. Obviously, they have great advantages of security and administrative speed.
Another city is Phuket in Thailand, interesting for its tourism value has been included in the Thai Smart City project.
In Myanmar, the city of Mandalay is following an urban development plan initiated with the improvement in the water supply system, the treatment of wastewater and the management of garbage recycling.
In Danang, Vietnam. Its development focuses on the incorporation of IA into 5G databases in infrastructures and functional centers, such as schools and universities. It also wants to improve traffic and protect the environment.
Africa: first steps with technology
Although some African countries are still in the process of basic urbanization, they are rapidly accelerating their development to catch up with the rest of the world.
Now it is the second continent with the fastest acceleration after Asia and it is believed that by 2020 it will be able to reach a similar technological development.
This delay in the application of advanced technology in the urban area that African countries have can have a certain advantage that it would be convenient to take advantage of it.
The new emerging cities or peripheral neighborhoods of large African cities can be designed from the ground up with solutions already proven in other nations.
For example, in the initial planning of the infrastructures of these smart cities, the IA technology and its corresponding automated applications can be incorporated avoiding the expenses and time required for the elimination of the old infrastructures that already exist.
Another advantage that Africa has is its high percentage of young population, this one because of its innovative capabilities can adopt modern technology better and faster.
This important momentum that Africa is having provides a good future perspective for the politicians of these nations. In fact, already at the Transform Africa Summit in May 2017, the Rwandan government presented a Plan for the creation of smart cities. A base from which he launched the process of technological development to the rest of Africa.
The document is divided into 10 phases to create the smart city. Data collection, consideration of energy and economic resources, identification and solution of difficulties, incorporation of advanced IA technology in different areas and infrastructures, development of pilot projects and evaluation of their efficiency, resolution of problems and optimization thereof.
Also in the same congress, African countries were urged to obtain investment funds and different sources of financing, such as through public and private partnerships, smart bonds and share participation.
The efforts being made by African countries are producing very positive results. Rwanda as we have said has been the pioneer and is currently modernizing its capital Kigali incorporating informatics systems in different public structures.
Also in Nigeria they are incorporating advanced technology and adapting it to infrastructure. Ethiopia has started a smart parking project and Ghana together IBM is trying to reform its social economy by implementing modern technology.
Technology can help rapid modern urbanization in African countries and improve the quality of life of its citizens. For this, a political and social commitment is essential.
It is necessary to promote these smart cities, putting the needs of citizens first. Ensuring affordable and quality access to different public services is essential and crucial