How you will move around in your city in 2018: Smart cities

Millions of people struggle every day to reach their workplaces and study areas in cities in where pollution and long commutes are decreasing the quality of life of the inhabitants.

Smart cities want to solve some of the most common problems that plague the big cities, but what are they? We list here some of the main concerns: pollution, traffic congestion, poor light efficiency and lack of safety for pedestrian roads.

Pollution is a global concern that is damaging the health of the population and speeding up the climate change. According to WHO it is a serious global health risk that is responsible for premature deaths and respiratory problems, especially in the most polluted cities in the world in Nigeria, Pakistan and South Arabia.cityscape-2394753_1920

It is worth to mention the quantity of vehicules circulating in massive cities. Just in Mexico City, the most congested city in the world, there are 5 million of vehicles and there are 30 millions of car trips everyday. In Jakarta 2000 new motorbikes join the circulation every day, according to a recent study by Citymetric.

In Europe Bucharest is the most congested city and a recent study of Tomtom estimated that roughly every driver spends 128 hours of extra time driving per year. Other very congested city is London, that over the past decade has taken a series of measures to reduce traffic. Those go from expanding the public transport network and bike lanes, to taxing the most polluting vehicles and cutting the city center completely to traffic.

Technologies for Smart cities in 2018 and beyond

To address these problems, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are basically collecting data from pedestrian walks and vehicles roads to better understand how people travel around the city and how to manage their flow better. There are complex devices that estimate how many people move around certain areas and at what time, as well as surveillance and sensors that do the same in roads.

There are various ways to determine the flow of people though, for example London Subway uses Wi-Fi pings to learn how passengers travel.

Citizens can also take advantage of real time location systems. For navigation, apps like Waze gather traffic in order to estimate if there is a traffic jam or an obstacle on the road.

People walking or driving to meet their friends in the crowd can also use location services in real time like Wave Application, a free app that facilitates the meetings by enabling two or more people to share their live location on a private map with their contacts.

Once cities have started to comprehend how their citizens move around the city, it is time to implement changes and improve their quality of life. These are the ones that can be visible in the smart cities of 2018:

Find a pak spot

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Studies show that finding a park spot raises the congestion. To help people park their cars Palo Alto city developed floor sensors that warned via an app users when a parking spot is available. Now the city is expanding its use over the city.

As cities are introducing timidly electric and gas cars the question on how to distribute the charge stations around the city arises. Would they been in malls, as they plan to be in Madrid or in private parkings as the Hong Kong Baptist University suggests? Well, it really depends on the city as smart technologies are very adaptable. 

Light the city

The light consumption of the cities can be more efficient and better distributed thanks to the ICT information to determine when and where it is better to turn a light on or off. Thus, in areas with more traffic or with greater incidence of crime, the application could alter the brightness of the streetlights. In 2018 several cities around the world will use this system, like Wellington in New Zealand.

Safety of Pedestrians

The safety of pedestrians is another measure that we can begin to notice in Columbus, Ohio, that will implement an efficient crossing system in one of its streets. In Dubai we will see a passenger counter in one of its crossings to reduce the waiting time of the traffic light if there is a crowd. On the other hand, we will see new crosses adapted to people with less vision, thanks to a system of lights and signals in New York.

Reduce waste of water

The parks and forests of the cities are necessary for everyone’s health. Increasing their extension could be feasible if the consumption of irrigation water is reduced. To do this, cities such as Barcelona are implementing humidity sensors in urban parks that will determine how much water is actually needed to irrigate the parks.

As you can notice, smart cities are not only electric cars or Wifi Spots. The possibilities are endless and the New Year is bringing us amazing technologies to improve our daily life. What is your city doing to be smarter in 2018? Drop us a line!

AI will be your perfect travel buddy soon

Artificial intelligence is introducing itself in our lives, from chatbots like Siri to complex tools that replicate our tastes, robots are learning from us and they might become our best travel mates. Just few days ago, Google revealed in its I / O conference its effort to focus totally on AI, something already anticipated when it introduces the predictive autocomplete in Search.

One of the innovations is the update of Google Assistant, an application that was born as Siri or Alexa, integrating the rest of the Google applications, as well as searches. This has enormous implications, since this application with the soul of a concierge can search our flights, reserve a table in a restaurant, buy our vacation package, as well as look for curiosities, send calendar invitations or make calls.

Facebook, Google, Twitter and other leading mobile technology companies are recommending us where to go and what route to take according to the traffic in the area, adding our events to the calendar, and warning of possible strikes. All of that using AI.

Taking out a bit of stress can make our lives easier and one of the key areas that are redoubling their efforts in the construction of audiobots, chatbox and others bots is the travel industry. We are already enjoying many of the innovations and the best is yet to come. Have a look at how AI is changing the way we travel:

Planning the trip

The options are endless and although the mail softwares are doing the best they can, many times we have to search for the name of the departure station or the exact time. It would be great if an app notifies us directly about our imminent trip.

Buying and booking are also part of a continuous search, sometimes we would like to have a secretary looking for the most convenient options, but the truth is that with a little help from a real travel agent, AI can make great advances.

This is what happens with Mezi, a web application in which the preferences that users write in a chat are understood by a software that automatically sends travel assistants a series of tags that contains all the information and increase the speed of their work.

Taking travel photographs

Google has also presented in its conference Clip, a smart software integrated in a camera that adheres to the mobile phone and records all day what happens. Once the high resolution images have been downloaded, the user must select the most interesting content of the day, achieving something that social networks never have: spontaneity.

Making the selection, however, is an arduous task for the user, so the software expects to learn over time which kind of moments make a good fit for the users.

Most of us would not like the idea of being recorded all the time with Clip. The reaction of the people will determine the success of this technology in particular.

Eating abroad: goodbye diets

When we go on a trip, we usually eat the first thing we want, taste the local delicacies and then feel guilty or even bad for the extra caloric intake. The last thing we want on vacation is to worry about dieting.  However, this Fitgenie nutrition app goes one step beyond the applications in which we introduce everything we eat and learn from our tastes.

It needs a bit of support on our part. We need to introduce in the app what we eat, how many calories it has and our diet, so that the app will improve their menus and diets to our particular taste with a bit of time.

Meeting friends

Moving in a new city, meeting friends, going to different places are a very important part of the trip. Normally, when we move around the city it is difficult for us to call or search among the messages where to find others, it is easier to share the location on a map.

Location sharing apps are now a reality. Millions of users use Wave Application to meet their friends in the city, see where they have gone to,  go to have dinner or find themselves on a trip, among other situations. In this case, applications such as Wave that use private geolocation, have places very welled thanks to a need of users: keep their privacy.

In the field of artificial intelligence, the possibilities of optimizing this service are endless. For example, a location based service with AI could suggest us to share the location with somebody if we are going to meet this person. Meeting friends or family is a daily activity and it is not surprising that artificial intelligence improves this part of our life in the near future.

Finding the ideal travel companions

In a connected world, traveling with someone who shares our same tastes is very comfortable and that is why there are so many web directories, forums and social travel applications. However, one step further would be to apply the matching engineering used by some dating apps to this topic and find the ideal travel companions.

For the moment, the closest thing to that is Grip, an application of business events that seeks to suggest and recommend in the events the interaction of some workers with others, since the most valuable connections can accelerate business agreements.

Currently, artificial intelligence is already learning from our transfers to inform us of the traffic in the area without our request, strikes, or the addresses of our friends.

As we see, artificial intelligence is now an assistant that is getting more and more more proactive. Maybe one day AI will choose our holidays and take away the stress of planning them. If it works well.