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Researcher for the Center of Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Breanna Thompson, wrote in an article that integrating the Internet of Things trend into city infrastructures can save a lot of money, that we must aspire to make use of it as much as possible in cities across the United States, but we must, however, learn from mistakes made in other cities around the world in order to integrate the system in the best way.
In the urban context, IoT means connecting the city’s infrastructure to the internet via wired and wireless network so the city captains can function better in a range of areas – from preventing crime to optimally managing the electricity network. In Glasgow, Scotland, for example, this technology analyzes the data coming from a variety of different sources and presents it to the public by means of a smartphone application and internet websites. In Rio de Janeiro, a city coping with millions of people arriving each year for its famous carnival, the use of IoT assists local authorities in better handling of crime, emergencies, and the results of those after they’ve occured. The trend can also save a lot of money by efficiating day-to-day conduct, as in Barcelona, as well as to relieve traffic, as in Singapore.
However, in spite of all the positives aspects of the Internet of Things, the challenges and difficulties it poses are nothing to take lightly. First, in order to net the entire city through one general communication unit, there is often a need to establish a new communication infrastructure from scratch using the right information security measures, as well as to create a storage space for the massive amount of data due to come in. Another challenge is connecting the historical structure of the city without damaging its authenticity – which is often times a major tourist attraction. The city of Seoul in South Korea is an example of coping with the difficulty arising from the effort to integrate IoT into existing systems. Millions were invested in order to install sensors throughout the city means to relieve heavy traffic around the city, but once that failed, the idea was abandoned and GPS sensors were installed on 25,000 taxi cabs for the same purpose.
Eventually, concludes Thompson, there are no “school solutions” when it comes to integrating the IoT trend into cities and there’s a need to adjust it in every city according to its specific needs, while learning from the way other cities around the world dealt with it and arrive to conclusion accordingly.