The world’s population has been growing, and growing, at an amazing rate. As a consequence, we will start to live differently in the cities, and we will have to solve many problems that didn’t exist before.
We have cities that are transforming deeply, which are much more technological. We have cities that are completely carpeted with technological devices, cities with fantastic capabilities, and we are only using a small portion of their potential. We still have a long way to go to take advantage of all its features, in order to improve our experience in urban spaces.
Urban sensing is a trend in the context of smart cities. Millions of euros are currently spent globally to “sensitize” cities to produce data in huge quantities, data that may actually be of little relevance. Plans are observed that are not being properly monitored and sensors are installed that produce data without added value and without quality.
Quiet cities and sustainable cities
Cities are saturated and there are many challenges in this area. We want quiet cities, we want to move from the “saturated city” to the “quiet city”, but the trend is against it. We have to use technology to give a new arrangement to the urban space. And this involves the skills of many people, from architects to geographers, from experts who have to play a very active role in urban planning. For decades, this joint effort has been neglected in many countries, including Portugal.
(622 3rd Avenue, New York, 66.8 decibels) Photo Credits: Quiet City Maps
We also want sustainable cities. Many people in the cities mean lots of people to feed. There are many exercises that are being done in a competent way to make cities more sustainable, with agricultural and animal production in the urban space, with the involvement of people in the production of their own food.
Smart cities encompass a huge number of sub-areas of action involving immense technologies: smart parking, structural health, noise urban maps, smartphone detection, eletromagnetic field levels, traffic congestion, smart lightning, waste management, smart roads.
These are several subareas where the UMC – Urban and Mobile Computing of the CCG has acted.
Connected cities and connected people
Cities are also increasingly linked. Today we have new needs for the connected cities.
The newly connected cities are those that connect a multitude of systems, systems that are increasingly carpeted our urban spaces. Everything is increasingly interconnected and this raises questions of privacy, but also many opportunities to produce, to contribute to a more pleasant, more “quiet” city.
The ongoing 5G initiatives in Europe, an area where the UMC is actively working, are very important in contributing to this.
Cities are more connected, but so are people. People are increasingly wanting each other more connected. From connected people, we move on to connected things, often related to the idea of the Internet of things. This is very important because it has an economic impact.
According to a 2018 study of a telecommunications operator, Telia, it is concluded that the main reasons why companies look at this world of connected things, and for these opportunities, is to increase the efficiency of processes, to increase the efficiency of resource management, to create innovation in new areas and to innovate today’s business.
What we really want to do as a technology transfer unit is to help our partners increase efficiency, improve innovation in new areas, create a new business or improve an existing business. This is our mission. If we can do that, we are contributing to society, to the cities where we want to live in the future.
“The future of the urban and mobile area: one Vision – 2025” is a presentation by Adriano Moreira, Cientific Coordinator of the Urban and Mobile Computing group of the CCG.