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Smart Cities – The Next Step in Property Development?

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A city which runs itself seems a far-fetched, futuristic concept – but with Smart City technology, automation and artificial intelligence could make this a reality.

Henry Davis, artificial intelligence developer and current councillor in the city of Burnside, spoke to Real Estate News Group on Smart City technology and his hopes to implement it.

What is Smart City Technology?

Smart City Tech works by created an ‘Internet of things,’ placing sensors on different objects and connecting them, from traffic lights to rubbish bins. As Henry attests, this will allow for many efficient, effective processes.

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“The obvious ones are putting sensors in the roads to change traffic lights ahead of time so as to reduce congestion. But some not so obvious uses can be placing sensors on doors within a building.

“So for example, there is a meeting room within a large council office, if nobody uses that meeting room for a week, it would tell the cleaner not to vacuum in that room or empty the bins because it hasn’t been used.”

Henry’s area of development, artificial intelligence, also comes into play. Sensors in parks and gardens can measure the moisture content of the soil, then “juggle data” from weather reports and the soil type and plants in that park, deciding which areas need watering and when.

Obstacles for Smart Cities

Despite the promise of the technology, there are obstacles. Potentially unpopular aspects of this technology, such as parking sensors which can measure exactly how long a car is parked and send ticket inspectors immediately upon ticket expiry, will be a tough sell.

“It takes time and effort to convince people that adopting this technology will lead to better outcomes for all,” says Henry. “We need strong leaders in government who are willing to have these discussions with residents and argue for the benefits.”

Given the youth of this technology, few cities have currently adopted it, making the assessment of cost-to-reward difficult. However, as Henry attests, the benefits are extensive and compounding over time.

“You might have parking sensors to help people find a park, connected to your sprinkler system and your light system … [If] for example someone parks in a carpark near a park, it will turn off the sprinklers and turn on the lights.”

These are benefits which cannot be assessed until after the infrastructure is in place.

Henry Davis is committed to pushing the boundaries of technology to make life easier and more convenient. He is seeking re-election to the Magill and Kensington Gardens Ward, and hoping to bring Smart City technology to these areas over the next four years.