As the global population is reaching heights and the urban planners, town, and city planners are faced with the question of how to accommodate more people. Urban planning can be seen as becoming a challenge with growing populations, and there needs to be a solution for this. So, can Big Data really change the scenarios of planning?
Let me remind you, big data is a contributor to improving city challenges that affect urban areas like- carbon emissions, urban mobility, and transport, security and privacy, green neighborhoods, smart city, and city maintenance.
Numerous cities now are smart cities and the results are incredible. The trend is to be set to continue at a better place and by 2030, it’s predicted to be an entirely different world, how the smart cities will shape up the societies. With rapid innovations taking place in technological fields – AI, data analytics, smart cities have been on the fastest developments using technologies.
So What is Big Data?
Quantities, characters, or symbols on which operations are performed by a computer, that may be stored and transmitted in the form of electrical signals and recorded on magnetic, optical, or mechanical recording media.
Big Data is also a data but with a huge size. It is a term used to describe a collection of data that is huge in size and yet growing exponentially with time. Some examples of Big Data include:
- One terabyte of new data per day by the New York Stock Exchange.
- 500+ terabytes of new data are ingested into databases of social media site Facebook, every day.
- A single jet engine can generate 10+ terabytes of data in 30 minutes of the flight time.
Smart Cities and Big Data?
There are over 1.3 million people moving into cities each week and by 2040, 65% of the world’s population is expected to be living in cities and 90% of this urban population growth set to occur in Africa and Asia.
To become a smart city, cities shall have at least one thing in common – reliable (sensor) data for long term decisions. By inserting sensors across city infrastructures and creating new data sources – including the population via their mobile networks. Big data has a huge potential to increase and make use of smart city services that can be analyzed by businesses to make appropriate strategic moves.
Information Technology and communications technology (ICT) plays an important role in smart cities by making data that are collected through information technology components available. And this technology is commonly known as the Internet of Things (IoT), communicating between connected devices while exchanging data that requires internet, wireless connections and other mediums.
Cities use the Internet of Things (IoT) devices to fetch data and efficiently process it for implementing it in a particular area. Smart city sensors and the connected devices collect data from various smart city gateway installed in a city and then analyze it for decision-making.
The other technologies can impact the smart city process – cloud platforms and analytic applications offer an economical means of managing transportation data and solutions, creating insights that deliver efficient and safer traffic routes.
The Three Layers of Data:
First Step (Tech Base): Technology base, includes a critical mass of smartphones and sensors connected by high-speed networks.
Second Step: Translating raw data into alerts, insights. This is where the smart applications and data-analysis capabilities with technology providers and app developers come in.
Third Step: It is the usage by cities, companies, and the public. The applications succeed only if they are widely adopted and manage to change behavior.
” The Smart City industry is projected to be a $400 billion market by 2020″
Big Data Benefits for Smart Cities:
- Smart Traffic Management: The base for the smart-traffic decision system lies in big data analytics helping in breaking down information and sharing information across different departments. Data analytics is being used by smart city planners for determining the reasons behind any traffic congestion. City planners use data analytics for determining patterns pertaining to most preferred parking slots. The estimated revenue to be calculated from the traffic-focused smart city is $4.4 billion by 2023 as compared to $2 billion in 2029.
- Better Public Safety: Smart cities are extensively data-driven making it easier for initiatives pertaining to the crime. The data is used for determining the high-crime prone zones in the city. The use of technology will help in first predicting the areas and then preventing crimes before they strike. Different data sets are combined for tackling situations like crises in unlikely disaster events.
- City Planning: Mapping the needs related to infrastructure in a smart city is relatively easy when high and accurate data is used for exactly highlighting the developing areas. The data is used by these cities used for streamlining and optimizing operations.
- Sustainable Growth: Analysis of the growth of a smart city helps in gaining continuous updates regarding changes as in when needed. The volume output is generated to help in getting a clear idea regarding the desired developments. Data plays a key role in determining the outcomes of developments taking place in the city.
- Smart city energy: Cities are experiencing the challenge of managing power usage efficiently and implementing smart grids will allow city officers to analyze power-consumption in real-time. Using data analytics, periods of heavy usage and plan the energy distribution accordingly.
Smart cities share one characteristic – all use sensor data to improve city management. The big data help cities and manage urban issues such as waste disposal, transportation, and saving resources.
Putting Humans First in Urban Development:
Data is, of course, the modern planning decisions ever taken by people. It is important to understand how a project of this huge scope is impacting the citizens.
Now, lets’ look at some examples of how Data is helping cities around the world:
- LA is replacing 4,500 miles of streetlights with the new LEDs, not only resulting in brighter streets but the new lights will also be an interconnected system that will inform the city of each bulb’s status. If any of the interconnected bulbs malfunctions, it can be fixed immediately. The manufacturer’s next accomplishment is to upgrade the bulbs that will have lights and change colors or blink to warn the people of various conditions.
- Songdo, South Korean city, after many years with fiber optic broadband impacting massive lives of 65,000 residents and 300,000 who will commune daily.
- Trenitalia, Italy’s major rail operator, has installed sensors on the trains to get real-time status updates on mechanical conditions of each train and maintenance predictions. These technological innovations provide travelers with a reliable system and service, allowing cities to prevent major disruptions.
- Nanjing, China has installed sensors into 10,000 taxis, 7,000 buses, and 1 million private cars resulting in daily data transfer. With this, experts are able to centralize and analyze traffic data and send updates to commuters on their smartphones, creating new routes to improve congestion, without spending money on new roads.
- Big data is used to understand when, how, and why crowds form, and to predict their movements and actions.
Smart city technologies and applications are helping cities to change into a greener, safer and effectively planned urban environment. Urban planning will not only rely on big data in the future but also can be used to create an all-inclusive approach to urban planning. Big data has the potential to change and manage processes and it will be interesting to see collaborations between tech companies and the developing future.
Cities and urban areas are always developing and will keep developing at a rapid rate and perhaps big data can make sense of these complexities. Big data stands at the forefront of this endeavor to provide connectivity at a citywide scale and the technologies will play a primary role in this growing trend to create a better place in the future.
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