7 Most Useful Tech Apps for Those Living in a Smart City
A little over 50% of the world’s population is living in cities, today. By 2050, data suggests the figure might reach 66%. Increased population means more pressure on infrastructure; and hence, the need for smart cities. But what if you are already living in a smart city? Here is a list of 7 mobile tech apps that help you leverage the advantages of a smart city. Use these apps to make your everyday life safer and live more sustainably.
Smart Parking App
Available on iOS and Android, the Smart Parking App gives users real information on available parking space, distance, tariff, and other relevant details. Restricted to the US and the UK, the tech app functions by collecting real-time data from sensors installed at various car parks across cities. The data is translated to useful insights for motorists. These insights are displayed in the familiar UI of Google Maps, which makes the app really easy to use.
How to use it: The next time you are going out for dinner, use Smart Parking App to find available parking spaces close to the restaurant. It will save you going around in circles, looking for a parking spot, especially if it’s the weekend. You will save time and fuel, a win-win.
First launched in 2009, Waze is a smart navigation app. It gives users live traffic updates, including updates about accidents, road closures, unexpected parades and so on. How is it different from Google Maps, you ask? The latter is data-driven. Waze, on the other hand, is community-driven. It has real users reporting traffic conditions in real-time. The 140 million+ strong community captures sudden road closures, for instance, which might miss Google’s radar. The app also facilitates community carpooling in the US, Mexico, and Israel. You can find motorists going in the same direction as you are and get a lift.
How to use it: Running late for a meeting? Use Waze to get the shortest route and live traffic updates to beat the odds. Did your car break down at the last minute? If you are in the US, you can use this tech app to find someone to carpool with. You might still make it to the meeting on time.
Reducing traffic congestion is a big part of smart cities. After all, efficiency can make or break the city’s transportation infrastructure. That’s why we have included two smart navigation tech apps in this list. Google Maps is essential for any tech lover’s phone. Unlike Waze, Google Maps is available across all major countries in the world. And Google’s ability to crunch data in real-time is unparalleled. Even if you have Waze on your phone, you should still have Google Maps and vice versa. The two complement each other.
How to use it: Use it to navigate around in an unknown city. Find accurate travel times and plan your trip accordingly. You can even use it to find public services in a city.
Disaster Alert App
Pacific Disaster Centre (PDC) has a free mobile tech app that warns you of possible disasters that might happen in your vicinity. The Disaster Alert app sends automated alerts to users for a high likelihood of natural or man-made disasters. And it covers almost any kind of calamity that can hit the Earth. Available for Android and iOS, it can warn you about cyclone threats, floods, landslides, and even the likelihood of earthquakes.
How to use it: Make sure you have your GPS on to allow the app to send you real-time, automated alerts.
Smart cities shouldn’t focus on efficiency, alone. The goal should also be to make cities safer and more inclusive for all the residents. My Safetipin is a mobile app in that direction. It works with governments, social activists and other stakeholders to make cities safer for women. The tech app collects user data. It combines that data with historical data from public institutions, and data specific to the time of the day. Based on this cumulative data, it then assigns a safety score to a city or a neighborhood. The score tells you how safe or unsafe it is to go out on a certain route at a certain hour. The social organization behind the app also uses this data to suggest improvements to governments. For example, it helped the Delhi government in India to improve lighting at several spots in the capital city.
How to use it: Use My Safetipin to check the safety score of a neighborhood. Take precautions accordingly. It is especially useful if you are new to a city or neighborhood. You can also use it to help make your city safer. Take part in user surveys and report accurate information for reliable safety audits of your neighborhoods.
MyTown Smart City App
Restricted only to North America, MyTown Smart City App still deserves a mention in this list. It bridges the gap between local governments and citizens. Citizens can report problems, such as potholes, faulty streetlights, or unwanted noise. They can track the status of the reported issues, thereby bringing more transparency to governance. Municipalities, on the other hand, can use the app to disseminate important information quickly and efficiently. By encouraging public participation, the app improves inclusivity in cities.
How to use it: If you are in North America, use this tech app to report local problems to your municipality. You can also use the app to stay informed about local laws of a municipality, public safety guidelines, road closures, water-use restrictions, etc.
Available in over 60 cities across the US and Canada, Cowlines App is working hard to reduce carbon emissions in that part of the world. Founded in 2019, it is the first mobile app in the world to generate revenue from reducing carbon emissions. The app gives users the most efficient way to travel from point A to point B. It lists all the available modes of transport, total duration of the trip, the cost, and the total carbon footprint of the journey. You can turn on or turn off any mode of transport to customize your trip.
How to use it: Want to do your bit for climate change? Use Cowlines to find the most efficient way to travel around. Now that offices are opening up again, maybe it is a good idea to use Cowlines to plan your daily commute.
The proliferation of smartphones tech apps and technologies such as IoT and AI has opened up a world of limitless possibilities. Use this list as a precursor to dig deeper into the world of technology. You never know what you might come across.