Smart cities are already becoming a reality, which means the future has arrived. However, while they may look good on paper, there are some significant challenges to building these impressive cities. There are already multiple of these urban areas in the world and that has given us a unique insight into some of the obstacles that must be overcome.
Technology is constantly improving and that means the choices made when building a smart city can grow and change over time. The cities are growing entities that need to adjust to the future as they grow. Here are some of the biggest smart city challenges you’ll find in creating one of these unique cities.
It’s pricey to build a smart city. There are many technologies that need to be considered and selected and, unless you’re building the city from scratch, you have to update and replace the old infrastructure, which means tearing things down and replacing with the best possible options. Not every city has the money for this.Everything from the type of power (solar, wind, etc.) to how the many sensors will be connected (hard-wired, battery power, or solar energy) matters in a smart city. There are so many decisions to be made, and they all must be carefully planned out ahead of time to ensure you not only have the finances but that everything is done in order. It would be pointless to install sensors on infrastructure that will be torn down a month later, for example.Choosing the more economical options for infrastructure updates can also help ease the process of making a smart city smart. If you opt for hardware that can be easily installed and uninstalled, you can work through the infrastructure gradually until you have the best possible city.
Many people have limits to where they permit invasions of their privacy. Currently, in Europe, young people are devising and wearing special makeup designs to avoid facial recognition from cameras. The feeling that your privacy is being invaded is not a good one and with cameras everywhere in a smart city, challenges become even more in your face.Even those who have no intention of committing a crime may become anxious about the many cameras around them. Combined with smart sensors, they could feel that they are being watched every second.The simplest way to deal with this particular challenge is to provide very specific guidelines. These will need to specify exactly what is done with any collected data and how it is used. Providing education on the use of the various sensors and cameras can help people feel more at ease and it’s also important to be as transparent as possible. When residents feel they can trust the government and city leaders, they’re more likely to relax with the additional measures used.
Another of the big smart city challenges is trying to protect the city from hackers. A smart city of interconnected devices may run on a network, which in turn may be closed or connected to the internet. Either way, hackers can and will find a way to get into the system. The possibility of shutting the whole city down can be exciting to a hacker but terrifying to city officials.How do you protect a city from a cyberattack? Tech companies are working on better solutions that come built into their products to help prevent attacks. One of these options is using blockchain security to offer encryption that is virtually impossible to destroy. This is an excellent addition to any digital security system.Smart cities will also need to stay on top of the latest security measures throughout the life of the city. Just as there’s always new tech coming out, there will be better hackers appearing. It’s essential to stay up to date on security measures.
Smart city challenges often come about because of the people living in the city. There is so much technology involved in running and using the city’s resources that it’s imperative people learn how to use everything. This requires massive amounts of education. How you manage the education depends, but it will require ongoing educational measures.Most smart cities find it easiest to provide an app or website where the citizens of the city can check in and see the latest updates. Adding in-person training sessions from time to time and engaging residents in group activities not only strengthens the city’s bond with its residents, it also attracts more like-minded people, who will see exactly what they’re looking for in a place to live.Since there are often large groups of people who don’t use mobile apps and technology in general, the city must also plan to reach them. Nearly 20 percent of the elderly don’t use smartphones, so you’ll need to consider how to reach them in a way they will appreciate and understand. It’s essential that no one is left behind.As with any technology, there will be smart city challenges, but they can be overcome. As long as city planners have a solid plan for building up infrastructure in place, along with an educational program, these challenges become minimal.