Integrating Digital Automation in the Formation of the Smart Cities
Published by : Industrial Automation
Automation is a key emerging technology for enterprises of all kinds. In the marketplace, Consumers are seeing a wave of the digital transformation sweeping industries such as manufacturing, energy, transportation, and more. Advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive/machine learning, and machine-to-machine communications also promise to transform the industrial environment.
As cities look to become smarter, many are exploring how they can take advantage of these same capabilities to better manage their assets and operations. In certain ways, cities resemble industrial environments and face many of the same challenges. As a result, they need to be able to predict mechanical problems within the municipal infrastructure of all kinds, from waste-water processing plants to traffic management systems to street lighting installations. They also need to be able to deliver a wide range of city services to residents and visitors alike; in many cases, their populations and geographic footprint expand rapidly as well.
Implementing Automation in Action to Strength Smart Cities
Industry players in a variety of fields have already begun to employ digital automation techniques to streamline operations and improve critical processes.
In the area of logistics, for instance, shipping companies are already increasing their use of scanners and sensors to improve tracking of containers, equipment, and vehicles. Online vehicle inspections are enabling technicians to perform proactive maintenance, helping reduce fleet downtime. Analytics offers the potential to forecast and report on traffic congestion and estimate delivery times.
Each of these capabilities could be of enormous value in the smart city context, in areas such as waste removal, roadway maintenance, management of bus fleets, and more.
These are just a few examples of the innumerable ways that advanced networks can bring the power of digital automation to city services. The potential created by the integration of a wide variety of sensors, machines, people, vehicles, and more technologies across a wide range of applications and use cases to transform city management and impact the lives of millions (ultimately, billions) of people.
As a society, we are really at the very beginning of this process. A small, but growing number of forward-looking cities have begun to deploy the kinds of capabilities described above; typically, in relatively limited geographic areas, and often sited in and around technical universities and industrial campuses. However, these early trials are all but certain to lead to broader deployments once network architectures and use cases are validated.
Still, it is important to note that the kinds of applications and services described here are being employed today using existing, commercially-available technologies. Over time, emerging technologies such as 5G and advanced AI technology will offer additional capabilities to enhance the services to make smart cities of the future.