By: Kevin Faber
A city without traffic jams seems like a far-fetched dream that most people would not even believe in. Many would say the same about air pollution as well since breathing in clean and fresh air in the cities is something that most have not really experienced. Well, you might be surprised, but big data could be the solution to all of these problems that modern cities face.
However, before really going into detail about how big data can put an end to power outages and water shortages, it would be wise to have a recap of what big data is.
You can think of big data as a large array of data sets that can be analyzed by a computer to reveal trends or patterns. While the data can either be organized and unorganized information, in most cases, big data is all about the unorganized information. Currently, there are cities in the world that are already using big data to optimize their city life efficiency. Examples include Songdo in South Korea and Glasgow in the United Kingdom which can also be referred to as smart cities. So, what are the ways in which big data improves city life experience?
Better Quality of Life
Thanks to big data, you might never have to wait for that bus that might never show up on the bus station. Big data helps avail information on areas that are highly congested with traffic and gives alternative routes that can equally lead you to your destination.
Solving the traffic problem is just one of the perks, but if you were about to complain about parking, then it would be worth noting that big data could equally revolutionize parking. A driver can now get alerts on free and available parking spaces within his vicinity in real time.
Big data equally makes the cities more secure for kids. Sensor-enabled bracelets make it possible for kids to move freely even public without parents worrying about the kids getting lost.
Efficient Resource Utilization
Garbage collection will also receive an uplift from big data. With inbuilt sensor chips in every trash containers and a disposal unit in every home, data is generated which helps with the whole process of garbage disposal. An individual’s garbage is “sucked” from the disposal units all the way to eco-friendly treatment centers.
By using such energy saving techniques, city resources such as electricity can be easily put into good use. For example, smart grids can determine population density around a particular area and control the street lights at any given time accordingly. The lights automatically light up when you approach that area and dim off when you move away saving on energy consumption.
High Levels of Transparency and Openness
Big data makes resource sharing more efficient since it improves management and control of the various aspects of the city. One particular example is how crime rate has considerably gone down due to the extensive use of CCTV networks among other technologies that utilize the information from big data. This increases security within the cities and in turn makes more businesses thrive.
Big data and the evolution of the worldwide satellite internet has made city life easier and bearable. In addition, cities can obtain valuable information from data collected via the various sources using a highly networked environment. Therefore, big data, in many ways, is making our lives simpler by connecting our digital footprints and creating an efficient and cohesive city for us.
All in all, despite many people not knowing how big data can impact city life, it certainly won’t take long before all modern cities embrace its power.
About the author
Kevin Faber is the CEO of Silver Summit Capital. He graduated from UC Davis with a B.A. in Business/Managerial Economics. In his free time, Kevin is usually watching basketball or kicking back and reading a good book.
Follow him on Twitter: @faber28kevin