Author: Karlyn McKell
The novel coronavirus has changed the way the world travels, works and lives. It has also brought new technologies to the forefront of pandemic response. 3D-printing technology has been used to print medical supplies, disease-tracking software continues to monitor outbreaks, and more. With all of this data at our fingertips, leaders are able to make informed decisions faster than ever before. Smart cities in particular have proved to be a great defense to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Dubai Smart City Initiative is working to make Dubai the smartest city in the world by 2021.
Read on to see how cities that are outfitted with or utilize these smart technologies can respond to pandemics faster and help citizens flatten the curve.
Software is revolutionizing the way we monitor outbreaks. By using big data and natural language processing, software companies can track disease spread in real time.
BlueDot, a Canadian software company formed after the Ebola outbreak, was the first to alert an unusual cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China. This alert was delivered to its users on December 30, 10 days before the World Health Organization would announce the novel coronavirus to the world.
Contactless delivery has become essential in stopping the spread of coronavirus in cities throughout the world. Online payments have made this possible, but we’re just now scraping the surface of what autonomous technology can do.
Self-driving trucks and autonomous ships will make supply and medicine transports contactless, and smart cities can prioritize deliveries to certain neighborhoods based on need. Delivery drones will also play a major role in contactless delivery of the future: no human required!
The apps on your cell phone collect geolocation data to sell to third party advertisers. This data tracks your movements and predicts future behavior. This same technology could be used by smart cities to analyze citizens behavior patterns.
Knowing which public parks are likely to be more densely populated can help officials decide when and what to shut down when social distancing is a necessity. Further, knowing which times of day people are more likely to be sleeping or inside can help when drafting curfews, city ordinances, or even safe senior shopping hours.
Another feature of smart cities is internet connectivity for all. Many smart cities today are already outfitted with free public WiFi so citizens can stay online and in-the-know, regardless of socioeconomic status.
Information kiosks are another great tool for smart cities to spread instant alerts and messages to its citizens. City leaders can update these kiosks to reflect the latest data for all citizens to see.
Smart cities can help prepare its citizens for unforeseen situations and disasters such as the novel coronavirus. Using technology to improve processes and inform citizens are two great ways urban planning can revolutionize our cities.
To learn more about smart cities benefits and how they work, check out this visual from The Zebra below.
Author bio: Karlyn is a writer who specializes in the technology and insurance spaces. She believes the best ingredients for success are passion and purpose.