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Public Administration News  
Smart Beyond Technology Push
Source: http://www.i-policy.org
Source Date: Sunday, January 07, 2018
Focus: Citizen Engagement, Internet Governance
Created: Jan 12, 2018

Tech companies have successfully focused the definition of smart cities on being ‘wired’. In an earlier article I mentioned the three ‘I’s that designate smart cities according to IBM: instrumented, interconnected and intelligent. In the narrative of this company the smart city is depicted as a technology-led urban utopia, promising the solution to many urban problems, including crime, traffic congestion, inefficient services and economic stagnation and bringing prosperity and healthy lifestyles for all. I labeled this narrative as Smart City 1.0.

What does being ‘a wired city’ mean in practice?

In a recently published article Complex Cyber Terrain in Hyper Connected Areas, Mike Matson has depicted the physical and virtual components of the cyber space in urban areas. Billions of kilometers of fiber optic cable connect data centers and “carrier hotels”: Internet exchanges; places where private networks converge to form a larger network (the internet). Until recently, individual computers were often the end of the line, but they have been outnumbered by so-called Ubiquitous Sensor Networks (USN) like smart meters, CCTV, microphones and a whole array of sensors (sentient tools). Their functions are:

•Detecting (for instance: abnormalities in systems, identification of intruders),

•Tracking (for instance: packages, people and vehicles), and

•Monitoring (for instance: health, rates of degradation of infrastructure like bridges and roads.)

Sensor networks are the cores of all urban systems; they monitor the environment (air quality, traffic density, unwelcome visitors) and act on their own in an intelligent manner, if desired. Mike Matson calculates that in 2050 a relatively small urban area of 2 million people will deploy one billion sensors, all connected by the Internet.

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