The Smart World of All Things Connected


Innovation and optimization are pivotal for the evolution of humankind. Increasingly, phones, vehicles, buildings and other items are embedded with electronics, sensors, software, actuators and network connectivity that enable them to collect and exchange data. Since 2013, the Global Standards Initiative on Internet of Things (IoT-GSI) defines the IoT as “the infrastructure of the information society.”

Next to the smartphone, concepts such as smart grids, smart homes, smart cities and intelligent transportation are growing ever more familiar, and, pretty soon, will become the norm. With an increase in population and constant need for faster, better services in all fields, only super smart computing systems can manage the amount of data from various sources and provide all the answers in a blink of an eye. Or less.

If smart grids technology began developing as early as the 1980s, smart cities are the dream of sci-fi writers since the previous century. Some of these cities are currently in advanced blueprints, defined as urban development visions to integrate various information and communication technology (ICT) and IoT solutions in a secure fashion to manage a city’s assets. Some real-world cities are getting smart by integrating technology to improve the quality of life, resource management, and efficiency of services.

A flagship case is Amsterdam, with 79 projects developed by citizens, local government, and businesses. The projects are interconnected through wireless devices, and their purpose is to save energy, reduce traffic and improve public safety. For instance, Mobypark, a resident-developed app, allows owners of parking spaces to rent them at hourly rates. Smart lighting allows municipalities to control the brightness of street lights, monitor traffic in real time and send out useful information to drivers.

Barcelona has also implemented an Intelligent Transportation System and sensor technology in the irrigation system in Parc del Centre de Poblenou so that each plant always gets the necessary amount of water. Smart traffic lights in Barcelona make for more fluid traffic and emergency vehicles route optimization, by setting all lights to green when needed.

However, can you believe that Oregon Health & Science University’s Level 1 Trauma Center has centralized digital control over all its 4.000 infusion pumps for fluids, medication, and nutrients administered to patients? It allows for a level of otherwise-impossible accuracy, also making data gathering a breeze.

Las Vegas has used big data to create a 3D model of all its utilities, so that all faults can be accurately identified, diagnosed and promptly solved.

Examples like these continue to emerge. How long, one must query, before the planet-cities such as Isaac Asimov’s Trantor or George Lucas’ Coruscant, or ecumenopolis, as the term was already coined, become our daily reality?

Come October 27th, we have the chance to learn where we stand. At Big Data Week London, Jonny Voon, Lead Technologist for Internet Technology / Innovate UK talks about Smart Cities and the Buzz Word Bingo, a presentation about how to implement the technology transformation in our cities today, with tomorrow in mind.

Alexandra Paun,

Content Writer Big Data Week.