Making the Smart City a Reality
When will the “smart city” become a reality? The answer might be sooner than most construction companies think—and now might be the time to prepare to implement high-tech solutions into infrastructure and buildings being constructed in major metropolitan areas.
Some of you might remember an article that ran in the May/June 2013 issue of Constructech magazine about Envision Charlotte, which detailed the city’s vision to leverage sustainability for economic growth—and the role construction companies played in bringing technology to smart cities. The key takeaway here was smart cities are coming, and contractors need to be prepared to jump into new projects and programs to drive sustainability and innovation.
Here we are only three years later—and the project has grown to incorporate more cities and more technology. Today, the program is better known as Envision America, which is challenging cities to become smarter by accelerating deployment of innovative technologies in energy, water, waste, and air.
Over on The Peggy Smedley Show, Karen Weiss, senior industry strategy manager, civil infrastructure owners, Autodesk, recently sat down with Constructech’s Editorial Director Peggy Smedley, live on the air, to talk about Envision America where leaders from 10 communities had the opportunity to participate in workshops in Charlotte to share ideas on the way to accelerate the deployment of technology.
The initiative brought city and technology leaders together to discuss challenges and solutions for making the smart city a reality.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges is not the lack of cities interested in leveraging smart technology, but rather the lack of integration between all the systems that exist within a city. What’s more, no two cities are exactly alike, which creates unique challenges for contractors that need to implement technology systems.
MarketsandMarkets, www.marketsandmarkets.com, Dallas, Texas, also released a smart cities report that cites additional challenges including: the rapid growth in migrations of the global population toward urban areas, which has resulted in difficulties in the governance of non-regulated expansion, and growing ecological crisis leading to strict compliance and regulations.
Still, the organization predicts the global smart cities market will grow from $411.3 billion in 2014 to $1.13 trillion by 2016. In particular, solutions will generate feedback from end users, creating a better relation between citizen and service provider.
With all this in mind, where does the construction industry stand, with regards to implementation of technology solutions? In many cases, construction companies need to understand the systems and solutions in order to incorporate the technology into infrastructure and buildings being constructed. The good news is as more connected cities begin to rise up across the globe, they can serve as examples for other municipalities.
I am curious: What are your thoughts on connected cities and infrastructure of the future? Has your construction company been involved in a deployment? What are the challenges and solutions? And, perhaps most importantly, what should others keep in mind for the future?
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