For the successful development of Smart Cities and their efficient operation, there is a need to change the mindset of the residents. Liveability will dramatically improve only if there are smart citizens willing to care for smart living.
Today, we see exponential advances in information and communications technologies (ICT),the very backbone of Smart City. The rapidly expanding applications of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the fast-paced advancements in machines are already going beyond their basic functionalities.
Technology can contribute in many ways to the development of smart infrastructure. However, it’s the interactions between people and the machines that are integral to the social, cultural and economic life of these Smart Cities, experts say.
Citizen-centricity has always been at the heart of Smart City design and, today, machines are being upgraded with deeper intelligence and advancing further to acquire the innate sensing abilities previously unique to humans. As a result, sensors would become the eyes and ears for connected living in the Smart Cities ecosystem.
This adds a whole new dimension to social interactions and creates a paradigm shift in the civic behaviour of its citizens to complement the technological and infrastructural efforts. These “smart citizens,” equipped with hand-held devices and wearables, will make Smart Cities thrive, analysts say.
Their decision-making relies on actionable insights gathered by the intelligent technology that surrounds them, rather than pure intuition. With advances in remote sensing, geo-spatial location capabilities and gesture technologies, citizens are taking more direct control without the need for any physical contact with the devices, experts assert.
Smart cities, powered by IoT, abound with sensors and automated mechanisms for the effective resource management and self-correcting processes. However, it’s the onus of smart citizens to use their smartphones to capture and broadcast important information and real-time reports.
Smart citizens would share information about a sudden accident, uncollected wastes, pot holes on the roads, street light maintenance or unpredicted utility failures directly with city management for quicker response and mitigation.
Pollution, traffic, natural disasters, crime, waste management, and other public resource usage patterns are other examples where smart citizens can play a role in collecting and reporting real-time information important to city officials.