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Welcome to the Future!

The rise of smart cities and smart homes

Updated

By Johanes Chua

It is common knowledge, as it should be, that the world’s resources are finite. Soon, waters may dry up, soil may become barren, land may be extinguished of its minerals. It is the hard truth – the Earth, our only home, may soon run out of resources if we do not know how to utilize it now.

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This may not sound so alarming if not for the rising population of the world. World population is projected to rise to 9.8 billion in 2050, and 11.2 billion in 2100.

Soon, the Earth cannot “digest” all the cars running on the highways, all the mouths that have to be fed, and all the demands for mankind’s comfortable lifestyle.

This is where technology comes in. With the Internet of Things now dominating the human experience, technology’s “better” side comes into play and promises to make our lives more connected and convenient – and in the long run, will help us save Earth’s finite resources. Technology will help make us live ‘smart’ lives.

Today, the word “smart” is not only used to denote intelligence. “Smart” is now used to describe a city or a home.

According to research, a Smart City is an “urban ecosystem that places emphasis on the use of digital technology, shared knowledge and cohesive processes to support citizens in various aspects such as mobility, public safety, health and productivity.”

On the other hand, a Smart Home is used to describe a residence that has “appliances, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, computers, entertainment audio & video systems, security, and camera systems that are capable of communicating with one another and can be controlled remotely by a time schedule, from any room in the home, as well as remotely from any location in the world by phone or internet.”

Both Smart Cities and Smart Homes are not concepts to be welcomed in the future. Both are now in our midst! In the Philippines, various developers are now offering a Smart Home package. Whereas before it is location that matters most, technology blurs that importance. You can live almost anywhere – as long as there is a strong Internet connection.

Ditto the case for Smart Cities. A Smart City ‘corrects’ all the mistakes seen in today’s metropolis. One does not need to go far but to look at EDSA. Traffic, pollution, disorder, stressful conditions, urban planning mistakes – all of these are there. In a Smart City, easy mobility is primordial and one’s productivity is utilized well – not wasted during traffic jams and long commutes.

Though both Smart Cities and Smart Homes are already here, quite a number of Filipinos are not yet aware of the multiple benefits that technology can bring even though we are the world’s top online users.

But with the finite resources, these ‘smart’ solutions may be needed now. Our world will be compelled sooner or later, hopefully not when it is already too late.

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