How The Internet of Things Makes Cities Smarter
Cities around the world are integrating advanced technologies into their infrastructure to help make city life more comfortable and more efficient for civilians and workers alike.
From inter-connected street lamps that communicate with each other to make the roads more visible throughout the day, cities are using advanced technologies in almost every aspect of construction.
As technology continues to advance, the success of IoT in future city construction depends on the integration and analysis of data to interpret weather forecasts, public transportation routes, and traffic patterns. All of these systems will rely on accurate data from a variety of data sources.
Collecting, managing, and interpreting this data is going to be one of the biggest obstacles city developers face, but beacons could be the low-cost solution that city managers are looking for.
Let’s take a look at what beacon technology is, and how these small, efficient tools will be used in cities of the future!
What Role Will Beacons Play In The Implementation Of Smart Cities?
Beacons have become the backbone of data analysis of consumer behavior in many industries and even in our own homes. Tags, along with the Internet Of Things (IoT) have to lead to the growth of many companies and increased demand for connected devices among many consumers.
Beacon technology allows devices to interface with each other quickly and straightforwardly, and unlike other systems, beacons allow different devices to share data in many ways.
As a result, the data collected and shared creates a robust ecosystem of devices to complete various tasks that would not be possible otherwise.
There are many reasons that beacons have become the preferred localized data collection system across many channels and devices. At their core, beacons are low energy Bluetooth devices that emit a signal. This signal is usually received and transmitted to and from different devices to complete a specific goal.
Beacons are an economical and secure way to transmit data quickly, and since beacons are the middleman between two devices, this process of data transfer presents fewer opportunities for error and lost data.
How Beacon Technology Is Driving Roads Of Tomorrow
While beacon technology is used in many industries, and autonomous car companies and local governments are looking to Bluetooth beacons to help develop a smart infrastructure of the future.
One of the main obstacles stopping the mass adoption of autonomous cars on city streets is the inability for current technology like GPS and LIDAR to provide precise coordinates for a vehicle traveling at high speeds.
When on public roads, autonomous cars need to be accurate within several inches, and current onboard technologies are either not able to provide coordinates or transmit and receive data fast enough to achieve this level of accuracy.
Instead of relying on GPS or cameras, many self-driving car companies are looking to smart infrastructure to communicate with cars and their surrounding. Beacons have great promise to provide instant feedback to cars and trucks when they enter construction zones or other irregular situations on the road.
At the same time, beacons can also be placed on existing infrastructure to help guide vehicles to the level of entry is much lower than having to implement an expensive or difficult solution.
Cities can place beacons in parking garages and existing traffic signs to transmit data between vehicles that are passing by, and that data can be sent to other devices like street lights. These beacons could also share information about roadway conditions, accidents, or additional vital information to help inform drivers about the upcoming roads as they travel to their destination.
Using Beacons In Buildings & Services
Beacons are not only valuable for our streets, because can also be used to improve efficiency for almost all aspects of city life. From communicating delayed flights to helping pedestrians know about sidewalk closures, beacons will help promote city life once fully implemented and optimized.
1. Increase Public Safety
A few years ago Columbus, GA became the first city in the U.S. to become an iBeacon City. By activating over 1,000 beacons across the city, citizens are able to access non-emergency services with the use of a simple app. The beacons placed around the city will tell responders your location through a specialized app, and this information can help reduce the number of unnecessary calls to local authorities, and it makes the process of getting help when needed more quickly and efficiently.
2. Provide Contextual Advertising
Since beacons are a low-cost and efficient way to transmit data, many retailers have already started using beacon technology for their marketing strategies for self-driving cars and other initiatives or campaigns. Companies like Walmart already use beacons in their stores to provide special discounts or send announcements to shoppers.
Stores are outfitted with many beacons around the store, and as a customer with their mobile app walks by a specific section of the store, the beacon will transmit the relevant information to get the attention of customers. This approach has been shown to increase sales and drive profits in stores that use these technologies.
3. Improve Exploration & Directions
Cities are complicated and confusing areas, especially for people who are not familiar with a specific area. This is even more true for individuals who try to navigate subways or tunnels where GPS is not available for traditional map services.
In these areas, city developers can use beacons to help guide commuters. Since beacons transmit data on a local level, they do not need GPS or connections to other technologies. Passengers will be able to get directions and information about public transportation systems in a fast and efficient manner.
This type of technology will become especially important as cities expand to areas that have weak cell phone reception or remote regions where expanding infrastructure is not economically feasible.
Building Smart Cities With Location-Based Beacon Technology
As urbanization continues to grow and major cities look for new way to drive economic growth, many experts agree that cities will need to find secure economic solutions to help transmit data for a variety of reasons. One way that developer will be able to help citizens and improve city efficiency is by using the cost-effective solutions found in beacon technology.
These energy efficient and low-cost devices will be able to transmit data and easily implemented with existing infrastructure. The future looks bright for smart cities as beacon technology continues to grow and advance!