Infographic illustrating 70% of the world population will live in cities by 2050.

By 2050, 70% of world’s population will be living in cities and for the first time in history, there will be more adults over 65s than children under 15s. We’re faced with the challenge of delivering the required resources and services while addressing the issue of our ageing population. Smart cities are the answer.

It makes sense to use big data and the Internet of Things to share information across multiple channels and monitor the results in real time. The benefits are mind boggling with data analysis from transportation and power systems to construction and infrastructure, health and education, all being used by local authorities to improve service delivery, reliability, and efficiency. Individuals, as well as the economy, will benefit from the financial savings.

This emerging ICT (information/communication technology) revolution is the hot-topic and cities all across the globe are rightly embracing it. For example, citizens in Barcelona enjoy free Wi-Fi and the city and has experienced annual savings in excess of $58 million from the installation of smart meters. Taipei has developed innovative solutions assisting the disabled in society to navigate the city independently and Manchester has been recognised as the first age-friendly UK city by the World Health Organisation. London’s smart city agenda connects operational data gathered from Oyster card use to manage traffic-flow across the city involving 6000 connected traffic signals and 1400 cameras. I could go on, the impressive list includes the installation of smart, responsive LED street lights in Los Angeles, the testing of self-drive cars in California and Elon Musk’s Hyperloop in the UEA.

City view at night showing road networks illuminated with light trails from moving traffic.

The cost of adapting our cities to better serve the community is huge, requiring massive investment. Corporations are gearing up with IBM and Cisco involved in data-driven management systems. However, access to all this connected information, including personal social profiles, throws up privacy and security concerns. The data provides unprecedented accuracy for targeted marketing but that same accuracy can also be used by disgruntled hacker groups in targeted attacks. There is also the potential issue of how it will affect the way that private business and politicians interact with the population.

On a more positive note, there is increased connectivity between the world’s cities as they become unified in tackling the biggest threat to our planet, climate change. Sustainable and renewable energy sources are the future – The price of solar power has dropped significantly and is expected to continue falling by 10% every year. In some places, wind power is now cheaper than coal. Cities embracing this ideal are leading the way for the rest of us. Copenhagen is a shining example, on-track for Carbon neutrality by 2025.

There is no denying information is the key to a better future for all. Here at PinPointer we too have embraced the revolution, using powerful CACI data to manage our town centres. Exclusive location information and population data that includes annual spend, all offer our clients unique insights for brand building.