7 Cities Using Smart Technology In Unusual Ways

SAP

This post is part of the “Future of Business” series, which examines how cutting-edge technologies are rapidly reshaping our world, from how businesses run to how we live. “The Future of Business” is sponsored by SAP.

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Rio Operations centre

New technologies like big data, sensors, mobile, smart grids are changing the way cities operate.

Cities want to help you find parking spaces, avoid traffic jams, get instant help when emergencies happen.

Some cities are really leading the charge with super cool projects that show just how wonderful city life can be.

Rio de Janeiro watches all in real time

Rio built the 'Rio Operations centre' to monitor events in the city in real time. The centre was initially created to monitor the weather, so city officials could react faster to floods.

But it's also used to monitor any emergency event. It can spot a medical emergency on Copacabana beach and a traffic accident keeping soccer fans from Maracana stadium.

Hamburg port uses mobile apps and virtual fences

Hamburg's port will soon be handling 25 million containers annually. All of that shipping is causing problems. Truckers spend about half of their time waiting at the terminal for an open space where they can load their cargo.

The port is using new 'geofencing' tech to help. A geofence is a virtual perimeter that shows up on an app. Truckers get a mobile device that plots their location and directs them to open loading docks more quickly.

It also allows them to make mobile payments, so they don't need to leave their trucks to take care of financial transactions.

San Francisco offers free EV charging stations

Los Angeles is making parking easier, smarter

No matter what city you live in, parking is always a huge problem. A few cities have been testing 'smart parking.'

These use sensors embedded into parking spaces that talk to mobile apps. These help people find an open parking spot.

For instance, a one-year project in Los Angeles called LA Express Park launched last May. Using wireless sensors, it tracks down open parking and lets people pay the meter from their smartphones.

New York smart cabs are paid by smartphone

New York wants to let turn cabs into smart cabs.

The city's Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) is now accepting proposals from software developers. It wants those apps to let passengers pay for their cab rides with their smartphones.

The city also wants apps that use a points system that rewards frequent riders and ridesharers.

Washington D.C. uses smart tech to detect gunshots

Washington D.C. was one of the first cities to install something called 'ShotSpotter.' That's a network of noise sensors that identifies gunfire and pinpoints where the gun was shot.

The system alerts police as soon as the shot is heard.

Since D.C. first experimented with ShotSpotter, many other cities have begun to use the tech.

Amsterdam offers smart shopping on a smart street

Amsterdam is known for its many smart city projects. One of them is called Climate Street where it has turned one of its busiest, most popular streets into a model of green shopping.

The city does outfitted the street with sustainable street lighting, more tram stops, and solar-powered trash compactor garbage cans.

Shopkeepers do their part, too. They use low-energy lighting, recycle and use smart plugs. These help shops throttle down on electricity use.

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