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A Smarter City is The Smartest Gift to Give

By 3p Contributor

Editor’s note: This post is a follow-up to our recent Twitter chat with AT&T Smart Cities, BSR, Hydropoint Data Systems and SMARTATL. In case you missed it, you can catch a recap here

By Jori Mendel, AT&T Smart Cities

I was at a friend’s birthday party recently and noticed something interesting about the presents he received from guests. The standard bottle of wine or tickets to a ball game don’t cut it anymore. The trendy gifts these days are gadgets that incorporate “smart” technologies, connect to your home and try to make life easier. You can speak to a radio to tell it to change the station, remotely lock the doors or turn off lights in your home and even buy an interactive refrigerator with touchscreen and internet access!

For years, we’ve been on a fast-moving train of technological acceleration, so receiving gifts that make your home “smart” in 2017 seems like a natural progression of where we have been headed all along. But what if we thought even bigger? What if we scaled the technology that is designed to improve the lives of individuals at home, and used it for entire cities with the purpose of tackling social and environmental challenges?

We are closer than many people realize.

AT&T recognized the opportunity in 2015 when we formed a dedicated Smart Cities Organization to expand our leadership in this rapidly growing space. Our vision for a smart city is one that uses technology to optimize how we use resources, improve peoples’ quality of life, have a positive impact on our planet and open new economic opportunities. As a company that is centered on technology, information and connectivity, applying our tools to create impactful solutions for cities seemed like a natural fit.

We started by creating a strategic framework that we’re bringing to several spotlight cities and communities around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas and Portland, Oregon. Our vision is for AT&T’s connectivity to be the thread that securely and seamlessly connects all aspects of a city, focusing on a few core aspects that improve the lives of citizens, increase efficiencies and provide both social and environmental benefits.

We are already focusing on infrastructure to remotely monitor the conditions of roads and bridges while using sensory technology to detect leaks in city water pipes and identify upgrades faster, with more precision.

Already, AT&T is providing cellular connectivity to smart-grid devices like smart meters that allow for better outage management, helping to make energy grids more efficient and reliable. And, we’re giving municipality leadership the tools they need to see the whole picture of how their city operates with the Smart Cities Operation Center (SCOC). With the SCOC dashboard, city officials can make decisions in near real-time and keep tabs on things like power outages, water leaks, traffic issues and more – all from one location.

The building blocks are being put in place to create cities where public safety and connectivity are strengthened by universal Wi-Fi access, where smart traffic lights organize a better flow of vehicles on every road and allow for more people to get to their destination faster and where buildings monitor their own water and energy use, making adjustments as needed, while reducing environmental impacts in the process.

The world of tomorrow is being built today. By 2030, almost 60 percent of the world’s population will live in cities, and these cities currently account for 75 percent of carbon emissions on Earth. As communities confront growing societal and environmental challenges like climate change, technology will play a critical role in the future success of cities. The connectivity that AT&T provides opens a world of opportunities for improving the lives of millions.

AT&T is excited to be at the forefront of the smart cities revolution, using our solutions to connect people to each other and their communities in ways that were once unimaginable.

Image credit: Pixabay

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