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Smart Solutions to Raise the IQ of Cities

Smart Solutions to Raise the IQ of Cities.

Every 16 months, a city becomes a megacity, crossing the 10 million inhabitant threshold. There are currently 31 megacities, 24 of which are in emerging countries. By 2050, more than 60% of people will live in cities, that’s more than 6 Billion urbanites.

At their CES 2018 press conference, Member of the Bosch Group board, Stefan Hartung, said: “Bosch is boosting the IQ of cities and communities around the world to make urban living safer, more efficient and less stressful”. Mike Mansuitti, President of Bosch North America added “the Smart City of the future is no utopian vision: it’s already here. At Bosch, it’s our aim to improve quality of life for people worldwide with smart technologies”.

So, what are the challenges that these megacities and the urbanization of the planet create?

Bosch believes the four main challenges are air quality, urban mobility, energy efficiency and security. People want to feel safer in their cities, whether that means breathing air that isn’t polluted by vehicle emissions or feel secure when jogging in the park at night. People want to know their city is efficient in its use of resources, be they financial or energy. People want to have a more effective and efficient way of navigating around the city.

The Smart City business is booming, growing 20% year on year to an estimated $880 Billion by 2020, and around the world, there are countless cities vying to be the smartest. Indeed, Las Vegas is investing more than $500 Million in smart city initiatives over the next seven years.

The tipping point comes because of “ingredient” technologies, as mentioned by CTA’s Steve Koenig and in my first CES blog yesterday. Most notably Artificial Intelligence (AI), combined with lower cost sensors and big data, are coming together to provide the potential to fulfill many of those “utopian” smart city aspirations.

Sensors are the eyes and ears of the Smart City and AI is the brain behind all that sensory data, interpreting it all and building out the ecosystems that have the potential to make life better in every community, large or small. Bosch has more than 4,000 engineers working on IoT, many in three new dedicated IoT research centers in Silicon Valley, Germany, and India. Bosch is committed to having all its products web-enabled by 2020.

There are some great examples out there of Smart City activities providing tangible benefits. In the Bay Area city of San Leandro, for example, Bosch has equipped roughly 5,000 streetlights with LEDs and supplied a system for remote management of the city’s street lighting. The lights are only switched on when they are needed. As a result, San Leandro will be able to save around 8 million dollars over the next 15 years. In the case of San Leandro and its 100,000 inhabitants, sensors can also be used to measure and analyze air quality, and cameras can automatically re-route traffic in the event of congestion. All of this means smarter cities and saved energy and money.

Like many companies, Bosch sees Smart Cities as an exciting application of technology that can improve people’s lives as they move to a more urban existence. And now the “ingredients” are finally in place to drive this market forward at speed. As predicted, AI is in just about every press announcement at CES this week, but in the arena of Smart Cities it offers huge potential to completely change the way we live in cities for the better, be that enhanced air quality, less congestion, greater safety, or even the simple convenience of being able to find a parking space without wasting time driving around.

We’ll be exploring the Smart Home and Smart City exhibits at CES once the exhibit doors open and will report back with some of the new technologies on display and how they will simplify and improve our daily lives.