Individual consumers or business owners can work toward connecting their homes and businesses. But is this approach to connecting people, places and systems the most effective one? The attention paid to smart or connected cities latetely seems to confirm that connections of this sort, as implemented via M2M (machine-to-machine) technology shows that this is the way to the future. The M2M sector in the smart city market is expected to rise almost tenfold in the next nine years.
More specifically, a report by Machina Research published last month shows that M2M technology is being deployed on a large number of different public-service and infrastructure categories. Traffic management makes up the majority of connections in this sector’”perhaps reaching 446 million by 2020’”while the “Environment and Public Safety’ group of applications generates the most revenue.
For example, New York City is where the “City 24/7 company” plans to introduce 250 SmartScreens in old payphone booths this summer, creating an interactive broadcast network that will provide the data citizens need, when and where they need it. Behind these large, user-friendly touchscreen devices is a ton of connected technology, including free Wi-Fi, NFC (near-field communication), and Bluetooth. The devices will also serve a role in making cities safer. In emergency situations, authorities will be able to use the SmartScreens to broadcast hyper-localized content, including red-alert information and other messaging, to a targeted area via the SmartScreens. The company’s goal is to build out a network of screens across not only New York City, but across several densely populated urban areas in the U.S., ultimately helping people send and receive key data as needed.
However, while a large number of smart city initiatives on public infrastructure seem to be on a fast track to success, the implementation of these brilliant new technologies on a consumer scales, resulting in the connected home of the future, may elude us for years to come. Perhaps some forward thinking on the part of city leaders, technology providers, and other industry visionaries focused on building out “smart’ city infrastructures will help solve one of the crippling hurdles in the smart-home space: consumer buy in. As costs come down, and connectivity at home and around town becomes an expected part of life for today’ s citizens, perhaps both markets will gather enough momentum to make it in mainstream society. When this happens, there will come a day when the connected city, and the connected homes within it, will become a reality.
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