April 14, 2024


Science It Works

Smart city tech: focus on healthcare, internet, and education


Smart city technologies and policies cover the gamut, from traffic management to water quality control and from regulation of scooters to facial recognition software.

To prioritize (somewhat), Fierce Electronics asked experts where attention needs to be focused in coming months and years. Some of their answers were not surprising, such as putting a strong emphasis on using technology to improve health insurance and healthcare as the world comes out of a global pandemic.  But other answers were surprising.

Amid a push in Washington for a massive infrastructure package expected from the Biden administration and suggestions by a think tank for spending billions to sponsor smart city competitions among large, medium and small cities, there appears to be a revitalization of interest in the smart city arena, even as some vendors have recently retrenched.

Sanjeet Pandit, global head of smart cities for Qualcomm:

“We need three things. I call it a game-changing list.  One, we need to make our international borders more efficient and smart. The wait times for legal crossings are ridiculously long for coming over the Texas border or getting to San Diego. (Qualcomm is based in San Diego.)

“We can use and AI and identification of cars for those already registered. Facial recognition is already used at airports so why not put it where women and children have to wait at borders?

“Two, with the pandemic, we need to make it so senior citizens don’t have to stand in line and wait or park and wait forever for services. It can all be delivered at home, leveraged at home with technology. Some seniors have no way to drive. It would reduce time and the carbon footprint.

“Three, remote education: Opening the doors of delivery of a quality education to students across the world should be leveraged and not only for business opportunities. There are so many priorities but those are three.”

Bob Bennett, past chief technology officer for Kansas City, Missouri, and founder of B Squared Civic Solutions:

“I think immediate next steps will involve improving public health policy and infrastructure in order to establish a new normal.

“Cities have also learned where the deficiencies in internet access have damaged them most and this will be a second priority.

“As infrastructure receives more attention and funding from the feds, I expect modernizing traffic management, water management or similar systems that are likely to be improved with tech that can be fielded in budget neutral use cases will make up the third tranche of smart deployments.”

Sanjeet Pandeet will deliver a keynote and join Bob Bennett on a smart city panel as part of IoT Technologies Summit on March 15-16.  Registration is free and online.

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