This op-ed article was published on November 30, 2017 in IoT Agenda
The key role app developers can play in constructing smart cities
The primary challenge to building a smart city has nothing to do with pouring concrete and erecting steel beams. It’s knowing better the city’s flows to optimize the city for its inhabitants. It’s turning all of the data that comes streaming in from myriad sources into actionable information. App developers can turn this data into better knowledge of the intents of their users in the city and deliver a better service when and where it is the most pertinent.
Apps typically know about their users in their service, but not about their environment and the city events. Let’s say you’re heading to your office and you have several transportation options. You may use one app to share a ride, another to check the bus arrival times or get a taxi, and yet another to alert your friends when and where to meet. Each step requires you to initiate an action. That process could be so much more efficient if at each step it is the city that provide the data to the app so it can trigger an action for you based on your behavior and your intents in the city.
Now imagine the same scenario, but with the key difference that the city detects that you are at transportation stops and shares it with your services. Your devices and daily apps can take the initiative to provide you with transportation options instead of waiting passively for your instructions. Before entering the subway, your smartphone app informs you about traffic delay and the taxi app wakes up and notifies about carpooling options in two minutes. Before taking your cab, you receive real-time notifications from businesses around you for tonight’s events and promos.