Living in a Smart City

What would it be like?

Imagine, while you are sleeping, your calendar syncs to your home's systems.  Your thermostat and alarm adjust automatically to an earlier time, knowing that you have an early meeting and traffic is heavy this morning on your route. When you enter the shower, it is hot - thanks to your water heater turning on shortly before you woke up, helping conserve energy during the night.

As you enter your kitchen, coffee is already brewing. Your fridge has also sent an order to the grocery store because you’re almost out of coffee cream.

After breakfast your phone beeps at you, advising you that you have five minutes before you need to leave, and cautions you to bring an umbrella due to the 30% chance of showers in the afternoon. Preparing to leave, you press a button to find your keys, and your couch beeps at you, signalling they're under the cushion. As you walk out the door, you remember that you left the iron on - luckily, your home system recognizes that you have left the house and has begun to lower the temperature and shut off energy using items to conserve money and reduce your environmental footprint.

In your electric car (that charged overnight), the onboard system recommends that you detour as an accident has closed one of the roads on your usual route.  While driving, you notice an approaching ambulance that does not need to stop as the intersection ahead has changed to green in advance. Your commute to work is just as quick, and when you near your office, sensor technology searches for an available parking spot, notifying you of the closest empty stall to your building.

Once inside, your building's front desk completes a scan of your face and records your presence in case of emergency.  Your first meeting of the day is with a foreign client, so you sit down in the virtual boardroom and have a meeting face to face. This type of communication is supported through your city's ultra-fast internet network. As you walk down the hall, you pass the city's new business incubator, which is a model for public/private/academic collaboration and is churning out successful businesses of the future.

After work, your phone beeps, reminding you to buy a gift for your friend’s birthday that evening. Your exit your office, and the lights shut off behind you, and the door locks automatically. You decide to take the transit system and walk a few steps to the bus stop. Once there, you use the interactive touch screen to enter your destination and track the closest bus. You see that it is a block away, so you pre-pay your bus ticket on your phone's smart payment app. Once on the bus, you check your email over the free Wi-Fi connection on the bus.

When you reach your destination, you discard your coffee cup in a waste bin, which is now close to full. You notice a sensor activate that compacts the garbage (extending its use) and notifying City officials it is due for pickup shortly. Next, you type in your friend’s preferences and favourite stores into your phone. Immediately, suggestions and discount deals for relevant stores are sent directly to you. You head to the closest shop and pick out a wonderful gift. As you walk back to the bus, you pass a coffee house that sends a notification to you that your favourite sandwich is being offered free with a coffee purchase, so you choose to stop for a delicious lunch.

You head back to work on time, marvelling at the cleanliness of your community, thanks to its numerous environmental monitoring and conservation initiatives. What a wonderful, Smart City to live in!

Last edited: June 4, 2018