The construction of Smart Cities is an innovation that is already underway. Yet the technology we need is not in place. While government and corporate policy makers forge ahead with sub-standard technologies, the general public are being set up for more disappointment.
Furthermore, we will have to pay to correct the mess.
The complexity of digitally operated infrastructures is the stuff of science fiction; but innovators are on the brink of implementing solutions that are equitable, scalable and sustainable.
A blend of blockchain technology and the vast range of connectable devices associated with the Internet of Things (IoT) is a cocktail that will lay the foundations to build cities storytellers associate with the 21st Century.
Ever since mankind began building cities, the innovation of technology has been the driving force behind change. Ramps, pulleys and the wheel were instrumental in ancient constructs. Cities were built by manpower and sheer ingenuity.
In that sense, little has changed. However, the ingenuity of the modern age is to resolve the first-world problems of city living; traffic congestion, polluted air, expensive transportation and a lack of space.
Yet these are not the only problems we will face when the development of Smart Cities starts in earnest. A report titled, ‘The Future of Equity in Cities’ published by the National League of Cities raises the potential issue of deepening inequality within the economic and social construct of urban communities.
Cities are directly impacted by social structures of equity through political policy and public opinion. While innovation can create a buzz in the build-up to change, if the technology and services that are available in the upgrade is not economically viable for low-income workers, the buzz loses its energy and the city is at risk of becoming destabilised.
Blockchain innovators hold the keys to smart cities
As the integration of Smart Cities begins to become more visible, the positive changes become apparent. Analytical reports spark upbeat conversations among influential leaders and commentators, and the idea is sold to the rest of us through the media.
However, it is important that innovators, policy makers and money men do not lose sight of promoting equity, sustainability and equality. This level of initiative also has to reach beyond the infrastructure of a Smart City and look for solutions that allow public of all income levels to improve their quality of life.
History shows that the ruling classes are always the winners of innovation. Even in the wake of economical and social destruction, policy makers accrue wealth whilst the average joe pays for it. How much should we trust policymakers to build new cities?
It is well documented that the blockchain shows a lot of promise in the story of Smart Cities. ICO’s have plans that can genuinely improve the quality of life for everyone. The hope and ambition within the cryptocurrency community is for digital tokens, smart contracts and other technological innovations to be incorruptible and give more power to the public.
This is the Utopian dream at least. The established banking industry may yet have their say. Major banks are already developing blockchain applications and there is talk of ten banks creating their own cryptocurrency.
Needless to say, if the bank’s create digital tokens it will spell the end game for honest ICO’s. The public ledger will take a backseat in the governance of the financial system. If the general public really want change, we have to back independent cryptocurrencies that care for the future of our societies as a whole.
Ethereum, Ripple, Machine eXchange Coin et al need you! Back the honest guys, not the banks.
How MXC can ensure equity in Smart Cities
The blockchain has the potential to ensure the cost of living in the cities of the future are equitable, yet affordable. Whilst the infrastructure of smart cities will take time to develop, IoT innovation already exists in some countries.
Cryptocurrencies accommodate the implementation of cost-effective payment gateways, transparency and reduced costs. By cutting out the middle man there are no admin charges or conversion fees to pay, and, in theory, the financial markets cannot be manipulated.
Not only that, but cryptocurrencies such as MXC do not charge fees for services or transactions and all gateway fees are minimal compared to rival third party options. The company is also utilising a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) which will dramatically slash fees for end-users.
IoT cannot work effectively without LPWAN. The current infrastructure that is dominated by Telecommunication brands are expensive and guzzle energy. In the new world, these old technologies will soon become outdated.
Large scale development that will facilitate public transportation systems, traffic congestion and reduce energy consumption is reliant on IoT. City leaders that mention equity is part of their planning can also rely on LPWAN to move forward with their environmental goals and reduce greenhouse gases.
A Smart City where energy sources are completely renewable rely on low power networks. Collecting and sharing data through wi-fi hotspots that feed into the blockchain will enables cities to operate efficiently but requires a wide area network to channel data from multiple devices.
Sensors embedded into street lights, water supplies, electricity and gas meters provide accurate data that helps decision makers organise their city planning. In order to build a healthy and sustainable place to live and work without today’s expense is the only solution to rising inflation and the gulf between the wealthy and the pithy.
IoT and the blockchain have the potential to make a real change within city communities, and the ripple effect will be felt further afield. Technological development can enhance the experience of urban living, but policy makers have to be mindful not to allow low-income earners to fall further behind.
This is where blockchain and forward-thinking innovations like MXC can really make the difference. Critical information is shared, and can be acted upon, by decision makers among the general public, and not policy makers that act in the best interests of high-income earners.
Smart Cities require smart thinking and supporting initiatives that care about the community is where smart people channel their energies. From today, let’s make a promise to be smart about how we create the cities of the future.