Smart Cities: The World of Tomorrow from your Smart Phone

By William Branch

Since the invention of the smart phone we as a society have become more and more reliant on mobile technology in our day to day lives. That reliance continues today with the advent of 5G technology.

Like 3G and 4G LTE, 5G looks to improve upon previous generations by providing a more efficient mobile ecosystem: Offering up to 10x faster data speed than 4G LTE, low latency between multiple devices, greater coverage, and more reliable and secure networks. Coupled with a Cloud-based computer network that handles the influx of data 5G looks to make life more efficient. Going into testing phase as soon as 2018 and with a planned release for consumer use by the end of the decade, 5G will usher in newer technologies that will benefit from optimized connectivity.


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One of the ways in which 5G will be beneficial is through Smart Cities; cities that utilize small sensors and cellular data to better allocate resources to their growing populace. Smart Cities work to become more effective in Energy Solutions, Healthcare Services, Gov./Civic Services, Water Waste Management, and Transportation. On January 2016, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) held a contest called the Smart City Challenge that would award the winning City up to 40 million dollars to include self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and smart sensors within their transportation ecosystem. In June 2016, Columbus, Ohio won the contest.

The video for their submission will be provided in the links down below.

One last example of the useful synergy between smart phones and city infrastructure is the implementation of Sidewalk Labs’ Cloud-based app, Flow. Unreleased as of yet, Flow is intended to help combat city, traffic congestion by combining data from Google Maps, Streetview, and current sensors on smartphones and parking meters to direct motorist to available parking spaces. It will even utilize unattended, office building as well as urban, retail mall parking spaces, referred to as virtualized parking spaces. Those virtual spaces can then be monetized based on demand: less expensive during late afternoons and weekends, and more expensive during sporting events and concerts. All the while creating additional revenue for the city.

Smart phones will surely help shape a City near you, maybe it already has. Either way it will be interesting to see how our world will adapt and change with the inclusion of said technology over the next decade.

“U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Columbus as Winner of Unprecedented $40 Million Dollar Smart City Challenge.” U.S. Department of Transportation, 23 June 2016, Accessed 9 Oct. 2016.

“Columbus Wins the Smart City Challenge.” U.S. Department of Transportation, 28 Sept. 2016, Accessed 9 Oct. 2016.

Grob, Matt. “Science Fiction is Fiction No More.” HuffingtonPost, 6 Sept. 2016, Accessed 9 Oct. 2016.

Markman, Jon. “Google Takes Big Data to Smart Cities.” Forbes, 6 Sept. 2016, Accessed 9 Oct. 2016.

Columbus, Ohio Smart City Challenge Pitch (Video)

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UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism