Futurists have long painted a vision of the revolutionary “smart city”; a gleaming metropolis of clean streets and punctual public transport, where issues of crime, congestion and pollution have been engineered into irrelevance.
A great deal of people believes that building the smart city will be extremely disruptive, but the Managing Director of Vodacom Business Nigeria, Lanre Kolade, has a different perspective.
Kolade explained at the recent Nigerian-South African Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting that governments do not have to tear down the towns of today to build smart cities which will improve services and the quality of life for their inhabitants.
He explained that by using the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, a host of intelligently connected services become possible.
According to Kolade, about 48 per cent of Nigerians are living in urban areas and this proportion will continue to grow as urbanisation continues. With the number of people living in urban areas around the world predicted to rise to 6.4 billion by 2050; cities like Lagos need to adopt IoT technology to meet the rising challenges of a mega city.
He maintained that governments have a central role to play in making towns and cities run effectively but that with constrained budgets and a growing population; issues such as traffic, pollution, and public safety are becoming more difficult to manage. Authorities must adopt technologies that will improve sustainability, ease congestion, help citizens and attract new businesses to their towns and cities.
“An IoT-enabled city can reroute traffic around congestion in real time, automatically schedule repairs for failed infrastructure like street lighting or bridges, and intelligently manage energy use and pollution right across the environment. It can also protect citizens and businesses from crime more effectively, and safeguard vulnerable inhabitants in their homes,” Kolade said.
Commercial Director of Vodacom Business Nigeria, Solomon Ogufere, said that Vodacom can help governments take control of their energy usage across multiple sites, and smart metres, installed in offices, factories and homes, can collect and report data on electricity, gas, and water use.
He also explained that IoT-enabled lights can cut the need for regular engineer check-ups by alerting authorities before they fail. IoT lights can also detect when there is little or no traffic and turn off or dim individual lamps automatically; saving energy and reducing electricity costs.