Technology At CES, Experts Wrestle With What Makes a City 'Smart'

12:36  14 january  2018
12:36  14 january  2018 Source:   usnews.com

Hisense’s 2018 smart TVs are getting Amazon Alexa

  Hisense’s 2018 smart TVs are getting Amazon Alexa Hisense — the world’s third-largest TV manufacturer — is starting to preview its 2018 lineup of smart TVs that’ll be announcing at CES this year. The big addition this time around seems to be Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant, which is coming to some existing models, including the 100-inch 4K laser TV that the company announced late last year. In addition to the usual suite of Alexa features for music playback, smart home controls, and third-party skills, Hisense says that users will be able to directly control their TV’s hardware, using Alexa to do tasks like change inputs or control volume with voice commands.

But what makes a city really interesting is when you have layer on layer of activity," he said. Without question, however, experts agree that what a smart city truly needs to thrive are smart citizens – or local businesses and Steve Bullock said at CES during a roundtable discussion Thursday.

From a regulatory perspective, the answer many experts at CES offered was a resounding "no." With Detroit Show Looming, Autos Make Noise… If a company like Ford or Intel helps pay for smart city infrastructure, should they have access to the city 's data pools?

A monorail with a Google advertisement passes the Las Vegas Convention Center on Wednesday during the annual CES International, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in Las Vegas.: A monorail with a Google advertisement passes the Las Vegas Convention Center on Wednesday during the annual CES expo.© Jae C. Hong/AP A monorail with a Google advertisement passes the Las Vegas Convention Center on Wednesday during the annual CES expo. LAS VEGAS — The "smart cities" track at 2018's Consumer Electronics Show carried considerable hype heading into the massive Las Vegas tech conference this week, as government officials from around the world continue figuring out how best to supply their citizens with data-intensive services of tomorrow.

But, as it turns out, simply defining what does or doesn't constitute make a city "smart" is trickier than it sounds.

"A smart city, I guess at the highest level, is able to operate efficiently, use data from various sources," Joanna Wadsworth, a civil engineer and program manager with the city of Las Vegas, said during a roundtable discussion on Tuesday. "It has a lot of different definitions, because it could be how a city operates, how efficient, how we make our planning decisions, but also how we provide information to our residents."

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At CES , Samsung is even planning to introduce a smart refrigerator at the electronics show that can listen to voice commands to control other home accessories. Deloitte, the consulting firm, has been making a big push for smart cities .

Building a City With Smarts . The last several years have been about making the car smarter , more connected, and more fuel-efficient. At CES 2018, the “ smart city ” was at its center with car and tech companies brainstorming ways to retrofit existing infrastructure to work with always-connected cars.

Sin City favors itself a smart city because of its reliance on data, because of its partnerships with companies like Cisco that have brought new sensor equipment to the area, because of its trial runs with technologies like a self-driving bus around its Fremont East district.

The advent of 5G wireless communication is likely to further cities' ability to compile and distribute data – potentially opening the door to mass adoption of driverless vehicle technology.

But there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to making a city smart. The automated parking structures cropping up in Los Angeles, for example, have been touted as smart initiatives – as have Panasonic's efforts in Colorado to construct a digitally connected highway system and design LED street lights that can help gauge snow depth.

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What a security expert thought of a few new smart -home devices at CES 2018. Made in the shade. Our third stop was ShadeCraft, developer of a solar-powered umbrella called Sunflower, which tracks the sun and doubles as a smart -home hub.

CNET's CES 2016 Smart Home Panel. Sarah Tew/CNET. "You go to the store, you see a beautiful product, you want to install it as soon as you get it. If you can make it DIY, the customer feels more in control."

As Wadsworth points out, however, a lot of the "smart" label comes down to how efficiently a city can deliver services that its citizens actually need. The ability to measure snowfall and strategically deploy plows and salt trucks could save cities like Denver hundreds of thousands of dollars over a winter, but they wouldn't be very practical in LA.

"What we know is that doing this well is going to require an intense process of public engagement," Rohit Aggarwala, the head of urban systems at Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs, said during a keynote discussion this week of his organization's efforts to turn Toronto into a city of the future. "A city can only work if it is co-created with the people who live and work there."

Aggarwala's Sidewalk Labs is at the forefront of researching and implementing technology and infrastructure that can allow cities to better manage traffic flows, compile information and ultimately serve their citizens.

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Right now, Bosch is working on 14 extensive smart - city projects, including San Francisco, Singapore, Tianjin, Berlin, and Stuttgart. At Bosch’s booth at CES , we experienced what the company envisions for the future, and it looks like the Tomorrowland we’ve dreamed about.

New to CES this year is a section devoted to smart cities . While there’s no firm definition of what makes a city smart , it is apparent that innovations in 5G wireless broadband, AI, robotics and self-driving cars will all play an important role.

But complicating Aggarwala's work is the fact that cities in the U.S. don't exactly have the luxury to start from scratch. Buildings, sidewalks and infrastructure are already in place – however inefficiently – and would be financially and ethically impossible to completely knock out and start over.

Certain adjustments can be made where appropriate, but Aggarwala notes a city wouldn't feel particularly "authentic" if its inner workings were simply dismantled every time a new technological advancement came around.

He also said much of the smart city dialogue has focused on the ability of autonomous vehicles to get from Point A to Point B. But the ideal smart city, he suggested, would "push machines and vehicles into the background and ... bring people back to the center of the urban environment." He said there hasn't been enough discussion about putting people first, rather than their mode of transportation.

"The world's best cities are in fact those places where people do most of their living in common areas," Aggarwala said, suggesting that his ideal smart city would include "radical mixed-use" areas that weave office buildings, residences, restaurants and public utilities into each street block to mitigate traffic booms and busts and to better integrate residents into their communities.

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But China may make the biggest splash with more than 1,300 registered exhibitors. "Every year at CES I meet the people who work on the technology that Image caption Aivia says its smart speaker will be equipped with Google Assistant. One expert suggested others will also try to gatecrash the party.

what - makes - a - city - smart … Tweet with a location. You can add location information to your Tweets, such as your city or precise location, from the web and via third-party applications.

"A neighborhood with just office buildings is dead after work. But what makes a city really interesting is when you have layer on layer of activity," he said.

Without question, however, experts agree that what a smart city truly needs to thrive are smart citizens – or local businesses and educational institutions to generate public dollars, contribute to technological advancement and draw more talent and more companies to the area.

"What you can't necessarily control is that – if you're going to have clusters of knowledge-based economy businesses come – population can be a challenge," Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said at CES during a roundtable discussion Thursday. "That's something that I can't necessarily control. … We need folks that have the skills to fill these jobs."

Localities across the country have struggled to develop, attract and retain skilled employees to fill technically intensive positions – and that problem is only expected to snowball in the years ahead as more cities and states embrace data-intensive operations.

In an effort to mitigate the skills dilemma, cities seeking to become smarter have in some cases partnered with local universities and grade schools to more heavily push and fine-tune STEM education. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval on Thursday discussed investing more than $1 billion in K-12 education and working with the University of Nevada to develop more specialized engineering tracks at its Reno and Las Vegas campuses.

"It does start at the top. It really does," Sandoval said, noting that the pace of technological advancement has forced local governments to be more nimble. "There are things in our states' vocabulary that didn't exist seven years ago."

Copyright 2017 U.S. News & World Report

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