We’re living in a day and age when everything seems to be smart. We have smart homes, smart enterprises, and even smart cities! With all this hype about smart technology, what’s it actually like to live in a fully-integrated smart city? Let’s close our eyes and imagine…
It’s 6:00 a.m. You awaken to an alarm that plays a gentle flute, with an ambient waterfall sound. Your bedroom lighting illuminates, to a soft and gentle level. It increases in intensity, ever so slightly, every 15 seconds. You open your eyes with a smile on your face. Today is a holiday, and you’re going to Gan Kadursal with the family! Gan Kadursal, or GK Park, is the city’s most progressive project ever. It has been designed from start to finish with you, the resident, in mind. Every step of the way it has been meticulously planned to make your experience frictionless and fun.
You get out of bed and head to the kitchen, where the gentle illumination precedes your steps and lights up the way. Upon entering the kitchen, you are greeted by the smell of freshly brewed coffee, which was timed for your entry, to perfection! Today’s weather forecast is warm and sunny, perfect for an outdoor holiday with your family. A quick check in with the smart streetlight system (which does a whole lot more than provide lighting) reveals a perfect air quality index. It’s time to plan your itinerary.
As you’re sipping your freshly-brewed coffee, you send a simple text message to the GK Park Intelligent Gateway (GPIG) to reserve a picnic spot, in a quiet and private area from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. for a family of seven, and that you will be arriving in your minivan. The GPIG responds to your text message with a confirmation and GPS link to your picnic spot, which you forward to your three families of cousins who will be joining you. You also get a parking spot reservation from GK Park’s brand new underground parking lot, along with an optimal departure time of 8:33 a.m., so that your arrival at the parking garage is staggered from the other reserved guests, ensuring a smooth entry without the congestion associated with multiple people trying to enter the parking garage at the same time.
You sigh, fondly remembering what it was like back in the “olden days,” before GK Park became “smart.” You and your cousins would spend an hour navigating through the park, trying to find each other. You’d pick up your phone to call your cousin. “Where are you?”, you’d ask. “I’m near the tall buildings!”, your cousin would say. You look around. You’re in a major metropolitan city. There are tall buildings everywhere! “Um, which tall buildings?”, you’d ask? “The ones near the street!”, your cousin would respond, now getting frustrated. “Ahh,” you think to yourself. “I’m so glad we now live in modern times.”
It’s getting close to the time to leave and it doesn’t look like there will be enough time to eat breakfast. “No worries,” you think to yourself. “We’ll just stop by the park’s new smart coffee shop for breakfast!” Everyone heads into the garage. Your minivan’s smart camera recognizes your family, and opens all the doors – good thing because everyone’s hands are full! After everyone buckles their seat belts, you’re off to your adventure!
GK Park updates your GPS with the latest traffic information and quickest route to the parking garage, and you get there in no time. Upon entering the parking garage, a smart camera scans your license plate and displays your spot number on the large monitor. Moving LED lights guide you directly to your spot. Once your vehicle is parked, you receive a text from the garage with a departure time of 4:51 p.m. This means that you start walking back to the garage at 4:51 p.m. in order to beat the traffic at the end of day exiting the garage.
Because of the park’s popularity, even though it’s barely 9:00 a.m. in the morning, it’s unbelievably crowded! Fortunately, you have your spot reserved, and there are three new coffee shops to choose from. First thing’s first. You message GK Park asking for directions to your reserved spot. The directions appear immediately. You follow it faithfully, with your family in tow, although you’re a bit puzzled. The park is so crowded, how on Earth will you find a nice quiet spot? Within a few minutes, you arrive. You look up, and what you see takes your breath away!
All around you are crowds of people, playing catch, volleyball, and even basketball (don’t ask how)! Yet, off to one side, are four tall, mature, majestic willow trees, surrounded by a meadow of soft green grass. The scene looks like it came straight out of an old English fairy tale! In between the four trees, is a small private area, which is reserved just for you!
Next, you focus your attention on your growling stomach. Ah, yes. Breakfast! Life is so serene here, in paradise, that you really don’t want to navigate through that zoo and wait on line just to get something to eat. Then, you remember that this is GK Park, the city’s brand new smart park. You’ll just have the food come to you! A quick text message to the park and your food is on its way! ETA in 10 minutes. That’s quicker than walking there and back!
The kids set out the picnic blanket, and within minutes the delicious food arrives. Shortly after breakfast, your cousins arrive with 10 kids! As idyllic as your paradise may be, the kids need to run around and burn off that energy. The kids want to go to the swings. The problem is that the whole park is full of kids, and they ALL love the swings. You send a quick message to GK Park: “How many swings are free?” The park responds: “Smart camera here, there are a total of 16 swings in the park. 12 of them are occupied. There are four free swings 60 meters to your right.”
Everyone heads over to the playground. Some kids get on the swings, some go on the monkey bars, and the rest of them wear out all the adults by playing tag. After a few hours, everyone is tired and hungry, so you head to the coffee shop strip for lunch. As you’re walking, you ask Siri to send a text message to GK Park: “Which coffee shop has the shortest line?” The park responds: “Aroma Cafe has the shortest wait, with two people waiting on line.”
After a delicious lunch, everyone heads over to the park’s carnival; where, despite the crowds, everyone has a great time. Thanks to modern technology, you were able to circumvent all the aggravating things about carnivals, with the number one issue being long lines. You just found all the rides with the shortest lines and had the park send you alerts when the lines for the more desirable rides eased up.
It’s 4:45 p.m. Everyone helps pack up the picnic site and says their good-byes. At precisely 4:51 p.m., you all head back to the parking garage for the pleasant ride home.
In conclusion, while the above story is a work of fiction, the possibilities are not. We are so accustomed to living with frustration that it’s hard to believe that we can live any other way! With technology that’s currently available TODAY, the scene imagined in this article can become your reality. Governments and businesses around the world are recognizing this possibility, and are implementing it as we speak.
My question for you is, how can technology make your life frictionless and fun?
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