Digital Innovation Improving Cities

Cities around the world are creating a new image of urban living, using technology to improve the quality of life for residents, visitors and businesses.

Smart technology is allowing cities to operate more efficiently, leading to cleaner and healthier environments. Salem, Mass., has trialed Wing Power Energy’s hybrid wind/solar-powered turbines that provide renewable energy and power local 4G LTE-enabled equipment. Other cites across the country are deploying technology like BigBelly Solar’s trash system, which uses sensors on a wireless network to coordinate pick-ups and disposals of street trash and recycling bins, creating a more efficient system that saves time and money.

Wireless sensors are also transforming other aspects of urban life. In Los Angeles sensors provide information to drivers about available parking slots. On the international stage, Hamburg, Germany, is now using geofencing in its ports to relieve overcrowded shipping docks; truckers use an app that plots their location and quickly directs them to open loading docks.

Municipal and business leaders in Charlotte, N.C., announced in 2011 a city-wide effort to create the most environmentally sustainable urban core in the nation called Envision Charlotte. Innovative energy technologies monitor and manage energy usage in office buildings, then send the data to the city in near real-time, helping spur sustainable behaviors and reduce energy use among its residents.

Through what TED calls City 2.0, technology is creating a new vision of a city – a more connected, safer, cleaner and healthier place for everyone.