The United Nations estimates that sixty-eight percent of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050. Migration to urban centers accelerates the need for digital transformation as government and city leaders face increasing pressure to make cities safer, more accessible, more sustainable. , and prosperous. Creating smart cities is not just a technology. It is about how technology improves the lives of residents, how it helps businesses thrive, and how it allows governments to provide vital services to employees and citizens.
What is a smart city?
Smart cities are urban areas that use a range of technologies to improve living conditions, modernize services, increase accessibility, promote sustainability and increase economic development. Upgrading infrastructure, providing healthcare and ensuring adequate food supply are several areas that could benefit from investing in sustainable practices. To make sure that these investments lead to real progress, organizations and people need to share their collective knowledge. Let’s look at real examples of technologies that enable sustainability in smart cities, with additional perspectives from industry leaders.
How IoT and AI revitalize infrastructure sustainably
The technology has helped Miami-Dade County revive some of its critical infrastructure. The ongoing water supply and wastewater management for millions of people in the seventh most populous county in the United States has affected the Miami-Dade Department of Water and Sewerage (WASD) system. The department turned to IoT, a cloud database and sensors to improve overall operational efficiency.
Cities and county agencies are often overwhelmed with data and how to use it to provide effective public services. “Technology like IoT and AI can help sift through data to help make smarter decisions that lead to more resilient communities,” said Glenn Gilmore, a former mayor and lecturer. Following the implementation of the solution, WASD has improved service, reduced infrastructure costs and worked more sustainably.
Smart cities improve the overall quality of life
Consider different infrastructure services in your community that support your daily quality of life, such as plumbing and wastewater treatment services. The New York Department of the Environment monitors the largest combined water and wastewater company in the United States, supplying one billion gallons of drinking water each day and treating even more wastewater. The agency’s executives saw the potential for using artificial intelligence-powered chatbots to provide faster responses to employees who call the department’s IT and human resources offices.
Using services from the Microsoft Bot Framework, Skype for Business, SharePoint Online, Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Dynamics 365, comprehensive self-service tools for employees can help them reset passwords after hours, address frequently asked questions, and manage and resolve tickets. As the department sees positive results in the way employees are served by automated chatbots, it plans to expand their use to customers of water and utilities.
“Everything we can do to gather more information from technology will help make better decisions to boost long-term sustainability and create a better quality of life for all,” said Phil Bertolini. former CIO of Oakland County, Michigan.
The technology of the smart city is modernizing healthcare facilities
Human health and well-being are interconnected with the state of the environment, with clean air and water and quality natural areas, providing our needs for life support. As the largest non-profit health care provider in the greater Seattle area, the Swedish Medical Center has reduced energy consumption and carbon footprint while achieving regulatory compliance. In partnership with MacDonald Miller Facility Solutions, the organization uses Microsoft technology and the ICONICS partner solution to modernize the management of its facilities through preventive maintenance, advanced troubleshooting and intelligent energy analysis. The solution helped achieve operational sustainability and improve efficiency with $ 350,000 in energy savings in the first year on just one of Sweden’s campuses.
Healthcare organizations face unique challenges from unrelated and disparate data. Tracy Picken, an industry advisor in health and life sciences, points to the use of data technology and the provision of effective intelligence to make real-time changes that positively and sustainably impact healthcare organizations and their communities. A healthy society requires a healthy planet.
AI prepares smart cities for population growth
Preparing for population growth is crucial. Global food demand is expected to grow by 41 percent by 2050. However, smart agricultural technology can help increase food production while saving water. Land O ‘Lakes and Microsoft have partnered to innovate in agriculture, improve the supply chain and improve sustainability practices for farmers and the food system.
Tackling population growth and global food demand is imperative, says Laura Edel, chief data specialist at Microsoft USA. “This is where AI comes into play – creating new solutions can provide insight and intelligence to improve sustainable farming practices.” Land O ‘Lakes, one of the largest farmers in the United States with 150 million acres of productive land. arable land, works with Microsoft to ensure that farmers have accurate produce to meet their food needs.
Accelerate resilience with technology at its core
Whether using AI, digital twins, and IoT to upgrade infrastructure or reduce resource use, Microsoft continues to explore innovative ways to address global sustainability challenges. With technology and data-driven insights for better decision-making, cities can prepare for growth, become more resilient and thrive.
Microsoft is committed to enabling people to build a more sustainable future. Having the right digital platform to measure the impact of these technologies is paramount. With the launch of Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability, we are combining powerful capabilities provided by Microsoft and our partners to help organizations record, report and reduce emissions.
Our Microsoft Sustainability Manager, a Microsoft Cloud Sustainability solution, combines data to help monitor and manage environmental impact. Organizations can now easily record, report and reduce their impact on the environment through increasingly automated data links that provide useful information.