Sunday, 2 October 2011

Smart cities need their own operating system

"Cities could soon be looking after their citizens all by themselves thanks to an operating system designed for the metropolis.

The Urban OS works just like a PC operating system but keeps buildings, traffic and services running smoothly.

The software takes in data from sensors dotted around the city to keep an eye on what is happening.

In the event of a fire the Urban OS might manage traffic lights so fire trucks can reach the blaze swiftly.

The idea is for the Urban OS to gather data from sensors buried in buildings and many other places to keep an eye on what is happening in an urban area.

The sensors monitor everything from large scale events such as traffic flows across the entire city down to more local phenomena such as temperature sensors inside individual rooms.

The OS completely bypasses humans to manage communication between sensors and devices such as traffic lights, air conditioning or water pumps that influence the quality of city life.

Channelling all the data coming from these sensors and services into a over-arching control system had lots of benefits, said Steve Lewis, head of Living PlanIT- the company behind Urban OS."

The thing we wonder if this is really a good or necessary idea. Rather than censors who not the same data be driven from open sourced publication platforms used by citizens. Would it not be better to aggregate the masses of data coming from the city by listening to its residents more directly rather than trying to automate the city?

We at the Web 3.0 Lab find this concept interesting, but profoundly doubt it is possible.

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