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The Benefits of Smart Cities During the Covid-19 Crisis

The Covid-19 crisis has brought many challenges to our day-to-day life. Wearing masks in public places and closed rooms, the need to do tests on a regular basis, and sharing private information in order to enter restaurants or museums. All of this has changed how we live and might already be the new normal for a certain period of time. But what has affected people even more, is the pandemic itself. The risks of getting infected with the virus and the need to isolate ourselves from family and friends have put a lot of pressure on us. In order to end this crisis and to prevent future pandemics to ever reach these large extents, smart city solutions can be of great importance.

Contact Tracing

One technology that was put into place, in order to fight the Covid-19 crisis, was the tracing of contacts. Cellphone data can be collected, anonymized and analysed to find possible contacts of infected citizens. Once identified, these people will be notified and have to either test against the virus and/or go into quarantine. 

This method is able to limit the speed and extent of spreading corona. It is possible thanks to a reliable mobile network and the opportunity for cities and governments to quickly implement new solutions by working closely together with communication technology companies.

Regardless of the benefit of this smart city solution for the Covid-19 crisis, it also comes with its downsides. The most significant one is most likely data privacy and the reduced level of trust. In order to achieve the most efficient smart cities, its citizens need to feel safe with the technology around them. There is still room for improvements and new developments, but concepts such as blockchain can be a possible solution. 

people walking outside

Air Quality

Even though many public places and buildings were closed during these difficult times, some had to stay open. This includes hospitals, governmental institutions, and police stations, but also in many cases schools, kindergartens and offices. Research has shown that the risk of getting infected is significantly higher while staying indoors, especially if this happens for a long period of time. One of the benefits of smart cities during the Covid-19 crisis is the usage of intelligent ventilation and air quality systems. 

This type of IoT technology can analyse air pollution in real-time and, thanks to artificial intelligence, choose the right solution in order to improve the quality. In combination with occupancy measurement, specific areas with a large number of people can be prioritized. As a result, the infection risk in these spaces will be decreased.

Air filtration system

Work From Home or the Office?

As the number of companies that allowed working from home increased, it also became clear what issues still have to be solved. Living quality inside multi-family housing and offices needs to increase. This can be done thanks to innovative and smart solutions such as HVAC, lighting, or air quality management systems. 

In addition, the quality of public transport has to increase as well. Providing safe and fast connections throughout the urban area for a city’s inhabitants.

Conclusion

The last few months in 2021 and 2020 have shown us what the benefits of smart cities during the covid-19 crisis are. By using data science and IoT solutions, cities and buildings can improve the working and living quality of the citizens. Not only will this help us to solve the current pandemic, but also prepare us for the future and prevent these crises to an extent. 

If you want to learn more about smart buildings and cities, feel free to take a look at our other articles.

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