Smart cities, smart IT and how it will change your life

F5 IT plans on breathing new life into cities by making them smarter. Here are some of the ways they are going about it.

The world is quietly undergoing drastic changes. Cities are planning for a not so distant future where estimates point to a population of 8.4 billion people, according to surveys from the Population Reference Bureau. The majority of these people will live in urban areas. In an overburden world, cities can easily become stress points where people just have to live, compared to actually wanting to live there. This is where smart technology and smart cities get relevant.

There are several definitions of smart cities, but generally it comes down to integrating information and communication technology to manage city assets and enable a better quality of life for the people living there.

F5 IT, a medium-sized Norwegian company specialising in software development, network and security solutions, are currently developing several solutions for the smart city segment, Trond Furunes, managing director explained.

Trond Furunes, Managing Director, F5 IT.  (Photo: Bjørnar Utseth)

– Currently we are collaborating with Gjesdal municipality as part of an Innovation Norway-project. Gjesdal are perfect in that they are eager and positive to be part of a project that explores possibilities regarding new technology and solutions for the cities of the future. Also, Gjesdal has a population of approximately 11,000 inhabitants, which is manageable at this stage of the development, says Furunes.

Some of the solutions F5 IT are developing and testing in Gjesdal this year are;

  • A smart city response center that monitores services and IOT infrastructure. It gives live feedback and warnings if something isn’t working or responding.
  • Enviromental sensors that registers CO2 level, particulate pollution and NO2. Combining live sensor data with historical data on weather and traffic presents a forecast of air pollution.
  • An IOT hub that works as a smart city connector for devices and systems.
  • Free city WIFI and updates on available parking space in the area.
  • My page – customized warnings and information, and a tool to streamline communication between the citizens and the city.

– Some of these solutions are already implemented; some are in testing while others are under development. This is part of a natural evolving digitalization and in some time these solutions will be available everywhere. It is just a matter of time. What is fascinating with the stuff we are doing is that by using sensors, combined with historical data and machine learning algorithms, we can reduce energy-usage in buildings more efficiently than the way it works today. Also, people with illnesses like COPD can get notifications on air-quality at different times of the day. This way, they can for instance plan outdoor activities to more suitable hours in the day, Furunes said.

Frode Fjeldsbø, Mayor of Gjesdal Municipality.

Mayor of Gjesdal municipality, Frode Fjeldsbø, explained that they stand united in making a Gjesdal a smart city.

– We want to be known as a smart city. This is something not only I, but also everyone on the council agrees on. Developing and testing projects within the smart city segment is something we have focused on for a long time now. Smart city does not only entail technology, control, sensors and artificial intelligence. It is also a way of thinking so that the population get a better way of life. If we can do that by reducing emissions, offering services like free WIFI, smart mobility and better control of buildings, accessible information about the municipality and so on, that is an excellent start.


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