How the Internet of Things and Predictive Analytics are Shaping the Future

Jan 06, 2020

The term smart city harkens back to vintage iconography of buildings in the clouds, floating robots, and flying cars, a Jetson-esque landscape of science bending technology. This idyllic version may not be accurate, but a realistic smart city is possible in the near future. With the creation of the Internet of Things (IoT), there has become a clearer vision of how we can create a unique city of the future. By collecting and using insights from IoT data, we can create technology and manage resources much more efficiently, therefore reducing redundancy and streamlining everyday living.

There are places all over the world already putting smart city technology into use. Islands like Aruba and Sicily are challenging outdated ideals and creating smart grids of renewable energy. Barcelona has used fiber optic technology to create free Wi-Fi and, so far, has saved 75 million euro and created 47,000 jobs by integrating smart water, lighting, and parking. In the United States, both Boston and Baltimore created smart trash cans that let sanitation workers know which ones are the fullest and what the optimal route would be for efficiency on the job. Cities around the world are converting standard streetlights to connected and more efficient lighting. Through creativity and innovation, the world is finally at your imagination’s fingertips.

However, there are some obstacles. Some major roadblocks include existing infrastructure and technological capacity, integration, funding, litigation, security, and privacy concerns. There needs to be a consensus across political, generational, and organizational boundaries and the technology needs to be integrated seamlessly into everyday life with the least amount of transitional turmoil. There are ways to establish this, and a big asset we have is predictive analytics.

There is no shortage of data and more is constantly being generated each day. The IoT draws a vast amount of different information streams together, so by pairing this information with predictive analytics, technology advances can make life easier for everyone. Here are some examples of how predictive analytics is providing tremendous value right now.

  • Law enforcement:
    • Used by police officers to identify the most crime ridden areas, so they can focus resources more effectively
  • City Planning:
    • Used to help expanding cities figure out how to sustainably grow and maintain integrity when uninhabited areas quickly become more populated
  • Transportation:
    • In London for the 2012 Olympics, predictive analytics helped travelers get to and from their destinations for a whopping 18 million journeys.
  • Health Care

In North Carolina, predictive analytics helps Emergency Medical Services (EMS) make better decisions for cardiac arrest victims based on 20 years of data about cardiac arrest patients. This information helped Wake County EMS changed its recommendations for how long to conduct CPR from 30 minutes (the industry standard) to 60 minutes or more – if EMTs see cardiac activity during CPR.

In addition to predictive analytics, the development or expansion of technologies in the IoT will continue to revolutionize the world and how we interact with it. While we may not fly around in cars or have robotic maids clean up after us anytime soon, we can create smart cities where these ideas may not seem so far-fetched. With strategic planning, predictive analytics, and working across diverse fields, the futuristic world of tomorrow may not be as distant as we thought.