You might have hear a few things about the connected home; now get ready for the connected city. London’s Greenwich peninsula is to the test bed for Urban OS, a ‘smart city’ operating system that’s been developed by Living Plan IT.
The main idea behind Urban OS is that buildings, street lights and city systems will all be interlinked and connected. Traffic lights will ‘know’ where pile-ups might emerge and will be able to manage traffic more effectively.
Similarly, street lights, monitoring traffic will dim their lights if a road isn’t busy and sensors in buildings will be able to help out in emergency situations such as a fire.
To be launched in time for the London 2012 Olympic Games, a Greenwich’s smart city test bed will feature a cable car, a dock for cruise ships alongside new connected homes and businesses.
Talking to the BBC, Living Plan IT Chief Executive Steve Lewis said "We are entering a phase when everything becomes connected, from healthcare to transportation. This is about connecting things that previously never did."
The Urban OS will need to be more robust than, say, a smartphone OS.
"If my email is down for 10 minutes, it doesn't matter, but if the network is linked to my insulin pump, then that is different," says Lewis.
There’s potential for smart ‘vests’ that could monitor your heart rate and other life signs and smart heating systems connected to the Urban OS could come online when your house ‘knows’ you’re coming home.
While there’s undoubtedly many health benefits to the Urban OS not to mention huge energy saving costs, as the European Commission’s report on the ‘Internet of Things’ touches on, more and more things are becoming connected to systems and more data can be extrapolated.
Data on people living in smart cities will have to be stored and processed in a way in that it can’t identify citizens. We’re sold on the idea of easing traffic congestion though.