New York City is running a few pilot programs around new smart city technology. A few of these test are worth keeping an eye on to city how they improve city life. Some of the test in action are the city WiFi stations, smart park benches, smart buses, and shotspotter. Keeping an eye on how they help New Yorkers will be the city’s way to decide on whether or not to implement them further.
If you live and work around Manhattan, you probably noticed the big signs with free city WiFi. This is the most obvious and largest of the smart city projects that you can see. However, the original criticism is that they are suppose to be for the poorer areas, so New Yorkers with low income can get WiFi. Now that most of the streets of Manhattan have free WiFi. This has been successful in most part. This allows New Yorkers and tourist to use free WiFi while strolling the city, and saves on your data plan.
If you hang out in some parks in upper Manhattan you will have seen some smart benches. These benches are solar powered stations for your smart phone. The also track the amount of wifi connected devices to measure foot traffic in an area. Then park officials will determine what is needed in the area. It would be nice to have a place to charge a phone while spending the day in the park. No opinion on the device tracking yet.
A few city buses have been equipped with a GPS in a route down in lower Manhattan. This will hope fully allow them to be guided through traffic, and be faster and more efficient. However; how this can work if they have to stay on a decided rout. All it will do is say where the traffic on the route will be,and there is now way around it. There has to be more to this experiment, and hopefully it can help easy the city’s overworked transit system.
The city is testing out a technology that will allow the police to identify individual gunshots around the city. This is a rooftop technology that help triangulate and track the acoustics of a gunshot. So far the technology has worked well. Police found that 73% of shots identified by shotspotter were not reported to the police. This will help police respond to shootings, without relying on citizens to report gunfire.
What is the future of these and other programs?
The future looks bright for these pilot programs, and hopefully the will expand them. At the same time, hopefully the city will look to continue to improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers through technology.