Introduction to Smart Cities

Location: Room 102 Toldo Health Education Center

Date: August 1st, 2017

Dr. Negin Minaei, a visiting scholar and sessional instructor at the University of Windsor, introduced the topic of Smart Cities to students and community members on Tuesday August 1st in the Toldo Health Education Center.

The topic of Smart Cities is a large one, so many concepts were covered. There are actually hundreds of definitions available for Smart Cities, but the main concept covered in the presentation was the goal to bring our cities closer to sustainable development.

Often Smart Cities are thought of as cities that have massive connectivity to the Internet of Things (IoT) for increased convenience and general exploitation of high-technology, but Smart Cities should rather be thought of as cities that use technology and connectivity to gather as much information as possible about various conditions in the city that help us plan for efficiency or disaster. Sensors that acquire data about air quality, humidity, air pressure, flooding and even sensors that can detect the levels of waste distributed across a city all work together to supply our city planners and workers to ensure out cities are functional and efficient. Concepts of how we can use this data were introduced, such as Big Data and Open Data, which is basically when every practical bit of information is collected and processed, and when data collected is entirely open to the community, respectively.

Some cities like Chicago have began implementing Smart City techniques such as there “Array of Things“. There is even a city in Sweden called Malmö which has become entirely carbon-neutral using Smart City techniques, although there is a very high degree of community involvement that makes their carbon-neutrality possible.

Dr. Minaei’s presentation was an inspiring one, showing the audience that we have the tools to develop techniques that could bring the city of Windsor into the domain of a Smart City. Some of her M.Eng students have even developed low-cost products that improve the quality of drinking water, a major issue in sustainable development.

The IEEE student group thanks Dr. Minaei for her thought provoking presentation, and I’m certain some of us from the audience have already began brainstorming ideas to bring Windsor and hopefully the rest of the world closer to sustainable development.

Credit goes out to Krunal Surti  and Jia Zhu for being our photographers for the event, and to Connor Sousa for writing this event summary.

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