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Making Happier Cities

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The Internet of Everything is moving from a cool tech concept, connecting all our everyday devices at home and work, to a policy choice for city officials all over the world. As one European mayor put it, adopting IoE in city systems can make for building “a happier city.”

How does IoE (also called the Internet of Things) make a city happy? Some of the answers are in “Building New Cities: Challenges, Opportunities and Recommendations,” a report from Cityquest-KAEC, which promotes better development for the cities of the future.

IoE can help a city build new revenue streams and increase the efficiency of its services.  “Cities have the opportunity to imagine user-friendly services that facilitate the development of an identity and a sense of community,” says the Cityquest report. And a sense of community fosters happiness.

Copenhagen offers a good example, with its ambitious goal to be among the world’s greenest cities. There, IoE connects sensors powering the city’s smart lighting, parking, water management, and smart grid solutions, tying them all into one network. Data and analytics on network usage help the city better manage resources and meet green goals. Bottom line: improved quality of life and happier citizens.

There are other examples. In Dallas and Chicago, citizen-developed apps empower people to engage directly with government officials or each other, whether reporting a dangerous pothole, accident or crime.

In Bangalore and Brisbane, mall kiosks with video, audio and touchscreens enable citizens to apply for a driver’s license, pay bills or file a complaint. In New York City, electronic maps provide real-time information on traffic, public transit schedules or entertainment options –all creating a more engaged and informed citizenry.

It’s no coincidence that Smart Cities such as Copenhagen, Dubai, King Abdullah Economic City, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Sydney, each of which has embraced the Internet of Everything, always rank high on happiness indexes.

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