Smart city technology won’t just make local services more sustainable and efficient — it also has the potential to ‘give back’ three working weeks’ worth of time to each city resident every year.
According to a study by Intel and Juniper Research, smart cities could save residents as much as 125 hours every year thanks to improvements in four key areas: mobility, health care, public safety and productivity.
For instance, smart traffic systems, smart parking and open data platforms will enable citizens to navigate more efficiently throughout their cities, saving up to 60 hours a year.
Using mobile apps and telehealth instead of visiting the doctor will promote wellbeing and reduce drive and wait times, saving an average of nine hours.
Public safety efficiencies will come from the use of machine learning to predict crime and traffic hotspots and to expedite routes for emergency vehicles, accounting for another 35 hours, and 21 hours of savings will come from digital services simplifying administrative processes.
“Analysts tend to focus on the technical underpinnings of building a data-centric world,” said Windsor Holden, head of forecasting and consultancy at Juniper Research. “We can’t overlook the importance of the real human benefits that smart cities have. Connected communities, municipal services and processes have a powerful impact on a citizen’s quality of life.”
So, what could residents do with that extra free time?
They could spend more time with family and friends, take a long holiday, get active, or earn more money, the report says. They might also benefit from lower stress levels and decreased risk of depression, as well as improved recovery from illness, better overall health, and higher happiness levels.