A future enabled by location technology, today
In this four-part series, HERE collaborates with four thought-leaders to explore the rapidly growing impact of location technology on four critical topics: smart cities, transportation, mobility and data monetization. Hear their ideas and views on the opportunities it is opening up for urban environments, and the businesses and governments who serve them.
It's really a utopia or oblivion moment - it depends on us architects where we want to go
Architect, engineer, inventor and activist, Ratti believes the new reality of cities is that the merging of physical and digital worlds offers us the opportunity to shape a new future. His research group at MIT explores how new technologies are changing the way we understand, design and ultimately live in urban environments.
Ratti's vision for a New Reality
A senseable city
Ratti sees a future where technology and data help us create urban environments and transportation systems that sense the needs of its citizens, anticipating their wishes and dynamically shifting around them.
“The internet is becoming the internet of things. As such, it’s radically changing the way we interact with our buildings, with the space we live in, and with our cities. People call this smart cities, but we don't like the name too much because it puts the emphasis on technology. For me, a smart city is a human city. We like the term ‘sensable’ city – a city that's able to sense.”
Infrastructure that flexes for the people it supports
In a recent urban transport project in Amsterdam, Ratti explains that a fleet of autonomous boats were designed to use its canals to respond to the city’s needs:
“Amsterdam is a beautiful city of water and canals, so we started working on self-driving boats. Not only for the transportation of people and goods, but also as a flexible infrastructure for reconfiguring the city. A bridge you can build when you need it, a floating platform we can assemble in the case of an emergency. Responsible, flexible architecture can help us use our cities in more flexible and human ways.”
A city that adapts to those who live there
In the future, citizens will connect with the dynamic, intelligent buildings around them, which adapt to their needs. Ratti believes technology will make our environment smarter:
“Today we heat entire buildings even when they're empty. Our homes are heated while we're in the office, and at night offices are heated while we are at home. New technologies can help us better synchronize for instance occupancy and energy consumption. Just by doing that we can save energy and make our buildings and cities more responsive to us.”
Creating utopia, or destined for oblivion?
Ratti sees the world at an urban-planning crossroads, with architects and engineers able to choose the path forward:
“If architects continue to think about architecture as beautifying some of the stuff we have, I think that's going to be oblivion. But if you are able to engage with the big challenges we face today, about inequalities in cities, about communities, on a global scale it's about climate change; if we can engage with that, it's what Buckminster Fuller would have called utopia. It's really a utopia or oblivion moment, and it depends on us architects where we want to go.”
Sood and his team are passionate about the possibilities data and location technology offer the smart cities of today, and the future. He sees cities using connected devices like street lamps and traffic lights to evolve existing infrastructure.
Sood believes that through innovative technological solutions like HERE’s Open Location Platform, and with the willingness of cities, governments and private companies to pool data, everybody can benefit from richer insights in order to plan smarter cities, improve the quality of life for the people living there, and transform the businesses who serve them.
Only by collating data from both organizations and governments can city planners establish the context needed to create smarter cities – made possible by the HERE Location Platform.
HERE collaborates with Copenhagen and the BMW Group to create a comprehensive, real-time data pool, from which we create innovative services to benefit both users and the city.
In Hamburg, HERE is already using data to develop services that enable transport users to move through the city more efficiently and quickly.
With NVIDA, HERE is developing the cutting edge of self-driving technology, with HERE HD Live Map intelligent mapping and advanced localization modeling.
Let’s create your new reality
Through a unique combination of data and services, we will partner with you to create value with location technology. To learn more about how HERE can enable new opportunities for your business, contact our team or read more about our scalable Smart City solutions.
More from the New Reality series
Can fairer access create more inclusive cities?
Professor Julian Agyeman of Tufts University explores the New Reality of mobility.
Is adaptability the future of transportation?
Seleta Reynolds of Los Angeles DoT discusses the New Reality of transportation.
Can we take control of our own personal data?
Data expert John Ellis looks at the New Reality of data monetization.