Listen closely and you might hear it -- the rising intensity of data within cities and urban regions that continue to grow as more and more cities begin their own digital transformation. 

If you’re interested (or even skeptical) about the future of the Internet of Things, analytics and artificial intelligence, keep your eyes on our urban centers where some amazing social innovations are well underway.

Smart cities are converting all kinds of information and data into services that support the people that live there. Designed to improve life by connecting people in their everyday activities to new information at their fingertips that helps to guide them through and make the most of every day. It's experiential in how it can optimize our lives, our time and our choices to make the most of everything we do better and more efficient than ever before. By better harmonizing our day through information that in real-time impacts our daily choices so we can lead a better and more productive life. 

Imagine a future where your city is in touch with you. It knows where you are and begins to understand your living patterns. It begins to predict your needs and routines that impact your everyday. Information smart enough that it begins to accommodate your needs in new ways that insanely somehow start to make you feel more special and connected. 

It's in our nature to want to have knowledge at our fingertips. Which route to work will get me there the quickest and auto-reserve a parking spot for me close by?  Who's going to be at work today and what will the commute be like?  When are fewer people in the grocery store and do they have my favorite items? Will there ever be a time where I never have to go to the department of motor vehicles ever again? They have my information don't they? Where is my favorite micro-brew closest to me? What's the best time to work out today and can someone tell me in real-time when my laundry might be ready?

My point is that urban living is about to get a lot better. Smart cities are about you -- the best part is about YOU. Your needs, your life, your living and making the most of it. The government, the infrastructure, businesses, services, buildings and people will all be intricately woven together with virtually unlimited information streaming to us allowing a constant ability to improve our lives, our relationships and our daily activities. 

For example, Hitachi Consulting was recently selected to design “smart city” services for One Bangkoka massive complex of nine towers and a variety of office, retail, hospitality and residential space in the heart of Thailand’s capital city.  Frasers Property Group and TCC Assets called on us to work on integrating smart services in energy, water, telecommunications, predictive maintenance, video analytics, security, traffic and parking.  Everything will run on a single IoT-driven platform and command center.

We predict that initiatives such as One Bangkok are evidence of an emerging “Urban 4.0.” My Hitachi colleagues Andrew Hamilton, Theo Scherman and I write about this next generation of urban planning: “Urban Modernization Powered by Smart Infrastructure.” We cite other examples and offer some fearless forecasts about the impact of Urban 4.0 on citizens, city planners and developers, and the vendors they work with.

Reach out to us if you are interested in learning more about urban modernization and the underlying technologies, or sharing your perspective on the future of our cities.