COVID-19 To Accelerate Smart City Tech Adoption

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Many technologies eyed in helping governments get through the COVID-19 pandemic and businesses safely back to work will likely be used far into the future.

As cities begin to shift out of full lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, experts are calling for smart city tech to be at the forefront of reopening plans, to ensure people maintain social distancing while returning to a ‘normal’ way of life.

Drones, AI thermal scanning, autonomous deliveries, digital twins, and real-time location monitoring have all been deployed in some capacity to keep local services and businesses running, according to ABI Research.

Some of these may be required far into the future, as there’s no concrete timeline for a vaccine that is easily manufacturable.

“This will have a lasting impact, coming out of Covid-19 during and after the drawn-out recovery period, in the form of a step-change in how resilience is approached and generalized, allowing to prepare better for future calamities, a distinct silver lining on a very dark Covid-19 cloud,” said Dominique Bonte, vice president of end markets at ABI Research.

As we’ve written about previously, emerging technologies that were stuck in legislative lockdown are seeing a new light of day, due to the coronavirus. Sidewalk and small delivery robots are seeing an upswing in demand, with many legislators now agreeing that self-driving vehicles may have a place on our roads.

Keeping Cities Clean

One of the positives of the coronavirus pandemic has been the severe reduction in congestion, road accidents, and air pollution. Some local authorities are looking to keep traffic to a minimum post-lockdown, by implementing smart traffic lights, more cycle lanes, and legalizing e-scooters and skateboards.

The shutdown of manufacturing has led many businesses to accelerate digital transformation plans. Manufacturers are trialing cobots and AI to perform some tasks while installing CCTV to maintain social distancing measures.

Through the use of location data, local authorities can also track public spaces to ensure people are maintaining social distancing. This could be further utilized in cinemas, museums, and indoor areas that intend to reopen in the next few months.