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Are Smart Cities Following the Smart Campus, or Vice Versa?

Smart campuses — interconnected and ecologically conscious — are often incubators for new ideas about the uses of technology, including the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart devices of all types. While some cities are smart as well, larger urban areas with relatively old infrastructure, like New York City, have not often been counted among their number.

Smart Campuses and Smart Cities

Smart campuses, for example, have been leaders in the installation of superfast wi-fi that not only handles organizational needs but literally millions of devices used by students and teachers.

Smart campuses have pioneered the use of sensors and cameras that gather data all across the area. If that sounds like Big Brother Goes to College, they actually increase campus safety. They are also deployed in benign ways, such as monitoring stadiums on Game Day to make sure that faucets aren’t left running and concession lines move smoothly.

An increasing number of campuses have multiple digital information and service kiosks. They provide maps and “you are here” orienting information (they are the digital upgrades to the displayed maps of yore) and often provide auditory directions as well. These kiosks can be used to provide students with updated information, such as class cancellations and emergency information.

smart cities

New York City has gone smart!

New York City’s Kiosks Show Advantages of Smart Technology

The technology news innovations of smart campuses have now achieved sufficient penetration that even older cities with decaying infrastructure such as New York City are getting them.

Recently, New York City’s LinkNYC was awarded the Infrastructure Advancement of the Year Award by the industry publication Smart Cities Dive. LinkNYC is an information and digital service kiosk intended to replace the old pay phone booths. But, as they do on smart campuses, these kiosks do much more.

Users can access free high-speed wi-fi, a significant benefit in a city with many cities who are economically marginal enough to not be able to afford broadband. They can make free phone calls. The kiosks are sites where emergency phone calls can be made as well. Users can also get maps and step-by-step directions.

Passersby can also use the USB ports provided as part of the kiosks to charge their devices. The spaces also provide large high-definition screens that can be used for information, advertising, or both.

The kiosks are the product of the business leadership of CityBridge, a consortium of technology and connectivity firms that include Intersection, Qualcomm and CIVIQ Smartscapes.

New York plans to eventually install a total of 7,500 Links throughout the five boroughs of the city.

The kiosks have proven a boon to retail stores located near them, which have seen an uptick in business. City leaders have also pointed out that they do a lot to bridge the digital divide, wherein some residents have access to broadband and some do not.

So smart campus innovations can work with big city mores.

Smart campuses are continuing to innovate. Some, like the University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin, are currently testing the self-driving car, both by itself and in tandem with current vehicular traffic. Will these innovations eventually be rolled out in large cities? Time will tell.