Google to Build City of the Future?

Those who work in the tech and city planning industries are likely aware of Sidewalk Labs – the latest venture from Alphabet, the parent company of Google. Sidewalk Labs is in the process of opening bidding to counties and states for the construction of a “digital district.” This futuristic mini-city is designed to experiment and demonstrate state-of-the-art projects, such as self-driving cars, public transportation projects, and citywide high-speed Internet. The testing district would allow Sidewalk Labs to showcase its Flow platform, which uses sensors to monitor vehicle and human traffic in populated areas. The company is even considering building out an entire city, and is looking at sections of Denver and Detroit for such a project. Reportedly, the project involves a hundred researchers, futurists, and city planners.

While a smart city project of this nature, built from the ground up, would be unique in the United States, a similar project is already up and running in the South Korea city of Songdo. If Sidewalk Labs is successful in its endeavor, it could confirm to cities and municipalities the value of investing time and money on Internet of Things technologies. From connected homes and cars, to smart buildings and transportation, the IoT Revolution will change how we live, work, play, travel and entertain. The smart technology ushers in the next Industrial Revolution. “Smart mirrors” can allow people to digitally try on clothes; assembly lines will be able to detect the slightest decrease in efficiency and automatically correct the problem; fitness trackers can allow users to transmit data directly to their doctors; and agricultural equipment can plant, fertilize and harvest crops via GPS.

According to a research report from Business Insider’s BI Report, by the year 2020, IoT devices connected to the Internet will more than triple from 10 billion to 34 billion. Businesses will be the top adopter of IoT technologies, as they will lower operating costs, increase productivity, expand new markets and develop new products. Governments will be the second-largest adopters, while consumers will be the group least affected by IoT technologies. It is estimated that nearly $6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions over the next five years.

The cities of the future hold a great deal of exciting new technologies to make our lives better and more efficient. And much of those technologies are already appearing in our daily lives. With new innovations from Sidewalk Labs and their ambitious digital cities project, the future can change right before our eyes.