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Vision of the future: from the smart home to the smart city

21. May 2019 Published by Raphael Doerr

Lights that switch on automatically when you get home, heating that warms the bathroom before you step into it in the morning – all that sounded like science fiction 30 years ago, but now it’s reality. The smart home is on the advance and is becoming increasingly commonplace. Gigaset offers an extensive portfolio of smart products to make your own four walls more secure and convenient. Yet the technical possibilities and digital progress are not only producing smart homes – whole cities are to become smart and connected in the future. Policymakers and urban planners have been grappling with the concept of “smart cities” for a long time.

When is a city actually smart? There are no hard and fast criteria. However, the following areas play a crucial role: improved mobility and infrastructure, energy efficiency, conservation of the environment and resources, economic attractiveness, and citizen-friendly administration – and all that should ultimately enhance the quality of life for its inhabitants.

Cities of the future

Whether it’s sensors for automatic waste separation or systems to avoid traffic jams – some things seem like pie in the sky, while others have already been put into practice in Germany. However, there are already a number of smart cities (in particular in Asia) that have been completely planned as such from scratch and built in a short space of time. One example is Fujisawa in Japan, which was planned and erected by Panasonic as a pilot project for a smart city. Its objective is for inhabitants to live in as resource-efficient a manner as possible and to test what is feasible in the field of smart living. Solar panels, water-saving showers and toilets, e-bikes and electric cars give a foretaste of what eco-friendly living might be like in the future.

There is something similar in South Korea’s Songdo, which is regarded as a showcase smart city. Here too, the technical infrastructure (such as sensors and cameras) were integrated during construction of it and so the result is a fully connected city. Inhabitants can attend to administrative activities from their living room by means of camera transmission or waste is separated by sensors.

Planned cities like Songdo aren’t realistic in Germany. However, many German cities such as Dortmund, Hamburg, Osnabrück or Braunschweig are striving to become smart cities and are already implementing various pilot projects. Methods for ensuring efficient traffic management and climate-friendly technologies are being tested in what is called the Climate Street in Cologne, for example.

Starting small

Even though fully connected cites are not yet a reality in Germany, you can start upgrading your own four walls with Gigaset’s smart solutions. Newcomers to the smart home can use the Gigaset Smart Home alarm system L, for example, to make their home more secure and will always know what’s happening there thanks to the Gigaset smart camera. Small sensors detect whether windows are open or tilted, whether someone is leaving or returning home, or ultimately whether someone is trying to enter by force. Connected smoke detectors issue a warning in the event of a fire, while the water sensor notifies you if a pipe breaks or water leaks out of the dishwasher or washing machine. The Gigaset smart thermostat controls the heating – and then the bathroom is nice and warm in the morning without the heating having to be on all night. And the smart plugs switch electrical appliances, such as the coffee maker or standard lamp, on and off.

Data security

The more connected our life, the more important the issue of data security is. It’s therefore advisable to rely on trusted manufacturers when buying components for the smart home. With Gigaset, you can rest assured that your personal data is stored securely on servers in Germany. And for the Gigaset smart camera, for example, there is a dedicated privacy mode in which the camera records absolutely nothing at all.

 

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