Smart city trend in Northeast India and why we should be concerned about privacy

Any city that invests in information and communication technology for sustainability, efficiency, and improved quality of life can be termed a smart city. While it is still a new concept to most global cities, smart cities have become increasingly popular in Northeast India.

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Kaziranga University

The idea of having smart cities in India has become a reality. The smart cities mission in India was launched in 2015 to create the next generation of smart cities all over India. Today, India enjoys the fruition of the concept, with smart cities like Guwahati, Agartala and Shillong ranked as smart cities in Northeast India.

Smart cities in Northeast India enjoy not only advanced infrastructure but also envisions high-tech advancements for governance. Smart cities governments rely on artificial intelligence, radio-frequency identification (RFID), Internet of Things, and cloud computing, among other technologies, to offer smart solutions to the citizens.

Here is a closer look at common smart city trends in Northeast India and the rest of the world and the benefits they offer.

Global Trend and Benefits of Smart Cities

Smart Buildings

As the urban population grows, one of the significant challenges local governments face is the ever-increasing energy consumption rate. With smart cities, cities can reduce carbon footprints by constructing smart buildings.

Smart buildings are energy-efficient buildings that are technologically wired to use renewable energy. They are fitted with air quality sensors to reduce the adverse effects caused by large carbon footprints. Some highly advanced smart buildings can generate their own power, further saving resources and improving sustainability.

Big Data

Leveraging big data for improved quality of life in different cities globally is one of the major trends of smart city tech. Advancements in technologies and big data, like the Internet of Things, give city governments access to a large amount of useful data. This helps to facilitate data-driven decision-making in areas such as resource management and even energy management. This helps to lower costs while improving service delivery.

Connectivity

All smart cities share a common feature. They are all connected digitally by use of citywide Wi-Fi connectivity and other services like CCTV cameras. Smart cities install Wi-Fi connections in different parts of the cities to encourage the use of smart technology by city dwellers. City Wi-Fi connections offer reliable internet to the residents while increasing digital equity. On the other hand, CCTV cameras improve the safety of a city since it makes it easier to enforce the law.

Smart Transport System

Smart transportation is also a common trend in smart cities. Smart transportation is used to solve traffic congestion while providing environmentally friendly transport solutions. Pollution increases with overpopulation in cities. By reducing traffic congestion, it is possible to save time and reduce the use of energy, which results in clear air. There are also financial benefits associated with a smart transport system.

While smart city projects around the world are meant to reduce the resource deficit burden of a country and offer numerous benefits to cities worldwide, this evolution of smart technology is not without strife.

Privacy Concerns over Smart Cities

As with any technology advancement, there are concerns about privacy issues due to an overreliance on technology.

Since smart cities rely on big data collection and analysis, this poses a concern to most people who would want to live in a smart city. Smart city residents are concerned about the privacy breach possibilities in smart cities.

With so much data in the hands of governing bodies, there is always the possibility of misuse. Some of the concerns include the possibility of mass surveillance as a way of gradually transitioning into a surveillance state.

The possibility of having your online activity and every move tracked and recorded makes it hard for citizens to embrace smart city technology fully. Generally, the more connected a city is, the less privacy the residents enjoy. There is also the possibility of having the data collected by smart city governments getting lost since it is centralized and connected to the web.

The information in the care of government agencies in smart cities is enough to be used for identity theft and other internet scams.

The Future of Smart Cities

With privacy concerns about smart cities, governments should take the time to include the required precautions to guarantee data safety. At an individual level, knowing the best internet hygiene practices is the best way to protect your data.

Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network or using the internet is an effective way of blocking the government from tracking your online activity or collecting your data. A VPN establishes a safe internet connection to guarantee internet privacy. It will encrypt your online traffic and hire your IP address even from your ISP.


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