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How the Internet of Things could create self-actualized cities

What we do and who we know impacts how we feel. But where we live has just as much impact on our lives.

One of those concepts we learned in high school was Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Maslow, as you may or may not remember, broke down our needs and wants into five areas: Physiological needs, safety and security, love and belonging, self-esteem, self-actualization. Those areas reflect the human condition: We want to feel loved, feel safe, and feel good about ourselves. You know – pretty much everything all the morning talk show psychologists would have you believe we don’t feel.

IoT World News guest blogger Justin Bean (Director of Smart City Solutions Marketing and Hitachi Data Systems Internet of Things World partner sponsor) tweaks Maslow’s HoN and applies the fundamental concepts of psychology to the cities in which we live.


Feel safe and feel good

According to Bean, “Safety and security is the foundation of a stable, thriving society.” No argument there. Some cities have larger challenges on this front than others. For its part, Hitachi is helping cities become safer with public safety solutions like Hitachi Visualization Predictive Crime Analytics, creating what it calls “predictive policing” that helps officers predict when and where crimes are likely to happen.

That is just the tip of the iceberg, but you can’t fault Bean’s logic when he posits that “In order for people to build strong relationships, do great work, and feel empowered, they need to be able to rely on city infrastructure to get them where they need to go, keep their air and drinking water clean, and make it easy to connect with others.”

It’s not much of a stretch then to understand that cities can provide for the same needs that Maslow built a career on by first having an accurate view of how the city is operating, and second by being able to manage infrastructure operations and maintenance in an efficiently and effectively.

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More importantly, how you the citizen fits in to the overall scheme of things in the city in which you live.

The IoT and your city

I’m more than convinced. I’ve lived pretty much all over the world and the locales that excited me the most had the most evolved infrastructure. I’m not talking about a secluded beach in the Seychelles, that kind of thing you search for on purpose. I’m talking about the positive vibes I get walking the streets in Prague as opposed to the sense of danger I felt when I got lost in a US city that used to be famous for making cars (sorry, trying to be PC here).

You get the idea. Cities comments Bean, “Make a huge impact on people’s lives, and connected technologies enabled by The Internet of Things provide an opportunity to expand this impact and make it more positive.” Cities can spur innovation in their communities to help people build stronger relationships, solve problems locally and technologically, and create new, more convenient ways of going about daily life.

Building blocks

The foundation of all of these solutions, and the material that makes up the proverbial pyramid is The Internet of Things, and the data that these things produce. ]

The Internet of Things is providing the first step of giving us information about our world.

According to Bean’s article in IoT World News, “Applying analytics to that data provides insights, enabling cities to take more informed actions that lead to better outcomes: whether that’s a proactive response from officers to prevent a crime, intelligent traffic lights that coordinate based on traffic flow, or helping someone turn an idea for a solution into a real solution.”

I encourage you to give it some thought. We certainly have the innate tools to make our own lives better. But where and how we live count just a much. As the Internet of Things grows, so does our potential to make ourselves and our world smarter.

Who knows – maybe it’s time for you to pack your bags and head to greener pastures.

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Written By

Nearly three decades living and working all over the world as a radio and television broadcast journalist in the United States Air Force, Staff Writer, Gary Picariello is now retired from the military and is focused on his writing career.


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