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Samstag, 22.06.2024
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As cities in the Republic of South Africa (RSA) experience rapid growth, the concept of smart cities, driven by innovative technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), presents an extraordinary potential to revolutionise urban infrastructure and services. At the core of this transformation lies Lenovo’s Smart Cities initiative, harmonising AI expertise with the promise of smarter technology for all.

Smart cities are not just technological marvels; they embody the integration of technology, data, and citizen-centric solutions to optimise urban living. A smart city leverages AI, Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, and automation to enhance the efficiency, sustainability, and the ‘livability’ of urban environments. By seamlessly connecting people, processes, and devices, a smart city essentially addresses critical urban challenges while laying the foundation for future generations.

The South African imperative: Reimagining urban landscapes

In the South Africa, the growth of urban environments presents both possibilities and dilemmas. Challenges such as congestion, energy scarcity, extreme weather, waste management, and safety concerns necessitate innovative approaches. By building smart cities that utilise AI and technology, society can transform traditional urban ecosystems into intelligent, interconnected networks.

Lenovo’s vision, smarter technology for all, aligns seamlessly with the ideals of a smart city. The essence lies not just in deploying technology, but in making it accessible and impactful for every citizen. By fostering inclusive development, Lenovo’s approach resonates with RSA’s aspiration to uplift its diverse population. In extension, its Smart Cities initiatives has already been piloted in various regions, employing intelligent solutions to enhance municipal infrastructure and foster interactive governance that engages citizens, businesses, and public institutions in the administration of their urban environment.

Transforming RSA’s urban fabric

Lenovo’s Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG) recently unveiled an amplified partner ecosystem expansion, complemented by the introduction of readily deployable artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. This will equip Lenovo with the capability to introduce a spectrum of AI solutions that cater to diverse domains and industries. Some of the areas which this can be beneficial include the following:

  • Traffic management and urban mobility

    AI-powered traffic management systems can leverage data from sensors, cameras, and connected vehicles to predict congestion patterns. This predictive capability has the power to enable cities to optimise traffic flow, reducing travel times, fuel consumption, and pollution.

    Major capitals nationally can deploy a network of AI-enabled traffic cameras at key intersections and roadways. These cameras capture real-time traffic data, including vehicle counts, speed, and congestion levels.

    Complementing the use of AI for urban mobility, cities are also witnessing the increase of mobile apps for commuters, which provide traffic updates, alternative routes, and public transportation schedules.

  • Weather forecasting and community safety

    In 2022, KwaZulu-Natal experienced heavy rainfall, resulting in thousands of homes being damaged. Critical infrastructure, including major roads, transportation, communication, and electrical systems, were also impacted. Since then, the province has faced significant challenges in predicting and managing weather forecasts, placing immense pressure and consequences for communities, infrastructure, and agriculture.

    To address these challenges, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, announced a R100 million budget allocation over three years to help the South African Weather Service to upgrade its technological capacity. AI-enhanced weather prediction and flood management systems are gradually being implemented to provide more accurate and timely forecasts. The key features will ultimately enable advanced data collection through a network of weather sensors and satellites that gather a wide range of meteorological data, including rainfall intensity, wind patterns, and humidity levels.

    By utilising geospatial data to create flood risk maps, vulnerable areas are highlighted, and the information is shared with local communities to facilitate proactive evacuation planning, community engagement, and resilience building. This AI approach can serve as a model for other regions prone to extreme weather events.

  • Energy efficiency and sustainability

    A Lenovo AI-driven energy management solution can analyse consumption patterns to predict peak demand periods. This is particularly crucial in RSA, which is grappling with a severe load shedding crisis that has far-reaching implications on a socioeconomic level, affecting businesses, industries, and households alike.

    In addition to peak demand prediction which would enable utilities and consumers to prepare and take proactive measures, the solution would further allow for smarter resource allocation that takes advantage of energy storage solutions. Inevitably cities like Johannesburg will be empowered to proactively manage energy distribution, reduce wastage and promote renewable sources.

    A case where this has been successfully implemented is in Barcelona, where smart technology is used to install City OS, an open data infrastructure. The technology has allowed the City Council to distribute municipal resources more efficiently, in transport, energy, or water usage.

  • Public safety and health

    AI-powered analytics solutions can offer a proactive approach to health safety. An example of this was when the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe. Addfor, headquartered in Turin, Italy, set out to use its AI expertise to help governments and local authorities keep citizens as safe as possible. For the City of Turin, Addfor developed and deployed an AI solution crowdHEDGE, based on Lenovo the ThinkSystem SE350 edge servers to interface with networked video systems, using AI drone footage to extract data insights in outdoor spaces like city parks. crowdHEDGE focuses on tracking foot traffic and crowd sizes to closely monitor compliance with COVID-19 public policies. Lenovo’s ThinkSystem edge server solution, powered by NVIDIA T4 Tensor Core GPUs, enabled the image recognition captured by the drone footage.

Prospects: Forging ahead

South Africa’s journey towards smart cities through Lenovo’s AI-driven initiative exemplifies a shared mission for innovation, inclusivity, and sustainability. By embracing the potential of AI and smart technology, South Africa has the unique opportunity to build cities that are not just digitally advanced, but also equitable, responsive, and vibrant.

The mentioned pain points – congestion, energy consumption, severe weather conditions, waste management, and public safety are just examples among the critical challenges that must be addressed for cities to thrive.

In conclusion, the confluence of Lenovo’s mission for urban evolution through AI-powered smart cities represents a transformative paradigm shift. As the country progresses towards urban excellence, the synergy between technology and innovation will undoubtedly pave the way for a brighter, more connected urban future – a future where smarter technology for all becomes a living reality.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Dean Wolson

Quelle/Source: Gadget, 03.10.2023

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