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How Can the Internet of Things Impact Smart Cities?

City populations are rising each year. How can the intelligent, intuitive nature of the web permeate the physical world and make cities better places to live in?

Dave Etherington

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the myriad ways in which the connectedness of technology will impact not only the way in which we do business, but also the way we live our daily lives.

Would you believe me if I told you OOH (Out-of-Home) advertising was going to change the way we live for the better? It might sound far fetched, but increasingly OOH is being seen as the backbone of the Smart Cities movement.

The basic principle of Smart Cities is that in the future, powered by connected devices and data, we can create more responsive places to live. Technology will solve important issues such as congestion, carbon emissions, health, and even provide a way to improve our sex lives.

The intelligent, intuitive nature of the web will be brought into the physical world, which will allow us to begin to positively impact cities and make them better places to live in.

Certainly, as our urban areas get more crowded (54% of the world’s population already live in cities, which will grow to 66% by 2050), it’s vital that their infrastructures evolve and adapt to keep up with other technologies and the needs of residents.

But what has all this got to do with OOH (Out-of-Home) advertising? Well, as it turns out, quite a bit. Municipalities are beginning to see more dimensions to the traditionally linear role of the medium (brand pays for ad/consumers see ad/municipality gets a share of ad revenue).

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Why can’t OOH begin to work much harder for the cities it serves? Could the same display that generates ad impressions and revenue for a city also help connect devices and provide entertainment, way-finding, information and other elements of genuine utility?

New York-based Titan (along with partners Control Group, Qualcomm and Comark), are doing just that. Working with New York City, Titan is already participating in updating an aging technological infrastructure (7,000 old pay phones) and replacing them with over 7,500 new structures called Links.

Links provide gigabit Wi-Fi across the city, as well as access to phone and video calls, free internet via a tablet, way-finding, proximity services, super fast USB charging, and search functions. All for free.

In fact, over $500m of revenue will go directly back to NYC. Much of the anonymized and aggregated data collected will also be given to the developer community, again for free, so they can start working on killer apps to make the city even smarter, friendlier, safer and green. All these services, which go a considerable way in providing New York with the fastest free Wi-Fi infrastructure anywhere in the world, will be made possible by OOH advertising.

RELATED: Building Internet of Things to Uproot Commercial Automation

This amazing transformation will position OOH as a key tool in helping create the type of city (or airport, or transit system, or mall) that people want to live in. And this is just the beginning. Future proximity services such as Qualcomm’s LTE Direct, will allow customization of the world around us, including OOH digital displays, helping to make more sense of the cities we live in with our millions of neighbors. 

Author Dave Etherington will be a panelist in the DSE 2015 Pre-Show Digital Out-of-Home Strategy Summit entitled, “The Internet of Things: When Digital & Physical Worlds Collide,” on Tuesday, March 10th at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Other panelists will include Ian Dalimore, Director of Innovation & Digital Strategy for Lamar Advertising, Josh Kruter, VP Digital Product, Clear Channel Outdoor, and Andrew Sriubas, EVP Strategic Planning & Development, CBS Outdoor.

To learn more about this session, or to register for this and other educational presentations, go to:

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