Smartest cities have smartest 'City Brains'

Yang Jian
More than half a million sensors and monitors have been put in place  downtown.
Yang Jian

Already home to some of the smartest citizens, Shanghai is moving at the speed of light down a fiber-optic cable into the smart city era.

More than half a million sensors and monitors, all Internet of Things devices, are now installed downtown.

These gizmos are playing their parts in almost every area of government endeavor from police work and transportation through consumer protection to sanitation. They are everywhere in Jing’an, Putuo and Yangpu districts and can be found at innumerable locations across the Pudong New Area.

At the Suzhou Creek Forum in Putuo yesterday, hosted by Putuo’s political advisors for a dozen years, a report on raising the smartness of the city offered suggestions on economic and social issues along the creek.

A pioneer of the smart city program is “Putuo City Brain.” The brain can detect fire hazards, test the quality of water and automatically generates alerts when danger is spotted.

The brain never sleeps. It is always on the lookout.

It searches for unlicensed night markets, tries to stop the spread of ugly “advertising” posted on any surface where glue will stick, and struggles to keep stairways free from junk, Zhang Wei, deputy director of Putuo, told the forum.

Sensors installed on the doors, beds and ceilings of seniors living alone know whether the elderly residents are at home, monitor their heartbeats and check on their breathing.

Soon, environmental protection, flood prevention, greening and construction will be connected into the system.

“Nearly 100,000 devices are installed in Putuo, collecting data around the clock,” Zhang said.

In Kongjiang, Yangpu, over 8,000 sensors are on the alert for unusual goings on.

Linfen Road, Jing’an, has over 500,000 sensors collecting and sending information for the urban management authority.

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