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Education and healthcare technologies deliver smart city benefits

Education and healthcare technologies deliver smart city benefits

While most of the activity around smart cities remains focused on infrastructure-based initiatives such as smart grids and metering, smart street lights, smart waste management and smart bins, smart parking, smart kiosks and smart utilities, cities also need to address the softer aspects of livability linked to healthcare and education, which in turn drive economic growth. These findings are from a new report by ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies.

Advanced smart cities like Singapore (FutureSchools programme, Smart Nation healthcare initiatives) and Dubai (e-Services portal for universities, Healthcare City) are leading the transition from legacy smart cities practices to next-generation healthcare and educational reforms, leveraging smart home and mobile technologies, AI, robotics, 5G, Blockchain, sensors and platforms to promote eLearning and eHealth.

“Common to both healthcare and education, the provisioning of remote, online services is transforming service industries in cities,” said Dominique Bonte, Vice President End Markets at ABI Research. “The centralised ‘brick and mortar’ approach of providing standardised education and healthcare at physical locations and at discrete times is giving way to virtualisation characterised by real-time, adaptive, continuous, flexible and intelligent monitoring and guidance.”

While smart healthcare is increasingly targeted at the ageing population – those who are about to leave or already have exited the active economy – smart education is squarely, but not uniquely, directed at younger demographics with the aim of preparing them for their future role in the economy. From a smart city perspective, this brings smart education solidly into the realm of economic development. It also has secondary, more indirect benefits related to inclusion and reduction of poverty. At the same time, ever faster enterprise technology cycles increasingly require continuous re-education, leading to new paradigms of life-long learning, peer-to-peer learning, real-time curricula, embedded and micro learning, which is shifting education from school to the enterprise.

For cities themselves, partnering with local R&D institutes on smart technologies is increasingly important to keep up with technological innovation. In the US, The Metrolab Network coordinates 35 city-university innovation partnerships and 160 projects which is pairing university researchers with city policymakers in 59 universities and 44 cities.

By 2028, the number of patients monitored remotely will exceed the number of patients monitored on-site in medical facilities. However, healthcare is being integrated into a wider ‘well-being’ environment of healthy lifestyles, safety and preventive attitudes, blurring the boundaries between traditional healthcare and overall smart city livability objectives.

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