Smart cities need engaged citizens

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Welcome to NEOM

written by Guy Brandon

Vizsafe’s platform is designed to ensure that problems are quickly addressed. This has immediate application in sporting and entertainment venues, but there is a wider goal and vision here: the creation and effective management of smart cities.

Although there is no single definition — the idea is too new for that — a Smart City is a settlement that uses various technologies to optimize the delivery of services to citizens and maintain its infrastructure. The concept of smart cities is quickly gaining traction, with several countries actively engaging with the concept in the interests of improving public services, reducing environmental footprints and increasing residents’ quality of life.

An example of this new movement is Neom: a vast economic area, spanning three countries in the Gulf, pioneered by Saudi’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman as part of the Vision 2030 strategy of moving the country away from its dependency on oil. Spanning over 10,000 square miles and almost 300 miles of coastline, Neom is spread over Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. Saudi will invest in it to the tune of $500 billion from its sovereign wealth fund, with an emphasis on nine key areas: energy and water, mobility, biotech, food, technological and digital sciences, advanced manufacturing, media, and entertainment. Energy will be provided entirely from renewable wind and solar sources, and mundane and repetitive tasks will be carried out by robots. ‘All services and processes in Neom will be 100 per cent fully automated, with the goal of becoming the most efficient destination in the world, and in turn be implemented on all activities such as legal, government, and investment procedures among others.’

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Vizsafe — doing well by doing good

While a vast array of sensors and IoT devices will be deployed to meet the data requirements of a smart approach to public service delivery, any city’s largest and most sophisticated sensor network takes the form of its citizens. As the ones who use the city’s infrastructure and services 24/7, they are uniquely placed to report any issues. What stops most people from doing so is firstly the lack of a platform with the appropriate channels and secondly, the lack of immediate incentives — most of the time, an issue will be seen as someone else’s job to raise or address.

This is where Vizsafe’s platform comes in. We have designed and built a powerful application to mobilize the crowd and give them a reason to submit information that is in everyone’s interests. The SPOT token is the incentive that people need to go to the trouble of uploading a report for a matter of concern, whether that is a potential security threat like an unattended bag, or faulty infrastructure or services like a damaged street light or ATM. It’s the slight nudge that makes ‘someone else’s problem’ into ‘my opportunity’. Once we start rewarding participation meaningfully, people cease to be consumers and service users. They become active partners in maintaining the communities in which they live and work.

To learn more, please visit: https://www.vizsafe.com/blockchain

with contributions by Peter Mottur and Claude Sheer

Written by

Vizsafe connects citizens, businesses and governments to enable safer and smarter communities. Post/map/share photos, videos, cameras and other sensors.

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