Natural disasters are, unfortunately, inevitable, and if the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that they’re increasing in both frequency and intensity. Fortunately, advances in smart city technology and digital transformation have made it possible for municipalities to better prepare for, respond to and recover from the challenges Mother Nature throws at us.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at three ways smart city infrastructure and digital transformation can vastly improve a municipality’s response to a natural disaster.
The most important phase of disaster management occurs before the disaster itself, and smart cities designed with a thoughtful, long-term strategy and a sustainable program in place are more likely to be prepared for, and effectively respond to, whatever comes their way.
After a disastrous flood in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2013, the city implemented IoT-enabled radar sensors into the city’s drains to monitor flood activity. This gives administrators the ability to monitor the data in real time and to predict where flooding is likely to occur, allowing them to take swift action in addressing the problem and alerting residents before the situation becomes dangerous.
A critical part of any smart city development is the deployment of 5G, and all of the capabilities that come with the revolutionary technology. For instance, with 5G’s network slicing capabilities, emergency services can have access to a dedicated portion of the network separate from that of the public. This means during periods of high network usage – such as during and after a natural disaster event – emergency service providers will be able to communicate and respond more reliably and efficiently because they’re not fighting for the same service as everyone else.
And with 5G’s high data rates, low latency, and edge computing capabilities mean EMTs can access a patient’s medical records and transmit vital signs to hospitals, providing emergency room staff the data they need to prepare for intake – and they can do all of this while in transit.
Another notable benefit of 5G is its flexibility, and this was recently seen in a major carrier’s deployment of a “flying cell site” in Florida after Hurricane Ian, which provided 5G coverage to emergency services on the ground during recovery efforts.
While in this case it was the private sector providing the aid, smart cities that invest in technologies like this could deploy a whole fleet of 5G drones post-disaster to provide continuous internet access to first responders coordinating recovery efforts and residents attempting to reconnect with loved ones.
How Hylan Can Help
While we can’t always predict what the future holds, we can use the knowledge we have now to prepare for it. A well-designed smart city can better equip its administrators and residents to handle this uncertain future, and the time for cities to start building out this advanced infrastructure is right now – because your efforts today could save lives tomorrow.
Discover how Hylan helps city planners and municipal leaders make smart cities a reality by partnering with private companies and government agencies. Our teams build out the foundational infrastructure for smart cities to connect utilizing our decades of experience in both wireless and fiberless technologies.