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Living in the City of the Future

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LIVING IN THE CITY OF THE FUTURE

From Smart Home to Smart City: In the future, many new technologies are changing everyday life at home and in the cities. In the module “Living in the City of the Future” you will learn how we will move, live, work and at the same time ensure greater sustainability.

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“Smart cities” are networked cities. In smart cities, many areas of public life are interconnected: health and education, traffic and transportation systems, municipal authorities and much more. This interconnectedness not only opens up new possibilities for mobility, but also for more participation in society.
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Quality of life for residents

Parks and green spaces, better air quality through environmentally-friendly heat generation or optimal health care through telemedicine and real-time monitoring for chronically ill people: all of these factors contribute to an increase in the quality of life of a smart city’s residents.

Sustainability and environmental protection

Thanks to digital networking, smart cities are sustainable and save resources. For example, modern sensors control street lighting and waste disposal – fully automatically. Smart street lamps dim the light when no one is on the sidewalk. And thanks to built-in sensors, garbage collectors only empty public garbage cans when they are actually full.

Mobility

New technologies help, for example, to avoid traffic jams and find other means of transport. If a vehicle reports an accident, the other vehicles are notified per app and automatically diverted. The practical thing about this: this also prevents further traffic jams on the detours.

Social cohesion

Ready to leave on vacation but the refrigerator is still half full? Your flowers need to be watered while you are away? New applications such as “nebenan.de” help citizens in smart cities network with like-minded people and thus, promote social cohesion – e.g. by sharing food or small favors (such as watering plants).

Citizen-friendly public administration

Thanks to digital citizen portals and self-service terminals, inadequate opening hours and long waiting times in public administrations might soon be a thing of the past. As soon as citizens log on to the portal, they can carry out administrative tasks themselves (e.g. registering their place of residency or applying for an identity card). This not only promotes communication between citizens and administrations, but also increases individual participation (e.g. through online petitions).

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Networked technologies are already being used in many cities. But people often do not yet feel that their city is smart. Why is that? In order to make a city “smart”, it needs an advanced technical infrastructure, the necessary financial resources and the participation of many creative people.

Cities often lack the structures to meet these requirements or to use creativity in a meaningful way. They therefore initially tackle the idea of the smart city in small steps (e.g. the networking of public transport with an app). These first steps often take place in the background and are not visible to many people at first glance. Which cities are already smart?
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A higher quality of life, less traffic jams and considerably more time – at first glance this sounds promising. But smart cities also bring new challenges with them. Read the case studies on the following pages and form your own impression
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Paul lives in a smart city in which, among other things, almost all areas of life are networked with the authorities. A “social credit point system” indicates how exemplary he is as a citizen. Good behavior (e.g. donating for a good cause) is rewarded, bad behavior (e.g. driving too fast) is penalized by deducting points. The consequence: if Paul's score is too low, for example, he receives significantly worse credit from banks and may have to fear for his job.  

What sounds like something from a film to us, is unthinkable in Germany. In Rongcheng, a city on the coast of China, it is reality.


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Thea lives in a smart house. In it, the fridge, pantry and co. are networked with her smartphone. Just now her garbage can reported that four milk cartons have already been thrown away. It offers to order more milk. And while Thea is still thinking about this, she receives the next notification: the toilet paper holder reports that the roll is running out. In addition, Thea's fork just teamed up with her belt to point out that she has been eating too much and too fast. Well, at least Thea is informed.
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Smart cities and smart homes are created for people. When private individuals and companies work together to implement smart infrastructure, smart household appliances and the like for the benefit of citizens, they make life easier for them in the long term. But the decision as to exactly which of these technologies will make our lives easier in the future, will ultimately depend on user acceptance. The inhabitants of smart cities thus retain control over how their lives are shaped.

How would you like to live in the future? Take a look around the smart home and let it inspire you!


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SMART LIVING

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The city of the future begins at home – in the “smart home”, the intelligently networked home. The smart home is equipped with computer technology, sensors, lighting control and networked devices. They provide more comfort and security.  

Which devices make everyday life at home “smarter”? Which tasks can little helpers, such as robots, perform in the household? You can find the answers to these questions in this chapter.

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Smart lighting systems

A lighting system that adapts to your needs and mood? This is possible, for example, with smart lighting system from “Philipps Hue”. If the lighting is linked to the stereo system, the lighting automatically adapts to the sound and rhythm of the music.

Video surveillance

Smart video surveillance systems transfer the camera images of your home directly to the cloud - an online storage space that only you can access. With the help of a corresponding application (e.g. “Arlo” or “Bosch Smart Home”) for your smartphone, you can make sure that everything is all right at home – on holiday and at work.

Smart plant irrigation

Sensors for temperature or humidity make everyday life smarter. Your plants will, for example, indicate when they have not been watered properly by displaying a light signal and thus, help you to maintain them. For those who like it even smarter, the intelligent "Smart Gardener" irrigation system could be an option. It waters gardens independently, as needed. This is also possible from holiday via app control.

Intelligent language assistants

Intelligent language assistants are enjoying increasing popularity. Whether “Siri”, “Alexa” or “Google Assistant” – when used correctly, they can make everyday life easier. The assistants are connected to various devices – e.g. telephone, lighting or television. Commands can then be conveniently given via voice control – e.g. “Hello Magenta! Call Anna.”

Intelligent window and roller shutter systems

Window and roller shutter systems can be remote controlled using sensors and apps. Here is an example: When the sun shines, the roller shutters automatically open so that the warmth can enter the home. When it's dark or stormy, the shutters automatically close. This saves energy and makes your home safer.

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Automatic roller shutters, smart loudspeakers or cleaning robots are already part of everyday life for many people. But intelligent refrigerators and entertainment systems are also increasingly finding their way into our homes.  

On the following pages you can see how a typical day in such a networked smart home could be.
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At 6.30 a.m. the alarm clock rings and starts your day in your smart home. Before you can even think of pressing the snooze button, your roller shutters automatically open. Your favorite music comes from the loudspeaker in the bathroom and the coffee machine starts automatically in the kitchen. Today you are full of energy. While still in bed, you change the music in the bathroom and decide which news you want to read on your smart mirror. All you have to do is get up on your own.
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In the future, not just the coffee machine - the entire kitchen will be smart. Projections on the rear wall, 3-D food printers and smart refrigerators - in a smart kitchen, everything thinks for itself.

Learn more about this in the video.
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Of course, a smart kitchen cannot be without a smart refrigerator. These clever appliances have quite a few tricks up their sleeve. The refrigerator takes a picture every time the door is closed. The content is then displayed on a screen in the door or in an app. This allows you to check what you need at home while you are on the move.

You do not know whether the bell pepper in the refrigerator is still good? Sensors that filter gases from the air and then assign them to spoiled food in various areas of the refrigerator can help here. This means that only food that is actually spoiled ends up in the garbage.
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At 8.00 a.m. you are sitting at your desk - in your home office. Your smart home knows that you always start working at this time of day. That is why it automatically turns off the radio and the television. All of your calls are forwarded to your office telephone. A smart speaker informs you about the most important appointments for the day.

Working from home? Is it actually possible?
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Home offices save time, resources and the environment. Modern technologies such as video telephony or virtual reality and a good network infrastructure make it possible to communicate with superiors and colleagues. And if you have to meet in person, there are fewer cars on the road - because more people work from home. 

A recent study by Bitkom Research has shown: approximately 30% of all employees occasionally work from home. But unlike in the office, working at home is often less regulated. When do you take a break? When do you stop working for the day? The boundaries between work and leisure are becoming increasingly blurred.




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Lunch time – now it is time to relax. A nap would be perfect right now. Apps such as “Sleep Cycle” recognize which sleep phase you are in based on your movement. Because it is easier to get up during a light sleep phase, the app wakes you up between 1 pm and 1.30 pm. While you make yourself comfortable on the sofa, a robot in the kitchen prepares your favorite snack. The cleaning robot vacuums and mops the office right now to avoid disturbing your work later. Relaxing, right? 

Find out more about different types of robots on the next page.
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Social robots

Social robots are robots that are very similar to humans in their behavior and that take on social tasks – e.g. caring for humans. Social robots communicate and interact, they conduct conversations, understand the gestures and feelings of others and react appropriately to them.

Domestic robots

Domestic robots take over household tasks. Vacuum robots keep your carpet clean; mop robots even remove stubborn stains on the tiles. And you will never have to mow your lawn again when you have the help of a mowing robot.

Entertainment robots

Entertainment robots include programmable drones for adults and programmable building blocks for children and adolescents. In the future, robots will even be used as digital babysitters that have been specially developed for communication with babies and toddlers and can read stories or play music on command.

Industrial robots

Industrial robots are automatically controlled devices that are used primarily in the automotive industry. Assembly robots, for example, assemble the individual parts of the car, while painting robots apply the selected paint. The commands for this come from the plant's human employees; the robots then execute them in a supportive manner.

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Pepper is 1.20 meters tall, weighs about 28 kilograms and has cute saucer eyes. Her behavior is very similar to that of a human. In Japan, Pepper works, for example, in stores or as a tour guide. In professions where there is a shortage of skilled workers, this robot support is the perfect solution – e.g. in nursing professions. 

In Japan, social robots are already being used successfully in the field of nursing care. Take a look at the examples in the video.
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How are robots perceived by humans? Robots can quickly cause fear and rejection if they are confusingly similar to humans. This feeling is called “uncanny valley”.

Take a look at the pictures under this link and decide for yourself: How human should robots be?
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The work day is over. Your smartwatch displays you what you already know based on the recorded sleep and heart rate data: You are tired and stressed. No problem for your smart home. Without you having to say anything, the light dims. All of the telephones are switched to mute. The TV starts your favorite series via a streaming service and your favorite delivery app orders the pizza from your favorite Italian restaurant with just one click. A great end to a stressful day.

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Smart homes have countless possibilities. Many of the benefits only become apparent once you have tested the technologies yourself. Nevertheless, everyone decides for themselves which areas of the home should become smart or not.

It is your decision: Which devices and technologies do you think should be smart? Which could you do without?


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SMART CITY

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Smart cities have many facets. A networked traffic system ensures less traffic on the roads and therefore, better air quality. Smart buildings are environmentally friendly because they consume very little energy. And smart citizens are at the heart of the smart city. Because through their active participation, a smart city can achieve its full potential.

Learn more about how a smart city works in this chapter.
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The city of the future is sustainable! This means that the needs of current generations (e.g. for food or raw materials) are met without adversely affecting the living conditions of future generations – for example by producing too much waste or polluting the air too much. To keep it short: Do nothing today that you or your children will regret tomorrow.


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From Munich to Berlin in 30 minutes - You think that is impossible? The solution is called “Hyperloop”. It is a train that moves underground through tubes at the speed of sound. But will you only be shot through tubes at high speed in order to get from one place to another in the future?  

Not yet: Mobility in the smart city does not mean that no one drives a car anymore. The aim is to make driving in cities more environmentally friendly – e.g. by banning polluting engines or limiting the number of cars on the roads.
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Parking – stress-free

How nice would it be to not have to search for a parking space in cities? Using a smartphone and apps such as “park&joy”, free parking spaces are assigned and controlled via navigation system. If, for example, a vehicle drives past an available parking space, it anonymously notifies other vehicles in the vicinity that are currently looking for a parking space.

Underway together

Would you like to meet nice people while underway? Intelligent car-sharing opportunities such as the german app “BlaBlaCar” will be used more and more frequently in the future. The apps are used to network people who are travelling in the same or a similar direction. Car-sharing, i.e. the shared use of a car, is also becoming increasingly popular. You can find and unlock free cars with an app (e.g. “Free2Move”, “Urbi” or “Flinkster”). However, it has not yet been proven whether this will actually relieve traffic in cities.

Smart support

Smart technologies often sound unrealistic. In the future, cars could be driven by mind control. Nissan's “Brain-2-Vehicle-Technology” measures brain waves with electrodes on the head. This makes it possible to predict when curves won’t be taken correctly or when danger is imminent. In these cases, the car automatically adjusts its driving style. The automobile manufacturer's goal is to be able to control cars exclusively by thought in the future.

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Sustainable infrastructure, intelligent bridges and apps that navigate you to the nearest free parking space: All of this makes traffic in the city smart. In order to make the cityscape “greener”, there are already numerous concepts.  

One example is the Danish capital of Copenhagen. Back in 2009, plans were published to turn Copenhagen into a CO2-neutral capital by 2025. To this end, the city is promoting ideas and concepts about water, energy and mobility - including the Carlsberg beverage brand, which is completely converting beverage production to renewable energies. 

On the following pages you can see concrete examples of how buildings can contribute to greater sustainability in smart cities.
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Urban Farming” or “Urban Gardening”. Green spaces or vegetable gardens can be found in many buildings - e.g. on the roof.

You can see an example of urban gardening in the video.
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Modern technologies and a good infrastructure are important, but the people who live in cities are even more important. They are also called “smart people”. A networked city also needs networked citizens who actively participate.  

One example for this is the “Design for Local Change” initiative. The idea: No one can judge a smart city better than the people who live in it. A bus stop is not barrier-free? A neighborhood doesn't offer enough activities for young people? On the online platform “Changify”, citizens report on their experiences and participate directly in designing their city.


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For many people, going to an administrative office is an unpleasant task. Often, they have to deal with long waiting times and unpractical opening hours.

With the help of modern “digital administrations”, the concerns of citizens can be dealt with independently of time and location in the future. An online portal can be used to make complaints or inquiries – e.g. changing your place of residency or applying for child benefits – and to safely exchange data between public authorities. However, not only services can be provided more efficiently. A smart administration should also encourage interaction between citizens and the administration itself and increase participation.








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THE CITY OF THE FUTURE

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A smart city can only become reality if the people in the city are actively involved. So it is your turn now! How would you design your city of the future? What means of transport are there in your city? What does the city look like?

Keep scrolling and decide for yourself!

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SCENARIO 1A

Cars are not important in this city anymore. Its flexible and sustainable public transportation concept allows fast and comfortable travel from A to B – without traffic jams or air pollution.  

This also eliminates the annoying search for a parking space in dense city traffic. Car-free zones provide more space for green and leisure areas. The air quality and quality of its citizens’ lives improve.
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SCENARIO 1B

Hours of waiting at the bus stop for a bus that is too late or the frustrating announcement at the train station: “This train has been cancelled.” These things could soon be a thing of the past in your smart city. In it, you travel in autonomous electronic cars that conveniently transport you from A to B in comfort. 

Vienna is already leading the way – by 2050, all private means of transport will move about the city without using conventional fuel engines.
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SCENARIO 2A

The buildings in this city are “green”. That means: They were planned and built to be sustainable and energy efficient. For example, integrated green areas or modern insulation solutions ensure sustainable construction concepts and more environmental protection.  

An example for this is the Convention Center in Vancouver. Its roof is completely covered with grass, making it a “green building” in the truest sense of the word.
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Approximately 220 kilograms of waste are produced per capita in Germany. Much of the waste does not decompose by itself – and ends up on the roadside, in rivers or in the sea. But what should we do with the mountains of trash from the city of the future?
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SCENARIO 2B

Your city shines in new splendor, but with the old, original facades. The traditional cityscape is preserved and the buildings in it are renovated and rebuilt to meet the requirements of a smart city.  

The city of Prague is an excellent example of this and shows how such a concept can actually be implemented today. The historic buildings in Prague’s city center are gradually being converted into smart buildings.
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Approximately 220 kilograms of waste are produced per capita in Germany. Much of the waste does not decompose by itself – and ends up on the roadside, in rivers or in the sea. But what should we do with the mountains of trash from the city of the future?
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SCENARIO 3A

“Zero waste” is a lifestyle with the goal of not producing any more waste. Unlike recycling, waste is completely avoided. People who live according to the principle of “zero waste” deliberately avoid packaging and plastic – e.g. plastic bags, plastic toothbrushes or coffee-to-go cups.  For many people, “zero waste” is the solution to our garbage problems.

For this reason, ideas such as food sharing or shops without packaging are becoming increasingly popular. Food sharing becomes much easier with apps like “Too Good To Go” or “ResQ”. The special thing about them: Not only users can offer and exchange food with each other, but also restaurants and shops. The network consumes what is otherwise thrown away.
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Your trip to the city of the future ends here. In this module you have learned about new technologies and concepts for smart cities. Pay attention to which of these aspects might be implemented right outside your own front door. And stay tuned to see what the future has in store for your city. 

Further information can be found in the download section.

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SCENARIO 3B

Packaging is sorted by material, cleaned in a plant and then reused - not a bad idea in itself. However, only about 50% of all plastic waste is recycled. In addition, not all plastics can be reused forever. 

Science and industry are addressing the topic and are already working on environmentally friendly new materials – e.g. alternative packaging made of mushrooms or algae. One thing is certain: The city of the future’s garbage problem requires new ideas and concepts for recycling.






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Your trip to the city of the future ends here. In this module you have learned about new technologies and concepts for smart cities. Pay attention to which of these aspects might be implemented right outside your own front door. And stay tuned to see what the future has in store for your city. 

Further information can be found in the download section.

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