GovInnovate Brief

4 futuristic technologies set to transform city infrastructure

Posted by GovInnovate Team on 08-Jan-2016 10:30:00


Digital transformation is no longer just a buzzword.

All across Australia, governments are beginning to implement new technology projects to better serve the needs of citizens, while also gaining the added benefit of reducing operational costs.

Innovation in technology is opening up a world of possibilities for delivering out of the box digital services never before thought possible. This post will outline 4 technologies of the future that are predicted to improve the quality of citizens life by making infrastructure more efficient, including smart cities, real-time data and cloud forecasting, virtual assistants, and wearable technologies.


1. The evolution of the smart city

With ever increasing amounts of data being accumulated, it is no surprise that governments across the globe are beginning to harness data insights to offer more pro-active solutions for the issues facing citizens.

Smart cities in the future will use information technology to improve the quality, performance and interactivity of urban services and infrastructure.

The uptake of cloud-connected devices has enabled government agencies to accumulate vast amounts of data like never before. Mobile devices can offer insights from city surroundings and inhabitants to better improve the ecosystems within the city.

Here are just a few of the ways smart cities can be improved through data:

  • The rise of fitness trackers can help to improve urban infrastructure by understanding recurring routes for runners and cyclists
  • Predictive software can reduce crime by predicting time and locations crime is most likely to occur
  • Sensors can implement smart waste management and reduce the need to trashcans and garbage trucks.

You can read more about how varying cities have implemented these strategies on the CeBIT Australia post “Planning cities with big data”.


2. Real-time data & cloud forecasting

As economies prosper, local traffic generally becomes heavier. Real-time data and cloud forecasting can provide an easy solution to this issue, as well as to many other infrastructural woes that may occur as cities develop.

A city in Zhejiang in China experienced an increase in vehicle accidents and traffic violations due to an increasing amount of cars on the road. The government installed digital monitoring devices in traffic hotspots, allowing them to accumulate a terabyte of data each month providing vital insights on how to reduce these accidents.

The monitoring devices have allowed the transport department to track key vehicles including large trucks and busses, and recalculate the traffic lights to adjust for peak hours. Data mining and analysis can lead to the creation of algorithms that can establish smart adjustments of traffic lights, reducing waiting times of vehicles by up to 80%.

Los Angeles International (LAX) has taken a different approach to utilising real-time data, by building a custom made and integrated operations software platform that provides teams with critical real-time information. Staff can use this information to make critical decisions in case of emergencies within seconds.

There are many other ways real-time data can improve the lives of citizens, and these are two examples in a pool of many. Real-time data has helped to alleviate some of the infrastructure issues in cities such as Chicago, and it will be interesting to see the unique ways new cities implement this technology.


3. Wearable Technologies

Wearable technology, for government and citizens, provides limitless possibilities to removing friction in our everyday lives.

Wearables that allow consumers to monitor fitness and wellness levels have been part of a new trend in health the last few years. However, there is potential for new technologies to improve healthcare on a much deeper level than that.

Medical devices will eventually allow patients to monitor themselves remotely, for conditions such as asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure, and if complications arise, they can communicate directly with medical professionals remotely.

In a more out of the box example, futurist Ray Kurweil has predicted that by 2020 most diseases will be cured as nanobots will become smarter than current technology. Ray refers to this as The Singularity, in which the divide between humanity and technology diminishes.

Although Ray’s prediction seems very far-fetched right now, wearable technologies will provide real improvements to people’s everyday lives. The Department of Human Services is working on a smart watch app that will allow customers to track waiting times. Only time will tell how far wearable technologies can develop.


4. Virtual Assistants

Advancements in the virtual assistant space are heavily dependent on innovations in A.I. and cognitive computing, and the possibilities are incredibly exciting.

The future of virtual assistants have been predicted to develop from moving away from mobile devices (where they are currently most dominant – think Siri and Ok Google) to existing purely in the cloud.

Interactions with virtual assistants in the future may begin to take place through implants or physical devices that allow the customer to see the same thing as the virtual assistant. Bringing them into a virtual world where the assistance exists.

There is limitless potential for virtual assistants, and already we see services offering brands and government departments the opportunity to own their own virtual assistant. Nina is a digital persona that can deliver personalised and efficient customer service catered to the needs of your department. 



Technology offers great potential to change cities from urban infrastructure, right down to day-to-day interactions with virtual assistants. The future is exciting, we can look forward to a world of hyper-connected infrastructure that is updated by real-time data and cloud forecasting, and there are future technologies including wearable technologies and virtual assistants that will remove friction from our everyday lives.

Let us know what technologies you think will transform future cities and comment below.


Topics: Digital Government, Smart City, Real-time data, Cloud forecasting, Nanobots, Digital Service Delivery, Wearable Technology, The Singularity, Digital Transformation, Ray Kurzweil, Virtual Assistants, Futuristic Technology, Technology Innovations

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