When most people hear about the blockchain, they instantly assume that this new disruptive technology is part of a vast digital financial system used purely for investment and digital financial transactions. On the contrary, the blockchain is a web of companies looking to provide IT-based solutions in a number of industries. In particular, one area of everyday life blockchain solutions could help to improve is on the roads; especially in cities where commuters can waste hours per month travelling.
Researchers have long been intrigued at how blockchain solutions can improve city life. When we think about a busy city, one of the first concerns that springs to mind is transportation. City dwellers need to get to work, shop, visit friends and family within the city as well as get to entertainment venues.
Even in cities with a well-established transport system, travelling around the city can be a headache.
Blockchain-powered Smart Cities
Thanks to new research on the blockchain that focuses on improving city life, there could be a solution to transportation problems in cities by a UK based company known as Omnitude.
One of the first places Omnitude will showcase their new blockchain solution is Malta. The idea is to improve Maltese public transport by developing a system that the public, businesses and logistics companies will be able to share data. The data will be focused on providing accurate traffic and transportation information that will help them to choose the best times to travel.
The new concept is said to use a combination of Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) and blockchain protocols to create a state-of-the-art communications system, which will transform cities into a new brand of “Smart Cities.”
Omnitude is not the only blockchain initiative to explore the concept of ‘smart cities.’ La’Zooz is in the process of developing and improving its own ‘Decentralized Transportation Platform.’ An Israeli born start-up, La’Zooz aims to give ownership of its app to the community. The ingenious concept aims at reducing energy consumption and pollution in cities.
By providing like-minded people with a real-time application that effectively encourages vehicle sharing, unused space in vehicles around the city will be filled. In order to make this work, the company plans to use its own cryptocurrency so those that use the app to find another person with space in their vehicle can book their seat and pay using the La’Zooz cryptocurrency.
The result should mean fewer cars on the road. Participants can easily book their journey to work for a fraction of the price of a taxi. This is almost like an Uber taxi style application, but people using the app to share their vehicle are not in it for the money, but instead have a vested interest in reducing the number of carbon emissions caused by cars polluting their city.
To make any of these blockchain initiatives cost-effective solutions for smart cities, there needs to be an improvement in IoT communications. Currently, Bluetooth, WiFi, 3G and 4G networks are expensive communications systems to utilise. This is where LPWAN technologies will help the likes of Omnitude provide a fully functional blockchain solution.
This means companies such as MOECO on the blockchain are a worthy investment. The company is in the process of designing blockchain powered IoT systems that will be the backbone communication infrastructure that can be used to connect smart cities. Match is another company that is also developing a blockchain solution of IoT systems.
With the emergence of smart cities seemingly just around the corner, the likes of Omnitude, La’Zooz, MOECO, and Match are well worth keeping a close eye on. Especially since governments have a vested interest in encouraging cities to become new smart cities. The funding is also readily available from governments and authorities such as the European Commission, which has already announced that it plans to create a roadmap to the future creation of smart cities.
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