A pandemic caused by the COVID-19 changes people’s habits. It is inevitable that city leaders and residents will prepare for the new reality because the changes that will take place now, will not be temporary, but permanent and we must learn to live a little differently, more responsibly.
In this article you will read:
- about new public habits to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and other viruses in the future (wearing masks and hand disinfection)
- solutions and technologies in public spaces that enhance the safety and comfort of people’s lives
I have spent 7 years abroad and visited 58 countries. I was often surprised by Asians who wore masks when travelling around the world. In many countries people have never used them, and in Poland, where I live every day, when someone wears a mask, it is because of poor air quality (Poland has the dirtiest air in Europe according to WHO). Similarly, the situation is with regard to hand hygiene. SEEDiA, where we sell smart city products on four continents, we are working with distributors often to host their country and visit abroad. From the Asian, you can learn about how to care for your health. Frequent hand washing, avoiding touching objects, face masks are the norm for them.
Today, when people are locked down in homes, we see public services in masks, politicians in masks and ourselves when we leave home, we are obliged to wear masks and disinfect at every step of our hands. Each store, service center, mail center is equipped with sanitizer solution and glove desks. This is not a new habit for the coming weeks but more habits for the years. Now, wearing masks and hygienic hands – disinfecting, will be a new standard worldwide. In the backpacks, next to the powerbank and smartphone chargers, we will have masks and hand sanitizers.
Another new habit that we need to develop, will be the so-called social distancing, avoiding the crowded places. This will be a particularly big challenge for city residents, but no less for city leaders, municipalities, public services, who should take care of our safety. Also, I will mention event organizers like concerts and conferences in hotels. The nature of these events will certainly change slightly and the organizers have to prepare for it now.
We already can see how cities are changing – the services are disinfecting bus shelters, small architecture and public space, police control number of persons in public transport, bus drivers must alert municipalities about overcrowded public transport. In Krakow, a flat-surface survey was performed on products such as ATMs. Most of them have been found to have traces of SARS-CoV-2. Harmless to people, but present, which is all the more motivating for changes to existing habits.
Fortunately, on the market there are technologies available to allow cities to adapt to the current situation. The bus shelter will be equipped with crowd analysis systems so that the communication grid is adapted not only to the siege but also to the security of users. Public transport will also undergo a great transformation from a design point of view – bus shelters, info kiosks, ticket machines – will be equipped with special antiseptic glass that kills bacteria and germs. They will be varnished with special paints, which have antibacterial properties.
Public utility places and connecting hubs will also change. They will be equipped with non-contact info kiosks, automating the work of officials, minimizing direct contact. Automatic disinfection stations will be available in front of each office to help people enter and leave the area more safely. Like the local government officials and employees themselves.
Smart City technology providers are also changing. Today, the security aspect is much more important than gadgets. Companies providing video analysis systems suddenly turned out to be much more needed than before. Their solutions are installed in bulk in pilot deployments in large cities.
In SEEDiA we are also going through a “COVID transformation”. Based on our technology and cloud solutions we have designed a special line of Smart Solar Hand Sanitizers for public spaces, but also offices and shopping malls. Autonomous, remotely managed, non-contact – that is what the technologies of the future will be – the sanitizers will also be equipped with large, non-contact e-paper screens and audio modules by which everyone will learn about the way to proceed and the challenges in the cities.
Our solar bus stops are designed to help cities improve safety by building a crowd analysis system. We can use the same technology with cities to analyze the distance and number of people on buses.
Solar benches and our other products are equipped with antibacterial glass, which also has an effect on viruses (currently research is underway to confirm whether this technology also knocks out COVID-19). Most of our products have the ability to add a sound module, to which managers have remote access and can upload educational or warning recordings of the situation, e.g. epidemiological.
Cities must change – for the benefit of the residents and for their safety. In SEEDiA we are trying our best to help and support this changeover time. Today, Smart City will really mean Safe City too.