Latin America and the Caribbean are two regions that could benefit from urban interconnectivity. According to the UN, nearly 90% of their inhabitants will live in cities by 2050.
Rio de Janeiro in Brazil is a leader in smart city initiatives. After mudslides wreaked havoc in April 2010, the “Rio Operations Center” was created. The project was led by the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro with the collaboration of the private sector.
The center coordinates more than 30 municipal agencies, using sensors, satellites, cameras and GPS systems to gather real-time information on traffic, weather, lighting, electricity use and other parameters. The information is then used to manage transport flow with the help of computerized traffic lights, to reroute cars around accidents and congested areas, and help emergency services navigate effectively.
The city uses sensors’ data to make sure services such as garbage collection run efficiently and to provide warning systems (extreme weather, fire and other contingencies) with the help of social media.
In addition, sirens remotely controlled by the center have recently been installed in Rio’s poorest communities, to help guide people in crises and tell them where to take shelter when rainfall reaches critical levels.