Smart infrastructure that meets broad needs crucial for smart cities

Developing infrastructure that caters to the needs of society is fundamental to the creation of smart cities, which are not the result of new buildings, but of the increasingly critical role that technology plays in making urban buildings smart, says Johnson Control sub-Saharan Africa GM Archibald Makatini.


Smart city technology, green building solutions and energy efficiency, as well as infrastructure and human capital investment, can help to improve the value of urban buildings and revive the dilapidated buildings of inner cities.


“Many of these buildings do not have simple functionality, such as air conditioning, but can be made comfortable and liveable by leveraging available expertise and deploying suitable technologies.”


A vision of how technology can enhance the lives of ordinary citizens is crucial to supporting the development of smart cities. Such cities are not only about “bright shiny new buildings” but also about all types of buildings, from hospitals and factories to universities and skyscrapers, says Makatini.


A significant issue that local and national government departments face is a lack of capacity for proactive maintenance, which, in turn, is increasingly constrained by a lack of funding and the necessary technical skills.


The shortage of technical skills can be remedied by leveraging skills in the private sector. Johnson Controls has developed smart building solutions and expertise that clients can use, he says.


Infrastructure Growth


Johnson Control plans to deploy its expertise from a host of Internet of Things (IoT) and smart building projects over the past years to support Africa’s infrastructure growth.


He highlights Johnson Controls’ One Albert Quay headquarters, in Cork, Ireland, where an IoT solution integrates security, fire prevention, heating, ventilation and cooling, as well as building management. The building has achieved gold certification under the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design scheme.