Smart Technology: Utopian fantasy or a feasible reality?

It’s 2045 and 65% of the world’s population are living in smart cities. Passenger mobility has increased 250% since 2016 and freight activity is up 200%. London, Birmingham and Manchester are effectively one mega city connected by high speed rail and road networks.

I wake at 6am and at 7am I step outside my house in Kenilworth, Warwickshire and wait for the 7.02 set of driverless PODS to arrive. (They are always on time). Inside I use the desk space to finalise a presentation for my meeting later today. Once completed I send it via the free wifi to the teams in London and Singapore or their review.

I glance at the virtual shopping wall (which covers one side of the interior of the POD). It’s advertising the latest kitchen appliances which reminds me that my dishwasher sent me an alert last night reporting a fault. I put in a quick call to my plumber who tells me he can make it at about 3pm. As I’ll still be at work I connect to my house alarm system and add his fingerprints to the security log. (It will send him a message to tell him how he can enter the property).

My POD drops me at Coventry train station and I board the high speed train. (I’ll be in London in 30 minutes from now). Just enough time to relax with a coffee and the day’s news. The vending machine in my POD uses facial recognition and knows how I take my coffee (strong and milky).

I gaze through the window and notice the micro drones monitoring the route and wonder whether they are performing predictive maintenance or spotting for delay causing incidents.

In the office I connect to the Singapore team for a demonstration. They have been working on the next phase of our antiterrorist software. Helena Tan (Head of R&D Singapore) demonstrated the new features to us. We are all excited to be part of this project. Black Pepper’s biometrics applications has revolutionised counter terrorism across the globe. We now have the ability to detect terrorist behaviours well ahead of any harmful activity.

Our meeting is conducted virtually but we can see the team in Singapore in complete 3D. It really is af if they are in the room with us. (Helena has put on some weight).

The afternoon is filled with meeting with other development teams:

Team Fornax are working on the next generation of driverless cars aimed at the rural population.

Team iAlpha are working on an upgrade to our connected home security solution adding dog flap security this time. Whatever next?

It’s a beautiful evening as I walk the 10 minutes from Black Pepper’s office to the high speed train station. London is quiet, with only the distant whirring of PODs above my head. People are dodging a couple of small robots collecting litter across the street. I try and remember what the city was like in 2017. It seems like a lifetime ago.

In 2017 London was filled with noise and pollution. Our transport system was stretched to capacity resulting in a 9 Billion loss every year. 70% of this was directly attributed to poor roads and public transport. But more importantly perhaps is the stress impact this had on commuters.

In 2017 some 63% of workers admitted they were affected by the stress of being late, while 39% said the after-effects negatively impacted on their entire day

Behavioural psychologist Dr Cecilia d'Felice said: "The cost of lateness to the economy is enormous, but potentially even more serious is the detrimental impact it can have on workplace performance, team morale and productivity”.

As I arrive at the station my phone pings. The plumber has been and the problem has been resolved. His invoice is flashing up on screen asking for “one click” payment. Another message asks if I would like any refreshments to be at my seat when I board the train. I order a glass of Chablis and a Sparkling Water (that reminds me, why didn’t I get the Plumber to take a look at the water vendor on my fridge while he was there? It had sent me a message last week!)

While human error will never be eradicated, there’s no doubt that since 2017 technology has played a huge part in the UK’s come back from a period of extreme social conflict and political change. Thanks to our ambition and vision, we survived Brexit and subsequently thrived. We had faith in our economy and invested in technology.

As a result, we now find ourselves in this cleaner, quieter, safer place.

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