This page will be one that we will use to report on developments in Smart Rural over the next years. To us smart rural is the only way that we can somehow slow down, halt, and even reverse the migration of people from the country to the cities. Our definition “using technology to strengthen the community and rural living so that many more chose to live out of the cities” A lofty ambition but there we are. We feel we need to encourage the many stakeholders in rural places to pull together and use this new technology to build communities.
We will add bits and pieces in the posts on the side to show how we think it might develop. We have completed a start video which we hope you get a chance to watch.
The cities have big attractions, mainly in job and education opportunities, but terrible quality of life for many citizens with overcrowding, noise, pollution, traffic jams etc. Many studies now show that city living is actually bad for your health. It is not only the traffic, the commute, the air pollution, but the plain old noise of the city that is damaging to human health.
The countryside has huge advantages in terms of supporting community, quality of life for individuals and families, clear air, less traffic and better access to better food. However it is perceived that it lacks in opportunities for work, education and health. We see smart rural as a way to fix this. Join us please if you care about maintaining local communities.
There is an overall framework in development that covers many of the aspects that will need to be taken on board by our stakeholders and rolled out as a community project. We set out the key segments in that below.
The key factor so far that is making communities regrow is that there are ‘strong amenities’. So to move people from the city to the country requires not only the normal facilities like work, health care, education, etc but the added attraction of a strong amenity. Read our blog post about this on the side!
We foresee that there will need to be a largish number of stakeholders. By developing pilot programmes the projects in each segment can be developed, rolled out, fine tuned and then replicated. The participating stakeholders can demonstrate their commitment to helping the country communities to survive and grow.
This is all based on 5 G, which is the next mobile communications platform. Its roll out in the next few years will be a significant opportunity in the management of our lives. A central platform will need to be in place to allow all the communications to occur. Many countries and companies are looking at this and it will be an exciting innovation mixing: 5G, Sensors, AI, computer learning, and social needs. Smart cities are already drving on innovation in their projects. Smart rural need to get started and organised.
We think we need to start now so that we are ready when the software and hardware catches up with the projects and ideas.
Our overarching platform for development includes the following social benefits. Remember the purpose of smart rural is to fix disadvantages, the purpose of smart city is different. We see these sectors as areas that can and need to be fixed to make rural living a better option for families than city living. The areas we see that can benefit from IoT, 5 g etc are:
- Trading and business
- Fitness and well being
- Work and income generation
- History and story telling
- Local cultures and customs
- Innovation and development
Each of these will have sub sections, for example sport can be divided into various clubs and organisations which can share information and communications and use these for serving the sporting needs of the community. It can be divided into seasonal activities, or indoor and outdoor. It can cross link to development to build infrastructures in terms of playing equipment, buildings, play areas, etc. It can cross link to most of the other sectors to enhance and bring together the resources. Each different sporting organisation can be a stakeholder in the overall programme and work with the purpose of developing the community as well as the particular sport. This will help to make the community a more attractive place than the city- especially for families. The advent of the smart rural platform will facilitate access to the resources needed to make the local sports as exciting and challenging as the city sports for both the sportsperson and their families and for the wider smart rural community.
In the area of security it is a regular tragedy to see the elderly in rural areas set upon and violently robbed of the small amount of money they may have. Again using the smart rural platform the access roads to a community can be set up like a spiders web with increasing levels of protection around the most vulnerable. This can fix the problems as they exist and at least make the country as safe as the city. It may not bring us back to ‘unlocked doors’ but it will make the sense of belonging to a community stronger.
In the area of trade and commerce it is with great sadness we see the closing of local boulangeries and the introduction of baguette dispensing machines in rural villages in France. The closing of local post office services in UK and Ireland has removed a vital contact and service point. Similarly in rural Spain where fruit and vegetables are obtained from a white van that appears every few days as the local shop has closed. We see that there is a need for a better, smarter way. These villages and towns have elderly people who would love to run a small shop. They would love to meet their neighbours for a chat. Why put bread into a machine? Use the smart rural platform to let a local person stock and sell the bread for a month or so. Rotate that role around the villagers. Plenty of apps to share this type of work. Creating a sense of contact every day and a person to person interaction is so much better than putting a euro in a machine. Giving the people in the village a role in their day to day community that is supported by smart rural and within their capabilities creates benefits for all. For the business it is also much better to save the investment and maintenance costs of machines. The smart rural platform will facilitate these community based linkages for trading and commerce.
Lots of platforms and apps already exist. Coupling them with a community platform and a purpose that will benefit the community will lead to a modern functioning community with a future. There are a number of projects and practices already underway. We see especially a few groups involved in the remote working space. These are groups to identify who is working there and to try to help overcome any blockages to successful rural and remote work.
There are groups working to help build jobs for people who chose to live in the countryside and who do not want, for various reasons, to have to trundle into a place of work.
The roll out of 5 G is progressing. The development and growth of sensors and platforms and software to manage smart cities is growing. The superbowl city of 2019 showed some of the tech there. Other cities are receiving and developing huge amounts of money and projects to utilize the efficiencies that come from AI (Artificial intelligence) to manage the mega cities.
The communities in the countryside can be aware the the farming world is about to be transformed also as sensors for crop production are deployed to further increase production or raw foodstuffs.
All the world is seeking experiences, new ones, novel ones and ideally ones that are accessible and local. This is a huge growth opportunity for #smartrural.
These are just a flavour of where we see this going in the future. We see dozens of other ideas to build out services and infrastructure especially in the area of urban city links and income generation. We need help to make it happen. Drop a line anytime. firstname.lastname@example.org