As smart cities are becoming more and more prevalent around the world, we also see an increasing number of new innovations in design and technology. However, it is often easy to simply associate ‘smart’ with buildings or cities that run in automation or with robotics and provide connection to data and services in order to improve services and eco-friendliness.
Just like many city government-led projects around the world, such technological innovations can be found in Panasonic’s smart city projects – but it doesn’t end there. While most cities are made ‘smart’ through integrating technology into already-existing lifestyles, Panasonic’s housing solutions is using its innovations in design and technology to offer a new, redefined lifestyle that connects residents not only to information but also to each other and the particular environment in which we reside.
Looking closely at Panasonic’s smart city project Fujisawa SST as an example, the city has been developed to carefully integrate the environment. In addition, the layout promotes a natural breeze that stems from the nearby ocean through the streets and paths, which helps cool the town and its buildings in an eco-friendly manner as well as connects residents with each other and town management in a natural manner.
As the town is designed in a cylindrical fashion with a limited number of entrances and exits, breezes flow into the city without the ‘wind tunnel’ effect found in many already-established towns and cities. Such design also leads to the sense of safety and sense of connection among the town residents. In addition to this natural security, the town also integrates a virtual security system through multiple cameras to keep a low-profile watch of the area, providing a safe but non-obtrusive environment for its residents.
To ensure that the town can provide a comfortable eco-friendly lifestyle, each home of Fujisawa SST is installed with Panasonic’s solar panels and storage batteries – as well as a portal system that allows households to monitor their respective energy usage. And smarter living becomes even more personal through the provision of not only applicable hardware but also a system that helps motivate residents to take more initiative in leading eco-friendly lives.
Other services offered through this smart town ensure technology does not cause a divide but rather promotes community building. Through a resident-only community service platform, homeowners can also easily interact with their neighbours or learn about town group events through their mobile phones to further solidify community ties. In addition, mobility services offered by the town allow reservation of electric cars and bicycles – making sure residents in the community can enjoy an active lifestyle within and outside of the community.
“Panasonic places great importance on the development of sustainable towns,” says Kohjiroh Wakabayashi, Managing Director of Panahome Asia Pacific and Project Manager of the Fujisawa SST project. “The foundations for this,” Mr. Wakabayashi says, “are consideration for the environment and a better way of living. By building smart cities, we can reduce energy consumption. But by creating a township that enables the participation of its citizens, this creates long-lasting community values and a truly sustainable future. This is what should define a smart city.”
By integrating these added services as a definition of requirements for a smart city, the Panasonic Group is striving to build the foundations for a new way of sustainable living – where Fujisawa SST and other smart cities by Panasonic will serve as a benchmark for the rest of Asia.