Technology will play an increasingly important role in how Irish towns can help create a safe and comfortable environment for large crowds of people to congregate.
This is what Jamie Cudden, responsible for the Smart City program at Dublin City Council, says.
It comes as growing crowds have gathered in Dublin city center in recent weeks amid the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and good weather.
Late in the night, Gardaí made 14 arrests in the capital for breaches of public order following scenes that the Minister of Health described as “rogue” and “totally unacceptable”.
In response to the chaotic scenes over the past weekend, additional portable toilets, fences and bins have been installed in Dublin city in recent days in anticipation of the crowds gathering over the bank holiday weekend.
However, there have been many calls for Irish towns to be more welcoming to the public in order to facilitate a ‘summer in the open’ this year.
Talk to Newstalk Tech Correspondent Jess Kelly on this week Technical discussion, Mr Cudden said Dublin is already a smart city, which means technology is being used to connect services and innovation is happening.
As part of the Smart City program, his team looked at how emerging technologies can be used to deliver better amenities in our cities, including the use of sensors to provide data on what is happening in ‘real time’ in cities. urban areas.
The data collected can be used to anticipate where flooding could occur, how busy the areas and area are, and how full the bins may be.
In light of the focus on people meeting outside of this summer to reduce the transmission of coronaviruses, Mr Cudden said the technology is already being used to assess certain information, such as attendance and trafficking.
However, he believes that over time it will become even more important to manage public spaces and amenities so that people can safely congregate in cities.
“It’s a tough situation, it’s a perfect storm of good weather and COVID restrictions and a lack of places to go,” he said.
“I think what we are achieving is the importance of public space and how effectively we manage that space is so important to sustaining the recovery.
“In terms of technology, obviously we are looking at some data in terms of footfall counters, in terms of traffic flow, even looking at the big ferries we can understand how busy parts of the city are.
“What we’re really starting in this whole interconnected and Internet of Things journey is what good is having all this data if you don’t use it to make better decisions? “
He continued, “We are seeing a lot of cities around the world, especially because of COVID, thinking about how we are managing this space more effectively to make sure it is safe and how do we use the data to inform our policy.
“I think we’re all at the start of this journey, but it’s definitely something that can support policymaking.
“It will not be a miracle cure for the challenges we face.
“A little nice weather and pints to go and people wanting to meet and socialize, we’re not quite going to fix that, but I think technology is playing a role and will play a bigger role in there. ‘to come up.”
Main Image: Crowds gathered at South Anne Street in Dublin on Friday evening. Photo: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie